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Johnson v. State

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

November 21, 2017

SHUNTEZ JOHNSON A/K/A SHAUNTEZ JOHNSON A/K/A SHAUNTEZ DEVON JOHNSON APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI APPELLEE

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 05/09/2014

         COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED LAFAYETTE COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT HON. JOHN ANDREW GREGORY

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT OFFICE OF STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER, MOLLIE MARIE MCMILLIN

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, SCOTT STUART

          DISTRICT ATTORNEY BENJAMIN F. CREEKMORE

          BEFORE GRIFFIS, P.J., CARLTON AND GREENLEE, JJ.

          CARLTON, J.

         ¶1. A Lafayette County jury convicted Shauntez Johnson of aggravated assault, and the trial court sentenced him to a term of twenty years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC), with four years suspended, followed by four years' postrelease supervision.[1] Johnson filed a motion for a new trial or, in the alternative, a judgment notwithstanding the verdict (JNOV). The trial court denied Johnson's posttrial motion.

         ¶2. Johnson now appeals, arguing that he was denied a fair trial due to an alleged error in a jury instruction. Finding no reversible error, we affirm. See Conley v. State, 790 So.2d 773, 789 (¶55) (Miss. 2001) (defining harmless error as "clear beyond a reasonable doubt that the error complained of did not contribute to the verdict obtained").

         FACTS

         ¶3. At a jury trial held on April 14, 2014, Amber Kimbrough testified that on the evening of August 11, 2013, she was working at the Pita Pit restaurant in Oxford, Mississippi. After the restaurant closed for the evening, Amber prepared to take out the trash while another employee, Chris Marks, washed the dishes. Amber testified that she heard the buzzer for the outside door and then heard the door open. Amber stated that when she turned around, she saw a man running behind her, telling Amber that he was going to teach her to keep her mouth shut. Amber testified that the man "hit [her] and knocked [her] to the ground and he kept hitting [her] and kicking [her] . . . and then [she] blacked out." Amber stated that the next thing she remembers is waking up at the MED hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, where she received treatment for her injuries from the attack, including a broken jaw, broken nose, broken eye socket, and bruised lungs and ribs. During her testimony, Amber identified Johnson in the courtroom as the man who attacked her. Amber testified that she recognized Johnson as her attacker because the week prior to her assault, he was involved in a disturbance at the Pita Pit.

         ¶4. Officer David Sabin of the Oxford Police Department was dispatched to the Pita Pit on the night of August 11, 2013. Officer Sabin testified that he observed Amber on the ground, unconscious, and she appeared to be bleeding from her face and head. Officer Sabin stated that Marks informed him that a young male had caused disturbances at the Pita Pit the prior week, which led the employees to call the police. Officer Sabin asked Amber if the man who attacked her was the same man who caused disturbances at the restaurant the prior week, and Amber nodded her head to confirm that it was the same man.

         ¶5. In September 2013, a Lafayette County jury indicted Johnson for one count of aggravated assault in violation of Mississippi Code Annotated section 97-3-7(2)(a) (Rev. 2014).[2] After a jury trial, the jury found Johnson guilty of aggravated assault.

         ¶6. On April 22, 2014, the trial court held a sentencing hearing wherein the court sentenced Johnson to twenty years in the custody of the MDOC, with four years suspended, and four years of postrelease supervision upon his release from prison. The trial court also recommended that, upon entry in the custody of the MDOC, Johnson receive a mental ...


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