KEVIN REYNOLDS A/K/A MUHAMAD RUDUL ALI A/K/A KEVIN A. REYNOLDS A/K/A MUHAMAD ALI, APPELLANT
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, APPELLEE
COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: PEARL RIVER COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. DATE OF JUDGMENT: 08/21/2012. TRIAL JUDGE: HON. PRENTISS GREENE HARRELL. TRIAL COURT CONVICTED OF COUNT I, MURDER, AND COUNT TWO, POSSESSION OF A WEAPON BY A CONVICTED FELON, AND SENTENCED AS A HABITUAL OFFENDER TO LIFE, WITHOUT ELIGIBILITY FOR PAROLE OR PROBATION, FOR COUNT I, AND TEN YEARS FOR COUNT II, WITH THE SENTENCES TO BE SERVED CONCURRENTLY IN THE CUSTODY OF THE MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, WITH CREDIT FOR TIME SERVED; AND ORDERED TO PAY A FINE OF $1,000; AND TO PAY $1,585 IN RESTITUTION TO THE MISSISSIPPI CRIME VICTIMS' COMPENSATION PROGRAM.
FOR APPELLANT: OFFICE OF STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER: BY: W. DANIEL HINCHCLIFF, GEORGE T. HOLMES.
FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, BY: JEFFREY A. KLINGFUSS.
BEFORE LEE, C.J., BARNES AND ISHEE, JJ. LEE, C.J., IRVING AND GRIFFIS, P.JJ., ISHEE, ROBERTS, CARLTON, MAXWELL, FAIR AND JAMES, JJ., CONCUR.
NATURE OF THE CASE: CRIMINAL - FELONY
¶1. Kevin Reynolds a/k/a Muhamad Ali was convicted for the murder of Kevin Vandrell (Count I) and possession of a weapon by a felon (Count II). He was sentenced as a habitual offender to life for Count I and ten years for Count II, with the sentences to be served concurrently in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC), with credit for time served. Reynolds now appeals his convictions, and finding no error, we affirm.
FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
¶2. On August 31, 2011, Reynolds and an acquaintance, David Gross, went to the home of Kevin Vandrell, another acquaintance of Reynolds's. Vandrell was alone, cooking dinner, when Reynolds knocked on the door and proceeded to walk inside before Vandrell could answer the door. This action angered Vandrell and prompted a heated disagreement between the two men, since this was not the first time tat Reynolds had burst into Vandrell's home unannounced. Vandrell ordered the men to leave. According to Gross, Vandrell followed them outside, " call[ed Reynolds] the N word," and fired a shot from a rifle into the air. After the two men had departed, Vandrell went to his neighbor's house. The neighbor, Jules Ouder, said Vandrell was angry and upset and was carrying a " semi-automatic" rifle. Ouder also said that Vandrell was fearful for his life because " [Reynolds] told [Vandrell] you have not seen or heard the last of me."
¶3. The following morning, Vandrell's mother went to his house to pick up his mail, as was her normal routine, and noted that it did not appear he had left for work. Vandrell's door was unlocked; so she went inside to investigate. She discovered Vandrell's deceased body, with a gunshot wound to the head, and contacted law enforcement. In the meantime, Reynolds had repeatedly attempted to call Ouder that morning, but Ouder did not answer his phone until the third time. At that point, Ouder was unaware that Vandrell had been killed. Reynolds asked Ouder if he had seen Vandrell; Ouder said that he had not. Reynolds continued to call Ouder throughout the day, but Ouder refused to answer the calls once he learned about Vandrell's death.
¶4. After speaking with Ouder, the Pearl River County Sheriff's Department determined that Reynolds was a person of interest. Two detectives, Scott Wagner and Shane Edgar, went to Reynolds's home to question him. Initially, Reynolds acted as if he did not know Vandrell but eventually admitted that he knew the victim. During the questioning, Detective Edgar noted that Reynolds was " overly friendly," but appeared " very nervous." He also observed a paper plate nailed to a wooden post in Reynolds's yard that appeared to have been used for target practice. Detective Edgar later testified that the holes in the plate " were about the size of a .22 caliber rifle round." Law enforcement obtained a search warrant for Reynolds's residence and arrested Reynolds upon returning, when he was uncooperative in granting them access to his property and acting in " an aggressive manner." A " .22 caliber Marlin rifle" was seized from Reynolds's home. It was later determined that Vandrell had been killed by a distant gunshot wound to the head. No projectile was recovered from the body, but a .22- caliber cartridge casing was found in Vandrell's bedroom.
¶5. On December 7, 2011, Reynolds was charged for Count I, murder, and Count II, possession of a firearm by a felon. A jury trial was held August 13-15, 2012. At trial, Gross testified that, on August 31, he had taken Reynolds to run errands, and that he and Reynolds stopped at Vandrell's home that evening. Reynolds and Vandrell had an argument, and when Gross and Reynolds were leaving, Vandrell ran after them with a rifle that he pointed upwards, firing a shot into the air. Reynolds persuaded Gross to take him back to Vandrell's later that night; Reynolds took a rifle with him. Gross parked a block away and stayed in his truck. Gross claimed that Reynolds then got out of the truck, grabbed his rifle from the back, and went toward Vandrell's home. Reynolds returned
approximately fifteen minutes later and screamed at Gross, " What did you see? What did you hear?" Gross said he did not hear or see anything and pretended that he had been sleeping. The two men left and returned to Reynolds's home. Ouder also testified regarding Vandrell's anxious state of mind that evening over his argument with Reynolds.
¶6. Reynolds was convicted on both counts. For Count I, Reynolds was sentenced to life, as a habitual offender under Mississippi Code Annotated section 99-19-81 (Rev. 2007), without eligibility for parole or probation; for Count II, he was sentenced to ten years. The sentences were ordered to be served concurrently in the custody of the MDOC, with credit for time served. Reynolds was also ordered ...