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Bradshaw v. State

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

December 10, 2013

BRIAN DAVID BRADSHAW A/K/A BRIAN BRADSHAW A/K/A BRIAN D. BRADSHAW, APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, APPELLEE

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: HARRISON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. DATE OF JUDGMENT: 04/05/2012. TRIAL JUDGE: HON. JOHN C. GARGIULO. TRIAL COURT CONVICTED OF DELIBERATE-DESIGN MURDER AND SENTENCED TO LIFE IN THE CUSTODY OF THE MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS.

FOR APPELLANT: OFFICE OF STATE PUBIC DEFENDER, BY: JUSTIN TAYLOR COOK.

FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, BY: ELLIOTT GEORGE FLAGGS.

BEFORE IRVING, P.J., ROBERTS AND JAMES, JJ. LEE, C.J., GRIFFIS, P.J., BARNES, ISHEE, ROBERTS, CARLTON, MAXWELL, FAIR AND JAMES, JJ., CONCUR.

OPINION

Page 200

NATURE OF THE CASE: CRIMINAL - FELONY

IRVING, P.J.

¶1. On April 5, 2012, a Harrison County jury convicted Brian David Bradshaw of the murder of Benny Johnston. The circuit court sentenced Bradshaw to life in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections. Bradshaw filed a motion for a judgment notwithstanding the verdict (JNOV) or, in the alternative, for a new trial, which the circuit court denied. Feeling aggrieved, Bradshaw appeals and argues that (1) the jury's verdict is against the overwhelming weight of the evidence; (2) the circuit court improperly suppressed Johnston's blood-toxicology results; and (3) the circuit court erred in giving jury instruction S-12 to the jury.

¶2. Finding no error, we affirm.

FACTS

¶3. On April 15, 2010, Bradshaw and Sean Merritt lived with Merritt's sister, Cali Merritt, in Gulfport, Mississippi. Cali was also Bradshaw's girlfriend at the time, and they have two children together. Earlier during the day, Merritt and Cali visited with Tiffany Jordan, a friend of Cali's, at Jordan's home, where they became reacquainted with Johnston. [1] During the visit, Johnston agreed to assist Merritt with babysitting for Cali and Jordan when they went to work later that evening. Merritt, Johnston, Cali, and the children returned to Cali's home. Merritt cooked dinner while Johnston cleaned the house.

¶4. After the women left for work, Bradshaw came home from work. He drank beer and used drugs with Merritt and Johnston. Later that evening, the men assisted one another in getting the children ready for bed. One of the children complained that she could not sleep. Merritt took the child for a walk, leaving

Page 201

Bradshaw and Johnston at the home to watch the other children. When Merritt returned to the home, Bradshaw and Johnston were arguing in the living room.

¶5. At trial, Merritt testified that he did not know what the argument between Bradshaw and Johnston was about and that neither seemed to want to talk to him about the argument. He initially tried to calm the men down but then left the room to put the child, who had been unable to sleep, back to bed. When he returned to the living room, Merritt noticed that Bradshaw and Johnston were still arguing. In an effort to diffuse the situation, Merritt invited Johnston to the garage to smoke, and Johnston agreed. Merritt stated that as he and Johnston were entering the garage, Johnston turned to him to ask for a " cigarette or for a lighter or something," and he " heard [Johnston] get hit in the head." He watched Johnston fall to the ground. When he approached Johnston to check for a pulse, Johnston started having convulsions. When the convulsions stopped, Merritt checked to see if Johnston was still breathing. He testified that it was difficult to determine whether Johnston had a pulse because his " own heart was beating so hard."

¶6. Merritt left the garage to check on the children. When he returned to the garage, he noticed that Johnston " had bled a lot by that point" and was not breathing. At this point, Bradshaw entered the garage and stabbed Johnston in the back of his neck. Merritt and Bradshaw loaded Johnston's body into the back of Bradshaw's work van and drove to Mount Olive, ...


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