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Cyrus v. State

Supreme Court of Mississippi

February 8, 2018

EDDRICK WILLIS CYRUS a/k/a EDDRICK CYRUS a/k/a EDDRICK W. CYRUS
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 01/12/2017

         FORREST COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT HON. JON MARK WEATHERS TRIAL JUDGE

          TRIAL COURT ATTORNEYS: TIMOTHY KEVIN BYRNE STEVEN ALFRED KOHNKE JACK LUCIAN DENTON DECARLO CHAS HOOD

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

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY: ALICIA MARIE AINSWORTH

          DISTRICT ATTORNEY: PATRICIA A. THOMAS BURCHELL

          BEFORE KITCHENS, P.J., KING AND COLEMAN, JJ.

          KING, JUSTICE.

         ¶1. On December 13, 2016, a jury convicted Eddrick Cyrus of sale of less than two grams of a controlled substance. Cyrus appeals his conviction, arguing that the verdict was against the overwhelming weight of the evidence and that he is consequently entitled to a new trial. Because the verdict is not against the overwhelming weight of the evidence, this Court affirms his conviction.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         ¶2. On July 30, 2014, Cyrus sold heroin to Joshua Kizziah, a confidential informant making a controlled buy arranged by Agent Benji Hensarling. The buy was captured on a very clear video that depicted Cyrus giving Kizziah two bags in exchange for money. The video had a time stamp on it of "2001/02/14." Agent Hensarling testified that no one ever sets the clock on the video equipment. Kizziah gave the two bags to Agent Hensarling. Agent Hensarling testified that he placed the alleged heroin in a bag, heat sealed the bag, and placed it in the locked Metro Evidence locker. Sergeant Joe Kennedy testified that he observed Commander Adams retrieve the bag from the evidence locker. He testified that he then transported the bag to the Mississippi Forensics Laboratory. A drug analyst from the Forensics Lab testified regarding the Forensics Lab's chain of custody procedures. She determined that the bag contained heroin and the non-controlled substance diphenhydramine. Agent Hensarling testified that he retrieved the bag from the Forensics Lab after testing was completed and transported it back to the police station. The chain of custody form on the bag itself depicts only that Agent Hensarling placed the bag into the Metro Evidence locker on July 30, 2014. Sergeant Kennedy testified that the police often noted the chain of custody in a log book, rather than on the evidence itself, although that log book was never placed into evidence.

         ¶3. The State tried Cyrus in December 2016, and the jury found him guilty of the sale of less than two grams of a controlled substance. The court sentenced Cyrus to serve fourteen years without the possibility of parole, as a habitual and second and subsequent offender. Cyrus appeals his conviction, arguing that the trial court erred by denying his motion for a new trial because the verdict was against the overwhelming weight of the evidence for two reasons. He argues that the evidence does not support that the incident occurred on July 30, 2014. He also argues that the State failed to prove the chain of custody of the evidence.

         ANALYSIS

         ¶4. In considering whether a verdict is contrary to the overwhelming weight of the evidence, this Court reviews the evidence in the light most favorable to the verdict to determine whether the verdict is so contrary to the overwhelming weight of the evidence that allowing it to stand would amount to an unconscionable injustice. Little v. State, - So.3d -, 2017 WL 4546740 (Miss. Oct. 12, 2017). In reviewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the verdict, the Court must accept the evidence supporting the verdict as true. Gillett v. State, 56 So.3d 469, ...


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