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Stubbs v. State

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

May 23, 2017

CORNELL STUBBS A/K/A CORNELL LELAND STUBBS A/K/A CORNELL L. STUBBS APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI APPELLEE

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 06/03/2015

         FORREST COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT HON. ROBERT B. HELFRICH TRIAL JUDGE:

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: OFFICE OF STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER BY: BENJAMIN A. SUBER

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY: SCOTT STUART

          DISTRICT ATTORNEY: PATRICIA A. THOMAS BURCHELL

          BEFORE GRIFFIS, P.J., CARLTON AND GREENLEE, JJ.

          GRIFFIS, P.J.

         ¶1. Cornell Stubbs appeals his conviction of burglary of a storage shed. We find no error and affirm.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         ¶2. Stubbs and Jonathan Holmes were indicted on the charge of burglary of a building other than a dwelling pursuant to Mississippi Code Annotated section 97-17-33 (Supp. 2013). The indictment was subsequently amended to charge Stubbs as a habitual offender pursuant to Mississippi Code Annotated section 99-19-81 (Rev. 2014). The State of Mississippi proceeded to trial against Stubbs. At the conclusion of voir dire, Stubbs advised the circuit court that he no longer wanted his attorney to represent him. Following instructions from the circuit court, Stubbs waived his right to counsel and proceeded to trial self-represented. The circuit court ordered Stubbs's trial counsel to remain present to assist, if necessary.

         ¶3. At trial, the victim, Williams Jones, testified that he was in his yard when he heard a loud pop come from the direction of his storage shed. Although there was a fence between Jones and the shed, Jones stated he could see that the top of the door to the shed was open. Jones looked over the fence and saw a truck backed up to the shed and two men standing at the entrance of the shed. The two men were later identified as Stubbs and Holmes. Jones stated he saw Stubbs and Holmes grabbing stuff from inside the shed. When Jones asked them what they were doing, Stubbs responded that "John Smith" had given them permission to enter the shed and take the property. Jones then called 911. Stubbs and Holmes subsequently left in the truck. Shortly thereafter, they were stopped by law enforcement.

         ¶4. Sergeant Clint Breland located the truck approximately two to three blocks from Jones's residence. Breland testified that Stubbs was driving the truck and Holmes was in the passenger seat. After Breland initiated the traffic stop, he observed a pair of bolt cutters, a broken lock, and a measuring wheel in the back of the truck.

         ¶5. Detective Tyson Fairley, the lead investigator on the case, responded to the scene. Fairley collected into evidence a large industrial-size bolt cutter, a damaged lock, and a road-measuring tool, which were found in the back of the subject truck. Fairley subsequently interviewed Stubbs. During the interview, Stubbs admitted to cutting and/or assisting in cutting the lock. When Fairley asked Stubbs to give him a description of John Smith, Stubbs was unable to describe Smith, other than to say that Smith was about the same height as Stubbs.[1] Additionally, Stubbs's description of the vehicle that Smith was driving changed throughout the interview. In the beginning of the interview, Stubbs advised that Smith was driving a truck, but later described Smith's vehicle as a van. Fairley stated that the measuring wheel was determined to be Jones's property and was ultimately returned to Jones.

         ¶6. In support of his defense, Stubbs called Jonathan Magee and Holmes as witnesses.[2]Magee testified that the night before their arrest, Stubbs and Holmes were at his house working on a remodeling project. Magee gave Stubbs "a draw on the job" in the amount of $800. After Stubbs and Holmes left his house that night, Magee did not hear from them again. A couple of days later, Magee learned that Stubbs and Holmes had been arrested. As a result, Magee posted bail for Stubbs and Holmes. Stubbs and Holmes then finished the job at Magee's house. Magee testified that Stubbs and Holmes had worked at his house alone numerous times and had never stolen ...


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