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Chatman v. State

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

October 17, 2017

CLYDE CHATMAN, JR. A/K/A CLYDE CHATMAN A/K/A LITTLE CLYDE APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI APPELLEE

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 02/26/2016

         COAHOMA COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, HON. CHARLES E. WEBSTER.

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: OFFICE OF STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER BY: JUSTIN TAYLOR COOK.

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

          DISTRICT ATTORNEY: BRENDA FAY MITCHELL.

          BEFORE IRVING, P.J., BARNES AND WESTBROOKS, JJ.

          BARNES, J.

         ¶1. Clyde Chatman was convicted of the murder of Patrick Williams and sentenced to life imprisonment with eligibility for parole. After his post-trial motions were denied, he appealed, arguing the sufficiency and weight of the evidence do not support the verdict, and testimony regarding an accomplice's statement to law enforcement violated his right to confront witnesses under the Confrontation Clause. Finding no error, we affirm.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         ¶2. On the evening of March 27, 2012, Williams was visiting his girlfriend, Tanedra Christian, in Jonestown, Mississippi. While the two were talking and kissing on her front porch, a white car drove by her house, turned around, and came back up the road. Williams abruptly left and walked up the road toward his house, ignoring Christian's calling out after him. A few minutes later, Christian heard gunshots. Larry Wiley, a neighbor, and Toshema Crosby, the owner of a nearby gas station, also heard shooting, and Crosby found Williams lying on the ground outside her store with gunshot wounds. When she asked Williams who shot him, he replied: "Those mother f***ers from Friars Point." Crosby called 911 and contacted Williams's aunt, Shamon Williams. When Shamon arrived, Williams told her that "Little Clyde and them" had shot him and that they were driving a "white car." The first officer on the scene was Deputy Stephen James, who heard Williams say, "I'm gonna get those mother f***ers. They shot me." Williams died at the scene.

         ¶3. Law enforcement recovered .25-caliber shell casings in the road nearby; forensic testing indicated the casings were all fired from the same gun. By the following day, law enforcement had arrested Friars Point residents Chatman, Reginald Cox, and John Battle for Williams's murder. The three suspects were tested for gunshot residue (GSR) and submitted buccal swabs. Law enforcement also tested a white Crown Victoria titled to Chatman's mother for GSR and fingerprints, as well as a glove found in the back seat. A search was conducted for the weapon in Friars Point, Mississippi, but it was never located. ¶4. On May 30, 2013, Chatman, Battle, and Cox were co-indicted for deliberate-design murder. See Miss. Code Ann. § 97-3-19(1)(a) (Rev. 2006).[1] Chatman and Cox were tried on February 16-18, 2016, in Coahoma County Circuit Court.[2]

         ¶5. Christian, Williams's girlfriend, testified that before Williams left her home, he said "something about he was tired of something." She also testified that Chatman had expressed a romantic interest in her, bringing her a toy bear and flowers on Valentine's Day. Shameka Cox, Cox's mother, also lived in Jonestown and said Cox and Chatman had visited her that evening. She noted it was odd since Cox never came to visit her.

         ¶6. Deputy Fernando Bee of the Coahoma County Sheriff's Department testified he had seen Chatman driving a white Crown Victoria in Jonestown the night Williams was shot. He noted two persons in the car with Chatman. Deputy Bee, who was off duty, was talking with another individual in the yard of a Jonestown home when he heard shooting. After he learned Williams had been shot, he went home to get ready for work and then returned to the scene. Chatman's sister later phoned Deputy Bee to inform him that Chatman wanted to turn himself in.

         ¶7. A forensic pathologist, Dr. Mark LeVaughn, testified that Williams sustained three gunshot wounds: two to the right side of his back, and one to the right forearm. He determined the shots were not fired at close range. DNA results for the rear passenger-door grip of the Crown Victoria and the glove found in the car "contained a profile consistent" with Chatman. Forensic testing also revealed "particles indicative of gunshot residue" on Chatman's palms. There were also GSR ...


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