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Cavitt v. State

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

March 24, 2015

DEROME M. CAVITT A/K/A DEROME CAVITT, APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, APPELLEE

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: RANKIN COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. DATE OF JUDGMENT: 09/30/2013. TRIAL JUDGE: HON. WILLIAM E. CHAPMAN III. TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION: CONVICTED OF BURGLARY OF A DWELLING AND SENTENCED AS A HABITUAL OFFENDER TO TWENTY-FIVE YEARS IN THE CUSTODY OF THE MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS WITHOUT THE POSSIBILITY OF PROBATION OR PAROLE.

FOR APPELLANT: KEVIN DALE CAMP, JARED KEITH TOMLINSON.

FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, BY: STEPHANIE BRELAND WOOD.

BEFORE GRIFFIS, P.J., CARLTON AND JAMES, JJ. LEE, C.J., IRVING AND GRIFFIS, P.JJ., BARNES, ISHEE, ROBERTS, CARLTON, MAXWELL AND FAIR, JJ., CONCUR.

OPINION

Page 1200

NATURE OF THE CASE: CRIMINAL - FELONY

JAMES, J.

¶1. Derome Cavitt was convicted, in the Rankin County Circuit Court, of burglary of a dwelling. Cavitt was sentenced as a habitual offender to twenty-five years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC). On appeal, Cavitt asserts that the trial court erred in denying his motion for a directed verdict and his post-trial motion for a judgment notwithstanding the verdict (JNOV) or, in the alternative, a new trial. Finding no error, we affirm.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

¶2. Zachary Johnson, Nicholas Watkins, and Joel Fahling resided in the Lakeland

Page 1201

East Apartments in Flowood, Mississippi. On the morning of February 11, 2013, Fahling left the apartment for work at approximately 6:30 a.m., and Johnson and Watkins left the apartment for school at approximately 7:20 a.m. According to Watkins's testimony, he locked the deadbolt on the front door upon exiting the apartment. When Watkins and Johnson returned to the apartment at approximately 11:30 a.m., they found the door unlocked. Upon entering the apartment, Watkins observed that the screen from the kitchen window was on the floor of the living room and that several items, including their television, were missing from the apartment. Watkins contacted the apartment manager, Jennifer Armagost, then summoned the police.

¶3. Detective Barrick Fortune and Detective Lloyd Coulter of the Flowood Police Department's Criminal-Investigations Division were assigned to investigate the burglary. Detective Fortune determined that the intruder obtained entry to the apartment by removing the exterior window screen and forcing the lock on the window. The detectives processed the apartment for fingerprints and recovered a latent fingerprint on the metal frame of the window. The fingerprint was submitted to the Mississippi Crime Laboratory for analysis.

¶4. On February 13, 2013, Detective Fortune received the results of the fingerprint analysis, which indicated that the fingerprint belonged to Cavitt. After learning that the fingerprint belonged to Cavitt, investigators contacted Armagost, the apartment manager, to inquire if Cavitt had any known association with the apartment complex. Armagost informed the investigators that ...


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