OF JUDGMENT: 07/17/2015
COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT TRIAL JUDGE: HON. JAMES T. KITCHENS, JR.
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: RODNEY A. RAY
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY:
LAURA H. TEDDER
COURT ATTORNEYS: RODNEY A. RAY MARK TYLER JACKSON JEFFREY J.
WALLER, C.J., COLEMAN AND CHAMBERLIN, JJ.
On July 17, 2015, a Clay County jury convicted Tameshia
Shelton of the murder of Daniel Young. After the trial,
Shelton filed a motion for judgment notwithstanding the
verdict or in the alternative for a new trial. The trial
court denied the motion. Shelton now appeals three issues.
First, Shelton challenges the sufficiency of the evidence.
Second, Shelton claims that the verdict is against the weight
of the evidence. Third, she alleges that the trial court
erred by denying her requested two-theory jury instruction.
Finding no error, we affirm Shelton's conviction.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Ketina Tutton-Tameshia Shelton's younger sister-lived in
the Mhoon Valley Community of Clay County ("Mhoon
Valley") near West Point, Mississippi, and Daniel Young
lived in Forest, Mississippi. Tutton and Young maintained a
long-distance, romantic relationship, and Young often would
visit Tutton in Mhoon Valley. Because Tutton lived with her
mother, who disapproved of the couple cohabiting before
marriage, Tutton and Young would sometimes spend the night
together at Shelton's nearby residence.
On Monday, October 12, 2009, Young arrived to visit Tutton
for the week. Throughout the week, Tutton went to work at
Sitel, Inc., in Starkville, Mississippi, and Young visited
with Tutton's family.
On Friday, October 16, Young spent a large portion of the day
at Shelton's house. He repaired her car, changed her oil,
and worked on an old truck parked at Shelton's house. At
some point in the day, Shelton's cousin asked to see
Shelton's .22 caliber revolver. She showed him the
handgun and then cleaned and oiled all six of its chambers.
Late in the afternoon, Shelton cooked dinner, and Young ate
with Shelton and Tutton's mother at Shelton's house.
Around 8:00 p.m., after running some errands, Tutton and
Young returned to Tutton's house. While parked in the
driveway, Tutton told Young that she was no longer planning
to relocate to Meridian in the immediate future to be closer
to Young as Sitel had hired her permanently. The couple had a
heated discussion that lasted fifteen to twenty minutes
before they exited the car. Tutton testified that there was
no physical altercation between her and Young. After the
discussion, Tutton walked toward the rear of her mother's
house, and Young walked toward Shelton's house along the
driveway that connected the two houses. Tutton entered her
mother's house and watched television with her mother and
Sometime after Tutton saw Young walking toward Shelton's
house, Shelton alleged that she heard a knock on her bedroom
window. Shelton claims that Young was at the
window and asked her for her pistol in order to shoot a
raccoon out of a tree. Young asked for just one bullet, but
Shelton loaded six bullets into the handgun. Shelton claimed
that she walked to the front room of the house and gave Young
the handgun. She asked him to return and show her the raccoon
once he had shot it.
Shelton claimed to have heard one shot shortly after Young
left her house. She alleged that she searched for Young,
calling his name. According to Shelton, she found Young ten
to fifteen yards from the driveway, lying face-down in the
grass under a large tree. She claimed that Young was
grunting. Shelton immediately called 911 and remained on the
phone until officers responded to the scene. She reported the
incident to the 911 dispatcher as "an accidental
shooting" and mentioned-several times-that Young had
intended to shoot a raccoon.
Tutton-still at her mother's house-heard the gunshot but
thought the sound was a firecracker exploding. It was not
until a neighbor informed Tutton's mother of a shooting
in Mhoon Valley that Tutton knew the sound had been a
gunshot. Tutton drove to her sister's house on the back
driveway because her sister owned a black Mustang car, and
the neighbor said that it was mentioned on the police
scanner. After looking in Shelton's house, Tutton saw
Shelton standing in the road. Shelton told Tutton that Young
had been shot. Tutton found Young in the grass and "went
crazy." She screamed and pulled her hair and clothing.
Tutton remembered hearing sirens shortly after this.
Deputy Cassandra Smith and Officer Torrey Williams
("Torrey"),  an auxiliary officer with Clay County,
were the first responders to the scene. They saw Shelton
standing in the middle of the road, pointing toward her
house. Shelton was crying and appeared distressed. Smith
followed Shelton up the driveway to where Young lay in the
Smith testified that Shelton was hysterically screaming,
"You're late. You're late. He's dead."
Smith called out to Young and touched his back but felt no
movement. Shelton began searching for the pistol, prompting
Smith to ask her if Young had been shot. Shelton kept
repeating, "I've got to find the gun." She told
Smith that the gun was an heirloom and that she had "to
find it." Smith saw the pistol on the ground and did not
mention it to Shelton. Instead, Smith escorted Shelton away
from Young and back toward the front of the trailer. Smith
then instructed Torrey to call Officer Ramirez Williams
("Ramirez") and inform him that she suspected that
there had been a murder.
Smith said that Shelton remained hysterical and she noticed
that Shelton was constantly wiping her hands on her
baby's blanket as she held her baby. Torrey also
testified that Shelton was upset and constantly wiping her
hands together when she was in the trailer later that
As Smith and Torrey began to cordon off the area around
Young, Officer William Knowles responded to the scene.
Knowles checked Young for a pulse but did not feel one. He
then assisted the EMTs in turning Young over. The EMTs
pronounced Young deceased, and Knowles took charge of
Young's body and began a homicide investigation. Knowles
noted the gunshot wound on Young's chest and discovered
the handgun which lay below Young's feet.
Once Ramirez arrived at the scene, he examined Young's
body and the position of the handgun. He then briefly
interviewed Shelton. Ramirez testified that, after inspecting
the scene and interviewing Shelton, "it just wasn't
looking like an accidental shooting to me."
Next, Smith and Torrey escorted Shelton to the sheriff's
department for a more detailed statement. Both officers
testified that Shelton was calmer on the drive to the
sheriff's department than earlier in the evening. On
cross-examination, Torrey claimed that Shelton was no longer
wiping her hands together, but on re-direct examination
stated that Shelton was still wiping her hands together at
the sheriff's department.
Meanwhile, after photos had been made of the scene, Knowles
recovered the handgun. He unloaded five unfired live casings
along with one empty casing. Also, Officer Brad Pettit placed
paper bags over Young's hands to preserve evidence.
Ramirez and the other officers also performed a grid search
for other evidence in the vicinity of Young's body. They
discovered evidence of a scuffle or altercation in the gravel
driveway, five to ten ...