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Cantrell v. State

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

August 15, 2017

JEFFERY CANTRELL A/K/A JEFFERY DALE CANTRELL A/K/A JEFFREY CANTRELL A/K/A JEFF CANTRELL APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI APPELLEE

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 05/20/2016

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

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

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY: LAURA HOGAN TEDDER

          DISTRICT ATTORNEY: BRENDA FAY MITCHELL

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

          CARLTON, J.

         ¶1. Jeffrey Cantrell appeals his conviction for possession of methamphetamine and sentence, as a habitual offender, of six years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC), without eligibility for parole or probation. On appeal, Cantrell asserts that the jury verdict was against the overwhelming weight of the evidence, and as a result, he is entitled to a new trial. Finding no abuse of discretion, we affirm Cantrell's conviction and sentence.

         FACTS

         ¶2. On January 13, 2015, Officer Stanley Perry of the Cleveland Police Department received a call regarding a suspicious vehicle located behind a house in Cleveland, Mississippi. Upon arriving at the address, a woman exited the residence and informed Officer Perry that a blue truck was parked behind the house.

         ¶3. As Officer Perry approached the truck, he shined his flashlight and could "clearly" observe Cantrell coming from the side of the house and walking toward the blue truck. Officer Perry testified that he tried to approach Cantrell, but Cantrell "was trying to elude [him] or get away from [him]." Officer Perry testified that he then observed two more people inside of the truck, so he drew his gun and ordered the two passengers and Cantrell to put their hands in the air. Officer Perry stated that at that time, Cantrell reached into his right pants pocket, removed something, and threw it on the ground. Officer Perry maintained his attention on Cantrell and the two passengers in the truck and radioed for backup.

         ¶4. Several other police officers arrived on the scene in response to Officer Perry's call for backup, including Officer Joe Smith. After Officer Smith arrived, Officer Perry directed him to remove two passengers from the truck while Officer Perry handcuffed Cantrell. Officer Perry informed Officer Smith that Cantrell had removed an item from his pants pocket and thrown it onto the ground approximately six to ten feet away from the truck.

         ¶5. Officers Smith and Perry searched the area where Officer Perry observed Cantrell throw the item from his pocket. The officers found two syringes, one of which contained a clear substance. Officer Perry testified that he also found a screwdriver with fresh paint on it located approximately twenty feet from the vehicle and approximately twenty-four feet away from the syringes.

         ¶6. After finding the syringes, Officer Perry called Officer Michael Melton, a narcotics officer, who arrived at the scene and collected the syringes. Officer Melton testified that he placed the syringes in evidence packaging and conducted a field test on the syringe that contained a crystalline substance. Officer Melton testified that the field test returned a positive result for methamphetamine, so Officer Melton sent that syringe to the crime lab for further testing. ...


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