MARQUIS D. SAUNDERS A/K/A MARQUIS SAUNDERS A/K/A MARQUISE D. SAUNDERS A/K/A MARQUISE SAUNDERS APPELLANT
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI APPELLEE
OF JUDGMENT: 01/26/2017
HARRISON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, SECOND JUDICIAL DISTRICT HON.
LAWRENCE PAUL BOURGEOIS, JR. TRIAL JUDGE
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: OFFICE OF STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER BY:
JUSTIN TAYLOR COOK
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY:
BARBARA WAKELAND BYRD
IRVING, P.J., FAIR AND WESTBROOKS, JJ.
Marquis Saunders was convicted of one count of first-degree
murder and one count of car theft in the Second Judicial
District of Harrison County. He was sentenced to life in
prison for the murder conviction and five years for car
theft, with the sentences to run concurrently. Saunders filed
a motion for a judgment notwithstanding the verdict (JNOV),
or for a new trial, which the circuit court denied. Saunders
now appeals. After review of the record, we affirm.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
After living in New York, Saunders moved to D'Iberville,
Mississippi to stay with his girlfriend, Shantile Torres, and
her daughter. Shantile and her daughter lived with Jamel
Jones and his wife Maxine for four months prior to Saunders
moving in with them. Testimony presented at trial stated that
Saunders and Jones had an amicable relationship and that they
never had any arguments or disagreements.
On the morning of January 31, 2015, Jones took Maxine to work
in a white 2004 Ford Explorer SUV that the couple shared.
Jones's daughter Starquasha Colon testified that she was
supposed to ride with Jones to the store, but he left her.
Shortly after Jones left their home, Colon testified that she
heard what sounded like gunshots. Colon stated that she
attempted to contact her father after hearing gunshots, but
he did not answer her calls.
Colon stated that she went outside after hearing a commotion.
Torres's daughter exclaimed that Saunders shot Jones.
Colon shortly found her father lying face-down on the ground
in blood. The autopsy revealed that Jones's cause of
death was multiple gunshot wounds. Colon also testified that
she noticed the family's white SUV was gone.
Several neighbors testified that they heard about five or six
gunshots that day. O.V. Smith stated that he actually saw
Saunders fire two shots at Jones and then drive away in the
family's white SUV. Approximately thirty minutes after
the shooting, law enforcement officers found Saunders driving
Jones's 2004 Ford Explorer. No gun ever was retrieved
from the SUV; however, Saunders's hands tested positive
for gunshot residue.
Following a trial, Saunders was found guilty of one count of
first-degree murder and one count of car theft. He was
sentenced to life in prison for murder and five years for his
car theft conviction. The trial court ordered the sentences
to run concurrently. Saunders filed a JNOV motion, or for a
new trial, which the trial court denied. Saunders now