MICHAEL T. ANDERSON A/K/A MICHAEL ANDERSON A/K/A MICHAEL THERONE ANDERSON, APPELLANT
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, APPELLEE
OF JUDGMENT: 03/30/2012
FROM WHICH APPEALED: HINDS COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. DATE OF
JUDGMENT: 03/30/2012. TRIAL JUDGE: HON. WINSTON L. KIDD.
TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION: CONVICTED OF MURDER, AGGRAVATED
ASSAULT, AND FELON IN POSSESSION OF FIREARM, AND SENTENCED AS
A HABITUAL OFFENDER TO THREE LIFE SENTENCES TO BE SERVED
CONSECUTIVELY IN THE CUSTODY OF THE MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT OF
APPELLANT: OFFICE OF STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER, BY: MOLLIE MARIE
APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, BY: LADONNA C.
IRVING, P.J., BARNES AND CARLTON, JJ. LEE, C.J., IRVING,
P.J., ISHEE, ROBERTS AND FAIR, JJ., CONCUR. GRIFFIS, P.J.,
BARNES AND MAXWELL, JJ., CONCUR IN PART AND IN THE RESULT
WITHOUT SEPARATE WRITTEN OPINION. JAMES, J., CONCURS IN PART
WITHOUT SEPARATE WRITTEN OPINION.
Michael Anderson was convicted of murder, aggravated assault,
and felon in possession of a firearm in the Hinds County
Circuit Court. The trial court sentenced Anderson to serve
three life sentences without the possibility of parole in the
custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections, one
life sentence for each count in the indictment. Anderson now
appeals his conviction and sentence. Finding no error, we
On April 10, 2009, Anderson shot and killed Drystle Sanders
in front of the Triple-A store in Jackson, Mississippi. The
record reflects disputed events at the Triple-A store
culminating in the shooting death of Sanders. However, the
record reflects no dispute existed as to the activities of
Sanders, Sylvester Coleman, their mothers, and Coleman's
stepbrother during that evening, prior to driving to the
Triple-A store, as well as the events occurring subsequent to
Sanders and his mother, Wysia Sanders, along with Ernestine
Coleman, Sylvester Coleman, and Ernestine's stepson,
Travis Brown, spent time that evening together pleasantly
visiting and hanging out, and drove to the Triple-A store to
get chips, cigarettes, and beer. We will review the facts and
events of the evening in question as set forth in the
testimony of the various witnesses.
Coleman's mother, Ernestine Coleman, testified that she
arrived to the Sanders home with Coleman, her son, and Travis
Brown, her stepson, on the evening of April 10, 2009. Sanders
and Wysia Sanders were inside of the house. Ernestine Coleman
stated that she had been at the house for approximately
thirty minutes before the group decided to go to the Triple-A
store to purchase beer and cigarettes. Ernestine Coleman
testified that when the group drove to the store, "
[e]verybody was in a good mood . . . laughing, joking."
Ernestine stated that she, Wysia Sanders, and Brown remained
inside of the car, while Coleman and Sanders went inside to
purchase beer and cigarettes.
Another witness, Wysia Sanders, testified that on April 10,
2009, she picked up her son, Sanders, from his job at Labor
Finders around approximately 3:30 p.m. Wysia Sanders
testified that she had not seen her son all day, until she
picked him up from work. Wysia Sanders stated that after
picking up Sanders, the two purchased something to eat, then
stopped by to visit a friend at the funeral home. She then
dropped off Sanders at his friend's house to play "
videos or something [and listen] to music." Wysia
Sanders stated that Sanders's girlfriend dropped him back
off at home around 10:30 p.m. Wysia Sanders testified that
Ernestine Coleman, Coleman, and Brown then arrived at the
house, and the group " [sat] around laughing and
grinning and talking." Wysia Sanders stated that Coleman
and Sanders expressed that they wanted to purchase more
cigarettes, so Ernestine Coleman offered to drive everyone to
the store. Wysia Sanders also testified that on the way to
the store, " everybody was happy." When asked on
cross-examination whether Sanders and Coleman intended to
purchase cigarettes and beer at the Triple-A, Wysia Sanders
answered " cigarettes."
Coleman testified that he, his mother, and stepbrother
arrived at the Sanders home at 7 p.m. on April 10,
2009. Coleman stated that while at the
house, " we sat around a little while," watching
television. He further testified that: " We had brought
a couple of beers with us and we ran out and we was going
back to the store to get some more."
Travis Brown testified that on the afternoon before the
shooting, he, Coleman, and Ernestine Coleman " [were]
chilling" at home, " having fun." The trio
decided to ride around, and ended up at the Sanders house at
approximately 10 p.m. Once at the Sanders's house, Brown
that the group played dominoes, and eventually decided to go
to the store " to get a few beers and get us a couple of
snacks." Brown admitted that " [w]e had a few
drinks." The testimony reflecting the activities
throughout the evening reflect that no dispute exists that
Sanders, along with Coleman and Brown, consumed some beer
together while hanging out that evening.
Different witnesses perceived different pieces of the events
occurring at the Triple-A store that culminated in the
shooting death of Sanders. At the Triple-A, Anderson (the
appellant) maintains that he was outside of the store when
Sanders and Coleman walked into the store. Ernestine Coleman,
Brown, and Wysia Sanders all testified that they remained
inside their car while Sanders and Coleman went into the
store to buy beer and snacks.
Anderson testified that he " spoke with a hand
gesture" to the two women in the car, and according to
Anderson, the women did not speak to him. Anderson testified
that he went into the store and spoke to the clerk. He
testified that he told the clerk that he felt he needed to
clean up his act because the women had looked at him like he
was " from another planet." Anderson testified that
after his conversation with the clerk, Sanders told him that
the women were his and Coleman's mothers.
However, the record reflects Coleman's testimony that he
possessed no recollection of speaking to Anderson in the
store, and Coleman also testified that he recalled Sanders
exited the store before Coleman. Coleman's testimony
reflects that he recalled no conversation with Anderson
inside of the store, but Anderson testified differently,
providing that Sanders seemed agitated and stormed out of the
store with Coleman. Anderson testified that after he
purchased his items, he then exited the store. Upon leaving
the store, Anderson provided testimony claiming that he was
hit in the back of the head and knocked to the ground.
Anderson also testified that he raised up his hands to
protect his head, and that he was hit again. Anderson
testified that after he was hit the second time, a gun fell
to the ground. Anderson testified that he grabbed the gun and
testified that he then shot Sanders in self-defense. Anderson
testified that after shooting Sanders, he walked home to his
mother's house. Curiously, the police investigation of
the shooting revealed two different types of bullet casings,
fired from two different guns, at the scene, and trial
testimony reflects that no witnesses saw Sanders with a gun.
With respect to Sanders's companion in the store, Coleman
testified that when he walked out of the Triple-A Store, he
saw Sanders and another man " tussling." Shots were
fired, and Coleman heard a gunshot and saw Sanders fall to
the ground. Coleman testified that the shooter, later
identified as Anderson, then turned and pointed the gun at
him (Coleman). Anderson fired at Coleman as Coleman started
running away from the store and out of the parking lot.
Coleman testified that he fled after he saw Anderson shoot
Sanders, and he testified that his mother, Ernestine, drove
away and picked him up on a nearby street, around the corner.
The group in the car (Coleman, Ernestine, Brown, and Wysia
Sanders) then returned to the store to check on Sanders.
Coleman explained that as he, his mother, Wysia Sanders, and
Brown drove back to the store to check on Sanders, they
passed Anderson as he was walking " the opposite way
from the store" on Ridgeway Street. Coleman testified
that as the car approached the store, Anderson began shooting
at the car as he walked down
Ridgeway Street away from the store.
The record reflects that the store clerk had already exited
the store to check on Sanders, as well. The record shows that
Sanders suffered several gunshot wounds, and was pronounced
dead on the scene by law enforcement and medical personnel.
Investigators recovered five spent 9 millimeter cartridge
casings on and around Sanders's body, and found two more
spent 9 millimeter cartridge casings 120 feet away from
Sanders's body. Brian McIntyre, a forensic scientist at
the Mississippi Crime Laboratory, testified that the casings
were fired from two separate guns -- all five casings
recovered from on and around Sanders's body were fired
from one gun, and the two casings located 120 feet from
Sanders's body were fired from a second gun.
With respect to events subsequent to the shooting, off-duty
Jackson Police Department Investigator Garland Ward was
exiting the establishment next door to the Triple-A Store at
the time of the murder. Ward testified that he was walking to
his vehicle when he heard a commotion in the nearby lot. He
heard two shots, saw Sanders fall to the ground, and saw
Anderson standing over Sanders, lying on the ground, aiming
the gun at him. Ward saw Coleman running from the store
yelling at the occupants of a car to " get down."
Ward immediately called another investigator and heard more
shots while he was on the phone. When he looked back toward
the scene, he testified that he saw Anderson walking off away
from the store and down the road. Ward later identified
Anderson from a photo lineup.
Another witness at the shooting, Stephen Johnson, testified
that he was driving past the convenience store when he saw
Sanders lying on the ground. As Johnson pulled in to the lot,
he saw Anderson stand over Sanders and fire two more shots.
Johnson stated that he and Anderson made eye contact, and
then Johnson witnessed Anderson walking off. Then, as Johnson
pulled out of the lot, he testified that he saw a woman walk
out of the store. Johnson testified that the woman went up to
Sanders's body and " looked at it, leaned over, and
walked back inside the store." At trial, Johnson
identified Anderson as the shooter.
Ernestine testified that after driving away from the Triple-A
after Sanders was shot, she picked up Coleman down the street
and around the corner from the store. After he got in the
car, Ernestine drove back to the store. She testified that as
they drove back to the store, she witnessed Anderson "
coming on the side of the store walking, shooting. . . . [H]e
was shooting at my car or us."
Brown, Ernestine's stepson and Coleman's stepbrother,
testified that he was sitting in the car outside of the
Triple-A while Coleman and Sanders were in the store. Brown
looked up and witnessed Anderson and Sanders "
tussling" outside of the store. Brown instructed his
stepmother to open the door, and began helping her locate the
locks on the car door. Brown testified that he heard
gunshots, looked up, and saw Sanders fall. Brown testified
that he then witnessed Anderson start shooting at Coleman.
Brown stated that Coleman instructed Brown, Ernestine
Coleman, and Wysia Sanders to drive away from the store, and
Coleman followed, running after them. Brown testified that
they stopped the car on the next street so that Coleman could
get in, and then they made a block around the ...