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Williams v. State

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

February 25, 2014

ADRIAN WILLIAMS A/K/A ADRIAN K. WILLIAMS, APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, APPELLEE

Page 447

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: ADAMS COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. DATE OF JUDGMENT: 11/15/2012. TRIAL JUDGE: HON. FORREST A. JOHNSON JR. TRIAL COURT CONVICTED OF MURDER AND SENTENCED TO LIFE IN THE CUSTODY OF THE MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS.

FOR APPELLANT: OFFICE OF STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER, BY: ERIN ELIZABETH PRIDGEN.

FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, BY: BRAD ALAN SMITH.

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 448

NATURE OF THE CASE: CRIMINAL - FELONY

ROBERTS, J.

¶1. A jury in the Adams County Circuit Court found Adrian Williams guilty of the murder of Quinton Brown. Williams was sentenced to life imprisonment in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC). Williams filed a motion for a judgment notwithstanding the verdict (JNOV) or, in the alternative, a new trial. The circuit court denied these motions. Williams timely filed this appeal and asks this Court to determine whether the circuit court erred in failing to grant his motion for a new trial and whether his statement to law enforcement officers about the location of the weapons was inadmissible. Finding no error, we affirm.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

¶2. On May 28, 2011, the body of Brown was discovered slumped over a curb of the road near the Natchez City Cemetery. The Natchez Police Department discovered a .380 pistol and a live nine-millimeter bullet near Brown's body. Upon identifying Brown's body, the police department began questioning his friends and family, including Williams. Williams gave a statement on May 28, 2011. In this statement, he said that he, Denzel Fort, and Keldrick Washington had been riding around town when Brown asked Williams for a ride. Williams said they dropped Brown off, and he had nothing to do with Brown's murder.

¶3. Two days later, Williams provided another written statement. In this second statement, he claimed that he, Brown, and Fort drove to the cemetery to physically resolve an ongoing disagreement between Fort and Brown, but before the fight started, Brown pulled a pistol and shot one round. Williams said he reacted by shooting Brown once in self-defense. Fort grabbed the gun from Williams and shot Brown several more times. Shortly thereafter, Williams recanted this version and provided yet another written statement. In this third statement, Williams confessed he shot Brown six times, and he threw the two .357 magnum handguns he used in the Mississippi River.

¶4. After his last statement, Williams was placed in a holding cell in the booking area. Williams asked a booking officer if he could smoke a cigarette, and the officer informed him that he would not be able to smoke until he told officers where the guns were located. Approximately an hour later, Williams asked to speak with the booking officer. Williams told the booking officer and Investigator Jerry Ford that two .357 magnums and a .380 pistol were located in an abandoned house next to his mother's house. Officers were able to locate the guns where Williams said they would be located. After officers found the guns, Williams was given a cigarette.

¶5. On March 28, 2012, an Adams County grand jury indicted Williams for the murder of Brown. Williams filed a motion to dismiss the indictment or suppress statements on October 25, 2012; the circuit court denied these motions because Williams voluntarily informed officers where the guns were located. Williams's trial began on November 14, 2012, and ended the following day with the jury finding him guilty of ...


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