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Sanders v. State

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

April 14, 2015

ANTONIO D. SANDERS A/K/A ANTONIO SANDERS, APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, APPELLEE

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: WASHINGTON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. DATE OF JUDGMENT: 02/20/2014. TRIAL JUDGE: HON. RICHARD A. SMITH. TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION: CONVICTED OF COUNT I, ARMED ROBBERY, AND SENTENCED TO TWENTY YEARS, WITH FIFTEEN YEARS TO SERVE AND FIVE YEARS SUSPENDED, AND FIVE YEARS OF POST-RELEASE SUPERVISION; AND COUNT II, FELON IN POSSESSION OF A FIREARM, AND SENTENCED TO FIVE YEARS, WITH THE SENTENCES TO RUN CONCURRENTLY, ALL IN THE CUSTODY OF THE MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS.

AFFIRMED.

FOR APPELLANT: OFFICE OF STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER, BY: GEORGE T. HOLMES, JUSTIN TAYLOR COOK.

FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, BY: MELANIE DOTSON THOMAS.

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

OPINION

Page 869

NATURE OF THE CASE: CRIMINAL - FELONY

GRIFFIS, P.J.

¶1. Antonio Sanders was convicted of attempted armed robbery and felon in possession of a firearm, in violation of Mississippi Code Annotated sections 97-3-79 and 97-37-5, respectively. Sanders filed a motion for a judgment notwithstanding the verdict or, in the alternative, a new trial. The motion was denied. Sanders argues that the trial court erred when it failed to grant the motion for a new trial; he claims that the verdict was against the overwhelming weight of the evidence. We find no error and affirm.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

¶2. Sanders worked at a Captain D's restaurant in Greenville, Mississippi. On July 29, 2012, Sanders went to the restaurant while several employees were in the process of closing. Sanders was dressed in all black clothing, with dark sunglasses, and a bandana around his face. While brandishing a gun, Sanders ordered the employees, Dominic Bell, Samantha Buckner, and Laura Gilmore, to hand over the money in the restaurant. Sanders did not obtain any money. He eventually walked out of the back of the restaurant after being recognized by the employees.

¶3. Buckner, Bell, and Gilmore all gave statements to the police and identified Sanders as the attempted robber. The employees told police that the perpetrator had a teardrop tattoo on his face similar to Sanders, and they recognized Sanders's voice. The three also gave police a description of the car that left the scene, which matched the car Sanders usually drove. Based on this information, police stopped Sanders and his girlfriend, Lucy Whatley, shortly after the attempted robbery.

¶4. When police stopped the couple, Sanders stated that he and Whatley had just left McDonald's after buying cookies at the drive-through. At the time of the stop, Sanders wore a white t-shirt, colored pajama pants, and red sneakers. Police searched the car, but did not find the black clothing or the handgun used in the Captain D's attempted robbery.

¶5. Subsequently, the State indicted Sanders for attempted robbery and felon in possession of a firearm, with a firearm-enhancement charge. At trial, Buckner, Bell, and Gilmore testified about the attempted robbery. Buckner, Bell, and Gilmore identified Sanders as the perpetrator. Sanders, Whatley, and ...


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