OF JUDGMENT: 12/17/2015
COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, THON. ISADORE W. PATRICK JR. TRIAL
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: OFFICE OF STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER BY:
W. DANIEL HINCHCLIFF.
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY:
LAURA HOGAN TEDDER.
DISTRICT ATTORNEY: RICHARD EARL SMITH JR.
IRVING, P.J., ISHEE AND WESTBROOKS, JJ.
Melvin Hare was convicted by a jury in the Warren County
Circuit Court of depraved- heart murder, and sentenced to
thirty years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of
Corrections (MDOC), with twenty-five years to serve and five
years suspended, to be served under postrelease supervision.
Hare brings three issues for our review: (1) whether he
received ineffective assistance of counsel; (2) whether there
was sufficient evidence to support the verdict; and (3)
whether the verdict was contrary to the overwhelming weight
of the evidence. We find no error and affirm.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
On August 26, 2013, Hare visited Lubertha Sims at her house.
Hare and Sims had dated intermittently for approximately a
year. Hare allegedly came by that evening to eat dinner with
Sims. While Hare was at Sims's house, Roy
Clark-Sims's ex- boyfriend-arrived and began to taunt
Hare. Clark stood outside of Sims's home and repeatedly
demanded that Hare come out of the house, telling him,
"I'm going to whip you up." At first, Sims and
Hare remained inside the house-with the screen door locked.
But then Clark, a large man, ripped the screen door off, and
came onto the porch.
Clark then turned and walked back into the yard as he
continued to threaten Hare. Hare told Clark that he would
leave the house, but Sims halted Hare, telling him that she
had already called 911 and that the police were on their way.
As Clark approached the door again, the two men became
engaged in a physical altercation. The two tussled on the
floor, and Hare pulled a knife from his pocket and began
stabbing Clark multiple times. Sims was able to grab the
knife and throw it out of the reach of both Hare and Clark.
Both men then got up, and Clark went across the street and
collapsed. Clark lay on the ground with his intestines
By the time police arrived on the scene, paramedics were
attending to Clark. Clark was taken to River Region Hospital
to be treated for multiple stab wounds. Dr. Brian Hudson, the
emergency-room physician that treated Clark, testified at
trial that when Clark arrived he had multiple stab wounds to
his chest, back, and abdomen. Later, Clark was airlifted to
the University of Mississippi Medical Center. At this time,
Clark was alive, but unconscious.
Dr. Mark LeVaughn, who conducted the autopsy of Clark's
body, testified at trial as an expert witness. Dr. LeVaughn
testified that Clark's body had possibly twenty-two
separate stab wounds. He further testified that there were
multiple stab wounds to Clark's back. Additionally, Dr.
Levaughn found stab wounds on Clark's forearm and
palm-wounds which Dr. LeVaughn characterized as defensive in
When questioned by the investigator at the scene, Hare
admitted to the investigator that he had stabbed Clark. Hare
was originally charged with aggravated assault, but Clark
died, and Hare was then charged with murder. At trial,
Hare's defense was that he was afraid of Clark, and thus
had acted in self-defense. The jury was given a
depraved-heart-murder instruction, as well as a
culpable-negligence-manslaughter instruction. Additionally,
the jury was instructed on self-defense. At the conclusion of
the trial, the jury found Hare guilty of depraved-heart