LATERRENCE LENOIR a/k/a LATERRENCE A. LENOIR a/k/a LATERRENCE AWSON LENOIR a/k/a LATERRANCE LENOIR
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI
OF JUDGMENT: 01/19/2016
COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT HON. MICHAEL M. TAYLOR
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT: OFFICE OF THE STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER
BY: JUSTIN TAYLOR COOK GEORGE T. HOLMES
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY:
DISTRICT ATTORNEY: DEE BATES
This case involves Mississippi Rule of Evidence 701. Under
this rule, when a fact issue exists about who is portrayed in
a surveillance video, a witness with greater familiarity with
the defendant than the jury could possess may offer an
opinion that the defendant is the person in the
video. In this case, Laterrence Lenoir was
claimed to be one of the armed robbers captured on
surveillance video. So under Rule 701, the trial judge was
within his discretion to admit testimony from witnesses
familiar with Lenoir that, in their opinion, Lenoir was one
of the robbers in the video. Thus, we find no error in the
trial judge's admission of this testimony, nor do we find
error in the judge's denial of Lenoir's motion for
new trial. We therefore affirm Lenoir's convictions and
Facts and Procedural History
Surveillance video showed that, on the evening of September
7, 2013, a man approached the front door of the Dollar
General in Brookhaven, Mississippi. He looked inside and then
walked away. The man soon returned with a second man wearing
a mask. After the two men entered the store, the first man
pulled a mask over his face too. The first man was carrying a
pistol. And the second man was carrying a sack.
There were two employees in the store that night, Shanti
Freeman Nettles and Kaitlynn Calcotte. Their manager, Jessica
Odum, had instructed Nettles to open the safe early, so she
and Calcotte could go home. When the two robbers showed up,
Nettles was in the office counting the money in the safe.
Calcotte was at the register. When she saw the two masked
men, she went into the office with Nettles.
The video showed the two men followed Calcotte to the office.
The first man pointed his pistol at them, and Nettles and
Calcotte handed over their personal money and their cell
phones. Then, at the direction of the second man, they handed
over the money from the safe.
After the robbers left, Nettles and Calcotte called 911.
Captain Byron Catchings with the Lincoln County Sheriff's
Department was tasked with investigating the robbery. During
his investigation, Lenoir had surfaced as a person of
interest. So Catchings began surveilling him. Based on his
personal observations of Lenoir, Catchings concluded Lenoir
was the first man in the video. Lenoir was charged with two
counts of armed robbery and one count of conspiracy to commit
Trial and Conviction
At trial, Catchings testified about his investigation and his
identification of Lenoir as the first man in the video, which
was played for the jury. The State also called two other
witnesses familiar with Lenoir-Willie Bulter and Greta
Mathis. Willie Butler's niece had dated Lenoir. At the
time of trial, Butler testified he had known Lenoir for
"possibly two years." Butler testified he
recognized Lenoir as the man in the video based on "his
body and his walk." He also testified he had seen
Lenoir's face at the beginning of the surveillance video.
Greta Mathis, like Butler, was related to Lenoir's
girlfriend. She testified she also recognized Lenoir as the
man in the video "just [by] the way he walk[ed]."
The State called a third witness familiar with Lenoir-Jeffery
Thomas. Thomas went to church with Lenoir. Before trial,
Thomas had given a statement identifying Lenoir as the man in
the video. But at trial, he said he had given this statement
under pressure. Thomas testified he did not know who it was
in the video because it was too blurry make an
identification. Odom, the Dollar General manager, testified
on behalf of Lenoir. She said she had watched the
surveillance video, and the man in the video was not Lenoir.
Lenoir himself testified, denying any involvement in the
At the close of trial, the jury found Lenoir guilty of all
After his motion for a new trial was denied, Lenoir timely
appealed. On appeal, he raises two issues:
(1) The trial court erred in admitting the nonspecific,
nonsubstantive identification of Lenoir by Butler and Mathis
based solely ...