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Byrd v. State

Supreme Court of Mississippi

March 12, 2015

LAWRENCE BYRD
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI

Page 1147

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: AMITE COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. DATE OF JUDGMENT: 06/13/2013. TRIAL JUDGE: HON. FORREST A. JOHNSON, JR. TRIAL COURT ATTORNEYS: RONNIE LEE HARPER, DEBRA BLACKWELL, JACOB RAY.

FOR APPELLANT: LAWRENCE BYRD (PRO SE), OFFICE OF STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER, BY: ERIN ELIZABETH PRIDGEN.

FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, BY: LISA L. BLOUNT.

BEFORE DICKINSON, P.J., LAMAR AND CHANDLER, JJ. WALLER, C.J., DICKINSON AND RANDOLPH, P.JJ., LAMAR, KITCHENS, PIERCE, KING AND COLEMAN, JJ., CONCUR.

OPINION

Page 1148

CHANDLER, JUSTICE.

¶1. Lawrence Byrd appeals from his conviction of manslaughter and sentence of twenty years. Byrd's appellate counsel filed a brief in compliance with Lindsey v. State, 939 So.2d 743 (Miss. 2005), certifying to this Court that the record presented no arguable issues for appeal. Byrd has filed a pro se brief asserting ineffective assistance of counsel and challenging the sufficiency of the evidence.

¶2. This Court finds that, after a thorough review of Byrd's pro se brief and the record, Byrd's appeal presents no arguable issues, and no supplemental briefing is necessary. Byrd's challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence is clearly without merit, as is his argument that counsel was ineffective for failing to argue that the victim was the aggressor. Byrd's other issues of ineffective assistance of counsel are dismissed without prejudice to his ability to raise them in post-conviction proceedings. We affirm Byrd's conviction and sentence.

FACTS

¶3. On the afternoon of June 6, 2011, Byrd and his close friend Reginald Alexander were socializing with other friends at the home of Larry Isaac in Liberty, Mississippi. Alexander's sister, Anissa Johns, was present. Johns testified that Byrd was drunk. She stated that Byrd asked Alexander for a ride and, when he refused, the two began arguing. Johns testified that the two began throwing punches and then went outside, where the fight continued. Johns stated that she went outside, and Alexander told her to get in the car, presumably to keep her out of harm's way. She turned to walk to the car, and then stood beside it and watched from about ten feet away as the fight continued. Johns stated that, during the fight, Byrd took out a knife and waved it around; she did not see Alexander with a weapon. She saw Byrd stab Alexander with the knife, and she saw Alexander fall to the ground. Byrd walked away without saying anything. Alexander was transported to the hospital, where he died of a stab wound to the abdomen that severed a major artery. A post-mortem blood test revealed the presence of cocaine in Alexander's blood.

¶4. Byrd was arrested shortly after the stabbing at his nearby residence. The arresting officer removed a four-inch pocket knife from Byrd's pocket that was determined

Page 1149

to be the weapon used to stab Alexander. The arresting officer brought Byrd back to the crime scene, where he talked to Investigator Danny Meaux of the Amite County Sheriff's Department. Meaux testified that Byrd seemed intoxicated and smelled like alcohol, and that Byrd admitted that he had been drinking. Byrd repeatedly told Meaux that " he won't be hitting me no more." Meaux took several photographs of Byrd showing that his knees were scraped and bloody, he had scratches on his neck, and his shirt was torn. He also had an older injury just below his eye. Officer ...


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