COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: NEWTON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. DATE OF JUDGMENT: 04/11/2013. TRIAL JUDGE: HON. MARCUS D. GORDON. TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION: CONVICTED OF POSSESSION OF A FIREARM BY A CONVICTED FELON AND SENTENCED TO EIGHT YEARS IN THE CUSTODY OF THE MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS.
FOR APPELLANT: EDMUND J. PHILLIPS JR.
FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, BY: MELANIE THOMAS.
BEFORE LEE, C.J., ISHEE AND JAMES, JJ. LEE, C.J., IRVING AND GRIFFIS, P.JJ., BARNES, ISHEE, ROBERTS, CARLTON, MAXWELL AND FAIR, JJ., CONCUR.
NATURE OF THE CASE: CRIMINAL - FELONY
¶1. Kendrick Body was convicted of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and was sentenced to eight years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections. During trial, Body made an ore tenus motion for a directed verdict, which the trial court denied. Body also filed a post-trial motion for a new trial, which the trial court denied. Body raises the following issues: whether the trial court erred in denying his motion for a directed verdict and his motion for a new trial and whether the trial court erred in denying his request for a peremptory instruction.
¶2. On April 22, 2010, Newton Police Chief Harvey Curry and Investigator Michael Williams responded to a disturbance call on Oak Street in Newton, Mississippi. At trial, Williams testified that he was informed that Body was involved in the original disturbance. He further testified that once he arrived on the scene, he heard a gunshot from the woods. However, Investigator Williams's view was obstructed, and he was unable to see who fired the shot. Investigator Williams saw an unidentified black male wearing a white t-shirt and a backpack, running. Investigator Williams and other officers immediately started a search of the wooded area across from Railroad Street, behind Pine Street and Ruffin Drive.
¶3. When Investigator Williams encountered Body, he was wearing a white t-shirt, sitting on the ground behind shrubbery. Investigator Williams then pulled out his taser and instructed Body to come out of the shrubbery. Investigator Williams then handcuffed him and noticed an object left behind where Body was found, and instructed another officer to retrieve it. The item discovered was a backpack that contained a Manurhin handgun. Investigator Williams testified that he identified Body as the shooter because of his white t-shirt; he could not identify the man facially.
¶4. At trial, Investigator Williams was the State's only witness. Body's only witness was his friend, Justin Evans. Evans testified that Body did not arrive until after the original disturbance, but before the gunshot occurred. After Evans and Body heard the gunshot, they started running. Evans also testified that when he was with Body, he did not see Body with a gun. Evans admitted that he was not with Body the entire time; at some point while they were running, they split. He was not with Body when the police found him.
¶5. Evidence of Body's prior conviction of burglary in 2006 was admitted into evidence at trial. Body made an ore tenus motion for a directed verdict at the close of the State's evidence, which the trial court denied. After trial, Body filed a motion for a ...