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Minor v. State

Supreme Court of Mississippi, En Banc

November 30, 2017

EDDIE MINOR, III a/k/a EDDIE MINOR a/k/a EDDIE LEE MINOR, JR. a/k/a EDDIE MINOR, JR.
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 08/15/2016

         ADAMS COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, HON. FORREST A. JOHNSON, JR., TRIAL JUDGE

          TRIAL COURT ATTORNEYS: RONNIE LEE HARPER TIM COTTON CARMEN N. BROOKS SHAMECA SHANTE' COLLINS LARRY STAMPS

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

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY: BILLY L. GORE

          DISTRICT ATTORNEY: RONNIE LEE HARPER

          KING, JUSTICE

         ¶1. Eddie Minor was convicted of armed robbery in the Circuit Court of Adams County and sentenced to serve a term of thirty-five years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC). Minor now appeals his conviction, arguing both that the evidence was legally insufficient to support his conviction and that the jury's verdict was contrary to the overwhelming weight of the evidence. Finding no merit in his appeal, we affirm the judgment of the circuit court.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         ¶2. On December 29, 2014, in Natchez, Mississippi, sixteen-year-old Jessie Elbert Taylor Jr. was fatally shot in the back. Officer Paulesha McBride, with the Natchez Police Department, was dispatched to the Beaumont Street area at around 9:00 p.m. that night.[1] She arrived first on the scene and observed Taylor lying in the street. She testified that Taylor had been conscious, and that she had asked him what had happened. Taylor stated that "he had been robbed by two black males." Taylor told her that the two males had asked for everything in his pocket. He told them that he did not have anything, and the males pulled out guns and started shooting. Taylor stated that he then turned and started running down the street.

         ¶3. Investigator Otis Mazique, with the Natchez Police Department, testified that when he arrived at the scene shortly afterward, he observed Taylor lying in the street.[2] Taylor had been talking, stating that two males had robbed him and had shot at him. He corroborated Officer McBride's testimony that Taylor had said that the two males had told him to empty his pockets. Investigator Mazique leaned down and asked Taylor to identify the two males but Taylor had passed out and did not respond. Taylor never regained consciousness.

         ¶4. A total of eight casings was found at the scene. Investigator Mazique testified that a single nine-millimeter casing had been found at the beginning of Beaumont Street, near Woodlawn Avenue. At the corner of Beaumont Street and Wallace Court, a small alley off Beaumont, seven nine-millimeter bullet casings were recovered. All seven of those casings were of the same type.

         ¶5. Officer McBride got word that Taylor had thrown a gun across the fence. The police department recovered an automatic Lorcin .380 pistol around twenty to thirty feet from Taylor.[3] The Lorcin pistol had a .380 caliber bullet in it as well as a nine millimeter bullet. The nine-millimeter bullet fit the description of the single, nine-millimeter casing found at the corner of Beaumont and Woodlawn. Both had a red ring around the firing hole. Carl Fullilove, a forensic scientist with the Mississippi Forensics Laboratory, testified that the seven casings found together were shorter than the single, nine-millimeter cartridge that was found by itself. The only bullet that could have been fired from the .380 gun that Taylor supposedly had fired was the shorter bullet found by itself.

         ¶6. Dr. Mark LeVaughn, chief medical examiner for the State of Mississippi, listed Taylor's manner of death as homicide by multiple gunshot wounds. Taylor had two gunshot wounds, both entering through the back. The bullet recovered from Taylor's abdomen was a .38 caliber bullet. Fullilove testified that it could have been fired from the same nine-millimeter that had fired the seven cartridge casings found together.

         ¶7. Witnesses on the street identified then eighteen-year-old Minor, Emanuel "Little Carl" Latham, and Tyrone Noble as being involved in the shooting.[4] The next day, Investigator Mazique brought Minor into the station and read him his Miranda rights.[5] Minor refused to sign the Miranda form. Minor stated that he had been at home that night. He then put his head between his legs and did not say anything else.

         ¶8. Latham, fifteen years old at the time, waived his Miranda rights and gave oral and written statements.[6] Latham also testified at Minor's trial. Latham stated that he had been with his cousin earlier that night when Minor had called him. After the call, Latham's cousin dropped him off at 27 Beaumont Street. Keterria Noble, Tyrone Noble's cousin, and Minor already were at the house when he arrived.[7] A few minutes later, Taylor arrived on his bicycle. Latham testified that Taylor had asked Minor for synthetic marijuana. Latham, Minor, and Taylor then walked down the street to 35 Beaumont Street, allegedly to obtain the marijuana.[8] Minor instructed Taylor to stay outside on the porch. After Latham and Minor went into the house, Minor instructed Latham to stay in the living room. Latham stated that Minor returned with two guns. Minor kept one gun and handed the other to ...


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