JOHNNY WILLIAM WILLIAMS A/K/A JOHNNY WILLIAMS A/K/A JOHNNY WILLIAM WILLIAMS, JR. APPELLANT
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI APPELLEE
OF JUDGMENT: 06/23/2015
COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, FIRST JUDICIAL DISTRICT, HON. WILLIAM
A. GOWAN JR.
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: OFFICE OF STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER BY:
MOLLIE MARIE MCMILLIN.
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY:
DISTRICT ATTORNEY: ROBERT SHULER SMITH.
LEE, C.J., BARNES AND ISHEE, JJ.
A Hinds County jury convicted Johnny Williams of capital
murder in the killing of his seventeen-month-old daughter,
Jada Williams. Williams was sentenced to life in the custody
of the Mississippi Department of Corrections without the
possibility of parole. Williams now appeals. He argues jury
instruction S-3 was improperly granted, which permitted the
jury to find Williams guilty of the underlying felony of
child abuse without finding he actually abused the child.
Williams also claims to have received ineffective assistance
of counsel due to the admission of graphic photographs of
Jada's body. Finding no error, we affirm.
OF THE FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
On July 3, 2012, at 3:45 p.m., Officer LaShanda Griffin of
the Jackson Police Department responded to a call about an
unconscious infant, later identified as Jada Williams, who
was brought to the emergency room (ER) of the Central
Mississippi Medical Center (CMMC) in Jackson, Mississippi.
Officer Griffin was informed by a nurse that the child was
stiff when her mother brought her in. Officer Griffin
testified that Jada had bruises on her hips, buttocks, and
Brandon Goldsmith, an ER nurse at CMMC, testified that when
Jada was brought into the ER at 3:45 p.m., she was
unresponsive, not breathing, and had no pulse. Medical staff
attempted to open Jada's airway, but her jaws were
locked; so they could not open her mouth. Also, they were
unable to obtain IV access in Jada's arm because her arm
was so rigid. Goldsmith explained that Jada's stiffness
indicated rigor mortis; thus, Jada had been dead for several
hours. Goldsmith observed several bruises on Jada's torso
and legs, which were present before cardio-pulmonary
resuscitation (CPR) was attempted. Medical staff attempted
CPR, but Jada was pronounced dead at 3:50 p.m. Officer
Griffin called her supervisor, the mobile-crime unit,
robbery-homicide detectives, and the coroner to the hospital.
Officer Charles Taylor of the Jackson Police Department also
responded to the call at CMMC, and took photographs of
Jada's body in the trauma room of the ER. Thirty-one
photographs of Jada's body were entered into evidence at
trial without objection from the defense. Based on his
experience, Officer Taylor testified that it appeared Jada
had been severely beaten. Later, Officer Taylor also went to
the apartment where Jada, her parents, and their two other
small children lived. He took photographs of the apartment,
and recovered clothing items and a belt.
Jasmine Porter, Jada's mother and Williams's
co-indictee, testified against Williams at trial. Jasmine
maintained that she was not offered "a deal" in
exchange for testifying. Jasmine lived with Williams and
their three children at the Vintage Apartments in Jackson on
Ellis Avenue. In addition to Jada, the couple had a
two-year-old child and a six-month-old child. The day Jada
died, the family had been at home, arising at around 10:30 or
11:00 a.m. Jasmine explained that Jada had "an
accident" on the couch; she was not wearing diapers
because they were potty training her. Jasmine cleaned Jada
up, and the family went to pay the light bill at a store on
Upon returning home, Jasmine put Jada in the bathtub to play
while she cleaned the kitchen and dining area. Jasmine went
outside to smoke and talk to a neighbor for about five to ten
minutes. When she came back inside, Williams was talking to
Jada, who was on the bed limp, and neither moving nor
breathing. Jasmine thought Jada was having a "breathing