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Duke v. State

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

August 26, 2014

PATRICK DUKE, APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, APPELLEE

Page 402

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: QUITMAN COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. DATE OF JUDGMENT: 03/13/2013. TRIAL JUDGE: HON. CHARLES E. WEBSTER. TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION: CONVICTED OF AGGRAVATED ASSAULT AND SENTENCED TO FIFTEEN YEARS, WITH FIVE YEARS SUSPENDED AND TEN YEARS TO SERVE IN THE CUSTODY OF THE MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS.

FOR APPELLANT: TOMMY WAYNE DEFER.

FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, BY: BILLY L. GORE.

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

OPINION

Page 403

NATURE OF THE CASE: CRIMINAL - FELONY

MAXWELL, J.

¶1. A jury convicted Patrick Duke of aggravated assault after he shot Howard Taper. On appeal, Duke challenges the sufficiency and weight of the evidence. As he sees it, the jury got it wrong by not buying his version that he shot Taper in self-defense. But weight and credibility issues are for jurors to decide, not appellate judges. And here, the jury sifted through the conflicting testimony and resolved it against Duke.

¶2. Upon review, we find the evidence--which included Duke's admission that he shot Taper after going to the park to confront him--was sufficient to support that he committed a nonjustified aggravated assault and the verdict was not against the weight of the evidence. We thus affirm Duke's conviction and sentence.[1]

Background Facts and Procedural History

¶3. On Saturday, October 29, 2011, Duke, who was twenty-five years old, shot his sixty-three-year-old neighbor, Taper, in the back of the knee with a 9mm pistol. Afterwards, Taper was hospitalized for thirteen days and had plates and pins surgically implanted in his knee. One day after the shooting, Duke voluntarily turned himself in to police. Duke also surrendered his 9mm pistol and the two guns he took from Taper's truck after he shot him.

Page 404

¶4. At trial, Duke claimed he shot Taper in self-defense. Other witnesses, including Taper, also testified about the shooting and events leading up to it. The jury resolved the evidence against Duke and returned a guilty verdict on the sole aggravated-assault charge. The judge sentenced Duke to fifteen years' imprisonment, with ten years to serve and five years suspended. ...


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