OF JUDGMENT: 07/23/2015
FROM WHICH APPEALED: FORREST COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT HON. ROBERT
B. HELFRICH TRIAL JUDGE.
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: OFFICE OF STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER BY:
ERIN ELIZABETH BRIGGS.
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY:
BARBARA WAKELAND BYRD.
LEE, C.J., BARNES AND FAIR, JJ.
A jury sitting before the Forrest County Circuit Court found
Stanley Lee Bradley guilty of aggravated assault. Bradley
appeals, claiming the jury's verdict is contrary to the
weight of the evidence. He also claims that the prosecution
made an improper "send a message" closing argument.
Finding no error, we affirm.
OF FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
As of mid-February 2014, Bradley and Cassandra Baker had been
dating for seven years. Cassandra's brother, David Baker,
had been living with them for approximately one month. On
February 15, 2014, a number of people visited their house to
celebrate Cassandra's birthday. After everyone else left
at approximately 9 p.m., Cassandra and David rested on
separate couches in the living room. Bradley was not ready to
end the evening. Although he had been drinking, Bradley left
to drive around and visit some friends. Bradley told
Cassandra that he would "be right back."
Bradley "ended up at [Cassandra's] sister's
house, " where he continued to drink until he fell
asleep on the couch. When he woke up "after two o'
clock, " he had a number of missed calls from Cassandra.
Cassandra called him again while he was driving home. Bradley
answered and explained that he was on his way home from her
sister's house. Cassandra hung up. When she called again,
he did not answer because he was nearly home. After parking
and listening to music for "maybe three to five minutes,
" Bradley went inside.
It is undisputed that Bradley and David got into a fight. It
is also undisputed that Bradley stabbed David multiple times
with a pocketknife. Other necessary details will be discussed
below. David went to the hospital, where he was treated for
one stab wound to his lower side and four stab wounds to his
upper back. Bradley was arrested and subsequently charged
with aggravated assault. At trial, the prosecution called
David, Cassandra, and the police officer who responded to
Bradley's 911 call from a neighbor's house. Bradley
chose to testify after the prosecution rested its
case-in-chief. Ultimately, the jury found Bradley guilty, and
the circuit judge sentenced him to twenty years in the
custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections. Bradley
Whether the verdict is contrary to the weight of the
Bradley argues that the circuit court erred when it denied
his motion for a new trial, because the jury's verdict is
contrary to the overwhelming weight of the evidence. An
appellate court "will only disturb a verdict when it is
so contrary to the overwhelming weight of the evidence that
to allow it to stand would sanction an unconscionable
injustice." Bush v. State, 895 So.2d 836, 844
(¶18) (Miss. 2005). We must "view the evidence in
the light most favorable to the verdict, " and we must