COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: HARRISON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. DATE OF JUDGMENT: 09/27/2013. TRIAL JUDGE: HON. LISA P. DODSON. TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION: CONVICTED OF COUNT I, MURDER, AND SENTENCED TO LIFE; COUNT II, POSSESSION OF A CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE, AND SENTENCED TO SIXTEEN YEARS; AND COUNT III, POSSESSION OF A FIREARM BY A CONVICTED FELON, AND SENTENCED TO TEN YEARS, ALL AS A HABITUAL OFFENDER, WITH THE SENTENCES TO RUN CONCURRENTLY IN THE CUSTODY OF THE MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS WITHOUT ELIGIBILITY FOR PAROLE.
FOR APPELLANT: GEORGE T. HOLMES, BENJAMIN ALLEN SUBER, OFFICE OF STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER.
FOR APPELLEE: BARBARA WAKELAND BYRD, OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL.
BEFORE GRIFFIS, P.J., CARLTON AND JAMES, JJ. LEE, C.J., IRVING, P.J., BARNES, ISHEE, ROBERTS, CARLTON, MAXWELL, FAIR AND JAMES, JJ., CONCUR.
¶1. Sheridan Torrance Davis was convicted of murder, possession of a controlled substance, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon under Mississippi Code Annotated sections 97-3-19(1)(a), 41-29-139(c)(1), and 97-37-5, respectively. In this appeal, Davis argues that: (1) the evidence was insufficient to support a guilty verdict, as the State failed to meet its burden in proving Davis did not act in self-defense; (2) the verdicts on counts I and III are against the overwhelming weight of the evidence; and (3) the trial court inappropriately admitted hearsay testimony from the victim as dying declarations or excited utterances under Mississippi Rules of Evidence 804(b)(2) or 803(2), respectively. We find no error and affirm.
FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
¶2. On the night of November 2, 2011, Davis encountered his acquaintance, Marcaris Lowe, at the Island View Casino in Gulfport. Lowe asked Davis for drugs, and Davis complied. After the drug deal, the two men returned to gambling for an unknown period of time. Davis stated he lost approximately $700 or $800, after which he decided to leave the casino and go to a friend's apartment to sleep. Lowe accompanied Davis to the apartment, where an incident occurred during which Lowe sustained four gunshot wounds.
¶3. According to Davis's version of events, Davis testified he slept on the
couch until he felt Lowe feeling around in his pockets in a search for drugs. Davis and Lowe engaged in a fight when Lowe allegedly pulled out a gun. Davis testified he successfully took the gun from Lowe and claimed he shot Lowe in self-defense.
¶4. The State offered a different story and put on evidence to suggest Davis deliberately shot Lowe. Further, the State contended Davis could not have acted in self-defense in light of the evidence, especially considering the fact that Lowe sustained four gunshot wounds in the back, and the crime scene contained no signs of a struggle.
¶5. Though the parties disagree about what led to the shooting, the events after the fact were not disputed. Davis fled the apartment after shooting Lowe, taking the gun with him. Davis called his friend, Clifton King, to pick him up a few blocks away. Shortly after King arrived, the police stopped the vehicle, and Davis fled on foot. Several officers and K-9 units then tracked Davis for several minutes.
¶6. During the pursuit, officers found two brown shoes, later identified as Davis's, and a firearm near the home where officers eventually apprehended Davis. When officers conducted a search incident to the arrest, they found a small bag of a white substance, later identified as cocaine, in his pocket. The police officers took Davis into custody.
¶7. After Davis fled the scene, Lowe managed to crawl to the front balcony of the apartment and yell for help. A neighbor called the police and attempted to help Lowe. During both the 911 call and after officers arrived, Lowe named Davis as his shooter. Paramedics then transported Lowe to the hospital where he underwent emergency surgery and remained in the ICU for several days. On November 27, 2011, approximately twentyfive days after the shooting, Lowe suffered a pulmonary embolism, and died as a result. The State subsequently charged Davis with murder, in addition to the possession charges.
¶8. Prior to trial, Davis filed a motion in limine that sought to exclude the statements made by Lowe naming Davis as the shooter. After a hearing on the motion, the trial court denied the motion, and determined the statements were admissible as exceptions to the hearsay rule, as either ...