COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: JASPER COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. DATE OF JUDGMENT: 02/19/2014. TRIAL JUDGE: HON. EDDIE H. BOWEN. TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION: CONVICTED OF GRAND LARCENY AND SENTENCED TO SERVE TEN YEARS IN THE CUSTODY OF THE MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS.
FOR APPELLANT: OFFICE OF STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER, BY: GEORGE T. HOLMES, BENJAMIN ALLEN SUBER.
FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, BY: SCOTT STUART.
BEFORE LEE, C.J., ISHEE AND CARLTON, JJ. LEE, C.J., IRVING AND GRIFFIS, P.JJ., BARNES, ISHEE, MAXWELL, FAIR AND JAMES, JJ., CONCUR. WILSON, J., NOT PARTICIPATING.
NATURE OF THE CASE: CRIMINAL - FELONY
[¶1] Corey Gray appeals his conviction for grand larceny and sentence of ten years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC). Gray failed to appear before the court for his trial on February 19, 2014, and as a result, the trial court tried Gray in abstentia. On appeal, Gray argues that the State failed to present sufficient evidence at trial to support a conviction for grand larceny. Finding no error, we affirm.
[¶2] Lillian Stevens testified that on May 14, 2012, as she was returning home from work, she passed a truck in the road pulling a boat that she believed to be hers. Stevens did not recognize the truck, so she slammed on her brakes and turned around in the middle of the road. When she slammed on her brakes, the truck pulled over to the side of the road. Stevens turned her vehicle around and pulled in front of the truck and the boat, blocking it from leaving. She exited her vehicle and approached the truck. Stevens asked the driver, " Where are you going with my boat?" Stevens testified that the individual driving the truck, identified as Raymond Johnson, " started fussing at the person that was in the truck with him," saying,
" Corey, I told you if this was some kind of mess." The passenger, identified as Corey Gray, exited the truck and informed Stevens that the boat was not hers, but that he had purchased the boat. Stevens testified that she knew Gray prior to the day in question.
[¶3] Stevens proceeded to call the sheriff's department while Gray argued that he had purchased the boat from " Mr. Knotts that lived down by the lake." Stevens asked Gray to provide her with a bill of sale to prove that he purchased the boat, but Gray told Stevens that he did not have one. Stevens testified that Gray then tried to enter the truck through the passenger door, but that Johnson refused to allow Gray to enter. Stevens stated that Gray then " ran around to the back of the truck and unhooked the boat and dropped it and took off walking." Stevens followed Gray, but she lost him when he " ducked off in the woods."
[¶4] During her testimony, the State showed Stevens a picture, which she identified as her " sixteen-foot bass tracker boat trailer and troll motor fish finder." Stevens testified that she had owned the boat for approximately fourteen years and purchased it for $4,500. Stevens provided a " low estimate" of the value of the boat and trailer, stating that the boat would be valued at $950 and the trailer would be valued at $200.
[¶5] Johnson also testified for the State. He stated that he had only known Gray for about two months prior to the incident. According to Johnson, on May 14, 2012, Gray came by Johnson's house asking Johnson to help him " get his boat." Johnson claimed that he decided to go help Gray in order to get him off of his back. Gray rode with Johnson to get the boat. Johnson testified that as they were getting the boat, he observed Gray looking around and inquired as to Gray's behavior.
[¶6] After hooking up the boat to Johnson's truck and driving away, Johnson testified that he passed another vehicle, and noticed the vehicle hit the brakes. Gray told Johnson, " Go, go, because I don't want to get cursed out." Johnson told Gray that he wanted to see what the person in the vehicle wanted, so he pulled the truck over to the side of the road. Johnson testified that the lady in the vehicle, later identified as Stevens, told the men, " You [are] stealing my boat." Johnson could hear Gray telling Stevens that he (Gray) owned the boat. ...