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Bender v. State

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

March 13, 2018

JULIUS BENDER A/K/A JULIUS LADALE BENDER APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI APPELLEE

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 02/23/2017

         JASPER COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, SECOND JUDICIAL DISTRICT HON. EDDIE H. BOWEN JUDGE.

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: OFFICE OF STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER BY: MOLLIE MARIE MCMILLIN

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY: BILLY L. GORE

          DISTRICT ATTORNEY: DANIEL CHRISTOPHER JONES

          BEFORE IRVING, P.J., FAIR AND WESTBROOKS, JJ.

          WESTBROOKS, JUDGE.

         ¶1. Julius Ladale Bender was indicted in the Circuit Court of the Second Judicial District of Jasper County on one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. After a jury trial, Bender was sentenced as a non-violent habitual offender to ten years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections. Bender filed for a judgment notwithstanding the verdict (JNOV) or, in the alternative, for a new trial. The circuit court denied his motion. Bender appeals.

         ¶2. On appeal, Bender's appellate counsel filed a brief in compliance with Lindsey v. State, 939 So.2d 743 (Miss. 2005). Bender filed a supplemental pro se brief asserting several claims. After independently reviewing the record, this Court finds no issues warranting reversal. Therefore, we affirm.

         FACTS

         ¶3. On September 3, 1997, Bender pled guilty to the felony crime of possession of a Schedule II controlled substance. Years later, on April 26, 2014, Bender was involved in an altercation on Richards Street; shots were fired, and Officer Eric Winfrey was called to the scene. Although Bender was not under arrest, Winfrey handcuffed him and proceeded to question him about the shooting. Bender stated that he had been jumped by a local gang and they shot at him. At first, Bender denied having a gun but then admitted to having one. Winfrey retrieved the gun and took it into police custody.

         ¶4. In August 2015, Bender was indicted for willfully, unlawfully and feloniously possessing a firearm after being convicted of a felony. During the trial, Bender admitted purchasing a gun from a pawn shop in Laurel in 2007. Bender claims he thought the pawn shop ran a background check on him and that his previous conviction had been expunged.

         ¶5. A jury found Bender guilty of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and he was sentenced as a non-violent habitual offender to ten years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections, without eligibility for reduction, suspension, parole, or probation. ...


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