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Wilson v. State

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

March 13, 2018

DANNY WILSON A/K/A DANNY MARTEZ WILSON APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI APPELLEE

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 09/16/2015

         CLAIBORNE COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT HON. LAMAR PICKARD JUDGE.

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: CYNTHIA ANN STEWART

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY: KATY TAYLOR GERBER

          DISTRICT ATTORNEY: ALEXANDER C. MARTIN

          BEFORE GRIFFIS, P.J., BARNES AND FAIR, JJ.

          BARNES, JUDGE.

         ¶1. Danny Wilson was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC). He filed a motion for a new trial, claiming newly discovered evidence shows he acted in self-defense. Following the trial court's denial of his motion, Wilson appeals. Finding no error, we affirm.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         ¶2. On December 27, 2014, Wilson shot and murdered Roviel Mays in Port Gibson, Mississippi. He was indicted for first-degree murder, and a jury trial was held on September 15, 2015, in Claiborne County Circuit Court. At trial, three eyewitnesses testified to similar versions of what occurred that evening. Clyde Johnson said that he, Mays, and Jeremy Bailey had gone to West Side Theater, a nightclub, and stayed there until approximately 2:00 a.m. The three men, along with Jakarla Young and another female, got into Johnson's car and proceeded to the home of Marquis and Natasha Shaw. Wilson, driving a white car, came up behind Johnson's car and passed him at a light. When Johnson and the others arrived at the Shaws' home, Wilson was there, sitting in his car. According to Johnson, Mays got out, walked toward the home, but "all of a sudden, he turned around and looked like h[e] and Danny Wilson [were] talking, and . . . the interior light [of the car] came on, and then Danny shot. When he shot, he left." After Mays was shot, Marquis "shot toward Danny's car a couple of times." On cross-examination, defense counsel asked Johnson if Mays was carrying a gun. He replied: "I know for sure he didn't have no gun in my car. . . . I didn't search him, but I know he didn't have no gun. . . . Didn't nobody have no gun."

         ¶3. Young testified she accepted a ride from Johnson to the Shaws' home that evening, and she observed that Wilson "popped up at a light" next to them and that he passed them. When she and the others reached the home, Wilson was there. After Mays walked over to Wilson's car, Young heard a shot and saw Mays fall to the ground. She also corroborated Johnson's testimony that Marquis came out of the house at that point and began shooting at Wilson's car.

         ¶4. Natasha Shaw testified that she was home that evening at approximately 2:45 a.m. when she heard a "loud noise." When she went outside to investigate, she saw Wilson pull up in a white car. Shortly thereafter, Johnson "pulled up, " and Mays got out of Johnson's car and started walking toward the house. But after Mays got to her driveway, he stopped and walked over to Wilson's car. Mays "leaned into the car"; so Natasha thought the two men were just talking. Then she heard the gunshot and saw Mays fall "back on the ground."

         ¶5. The forensic pathologist testified that Mays died from a gunshot wound to his head, specifically his right eye, and the range of the shot was from "around three inches out to three feet." A firearms expert with the Mississippi Forensic Science Laboratory stated that the projectile retrieved from Mays's body "b[ore] different characteristics than any of the others that [she] was able to classify" and that "it could not have been fired from the same gun" as the other projectiles that were found.

         ¶6. After the State rested, the defense moved for a directed verdict, which the trial judge denied. Defense counsel then called two witnesses who were at the West Side Theater that evening. Kordell Bates said he saw Johnson, Mays, and Bailey at the club with guns. On cross, he acknowledged that the three men had been "talking trash" to Wilson that night. When questioned whether Mays had committed any prior violence against Wilson, another witness, Lee Hedrick, responded affirmatively: "Yes, ma'am . . . he came to Pattison several times shooting up . . . I done seen him do it myself plenty of times. [Wilson is] the one that talk[ed] about leav[ing] it alone[.]" He also claimed the other men were carrying weapons at the ...


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