COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: WASHINGTON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. DATE OF JUDGMENT: 11/19/2009. TRIAL JUDGE: HON. BETTY W. SANDERS.
FOR APPELLANT: OFFICE OF STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER, BY: MOLLIE MARIE MCMILLIN.
FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, BY: STEPHANIE BRELAND WOOD.
BEFORE WALLER, C.J., CHANDLER AND KING, JJ. WALLER, C.J., DICKINSON AND RANDOLPH, P.JJ., LAMAR, KITCHENS, PIERCE, KING AND COLEMAN, JJ., CONCUR.
CRIMINAL - FELONY
¶1. After a jury trial, Stevenson Ford was convicted of murder, and the Washington County Circuit Court sentenced him to life without the possibility of parole. Ford appeals. He argues that he was entitled to a mistrial after an officer testified to hearsay that previously had been ruled inadmissible, that he was entitled to a mistrial due to the jury's premature deliberations, and that the verdict was against the overwhelming weight of the evidence. Finding no error, we affirm.
¶2. Marvin Stuckett was shot and killed after leaving a private party at the Southern Whispers club in Greenville, Mississippi. The shooting, which occurred after 2:00 a.m. on September 7, 2008, appears to have been prompted by conflicts between two rival groups. Stevenson attended the private party along with his uncle Daner Ford (" Daner" ), Jessie Lee, Jonathan Robinson, Corbin Harris, Freddie Harris, and Tyrone Ford. Stuckett's friends, Carlos Smith, Nick Harmon Jr., and Christopher York were at the party. Smith testified that, at the party, he got into a fight with Daner, and Stuckett had tried to break up the fight. Harmon testified
that, at one point, he was standing by the bar with Stuckett when Ford and his group approached them. Harmon testified that Ford told them to move out of the way, and that Corbin Harris struck Harmon in the head, prompting Stuckett to throw his drink.
¶3. Harmon and Stuckett then left the club. Harmon testified that Stuckett dropped him off at his car and the two drove off in their respective vehicles. Harmon followed Stuckett and saw him turn to go home. York testified that, about this time, he left the club and headed to Stuckett's house. On the way, he saw a green Chevrolet and a blue Chevrolet speeding toward Stuckett's house. When York neared Stuckett's house, he heard gunshots. Stuckett lived on Stockton Drive, which intersects with Haycraft Street. When York pulled onto Haycraft Street, he saw the green and blue Chevrolets turn off Stockton Drive and onto Haycraft Street, coming toward him. When the cars passed him, he saw Ford, Daner, Lee, and someone else in the blue Chevrolet, and Freddie Harris, Damian Smith, and Robinson in the green Chevrolet.
¶4. Stuckett was found bleeding from multiple gunshot wounds under a neighbor's carport. He was transported to the hospital, where he died. Another of Stuckett's neighbors, Jessie Coates, testified that he was awakened by gunshots that sounded like fireworks. When Coates looked out the window, he saw a car in front of his house and bursts of light coming from guns. Dr. Thomas Deering, a forensic pathologist who conducted the autopsy of Stuckett, testified that he had been shot in the arm and, fatally, in the back. He recovered a .38 bullet from the body. Detective Erica Brown recovered two shells from an AK-47 assault rifle, two live rounds for an AK-47 assault rifle, and one 9 mm live round from the scene. She also found two 9 mm live rounds in the blue Chevrolet, which had been impounded after Lee's arrest. Brown testified that no .38 caliber gun was recovered.
¶5. Lee testified that he had been the driver of the blue Chevrolet. Lee testified that a group left the club and went to Ford's house. Then everyone decided to go to an after-hours club. Freddie and Daner left in Freddie's green Chevrolet, with Lee, Ford, Robinson, and Ken Johnson following in Lee's blue Chevrolet. Lee was driving, Robinson was in the passenger's seat, and Ford and Ken were in the back seat. On the way to the after-hours club, they saw a car at an intersection, and the green Chevrolet turned to follow it. Ford told Lee to follow the green Chevrolet. They followed the green Chevrolet to Stockton Drive, and Ford directed Lee to pull over. Lee complied and saw Daner walking outside with a rifle. Lee testified that Ford, Robinson, and Johnson exited the car, and then he heard a lot of gunfire. Lee testified that, at first, he ducked down, but as the shots continued, he looked behind him and saw Ford shooting. Then, Daner, Ford, Robinson, and Johnson got into the blue car and Lee drove away, turning onto Haycraft. Lee ...