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Meadows v. State

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

February 14, 2017

TIMOTHY MEADOWS APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI APPELLEE ALEX CREWS APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI APPELLEE

          Date of Judgment: 08/12/2015

          Date of Judgment: 08/03/2015

         COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: JONES COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, FIRST JUDICIAL DISTRICT HON. WAYMAN DAL WILLIAMSON TRIAL JUDGE.

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: OFFICE OF STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER BY: ERIN ELIZABETH BRIGGS.

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY: JOSEPH SCOTT HEMLEBEN.

         EN BANC.

          CARLTON, J.

         ¶1. A Jones County grand jury indicted Timothy Meadows and Alex Crews for manslaughter, in violation of Mississippi Code Annotated section 97-3-35 (Rev. 2014).[1]After a joint trial of both defendants, the jury rendered guilty verdicts for Crews and Meadows. The Jones County Circuit Court sentenced Meadows and Crews each to a term of twenty years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC), with fifteen years to serve, five years suspended, and five years on post-release supervision. Both Crews and Meadows were further ordered to pay $9,565.50, which included court costs, fines, and restitution.

         ¶2. Crews and Meadows each filed a separate motion for a judgment notwithstanding the verdict (JNOV) or, in the alternative, a new trial. The trial court denied their posttrial motions. Crews and Meadows each timely filed an appeal. Appellate counsel for both Meadows and Crews subsequently requested that their appeals be consolidated because all of the appealable issues can be adequately addressed in one appeal.

         ¶3. On appeal, Crews and Meadows argue that circuit court lacked jurisdiction over their case because the youth court possessed original jurisdiction over this proceeding, and the youth court never transferred jurisdiction to the circuit court. The State concedes that the circuit court herein lacked jurisdiction due to the State's failure to follow the statutory procedure for transferring cases from youth court. Finding that the circuit court indeed lacked jurisdiction over the matter, we reverse and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

         FACTS

         ¶4. On August 27, 2014, Cynthia Craney and Timothy Williamson, along with Craney's son, Alex Crews, and Crews's best friend, Timothy Meadows, went to the Leaf River to ride four-wheelers. That evening, as they were leaving, Williamson became angry with Craney and Crews over whether to leave a broken four-wheeler behind. A physical altercation arose between Williamson, Crews, and Meadows. Craney called 911, and Crews and Meadows ultimately restrained Williamson in a headlock/chokehold until help arrived. Williamson was dead when officers arrived on the scene.

         ¶5. A recording of Craney's 911 call was admitted into evidence, wherein the jury heard Craney saying hysterically, "I need someone down here at this river. My boyfriend, he's hitting on my kids. He's beating the hell out of them. . . . [O]h God, please. . . . He's got my son on the ground. " When the 911 operator asked the assailant's name, Craney answered: "[H]is name is Timothy Williamson. He's on probation . . . for aggravated assault. . . . He's drinking and his hands are lethal. . . . He just went . . . irate . . . . [T]hey're right here on the ground right now trying to detain him. He's a big man . . . and his hands are lethal." The 911 operator informed Craney to start looking for the police officers arriving on the scene. Craney informed the operator, "My baby's seventeen years old, and his friend's trying to help him hold him down; he's going crazy."

         ¶6. Jones County Sheriff's Deputies Sonny Jefcoat and David Ward were dispatched to Old River Road in Jones County on the night of August 27, 2014, in response to a 911 call from Craney. Deputy Jefcoat arrived on the scene first. Deputy Jefcoat testified that Craney told him that "Williamson had assaulted her boys and they were holding him down," and that Williamson "jumped on my boys" and "attacked" them. Craney entered Deputy Jefcoat's patrol car and led him to the site of the fight. The video from Deputy Jefcoat's patrol car dash camera, which was entered into evidence at trial, revealed Craney informing Deputy Jefcoat, "Sir, he's a lot further down there, my kids have him kind of contained. He's been drinking. He's not supposed to be drinking. He tried to jump on my son. . . . I have no idea why he freaking went off like the way he did." Deputy Jefcoat testified that when he approached the scene, he saw Craney's truck in the road facing him with its lights on, and he saw Williamson, Crews, and Meadows on the ground beside the truck. Deputy Jefcoat then checked Williamson for a pulse but found none, so he proceeded to perform chest compressions until Deputy Ward arrived and relieved him.

         ¶7. Deputy Ward arrived on the scene next, and placed Meadows in his patrol car and Crews in Deputy Jefcoat's patrol car. The jury observed the video taken from the camera in Deputy Jefcoat's patrol car which showed Crews crying and screaming, "I'm sorry. I'm sorry . . . Mama. Mama. I just killed Tim. I just did. He couldn't breathe and I kept on. He punched me in the face five . . . times . . . . Tim, wake up. I'm sorry, man. I'm sorry." Deputy Ward's patrol car was also equipped with a dash camera. The video from the patrol car was admitted into evidence, and showed Deputy Ward arrive on the scene and ask Craney what happened. Craney informed him that Williamson "got in a fight with my kids." Crews also informed Deputy Ward that Williamson "punched me in the mouth, and me and [Meadows] just put him to sleep. He won't wake up." Deputy Ward testified that Craney also told him that she and Williamson got into a fight, and that she ...


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