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Lyons v. State

Supreme Court of Mississippi

November 14, 2013

Yardley Shelton LYONS
v.
STATE of Mississippi.

Page 654

Office of State Public Defender by Erin Elizabeth Pridgen, George T. Holmes, Wilbert Levon Johnson, attorneys for appellant.

Office of the Attorney General by Stephanie Breland Wood, John R. Henry, Jr., attorneys for appellee.

Before DICKINSON, P.J., KITCHENS and CHANDLER, JJ.

KITCHENS, Justice.

¶ 1. Yardley Shelton Lyons was indicted for one count of carjacking [1] (Count I) and one count of kidnapping [2] (Count II) in the Circuit Court of Tunica County. The indictment accused Lyons of perpetrating these acts against persons over the age of sixty-five years, subjecting him to the elderly sentence enhancement which allowed the court to sentence him to twice the maximum statutory sentence for both counts. After finding Lyons guilty on both counts, the jury also found that he was eligible for the elderly sentence enhancement. The trial court did not impose the sentence enhancement, and instead sentenced Lyons to fifteen years for carjacking and twenty-five years for kidnapping, to be served consecutively. The court later amended Lyons's sentence on Count II, reducing it from twenty-five years to fifteen years.

¶ 2. Lyons filed a motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict (JNOV), or, in the alternative, for a new trial. He argued that the trial court erred in failing to grant a motion for directed verdict at the close of the State's case, that the jury verdict was against the overwhelming weight of the evidence, and that the prosecution had failed to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. This motion was denied.

¶ 3. On appeal, the Indigent Appeals Division representing Lyons has filed a brief pursuant to Lindsey v. State, 939 So.2d 743 (Miss.2005), stating that the record has been scoured and no arguable issues have been found. After reading the entire transcript and record, we have been unable to discern any issues which would warrant additional briefing or reversal. Accordingly, we affirm Yardley Shelton Lyons's convictions and sentences for carjacking and kidnapping.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

¶ 4. The facts are gleaned from the testimony of the ten witnesses presented by the State. Lyons offered no witnesses and did not testify. On July 1, 2011, Eva Honsa and her husband Horst, of Savannah, Tennessee, went to Bally's Casino in Tunica. At the time of trial, Eva was seventy-nine years old, and Horst was eighty-two. They arrived between 1:30

Page 655

and 2:00 p.m., and parked their tan 2005 Pontiac Bonneville automobile in the casino's handicapped parking zone. Eva got out of the driver's seat and went to the trunk to get Horst's wheelchair, which he had required since losing one of his legs. Eva described what happened next:

... I put the wheelchair down, and I was going to the back seat to get my stuff out, you know, my purse or whatever, my coupons, whatever it was, and while I was bending down, I noticed somebody behind me, and I thought, " Well, it must be somebody who knows us, you know, to come— to greet us or what," and then I raised up, and he put his— the person put his arm around my neck and pulled me back and said, " Don't make a sound or I'll kill you."

A casino shuttle bus driver saw this happening and pulled the bus behind the Honsas' vehicle in an effort to prevent the assailant's escape. The man quickly got into the car, and was able to back up, turn around, and escape the parking lot, with Horst Honsa still in the vehicle.

¶ 5. Eva never saw her attacker's face. She described him as a young, tall, slim, black man. The driver of the bus, Jerry Oden, recognized Eva's assailant as Yardley Shelton Lyons, a man to whom she had been introduced earlier in the day. Oden had been introduced to Lyons that morning by Derico Washington, a valet at the casino. Washington had met Lyons when Lyons asked to borrow Washington's cell phone. Lyons would not tell Oden his name at first, so Oden asked to see his ID. Lyons handed it over, and Oden specifically recalled having learned that the man's name was Yardley Lyons. She also remembered talking to him about his neighborhood in Memphis, with which she was familiar because she also was a Memphis resident. Around 1:30 p.m. that day, Oden saw Lyons in the parking lot of the casino, standing near some hedges and acting suspiciously. She drove her bus around to get a better look, and watched him leave the hedges as the Honsas' vehicle pulled into the parking lot. Oden witnessed Eva getting out of the car and digging around in the back seat for something as Lyons approached her. Lyons ...


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