DATE OF JUDGMENT: 05/15/2013.
[Copyrighted Material Omitted]
COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: WASHINGTON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. TRIAL JUDGE: HON.W.
FOR APPELLANT: OFFICE OF STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER, BY: ERIN ELIZABETH PRIDGEN.
FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, BY: LAURA HOGAN TEDDER.
BEFORE LEE, C.J., ISHEE AND FAIR, JJ. IRVING AND GRIFFIS, P.JJ., BARNES, ISHEE, ROBERTS, CARLTON, MAXWELL, FAIR AND JAMES, JJ., CONCUR.
[¶1] A jury in the Washington County Circuit Court found Trevor Hoskins guilty of domestic aggravated assault. The trial court sentenced Hoskins to twenty years to serve in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections. Hoskins filed post-trial motions, which were denied by the trial court. Hoskins now appeals and asserts the trial court erred by allowing photographs of the victim's injuries into evidence because they were more prejudicial than probative. He also raises several
other issues in his pro se supplemental brief, which we will also consider.
[¶2] Trevor Hoskins and Linda Taylor were in a relationship and living with Taylor's aunt and uncle, Wanda and Amos Taylor, in Greenville, Mississippi. On the way home from work one night, Hoskins stopped to pick up Taylor's sister. Taylor testified that Hoskins and her sister had been drinking. Taylor started drinking. Hoskins left to run an errand and returned with his nephew. Hoskins then drove Taylor and her sister to May's Café, a local club, and dropped them off. He came back a short time later to pick them up. Hoskins and Taylor took Taylor's sister and Hoskins's nephew home.
[¶3] On the way home, Hoskins began arguing with Taylor about her ex-boyfriends. Hoskins passed the house and drove towards the Lighthouse Point Casino. Instead of turning towards the casino, however, Hoskins went to an area nearby where people fish. Taylor testified that as Hoskins was driving, he was saying he was going to " f*** her up." Hoskins stopped the car and told Taylor to get out. When she refused, he started hitting her. He dragged her out of the car, beat her down to the ground, and started kicking her. Taylor was able to get back in the car, but Hoskins followed and started choking her. Taylor testified that she felt like she was going to pass out, but her head fell to the side and she was able to catch her breath. Hoskins then tried to gouge Taylor's eyes out. He started biting her face and body. Taylor testified that as he was biting her ear, he shook his head and growled like an animal. Taylor grabbed his face and tried to get him off of her. Hoskins then pulled her out of the vehicle again. As Taylor tried to defend herself with her boot, Hoskins continued to kick and hit her. Taylor eventually passed out. When she woke up, Hoskins saw that she was moving and began kicking her again. Hoskins went to his car and retrieved a rusty knife. Taylor testified she was drifting in and out of consciousness. She stated she did not remember him cutting her, but woke up with lacerations to her neck. Hoskins continued to assault her. Taylor stated Hoskins halted his assault when she began to pray. He asked her what she was going to tell her family. Satisfied with the answer, he took her home. Wanda called the police, and Taylor was transported by ambulance to the hospital.
[¶4] Hoskins denied being with Taylor when she received the above injuries. Hoskins testified that after he brought Taylor's sister and Hoskins's nephew home, Taylor complained about the short amount of time she got to spend at May's Café, so he dropped her off there alone. He stated that he drove around for over forty-five minutes waiting on her. He testified that he passed by the club several times, but did not see her. Hoskins testified that when he finally saw Taylor, she was down on her hands and knees. He said he picked her up, put her in his car, and took her to her aunt and uncle's house.
[¶5] Hoskins argues that the trial court erred by allowing photographs of Taylor's injuries into evidence because they were more prejudicial than probative and only served to inflame the jury. According to Mississippi Rule of Evidence 403, relevant evidence may be excluded " if its probative value is substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice, confusion of the issues, or misleading the
members, or by considerations of undue delay, waste of time, or needless presentation of cumulative evidence." " The decision of whether or not to admit photographs is left to the sound discretion of the trial [court] and will not be disturbed on appeal absent an abuse of discretion." Smith v. State, 792 So.2d 343, 348 (¶ 20) (Miss. Ct.App. 2001) (citing Sudduth v. State, 562 So.2d 67, 69 (Miss. 1990)). " The trial [court's] discretion on whether or not to admit photographs 'runs toward almost unlimited admissibility regardless of the gruesomeness, ...