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White v. State

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

October 7, 2014

RONALD DERRICK WHITE A/K/A RONALD WHITE A/K/A RONALD D. WHITE, APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, APPELLEE

DATE OF JUDGMENT: 07/22/2013.

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: RANKIN COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, TRIAL JUDGE: HON. WILLIAM E. CHAPMAN III. TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION: CONVICTED OF COUNT I, AGGRAVATED ASSAULT, AND SENTENCED, AS A HABITUAL OFFENDER, TO TWENTY YEARS; COUNT II, SIMPLE ASSAULT AGAINST A PERSON OVER SIXTY-FIVE YEARS OF AGE, AND SENTENCED, AS A HABITUAL OFFENDER, TO FIVE YEARS, WITH THE SENTENCE IN COUNT II TO RUN CONSECUTIVELY TO THE SENTENCE IN COUNT I, BOTH TO BE SERVED IN THE CUSTODY OF THE MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS WITHOUT ELIGIBILITY FOR PAROLE OR EARLY RELEASE.

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

FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY: STEPHANIE BRELAND WOOD.

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

OPINION

Page 557

IRVING, P. J.

¶1. A Rankin County jury convicted Ronald Derrick White of aggravated assault, and simple assault against a person over sixty-five years of age. The circuit court sentenced White, as a habitual offender, to twenty years for the aggravated-assault conviction, and to five years for the simple-assault conviction, with the five-year sentence to run consecutively to the twenty-year sentence, in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections without eligibility for parole or early release. White filed a motion for a judgment notwithstanding the verdict or, in the alternative, a new trial, which the circuit court denied. Feeling aggrieved, White appeals and argues that the circuit court erred by giving jury instruction S-1A, submitted by the State.

¶2. Finding no error in the circuit court's judgment, we affirm.

FACTS

¶3. In the early morning hours of January 1, 2013, White, his girlfriend, Regina James, and Melinda Temple arrived at White's parents' home after a night out. White's mother, Mary, testified that upon hearing commotion when the group arrived, she and her husband came out of the house and onto the porch. Mary then saw White on the porch, pulling James by her hair and punching and kicking her until she fell unconscious. Mary also stated that she saw White punch Temple in the face, and that neither James nor Temple provoked or hit White before White attacked them. When Mary asked White why he was attacking James and Temple, White picked Mary up off of the porch and threw her into the front yard, causing Mary to sustain injuries.

¶4. James testified that she and White were not arguing or fighting prior to arriving at the house. However, she stated that once they arrived at the house, she exited the vehicle, went inside the house, and locked the door. White broke through the glass door and punched her, knocking her unconscious. She stated that all she remembered after being punched is waking up in the hospital. Officer Will Nelson, with the Rankin County Sheriff's Department, testified that the glass door to the house was shattered, and that the door frame was damaged. When he entered the house, he noticed that everyone was bloodied and appeared to be injured, except for White.

¶5. At trial, after the parties rested their cases, the court considered the jury instructions that the parties had submitted. The State had initially submitted jury instruction S1, which only instructed the jury on the elements of aggravated assault. The State later submitted jury instruction S-1A, a revised version of instruction S1, which provided:

The Court instructs the Jury that if you unanimously find from the evidence in this case, beyond a reasonable doubt, that ...

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