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Jordan v. State

Supreme Court of Mississippi, En Banc

December 13, 2016

STATE OF MISSISSIPPI Appellee/Respondent

         Serial: 209073



         Four of the justices of this Court are of the opinion that the judgment of the Court of Appeals should be affirmed, and four are of the opinion that it should be reversed; consequently, that judgment must be, and is, affirmed.

         Accordingly, as the judgment of the Court of Appeals has not been decided to be erroneous by a majority of the justices sitting in this case, the judgment of the Court of Appeals is affirmed without opinion. The costs on appeal are assessed to Lauderdale County.

         SO ORDERED.




         ¶1. William Michael Jordan was convicted of murder and felon in possession in a case devoid of physical evidence. At trial, an inflammatory rap video with a tenuous connection to this case, and which included only very minor participation by Jordan, was introduced into evidence. Its authentication was based on testimony much of which was untrue. It was error to allow the rap video into evidence. Because I believe that the decisions of the trial court and Court of Appeals are incorrect and violate Jordan's rights, I respectfully object to the order affirming his conviction.


         ¶2. Late in February 2012, Aaron Coleman's mother reported him missing.

Coleman's car was soon found outside of Meridian. . . . [S]everal more days passed before Coleman's body was discovered in the woods near Interstate 20.
Coleman was last seen alive on February 27[, 2012, ] at Jordan's house. When questioned, Jordan confirmed [that] Coleman had stopped by that day. . . . Jordan told the Meridian Police that Coleman had only stayed a few minutes. After that, Jordan [asserted that he] never saw him again. Charlie Henderson and Bobby Baker - longtime friends of both Coleman and Jordan- had also been at Jordan's house that evening. And they gave similar stories to the police.
The police [received an anonymous tip that] they should also question JaMichael Smith[] because he had been at Jordan's house that night[, ] too. But Smith [had] quickly left Meridian late [the] night [of February 27, 2013, ] on a Greyhound bus headed for Michigan. A year later, Smith was extradited from Michigan to Mississippi, where he finally told the police his version of what happened.

         A. Smith's Account

While Smith had grown up in Meridian, he moved to Michigan when he was seventeen. . . . [He did not return to Mississippi for five years.] But he returned to Meridian in February 2012 for his grandfather's funeral. He ended up at Jordan's house on February 27, drinking and smoking marijuana. According to Smith, everyone seemed to be having a good time when Jordan went to his bedroom and retrieved a shotgun. Jordan returned to the living room, where both Henderson and Coleman were. Jordan . . . [flashed and cocked the gun.] Smith got nervous, so he went into the kitchen. Smith heard the gun go off. He saw Coleman [grab his stomach and lean] over in the corner of the living room. Smith ran out [of] the back door of Jordan's house and took the first bus out of town.

         B. Baker's Account

Once Smith was in custody in Mississippi, Baker came forward[, ] too. He admitted [that] he had initially lied to investigators when he denied knowing what happened to Coleman. The truth, according to Baker, was that he[, ] too[, ] was in Jordan's living room, drinking and smoking marijuana, when Jordan shot Coleman.
Coleman claimed he had received a phone call from his mother, saying it was time to come home. Henderson started teasing Coleman about having a curfew. This is when Jordan retrieved the shotgun. Like Smith, Baker was worried about the gun, so he kept his eyes on Jordan. He saw the gun go off, Henderson lunge, and Coleman - who was standing right behind Henderson - get shot in the stomach.
Coleman fell over, but he was still breathing. Baker wanted to call for an ambulance[, ] [b]ut Jordan pointed the gun at him and told him to stop. Baker tried to reason with Jordan, saying everyone would see it was an accident and that Jordan did not know the gun was loaded. So with Coleman still alive, Baker started to call 911. . . . Henderson told him to hang up. Baker saw Smith run out the back door.
About ten minutes went by. Coleman was still alive, and Jordan and Henderson were trying to figure out what to do. They finally told Baker to help them load Coleman into the back of Jordan's Honda. Baker got into the backseat with Coleman. Jordan and Henderson stayed outside the car, further devising a plan. Another five minutes passed. . . . Coleman suddenly stopped breathing and his whole body stopped moving. Henderson opened the door and saw that Coleman had died.
At this point, Jordan's live-in girlfriend pulled up in her car. Henderson quickly shut the car door to conceal Coleman's body. Jordan followed his girlfriend into his house for a few minutes, while Henderson rifled through Coleman's pockets and found his keys. Baker testified that Henderson then pulled out a pair of gloves. When Jordan exited his house again, Jordan got into the driver's seat of his car. Henderson, gloves on, then took Coleman's keys and got into Coleman's car. The two cars started driving around Meridian. . . . Jordan and Henderson were on their cell phones [the entire time] trying to figure out what to do. Jordan eventually turned onto I-20[, ] but ran out of gas. He [pulled] over to the shoulder and waited for Henderson to bring him more fuel.
When Henderson pulled up behind them with a gas can fifteen minutes later, he was surprised [that] Coleman's body was still in the backseat. Baker and Jordan then lifted the body out of the car and rolled it down an embankment, where it was found days later. The two cars then drove off down the interstate. They took a nearby exit, where they dumped Coleman's car.
The three then drove to Henderson's house in Jordan's car. There, a fourth man came out with a metal barrel and started a fire. Baker testified [that] he, Jordan, and Henderson threw their clothes into the fire, along with Coleman's cell phone and wallet.

         C. Indictment

Jordan was indicted for second-degree murder. See Miss. Code Ann. § 97-3-19(1)(b) (Rev. 2014). He was also charged with felon in possession of a firearm. See ...

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