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Newell v. State

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

September 23, 2014

JAMES C. NEWELL, JR. A/K/A JAMES C. NEWELL A/K/A JAMES NEWELL A/K/A CHUCK NEWELL APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI APPELLEE

DATE OF JUDGMENT: 09/07/2012

LOWNDES COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT HON. LEE SORRELS COLEMAN JUDGE

ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: OFFICE OF STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER BY: HUNTER NOLAN AIKENS

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

DISTRICT ATTORNEY: FORREST ALLGOOD

BEFORE LEE, C.J., BARNES AND FAIR, JJ.

LEE, C.J.

¶1. This appeal addresses James C. Newell's second trial after the Mississippi Supreme Court in Newell v. State, 49 So.3d 66 (Miss. 2010) (Newell I), reversed Newell's first manslaughter conviction and remanded the case for a new trial.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

¶2. On April 30, 2008, Newell married his wife, Diane. Within the next two weeks, Newell suspected Diane of cheating on him with Tony Hayes, and had contacted a lawyer about divorcing her. On May 14, 2008, Diane moved out of their home in Vernon, Alabama. Later on that same day, around 5 p.m., Newell telephoned her and left two voice mail messages. In the first message, Newell threatened to "pop a cap" in Diane and Tony; however, in the second message, Newell told Diane that they "were not worth it." Later that night, Newell went to the Slab House, a bar in Lowndes County, Mississippi, to see if Diane was there with Tony.

¶3. When Newell arrived at the Slab House around 9 p.m., he saw Adrian Boyette and Jason Hollis standing near Diane's truck. Newell approached Boyette. Newell testified that he asked Boyette if he knew where the owner of the truck they were standing near was. Several law enforcement officers testified that Newell had told them that he asked Boyette if he was the person who had been answering Diane's phone. The conversation between Boyette and Newell became heated. Newell walked back to his truck, followed by Boyette. As Newell was getting into his truck, Boyette slammed the truck door on Newell's leg. After Newell closed the truck door, Boyette began beating on the hood of the truck, threatening to "[mess him] up." During this time Newell removed the handgun he carried from the glove box and placed it beside him on the seat. Boyette pulled on the driver-side door. Boyette threatened to "cut [Newell] up" and reached for his pocket. Newell grabbed the gun, pushed the door open, and shot Boyette. Newell jumped back in his truck and drove off to his home in Vernon.

¶4. Police soon arrived at the Slab House and put out a "BOLO, " or be on the lookout, for Newell's vehicle. Soon after Newell arrived home, his sister called 911 to report that Newell was outside his house threatening to commit suicide with a gun. Police officers soon responded to the call. Investigator David Sullivan arrived to find Newell outside with a gun to his head, surrounded by other officers. Since Sullivan knew Newell personally, he sat on a bench next to Newell, talked with him, and convinced him to place the gun in his lap. During the conversation, New ell asked the police to check his truck for Boyette's fingerprints and to obtain Diane's cell phone to show that she had been talking to other men. After Sullivan ordered the truck fingerprinted and the phone seized, he was able to convince Newell to give him the gun and surrender peacefully. At trial, Newell testified that he was threatening to kill himself because he did not think anyone would believe that he shot Boyette in self-defense.

ΒΆ5. After a three-day trial ending on August 24, 2012, the jury found Newell guilty. On September 7, 2012, Newell was sentenced to twenty years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections, with five years suspended and fifteen years to serve. Also, the court required Newell to serve five ...


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