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Kennedy v. State

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

September 26, 2017

SHANKI KENNEDY A/K/A SHENIKO SHONDRA KENNEDY A/K/A SHENIKO KENNEDY APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI APPELLEE

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 05/11/2015

         HOLMES COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, HON. JANNIE M. LEWIS TRIAL JUDGE

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT: OFFICE OF STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER BY: GEORGE T. HOLMES PHILLIP BROADHEAD

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY: KAYLYN HAVRILLA MCCLINTON.

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

          BARNES, J.

         ¶1. Shanki Kennedy was convicted by a Holmes County jury of aggravated assault. She was sentenced by the Holmes County Circuit Court to serve twenty years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections, with five years suspended, fifteen years to serve, and five years of postrelease supervision. On appeal, Kennedy disputes the weight and sufficiency of the evidence.[1] Finding no error, we affirm.

         STATEMENT OF THE FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         ¶2. A love triangle precipitated the criminal act at issue in this case. Shortly after Fabian Watts and Victoria Watts, the victim, were married in July 2014, Victoria learned that Fabian was having an affair with Kennedy. In September 2014, the marriage collapsed when Victoria filed domestic-violence charges against Fabian, claiming he had beaten her. Soon thereafter, Victoria left the marital home in Jackson, Mississippi, and moved back to her home in Lexington, Mississippi.

         ¶3. According to Victoria, at approximately 1 a.m. on September 17, 2014, she awoke in the bedroom of her Lexington home to her little dog's barking. She heard her front door close and saw someone peeking around the corner of her bedroom door. She then saw Kennedy approaching her bed with a four-way wrench or tire iron. Victoria knew Kennedy because Kennedy had been harassing Victoria in Jackson. Kennedy attacked Victoria with the tire iron, hitting her on the head and body. Victoria began kicking Kennedy, who then began stabbing Victoria in the legs with a knife. Victoria grabbed an open knife from a nearby table and began fighting back in self-defense, stabbing Kennedy on the arm and shoulder three times.[2] Kennedy then retreated from the bedroom.

         ¶4. In the meantime, Victoria's son, Ronald Ransom, who lived in a shed in the back of the property, heard screaming. He ran out of his room to see Kennedy running from the house, and he chased her to the end of the driveway. Kennedy ran toward an awaiting vehicle down the street, leaving a trail of blood. Photographs of the blood trail were entered into evidence. As the vehicle slowly drove away, the driver honked the horn twice. Ransom identified the vehicle as belonging to Fabian. Ransom went back inside the house to find his mother screaming and covered in blood.

         ¶5. Deputy Sheriff Corey Shields of the Holmes County Sheriff's Department was the first officer on the scene. He noticed a great deal of blood on the sidewalk outside of Victoria's home. He spoke with Ransom, who stated that Victoria was attacked by Kennedy. Deputy Shields photographed the inside and outside of Victoria's house, and determined that a struggle had taken place in Victoria's bedroom and living room. He photographed a window screen that had been taken off a window in the back of the house and was on the ground. He believed the perpetrator entered through the window.

         ¶6. Victoria was taken to the Lexington Hospital, accompanied by Ransom and Officer Shields, where injuries to Victoria's scalp and legs were treated. She received approximately seventeen staples, mostly to the fourteen-inch-long laceration to her scalp. Deputy Shields took photographs of Victoria's injuries and interviewed her. Victoria recounted to him that Kennedy had intended to kill her with the tire iron, which was never found. Also missing from her house were her Michael Kors purse and a fifty-five-inch television. The television was never found. In her initial statements to police, Victoria stated that she believed Fabian was in the house with Kennedy that night and took the purse and television; however, Fabian claimed to be at work.[3]

         ¶7. Deputy Sheriff Joshua Macko of the Holmes County Sheriff's Department also responded to the scene that evening. He was dispatched to the Lexington Hospital to interview Victoria, who told him she had been asleep when Kennedy broke into her house. Victoria said she stabbed Kennedy in the arm and shoulder in self-defense. Based on that information, a dispatcher called surrounding hospitals searching for Kennedy. She was found at a hospital in Canton being treated for her stab wounds.

         ¶8. At the hospital in Canton, Officer Macko photographed Kennedy's wounds. He also noticed that she was trying to hide a Michael Kors purse under her leg. Officer Macko could see Victoria's driver's license inside the purse. Upon searching the purse, Officer Macko discovered Victoria's Social Security card, mobile telephone, and marriage license to Fabian. Further, nurses informed Officer Macko that Kennedy had tried to get rid of the purse by taking it outside to be ...


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