EDWARD YOUNG a/k/a EDWARD YOUNG, JR. a/k/a BALD HEAD
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI
OF JUDGMENT: 05/19/2016
COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, HON. JANNIE M. LEWIS, TRIAL JUDGE
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT: OFFICE OF THE STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER,
ERIN ELIZABETH BRIGGS GEORGE T. HOLMES
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY:
JOSEPH SCOTT HEMLEBEN
DISTRICT ATTORNEY: AKILLIE MALONE-OLIVER
Following a jury trial, Edward Young was convicted of murder
in the Holmes County Circuit Court. Young, through appellate
counsel, appeals his conviction, claiming the trial court
erred in denying his motion for a new trial based on the
ground that the jury's guilty verdict was against the
overwhelming weight of the evidence.
Young also submits a supplemental appellant's brief pro
se claiming: he was denied a timely initial appearance
following his arrest; the trial court improperly instructed
the jury with regard to his alibi defense; and he was denied
effective assistance of trial counsel and appellate counsel.
Having considered the issues and accompanying arguments based
on the record, we affirm Young's conviction.
On the afternoon of November 29, 2014, Keith Young was
driving around Tchula, Mississippi, with his brother, Kelvin
Young, and his friend Travis Anderson. At some point, Keith
dropped Kelvin off at a social gathering at Kelvin's
girlfriend's sister's house in the Gwin community.
Keith and Anderson continued to ride around, eventually
parking off Highway 49.
While the two men were sitting in the car talking they saw
Keith's cousin, Edward Young (Edward), also known as
"Bald Head, " walking toward the vehicle. As Edward
approached the vehicle, Keith said "Bald Head,
what's up?" Edward did not respond and continued
toward the car. Anderson rolled down the passenger window of
the car and Edward called Anderson's name two or three
times. Both men saw that Edward was holding a gun and
Anderson tried to lock the door; but Edward "snatched
the door open" and shot Anderson. Upon being shot,
Anderson pushed Keith out of the driver's seat as Keith
was opening the driver's side door. Anderson exited the
vehicle and ran onto the highway, where he collapsed. Keith
initially fled the car but then ran back to the car and drove
Keith first drove to the police station, but no one was
there. Keith then drove to the house in Gwin where he had
dropped off his brother, Kelvin. According to Keith, he told
Kelvin and others what had happened. Kelvin then drove Keith
to their parents' house.
Keith there told his parents what had happened. Keith's
father then drove Keith back to the scene of the shooting,
where Keith talked to a sheriff's deputy present at the
scene. The deputy told Keith to go to the Holmes County
Sheriff's Department in Lexington, Mississippi, where
Keith then gave a statement to authorities.
Meanwhile, shortly after the shooting, Officer Willie
Phillips of the Tchula Police Department received a report of
a person lying in the highway. Officer Phillips, along with
Officer Freddy Sheard, responded to the scene. When they
arrived, Officer Phillips found a man, later identified as
Travis Anderson, lying in the southbound lane of Highway 49.
Anderson was still alive, and an unidentified woman was
performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on him. An
ambulance arrived a short time later, and Anderson was
Edward was developed as a suspect and Officer Phillips was
instructed by his superior to locate him. Officer Phillips,
accompanied by Officer Sheard, proceeded to Edward's
residence. After the officers knocked on the door and
announced themselves, Edward opened the door and stated
"I know y'all was coming" and "I
didn't do it." Edward then was taken into custody.
Holmes County Sheriff's Deputy Sam Chambers led the
investigation into the death of Anderson. When Deputy
Chambers arrived at the crime scene, Anderson already had
expired. Deputy Chambers viewed the body and observed a
gunshot wound to Anderson's neck. After being informed by
other officers that a man known as "Baldhead" was a
suspect, Deputy Chambers instructed the officers to pick him
up and bring him in for questioning.
Deputy Chambers also learned that Keith was an eyewitness to
the shooting and was at the Holmes County Sheriff's
Department. Deputy Chambers left the scene and went to
interview Keith. Deputy Chambers took a recorded statement
from Keith, and he also had Keith bring his vehicle to the
Holmes County Sheriff's Department, where it later was
processed for evidence.
After being taken into custody, Edward was brought to the
Holmes County Sheriff's Department, where he was
interviewed by Deputy Chambers. Edward denied any involvement
in the shooting and claimed he had been at home watching a
football game with his brother and mother.
Deputy Chambers administered a gunshot residue (GSR) kit on
Edward's hand, which Deputy Chambers later submitted to
the Mississippi State Crime Laboratory. The clothes Edward
was wearing at the time of his arrest also were collected and
submitted to the crime lab.
On November 30, 2015, Edward was indicted by a Holmes County
grand jury for first-degree murder. On April 22, 2016, Edward
filed a motion to dismiss, alleging that the State had failed
to turn over the results of the GSR testing performed on
Edward's hand, and the State was claiming the GSR kit had
been lost or destroyed.
A hearing on the motion was held on April 25, 2016. During
the hearing, the trial court heard argument from counsel,
during which it was established that the GSR kit had in fact
been lost. According to the State, Deputy Chambers had
submitted the GSR kit to the state crime lab, which sent the
kit back and informed Chambers that it could not process that
particular type of kit. Deputy Chambers then placed the kit
in the evidence room and, as of the day of the hearing, had
not been able to locate the kit. The trial court reserved
ruling on the motion and requested written memoranda on the
On May 5, 2016, Edward filed a motion to allow for additional
testimony regarding the missing GSR kit. A hearing on the
motion was held that same day. During the hearing, Edward
argued that, even though the State had stipulated at a
previous hearing the GSR kit had been lost or misplaced, the
defense wished to get an account of what had transpired on
the record. The trial court granted the motion and the
defense called Deputy Chambers to testify.
Deputy Chambers testified that, on or about November 28,
2014, Edward was arrested and Deputy Chambers administered a
GSR kit on Edward's hand. According to Deputy Chambers,
upon administering the kit, he locked the kit in his desk
drawer. The following week, Deputy Chambers transported the
GSR test kit, along with other evidence, to the state crime
lab. The lab returned the kit that same day and informed
Deputy Chambers that it was unable to process that particular
type of GSR kit. Deputy Chambers then placed the GSR kit in
the evidence room until he could find a lab that could
process that particular kit. But when Deputy Chambers went to
retrieve the kit at a later date, he was unable to locate it.
Deputy Chambers testified that, to the best of his knowledge,
the kit was lost when the evidence room clerk cleaned the
evidence room. Deputy Chambers further testified that he did
not instruct anyone to destroy any evidence.
On May 16, 2016, the trial court entered an order denying
Edward's motion to dismiss. The trial court found that
the GSR kit was not intentionally or through bad faith,
misplaced or destroyed, but was lost due to negligence that
did not rise to the level of bad faith. The trial court
ruled, however, that Edward would be permitted to question
law enforcement about the lost or misplaced evidence at
In the same order, the trial court also precluded the State
from introducing any evidence pertaining to Edward's
confession to police, due to the State's late disclosure
of said confession.
Edward was found guilty of first-degree murder by a Holmes
County jury in May 2016. Edward thereafter timely appealed
his conviction to this Court.
Through appellate counsel from the Office of Indigent
Appeals, Edward claims the trial court erred in failing to
grant his motion for a new trial based on the verdict being
against the overwhelming weight of the evidence. Edward also
filed a supplemental appellant's brief pro se, claiming:
(1) an untimely initial appearance after his arrest; (2)
improper jury instructions; and (3) ineffective assistance of
counsel by his trial counsel and appeal counsel.
Additional facts as necessary will be related in our