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Phillips v. State

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

February 10, 2015

RONNELL PHILLIPS A/K/A RONELL KWAME PHILLIPS A/K/A RONELL PHILLIPS A/K/A RONNELL K. PHILLIPS A/K/A RONELL KWAMEE PHILLIPS A/K/A RONNELL KWAMNE PHILLIPS, APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, APPELLEE

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: LAMAR COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. DATE OF JUDGMENT: 09/20/2013. TRIAL JUDGE: HON. ANTHONY ALAN MOZINGO. TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION: CONVICTED OF COUNT I, CONSPIRACY, AND SENTENCED TO FIVE YEARS; COUNT II, SHOOTING INTO A DWELLING, AND SENTENCED TO TEN YEARS; AND COUNT III, MURDER, AND SENTENCED TO FORTY YEARS, WITH SENTENCES IN ALL THREE COUNTS TO RUN CONSECUTIVELY TO EACH OTHER AND TO BE SERVED IN THE CUSTODY OF THE MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS.

FOR APPELLANT: W. DANIEL HINCHCLIFF, OFFICE OF STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER.

FOR APPELLEE: JEFFREY A. KLINGFUSS, OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL.

BEFORE LEE, C.J., ISHEE AND FAIR, JJ. IRVING AND GRIFFIS, P.JJ., ISHEE, ROBERTS, CARLTON, MAXWELL, FAIR AND JAMES, JJ., CONCUR. BARNES, J., CONCURS IN PART AND IN THE RESULT.

OPINION

Page 1188

LEE, C.J.

¶1. In this appeal, we must determine whether the trial court erred in failing to grant a mistrial after comments made by two State witnesses. Finding no error, we affirm.

PROCEDURAL HISTORY

¶2. Ronnell Phillips was convicted of Count I, conspiracy; Count II, shooting into a dwelling; and Count III, murder. He was sentenced to, respectively, five years, ten years, and forty years. All counts were ordered to run consecutively to each other and to be served in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections.

¶3. Phillips filed post-trial motions, which were denied. Phillips now appeals, asserting that the trial court erred by failing to grant a mistrial in two instances: (1) when a police officer commented about Phillips's refusal to make a statement, and (2) when a witness testified that Phillips was a member of a gang.

FACTS

¶4. On the night of August 13, 2011, Phillips had been texting and calling Janisha Rice, making threats to Janisha and her mother, Cassandra Rice. At one point, Phillips arrived at Cassandra's house in Lamar County looking for Janisha. He knocked on the door and when Cassandra opened the door, he showed Cassandra and her other daughter, Alexia, a gun. After closing the door and calling the police, Alexia testified she heard gunshots. Four 911 calls were made from Cassandra's home that night, reporting Phillips's threats and gunshots. Early on the morning of August 14, 2011, Phillips fired a gun into the house. Cassandra was struck in the head, and later died from her injuries.

¶5. Phillips, Oscar Scott, and Terrance Bolton were all arrested for Cassandra's murder. Nathan Smalls was ...


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