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Brown v. State

Supreme Court of Mississippi

December 7, 2017

MAURICE BROWN
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 08/25/2016

         CIRCUIT COURT OF THE FIRST JUDICIAL DISTRICT OF HINDS COUNTY HON. JEFF WEILL, SR.

          TRIAL COURT ATTORNEYS: BRENT E. SOUTHERN, JACK BRADLEY McCULLOUCH ESEOSA GWENDLINE AGHO

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT: OFFICE OF THE STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER BY: BENJAMIN ALLEN SUBER GEORGE T. HOLMES

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY: BARBARA WAKELAND BYRD

          DISTRICT ATTORNEY: ROBERT SHULER SMITH

          BEFORE RANDOLPH, P.J., KITCHENS, P.J., AND BEAM, J.

          KITCHENS, PRESIDING JUSTICE.

         ¶1. On the morning of July 30, 2015, Maurice Brown entered the home from which Mattie Moore, the neighborhood "candy lady, " sold candy, chips, soda pops, cigarettes, and other knick-knacks. Mattie Moore's granddaughter, who lived with her grandmother, was startled from her sleep when her grandmother loudly called her name. A young African-American man, whom the granddaughter, Cheramie Moore, later identified from a photograph lineup as Maurice Brown, appeared in the doorway to her bedroom with a shotgun in hand. The man demanded that Cheramie Moore "give me the stuff" and she produced about a hundred dollars from a nearby drawer. Maurice Brown handed the cash to his brother, Jonathan Brown, who had come up behind him holding a cigar box which belonged to Mattie Moore. With Maurice Brown still pointing his gun in Cheramie Moore's direction, the pair backed down the hall toward a door to the outside. Maurice Brown was indicted for two counts of armed robbery. After trial in the Circuit Court of the First Judicial District of Hinds County, Maurice Brown was convicted of the first count, the armed robbery of Cheramie Moore, and was acquitted of the second count, the armed robbery of Mattie Moore. He was sentenced to a prison term of twenty-seven years. On appeal, Maurice Brown argues that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction for armed robbery. Because his contention is meritless, we affirm.

         STATEMENT OF THE FACTS

         ¶2. Eighty-one-year-old Mattie Moore lived on Harry S. Truman Drive in Jackson, Mississippi, with her granddaughter, Cheramie Moore, and her grandson, James Warren, also known as "Blue Jean." To supplement her income, Mattie Moore sold sundries, including candy, chips, soda pops, and cigarettes, from her home to people in the neighborhood.

         ¶3. On the morning of July 30, 2015, Cheramie Moore, who worked at St. Dominic Hospital as a nurse on the oncology floor and had been released at 7:00 a.m. from a twelve-hour shift, returned to the home she shared with her grandmother and fell asleep. She was startled awake by the sound of her wheelchair-bound grandmother loudly calling her name. A young African-American man met Cheramie Moore at the door to her bedroom wielding a shotgun. When the man ordered Cheramie Moore to "give me the stuff, " she produced about a hundred dollars from a nearby drawer. Cheramie Moore recognized the man from the neighborhood and later identified him from a photograph lineup as Maurice Brown. She testified that Maurice Brown's brother, Jonathan Brown, whom she also later identified in a photograph lineup, "came up behind" Maurice Brown with a cigar box in hand. Maurice Brown then handed Jonathan Brown the cash. The cigar box belonged to Mattie Moore and Cheramie Moore stated that her grandmother kept rolled-up change in the box.

         ¶4. Cheramie Moore testified that Maurice Brown pointed the shotgun at her and at her grandmother and that his doing so placed her "in a state of sheer panic" and in "fear[] for [her] life." According to Cheramie Moore, Maurice Brown "kind of stood there for a moment" and he and Jonathan Brown "kind of backed away slowly." She continued: "[t]hey kept the gun on me but they kind of backed away toward the door" and, "[a]s they were exiting our hallway they kind of did, like, this motion towards me and my grandmother." She clarified that "Maurice still had the gun in his hand" and that "Jonathan was on the side of him."

         ¶5. When the pair left, Cheramie Moore called 911. Officer James Roberts, who at the time was employed by the Jackson Police Department Robbery Homicide Division, was called to the scene to investigate. Officer Roberts interviewed Mattie and Cheramie Moore. Officer Roberts's investigation led him to the home of ...


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