AKEEM RASHEED A/K/A AKEEM MUWAKKIL RASHEED A/K/A AKEEM ABDULLAH RASHEED A/K/A LEE MORRIS SHARP A/K/A LAMAR SHARP APPELLANT
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI APPELLEE
OF JUDGMENT: 04/20/2016
COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT HON. LEE J. HOWARD JUDGE
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: OFFICE OF STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER BY:
W. DANIEL HINCHCLIFF
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY:
BARBARA WAKELAND BYRD
DISTRICT ATTORNEY: SCOTT WINSTON COLOM
MODIFIED OPINION ON MOTION FOR REHEARING
The appellant's motion for rehearing is denied. The
previous opinion of this Court is withdrawn, and this opinion
is substituted in its place. The only substantive
modification to the opinion is in paragraph 35.
Following a jury trial in the Oktibbeha County Circuit Court,
Akeem Rasheed was convicted of aggravated assault and
burglary of a dwelling based on evidence that he kicked down
the door of Renee Childs's apartment in Starkville and
stabbed Michael Randle in the back with a knife. Rasheed and
Childs had been in a romantic relationship, while Randle was
the father of Childs's daughter. A short time after
Randle was stabbed, Rasheed was arrested a few blocks from
the apartment carrying a knife. At trial, the jury heard
testimony from Randle, Childs, and Rasheed, as well as 911
calls placed by Randle and Childs and other evidence.
Following his conviction, Rasheed was sentenced as a habitual
offender to two concurrent terms of life in the custody of
the Mississippi Department of Corrections without eligibility
for parole or probation.
On appeal, Rasheed's appointed counsel argues that the
trial judge abused his discretion by refusing Rasheed's
requested jury instructions on self-defense. However, because
Rasheed testified at trial and denied that he stabbed Randle,
and because the evidence did not support a self-defense
claim, the trial judge did not abuse his discretion by
declining to instruct the jury on self-defense. Rasheed's
appointed counsel also argues that Rasheed was denied a fair
trial as a result of various allegedly prejudicial comments
by the prosecutors during voir dire and closing argument.
However, Rasheed did not object to any of these comments,
most if not all of the comments were entirely proper and
innocuous, and none of the comments were so inflammatory or
prejudicial as to require a new trial. Finally, in a pro se
supplemental brief, Rasheed alleges a series of additional
errors. However, most of the issues raised in Rasheed's
pro se brief are procedurally barred because they were not
raised in the trial court, and all are without merit.
Accordingly, for the reasons discussed in more detail below,
we affirm Rasheed's convictions and sentences.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Around 9 p.m. on July 29, 2014, Randle was visiting Childs
and their five-year-old daughter at Childs's apartment in
Starkville. Rasheed knocked on the door and identified
himself to Childs. Without opening the door, Childs asked
Rasheed to leave, and he did.
Rasheed and Childs had been in a romantic relationship.
Although Rasheed believed that the relationship was
"exclusive, " Childs testified that it was not.
Childs testified that Rasheed had called her earlier that
day, and she had asked him not to come to her apartment
because Randle would be there to visit. Randle and Rasheed
did not know one another.
Rasheed returned to the apartment ten to twenty minutes later
and kicked in the door. Rasheed then entered the apartment
and attacked Randle. Childs ran from the apartment and went
to a neighbor's apartment to call 911. After a short
struggle with Randle, Rasheed pulled a knife from his back
pocket and stabbed Randle in the back. Rasheed then fled, and
Randle called 911.
Recordings of the 911 calls from Childs and Randle were
admitted into evidence at trial. Childs told the dispatcher
that Akeem Abdullah had broken into her apartment and
"had a knife." Randle told the dispatcher that a
black man in a red shirt had stabbed him in the back with a
knife and then fled.
Officers from the Starkville Police Department responded to
Childs's apartment. Childs and Randle told the officers
that Rasheed had stabbed Randle and then fled wearing a red
shirt. Randle showed the officers the stab wound to his back.
Officers also observed that the apartment door had been
knocked off its hinges from the outside into the apartment.
Officers arrested Rasheed on Jackson Street a few blocks from
Childs's apartment. Rasheed was wearing a brown shirt,
but he was carrying a plastic bag with a red shirt in it.
After the officers returned to the police station, they also
found a filet knife with a seven-inch blade in the bag. No
blood was apparent on the knife or the shirt. At the time of
his arrest, Rasheed denied that he knew Childs. At the police
station, Rasheed signed a waiver of his
Miranda rights and gave a recorded statement to
Detective Stephanie Perkins.
An Oktibbeha County grand jury indicted Rasheed for
aggravated assault and burglary of a dwelling. The indictment
was later amended to charge Rasheed as a habitual offender
under Mississippi Code Annotated section 99-19-83 (Rev.
2015). The case proceeded to a jury trial on April 19, 2016.
At trial, Rasheed testified that when he first went to
Childs's apartment, she asked him to leave and come back
later. Rasheed claimed that when he returned thirty or
forty-five minutes later, he knocked on the door, and Childs
invited him into the apartment. He testified that Randle then
became angry and attacked him. Rasheed claimed that as he and
Randle were "tussling" in the kitchen, Randle
picked up a knife and attempted to stab him, but he was able
to wrestle the knife away from Randle. Rasheed then testified
that, after he took the knife from Randle, "I just -- I
laid the knife on the table, and I just backed on out of the
door." Rasheed clearly and repeatedly denied that he
ever stabbed Randle during the altercation. Rasheed claimed
that the knife that the ...