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Morgan v. State

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

March 14, 2017

SANDRA MORGAN A/K/A MAY LEE A/K/A SANDRA L. MORGAN APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI APPELLEE

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 03/17/2015

         CHOCTAW COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT HON. C.E. MORGAN III JUDGE

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT: OFFICE OF STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER HUNTER NOLAN AIKENS GEORGE T. HOLMES

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, JASON L. DAVIS KAYLYN HAVRILLA MCCLINTON

          DISTRICT ATTORNEY: DOUG EVANS

          BEFORE LEE, C.J., GREENLEE AND WESTBROOKS, JJ.

          WESTBROOKS, J.

         ¶1. A jury in the Circuit Court of Choctaw County, Mississippi, convicted Sandra Morgan (Morgan) of one count of conspiracy to commit capital murder. Morgan appeals the circuit court's denial of two pretrial motions: (1) her motion for a mental-competency evaluation, and (2) her motion to suppress her second statement to the police. Finding no error, we affirm.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         ¶2. Sandra Morgan (Morgan) and Billy Morgan (Billy) married in 1994. In 2012, Morgan was diagnosed with bipolar personality disorder and depression. Around February 2014, Morgan met Devonta Anderson (Anderson) at a community college in Holmes County. That spring, Morgan's mother was killed by a tornado, and Morgan received $30, 000 in insurance proceeds from the destruction of her mother's home.

         ¶3. In the summer of 2014, Morgan moved Anderson in to her home that she shared with Billy. Morgan also permitted Anderson's cousins, Leontay Ellington (Leontay) and Levontaye Ellington (Levontaye), and his friend, Michael Oliver (Michael), to stay at her home. Over the course of the summer, Morgan spent her insurance proceeds buying items for her guests. She spent most of the money on Anderson, buying him, among other items, a 2003 Ford Mustang, a gun, clothes, and shoes.

         ¶4. Morgan often complained to Anderson and Levontaye about Billy's past treatment of her, and eventually asked Anderson to kill Billy. Anderson reluctantly agreed to do so. On or around July 14, 2014, Anderson entered Billy and Morgan's bedroom, while Billy was sleeping, and pointed a gun at his head. According to Anderson, he decided he could not kill Billy after entering the bedroom. Morgan then walked in to the bedroom and told Anderson that if he killed Billy he would have to kill Billy's Aunt Cleo, who lived next door, since she would likely hear the gunshot. Anderson claimed that the thought of having to kill both Billy and his aunt was too much, and he decided against it.

         ¶5. The Choctaw County Sheriff's Department eventually learned of Morgan and Anderson's possible murder conspiracy through Levontaye and Anderson. On August 4, 2014, Morgan voluntarily walked in to the Choctaw County Sheriff's Department. Investigator Marcus Rodriguez (Rodriguez) and Chief Deputy Lee Upchurch (Upchurch) placed her in the office and prepared to interview her. They gave Morgan a waiver-of-rights form and asked her if she understood what was read to her. She stated that she did and signed the form. Morgan proceeded to give two statements to Rodriguez and Upchurch. Though both statements were recorded, the recording of the first statement only captured a portion of the statement. Morgan was arrested and taken to the Winston County Jail.

         ¶6. On August 11, 2014, Rodriguez went to retrieve Morgan from jail. When Rodriguez arrived there, Morgan informed him that she wanted to speak with him again. Rodriguez told Morgan that he could not speak with her since she had an attorney. She asserted that she did not have an attorney. Rodriguez agreed to speak with her. When they arrived to the sheriff's department, Morgan executed another ...


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