Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Lyons v. State

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

April 18, 2017

AARON LYONS A/K/A AARON LADANIEL LYONS A/K/A ARRON L. LYONS A/K/A AARON DANIEL LYONS, APPELLANT,
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, APPELLEE

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 06/08/2015.

         LINCOLN COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, HON. DAVID H. STRONG JR. TRIAL JUDGE.

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: OFFICE OF STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER BY: GEORGE T. HOLMES.

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY: KAYLYN HAVRILLA MCCLINTON

          DISTRICT ATTORNEY: DEE BATES.

         EN BANC.

          GRIFFIS, P.J.

         ¶1. Aaron Lyons was convicted of one count of manslaughter in violation of Mississippi Code Annotated section 97-3-25 (Rev. 2014) and one count of armed robbery in violation of Mississippi Code Annotated section 97-3-79 (Rev. 2014). Lyons appeals his conviction. This Court finds no error and affirms.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         ¶2. Around 4:45 a.m. on January 16, 2004, a customer discovered the lifeless body of John Deere outside of the Pik & Pak convenience store, which Deere owned, in Brookhaven, Mississippi. Deere was robbed at gunpoint and shot three times. Shortly after Deere's body was discovered, a volunteer firefighter from the Summit Fire Department responded to a small roadside grassfire. The fireman discovered various items alongside the road, including a small metal cash box where the fire originated.

         ¶3. Lincoln County investigators soon arrived on the scene to inspect the area and seize evidence. Deere's widow later identified the cash box as belonging to her deceased husband. Investigators also collected DNA samples from the items found near the fire, but the DNA did not match any known person.

         ¶4. In 2013, the Lincoln County Sheriff's Department received a DNA sample belonging to Lyons. Lyons's DNA profile matched a sample recovered from a pair of black FUBU jeans discovered at the scene of the fire. Investigators then determined that Lyons lived in Brookhaven at the time of the crime with his then girlfriend, Lavatrus Harris. On September 3, 2014, Lyons was indicted in the Circuit Court of Lincoln County on charges of murder, armed robbery, and conspiracy to commit armed robbery.

         ¶5. At trial, Sonya Ewell testified that at some point early in their relationship, Lyons told her of the robbery and murder that he and Harris committed together in Brookhaven in 2004. Ewell testified that on a trip in December 2011 from Humble, Texas, to Brookhaven to visit family, Lyons drove her and his cousin past the scene of the crime and gestured at the gas station and stated, "that's where it happened."

         ¶6. Lyons sought to exclude Ewell's testimony by claiming Ewell was his common-law wife, and the spousal privilege precluded her testimony. Lyons also argued that Ewell was not a competent witness and was allowed to testify in violation of Mississippi Rule of Evidence 601. The trial court ruled that Lyons's admission to Ewell occurred before they allegedly entered into a common-law marriage, which meant the privilege did not apply, and the presence of Lyons's cousin in the vehicle removed the conversation from privilege even if Lyons could invoke the spousal privilege.

         ¶7. After a jury trial from June 2 through June 4, 2015, a jury convicted Lyons of manslaughter and armed robbery. On June 11, 2015, Lyons filed a motion for a judgment notwithstanding the verdict (JNOV) or, in the alternative, a new trial. On June 18, 2015, the trial court denied the motion. Lyons now appeals.

         ANALYSIS

         ¶8. Lyons argues on appeal, through his appellant's brief and supplemental brief, that: (1) the trial court erred in allowing Lyons's alleged former common-law wife to testify in violation of Mississippi Rules of Evidence 504 and 601(a); (2) the verdicts were contrary to the weight of the evidence; (3) the State violated Lyons's right to due process by not disclosing a copy of the official paperwork from the DNA test results on the purple cloth; (4) the State created a materially false impression of the evidence; (5) his right to a fair trial was violated when a State's witness used a cell phone while on the stand; (6) his right to a fair trial was violated when the trial court allowed a picture of the victim to remain displayed to the jury during closing arguments; (7) the trial court erred in failing to grant a mistrial; (8) he received ineffective assistance of counsel; (9) the trial court erred in denying jury instruction D-10; and (10) cumulative error.

         I. The trial court did not err in allowing Lyons's alleged former common- law wife to testify.

         ¶9. Lyons first argues that Ewell's testimony was inadmissible. Specifically, Lyons claims the court erred when it found the spousal privilege in Mississippi Rule of Evidence 504 did not preclude Ewell's testimony and that ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.