of Judgment: 08/12/2015
of Judgment: 08/03/2015
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.
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).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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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 ...