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Ford v. State

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

July 25, 2017

DARIUS CORNELIUS FORD A/K/A DARIUS FORD A/K/A DARIUS C. FORD A/K/A CORNELIUS FORD A/K/A POPCORN APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI APPELLEE

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 10/07/2016

         SCOTT COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT HON. CHRISTOPHER A. COLLINS, Judge

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: RICHARD A. REHFELDT

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY: BILLY L. GORE

          BEFORE GRIFFIS, P.J., WILSON AND WESTBROOKS, JJ.

          WILSON, J.

         ¶1. In February 2012, following a jury trial in the Scott County Circuit Court, Darius Ford was convicted of aggravated assault and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. The court sentenced Ford, as a habitual offender, to concurrent sentences of twenty years for aggravated assault and ten years for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections, without eligibility for parole or probation. This Court affirmed Ford's convictions and sentences on appeal. Ford v. State, ¶2. In October 2014, Ford filed a motion in the Mississippi Supreme Court for leave to file a motion for post-conviction relief (PCR). The Supreme Court granted Ford leave to file a PCR motion in the circuit court, limited to the issue of "whether trial counsel was ineffective by failing to request an alibi jury instruction." Ford v. State, 2014-M-01532 (Miss. Feb. 12, 2015). Ford filed his motion in the circuit court, and in October 2016, the court held a hearing and entered an order denying the motion. Ford filed a timely notice of appeal. We agree with the circuit court that Ford's ineffective-assistance claim is without merit. Accordingly, we affirm.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         ¶3. On January 11, 2010, Sanford Lackey, a real estate appraiser, was in rural Scott County, Mississippi, photographing several parcels of land along Highway 21. After taking photos of a vacant property, Lackey realized that he had photographed the wrong property. Lackey testified that he drove along the road looking for a place to turn around. He decided to turn around at an old convenience store on Highway 21. As he was turning around, he heard three gunshots. When he looked in the direction where he thought the shots were coming from, he saw a man exit a nearby mobile home and walk toward a gold sport-utility vehicle (SUV). Lackey noted that the man looked in his direction as he descended the steps of the mobile home. The man was wearing a blue sweatshirt and a rolled-up toboggan. Lackey continued along the road, searching for the correct property to photograph.

Lackey testified that after taking the correct photos, he pulled to the side of the road to input another address into his GPS. After setting the GPS, Lackey pulled back onto the road. At that time, he noticed the gold SUV from the mobile home approach his vehicle from behind at a high rate of speed. Lackey sped up. When the vehicle was approximately a car length away, the driver leaned out of the driver's side window, aimed a handgun, and shot through the rear windshield of Lackey's vehicle. Then, the gold SUV turned around and sped away from Lackey. [Lackey] . . . immediately called the Scott County Sheriff's Department and subsequently went to the sheriff's office. While at the sheriff's office, Lackey saw Ford as the law enforcement officers brought him into the station. Lackey later told the officers that Ford was the individual that shot at his vehicle.
Kevin Polk, an investigator with the Scott County Sheriff's Department, testified that he and several other officers responded to the call from dispatch regarding Lackey's incident. He and the other officers went to the vicinity of where the incident had occurred. At the first mobile home that the officers approached, they spoke with Jessica Adams, Ford's girlfriend. Adams told Investigator Polk that Ford had gone to pick up his children from school. Upon hearing this, Investigator Polk and an additional Scott County deputy left the mobile home to intercept Ford on his way back from the school. When Investigator Polk saw Ford's vehicle, he stopped Ford and told him that he needed him to come into the station for questioning. Investigator Polk also had Ford's vehicle towed to the sheriff's department.
Deputy Marcus Lingle, with the Scott County Sheriff's Department, testified that he participated in the search of [the] mobile home once Adams gave the officers written consent to search. During the search, Deputy Lingle found a .40-caliber pistol on the bed and a box of ammunition. . . . [He also found] "either a dark gray or blue sweatshirt" that "matched a description of the upper garment worn by the suspect that day." . . .
Adams testified that although the mobile home was in Ford's mother's name, Ford did not live there. She admitted that Ford was at the home on the day of the incident. According to Adams, she and Ford slept from approximately 9:00 a.m. until 2:40 p.m. on the day of the incident. Adams noted that the male clothing hanging in the closet did not belong to Ford. Also, Adams testified that the gun that Deputy Lingle found on the bed belonged to her, and that Ford did not know that she owned the gun.
Ford testified that he was just one of several men that Adams was seeing at that time. He insisted that he did not live with Adams in the mobile home; that he did not own a firearm because he knew that, as a convicted felon, he could not; and that he did not own a dark blue pullover or sweatshirt. Ford admitted that he was a convicted felon. He also stated ...

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