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Hill v. State

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

September 12, 2017

FRED HILL, III APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI APPELLEE

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 02/17/2016

         LINCOLN COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, HON. DAVID H. STRONG JR., TRIAL JUDGE

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: M.A. BASS JR.

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, JOSEPH SCOTT HEMLEBEN

          DISTRICT ATTORNEY: DEE BATES

          BEFORE LEE, C.J., ISHEE AND FAIR, JJ.

          LEE, C.J.

         PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         ¶1. A jury in the Lincoln County Circuit Court convicted Fred Hill of first-degree murder, shooting into a dwelling, and felon in possession of a firearm. Hill was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder conviction, and five years each for the other two convictions. All three sentences were ordered to be served consecutively in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections, and Hill was ordered to pay an $8, 000 fine and $6, 000 restitution to the Crime Victims' Compensation Fund. Hill's posttrial motions were denied, and he now appeals, asserting the following issues: (1) the evidence was legally insufficient; (2) the jury verdict is against the overwhelming weight of the evidence; and (3) the trial court erred in denying his two motions to suppress.

         FACTS

         ¶2. On April 1, 2015, around 11:30 p.m., Hill drove up to Ezzard and Gwendolyn Campbell's trailer located on Spur Road in Lincoln County. According to both Ezzard and Gwendolyn, a car horn woke them up and, upon looking outside, they saw Hill standing beside the car holding a rifle. Both Ezzard and Gwendolyn testified that Hill asked where Timothy Green was, then said, "I'm going to kill him." Green is Ezzard's son and Gwendolyn's stepson. Hill then got back in the car and drove home, which was approximately 400 yards from the Campbells' home. Ezzard testified that he followed Hill home to determine why Hill was angry with Green. Ezzard said Hill told him that Green was trying to steal Hill's girlfriend, Keirra Magee.[1] Ezzard then returned home. Ezzard heard Hill return sometime later. Both Ezzard and Gwendolyn saw Hill run between their trailer and their daughter's trailer next door. They then heard two gunshots and saw Hill run back to his car carrying a rifle. Green's body was discovered in the area between the Campbells' trailer and their daughter's trailer.

         ¶3. Green had two bullet wounds; one entered the upper-left chest area, and the other entered the back of his left shoulder. Dr. Lisa Fuente, from the state medical examiner's office, performed an autopsy on Green and noted that either bullet wound could have resulted in Green's death.

         ¶4. One of the Campbells' neighbors, Jessica Matlock, had also seen Hill at the Campbells' trailer that night. Matlock, watching from a window in her trailer, saw Hill drive up and exit the car. She saw him carrying a gun and a flashlight. Hill then walked toward the Campbells' trailer. Matlock testified that she heard two gunshots, then saw Hill running back toward the car.

         ¶5. Several members of the Lincoln County Sheriff's Department responded to the scene, including Deputy Patrick Hardy, Chief Deputy Johnny Hall, Investigator Damian Gatlin, and Investigator Byron Catchings. Two .223-caliber shell casings were recovered from the area near Green's body, and a .223-caliber bullet was recovered from a bullet hole in the side of the Campbells' trailer. After Hill became a suspect and his house was searched, the police found several .223-caliber shell casings in his house and in the yard. However, lab tests could not determine if all of ...


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