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Caston v. State

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

October 7, 2014

DENZEL CASTON, APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, APPELLEE

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: BOLIVAR COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. DATE OF JUDGMENT: 07/23/2013. TRIAL JUDGE: HON. JOHNNIE E. WALLS JR. TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION: CONVICTED OF BURGLARY OF AN AUTOMOBILE AND SENTENCED TO FIVE YEARS IN THE CUSTODY OF THE MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS WITH THREE YEARS SUSPENDED.

FOR APPELLANT: OFFICE OF STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER, BY: GEORGE T. HOLMES, BENJAMIN ALLEN SUBER.

FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, BY: LISA L. BLOUNT.

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

OPINION

NATURE OF THE CASE: CRIMINAL - FELONY

CARLTON, J.

¶1. On May 30, 2013, a Bolivar County jury convicted Denzel Caston of burglary of an automobile. The trial court sentenced Caston to serve five years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC), with three years suspended. Caston appeals his sentence and conviction, claiming that the trial court erred in denying his motion for a judgment notwithstanding the verdict or, in the alternative, a new trial. Finding no error, we affirm the trial court's judgment.

FACTS

¶2. Between the hours of 11:00 and 11:30 p.m. on the evening of May 28, 2012,

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Charles Harvey heard the alarm in his pickup truck, which he parked in his driveway outside of his house, going off. Harvey and his son, Sherrod, rushed outside of their house to investigate. Harvey observed three men running from the truck, and he and Sherrod discovered that someone broke the driver's window of the truck and removed the truck radio. Harvey called the sheriff's department and gave a report of the theft to the responding officer.

¶3. The following day, Harvey went to the county justice court and gave a written statement about the incident. Harvey stated that he assumed that Elevester Trotter and Denzel Caston were two of the individuals who broke into the truck. Harvey stated that he saw Trotter's face, and he identified Caston as the second individual because he recognized Caston's dreadlocks. Harvey admitted that he never saw Caston's face. Harvey also stated that he found a small hammer-like object on the ground outside of the truck, which he believed the culprits used to break the truck window. Harvey testified that the sheriff's department saw the hammer-like object, but failed to take it with them as evidence.

¶4. Officer Michael Williams, an investigator with the Bolivar County Sheriff's Department, investigated the auto burglary. After Harvey signed affidavits in justice court against Trotter and Caston, Officer Williams located both Trotter and Caston and arrested them. Trotter refused to give a statement to Officer Williams, but Caston did provide a statement.

¶5. In his statement to Officer Williams, Caston claimed that on the night of May 28, 2012, he and Trotter were at The Barn, a liquor store in Duncan, Mississippi, when Trotter informed Caston that a guy named Sherrod possessed a radio. Trotter suggested to Caston that they should go get the radio. In the statement, Caston admitted that he and Trotter went to Harvey's house to steal the radio. Caston stated that he acted as a lookout and stood next to the grain silo near the edge of Harvey's street while Trotter broke into the truck. Caston stated that he failed to hear any ...


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