MARCUS SHELBY A/K/A SHELBY MARCUS DEMOND A/K/A SHELBY M. DEMOND APPELLANT
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI APPELLEE
OF JUDGMENT: 05/26/2015
FROM WHICH APPEALED: HINDS COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, FIRST
JUDICIAL DISTRICT HON. JEFF WEILL SR. 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.
IRVING, P.J., FAIR AND WESTBROOKS, JJ.
A jury in the Hinds County Circuit Court, First Judicial
District, convicted Marcus Shelby of the murder of Duan Penn,
and the circuit court sentenced him, as a habitual offender,
to life imprisonment in the custody of the Mississippi
Department of Corrections, without the possibility of parole.
Shelby now appeals, arguing that the trial court erred in
denying his motion for a new trial because the verdict is
against the overwhelming weight of the evidence. We affirm.
On April 11, 2012, the Jackson Fire Department and the
Jackson Police Department were dispatched to a fire near
Forest Avenue and Methodist Home Road in Jackson,
Mississippi. Officer Clarence Gibson, one of the police
officers dispatched to the scene, testified at trial that he
observed a body burning in the fire, amidst fragments of blue
tarpaulin and woven rope. The body was burned beyond
recognition; it was mostly naked, with duct tape wrapped
around the face and head.
Shortly after the body was found, Officer Delanio Sanders of
the Jackson Police Department reported his brother Penn
missing. Officer Sanders began searching for his brother in
areas where Penn was known to frequent, including Marcellos
Coleman's residence at 512 Huron Street. Officer Sanders
told his superiors that he suspected something had happened
to Penn at that location. Around this time, dental records
confirmed that the burned body was Penn's.
On May 18, 2012, pursuant to a search warrant, Officer Robert
Bufkin and detectives with the Jackson Police Department
conducted a search of 512 Huron Street. Their search led to
the discovery of blue tarpaulin fragments and woven rope
consistent with that recovered from the burn scene, a roll of
duct tape, and evidence of a burn pile where more blue
tarpaulin fragments were found.
Earnest Kendricks, who lived across the street from the Huron
Street address, later provided a statement to the police, in
which he stated that he had seen Shelby and Penn at the Huron
Street address on April 11, 2012, and further that "[he
knew] that someone hit [Penn]."
On October 2, 2012, a Hinds County grand jury indicted
Shelby, Coleman, and Janice Pittman for one count of murder
and one count of kidnapping. All three defendants were tried
During Shelby's trial, jurors heard testimony from
Kendricks and Pittman, both of whom lived near 512 Huron
Street. Kendricks and Pittman both testified that they had
had previous interactions with Shelby, Penn, and Coleman, and
were able to identify them.
Kendricks testified that, on April 11, 2012, Coleman hosted a
barbeque at Coleman's residence. Kendricks witnessed the
activities at Coleman's residence from where he stood in
the yard across the street. He testified that both Shelby and
Penn were in attendance. Kendricks further testified that he
left the yard shortly after Penn arrived, so he did not see
what else happened; however, Kendricks maintained that he
overheard Penn say at one point that "he didn't have
nothing to do with the break-in." Kendricks continued:
"I [saw Pittman] jump over the fence, and I couldn't
tell you where she hit him. I couldn't see because of the
bushes. [It looked] like something was going on, but I
wasn't sure because they [were] all getting loud over
there." Then, the following exchange occurred:
[THE PROSECUTOR]: Now, Mr. Kendricks, in the statement that
you wrote - -
[THE PROSECUTOR]: - - back in 2012, you say you know that
someone hit him?
[KENDRICKS]: Yeah, it looked like, but I couldn't tell,
[THE PROSECUTOR]: And Marcus - - Marcus Shelby was there at