OF JUDGMENT: 09/06/2016
COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, FIRST JUDICIAL DISTRICT HON. JEFF WEILL
SR. TRIAL JUDGE.
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: OFFICE OF STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER BY:
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY:
JOSEPH SCOTT HEMLEBEN.
GRIFFIS, P.J., WILSON AND WESTBROOKS, JJ.
Adam Chism appeals his conviction of burglary of a dwelling
under Mississippi Code Annotated section 99-19-83 (Rev.
2015). Chism argues that his prior felony convictions were
improperly admitted into evidence, the jury's verdict was
based on insufficient evidence or against the overwhelming
weight of the evidence, and the trial court failed to allow a
circumstantial-evidence jury instruction. We find no error
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Officer Angela Nichols of the Jackson Police Department was
dispatched to a potential home burglary in progress. The
house's alarm system was triggered, resulting in the
alarm company calling the police, and the police department
dispatched Nichols who was close by.
Nichols arrived at the scene and walked around to the
basement in the back of the house where the alarm originated.
She saw Chism backing out of the basement carrying a bag.
Nichols ordered Chism to drop the bag and get down on the
ground. He complied. Nichols arrested Chism after she
inspected the bag and found an X-Box One game console.
Chism testified that he was on his way to his father's
house early that Saturday morning to work, like he normally
did on Saturdays. As they were driving, Chism and his wife,
Mary, got into a dispute. To avoid any further confrontation,
Chism testified that he asked Mary to pull over and let him
out of the car. He would continue the rest of the way on
foot. Chism said that, since he was already on probation from
a previous conviction, he wanted to be extra precautious to
avoid confrontation. Mary let him out of the car and sped off
hurriedly, which worried Chism. He testified that he began
walking to the house of his friend's aunt, which was
nearby. He planned to borrow a phone to check on his wife and
let his father know that he was on the way.
Chism then testified that he was walking past the house at
issue, and he heard an alarm. He walked around the house to
investigate and assist anyone that may need help. He then
claimed the back door was wide open. Chism also said that he
did not intend to go inside and take anything; but, he
entered the house and called for anyone that may be inside.
He then noticed a bag on the floor of the basement. He picked
up the bag just as Nichols was rounding the corner.
After placing Chism in custody, Nichols testified that she
and other officers entered the house through the basement
door to inspect and secure the house. Kenneth Gray, the
then-tenant of the house, testified that the basement door
separating the basement from outside had been pushed in and
the doorframe sustained significant damage. Gray testified
that he had not given anyone permission to enter his
residence. Gray confirmed Nichols's testimony that his
bicycle, which he usually stored inside the basement, was
leaning against the wall outside of the basement door.
Once inside the house, Nichols proceeded upstairs into the
kitchen and living-room areas. She testified that the door
separating the basement from the living room was totally
destroyed and completely torn in half. She found the living
room in disarray, and the couch was thrown about as though
someone had been searching through it. Nichols stated these
were all common signs of forced entry and burglary.
Chism was found guilty and sentenced as a habitual offender
to life in the custody of the Mississippi Department of