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Thornton v. State

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

February 25, 2014

MELVIN TYRONE THORNTON A/K/A MELVIN THORNTON, APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, APPELLEE

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: HUMPHREYS COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. DATE OF JUDGMENT: 03/03/2011. TRIAL JUDGE: HON. JANNIE M. LEWIS. TRIAL COURT CONVICTED OF MURDER AND SENTENCED TO LIFE IN THE CUSTODY OF THE MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS.

DISPOSITION: AFFIRMED.

FOR APPELLANT: MELVIN TYRONE THORNTON (Pro se).

FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, BY: SCOTT STUART.

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

OPINION

Page 6

NATURE OF THE CASE: CRIMINAL - FELONY

ROBERTS, J.

¶1. A jury sitting before the Humphreys County Circuit Court found Melvin Tyrone Thornton guilty of murder. The circuit court sentenced Thornton to life in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC). Aggrieved, Thornton appeals. Finding no error, we affirm.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

¶2. Thornton's conviction stems from events that took place in Belzoni, Mississippi, at approximately 1:00 a.m. on August 29, 2009. Thornton drove a red Ford F-150 pickup truck onto Robinson Street, where he encountered a crowd. Thornton's progress was impeded by a car that had been temporarily parked in the street so its headlights could be used to find a lost set of keys. Thornton argued with some members of the crowd after he angrily told people to " [g]et this raggedy-ass car out of the road." Ultimately, Thornton shot and killed Kerra Williams while Williams was standing in the doorway of Williams's mother's house. Thornton fled, but he was arrested a few hours later.

¶3. Thornton pled " not guilty" and opted to go to trial. The prosecution called Jesse Thomas, who was then a freshman at Coahoma Community College, as its first witness. Thomas testified that " a guy named Bobby and a guy named Kiki" had been fighting before Thornton drove onto Robinson Street, but they had stopped fighting by the time that Thornton arrived. According to Thomas, there were " a lot" of people outside, and a number of them were using the headlights of a car that had been parked in the street to find a set of keys. Thomas testified that Thornton drove onto

Page 7

Robinson Street and ordered people to move the car so he could continue driving. Thomas went on to testify that several people said that they ...


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