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Wallace v. State

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

August 1, 2017

LAMARCUS WALLACE A/K/A LaMARCUS WALLACE APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI APPELLEE

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 05/18/2016

         BOLIVAR COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT SECOND JUDICIAL DISTRICT, HON. CHARLES E. WEBSTER TRIAL JUDGE

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: OFFICE OF STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER BY: W. DANIEL HINCHCLIFF

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY: KATY TAYLOR GERBER

          DISTRICT ATTORNEY: BRENDA FAY MITCHELL

          BEFORE LEE, C.J., BARNES AND CARLTON, JJ.

          LEE, C.J.

         ¶1. Lamarcus Wallace was convicted of murder by a Bolivar County Circuit Court jury. Wallace was sentenced to life in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections, with the sentence to run consecutively to any previously imposed sentences. His posttrial motion was denied, and he now appeals, asserting the following issues: (1) the trial court erred by failing to grant a mistrial; (2) his right to confront witnesses was violated; (3) the State improperly commented on his failure to call an alibi witness; and (4) cumulative error requires reversal of his conviction.

         FACTS

         ¶2. Around 7 p.m. on September 13, 2014, Officer Earl Hodges with the Cleveland Police Department responded to a disturbance call near Brewer Drive in Cleveland, Mississippi. Officer Hodges saw Wallace arguing with Tony Jones, also known as "Fat Cat." Officer Hodges testified that the call indicated Jones had a gun. Officer Hodges searched Jones and told Wallace to leave the area. Officer Hodges testified that as Wallace left, he made threatening statements to Jones. But Officer Hodges stated he could not remember the exact statements since his primary concern was making sure Jones did not have a gun.

         ¶3. Officer Darrin White also responded to the disturbance call. When Wallace left, Officer White heard him say to Jones, "It isn't over." Officer White thought Wallace's comment "sounded like revenge, " as if "something [was] going to happen later."

         ¶4. On that same evening, around 9:15 p.m., Officer Emily McCain with the Cleveland Police Department responded to a shooting on Brewer Drive. When Officer McCain arrived she noticed Jones lying on the driveway and bleeding from multiple gunshot wounds. Jones died shortly thereafter. Officer White also responded and, after seeing that Jones had been shot, then went to look for Wallace.

         ¶5. Kimberly Thomas, Crystal Thomas, and Debra West were present when the shooting occurred. Kimberly testified that she was outside with West when she saw someone wearing a black hooded jacket with the hood pulled over his head running toward where Jones was standing. This person then fired several shots at Jones. Kimberly did not see the assailant's face.

         ¶6. Crystal testified that she saw Wallace hiding behind a tree. She said although Wallace was wearing a black hooded jacket with the hood pulled over his head, she was able to see his face and immediately recognized him. Crystal then went inside the house, but could still see Wallace from an open window. According to Crystal, Wallace was "creeping" around and holding a gun. Once Crystal saw the gun, she ran outside. Before she reached the door, Crystal said she heard gunshots. West, who was dating Jones at the time, testified she was standing outside with ...


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