OF JUDGMENT: 03/08/2017
HARRISON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, SECOND JUDICIAL DISTRICT HON.
CHRISTOPHER LOUIS SCHMIDT TRIAL JUDGE.
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: OFFICE OF STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER BY:
ERIN ELIZABETH BRIGGS
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY:
BARBARA WAKELAND BYRD
DISTRICT ATTORNEY: JOEL SMITH .
LEE, C.J., BARNES AND TINDELL, JJ.
Chris Fairley was convicted of murder and sentenced to life
in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections.
In this appeal, we must determine whether Fairley's right
to confront a witness against him was violated and whether
the evidence was sufficient to support his conviction.
Finding no error, we affirm.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
It is undisputed that Fairley shot and killed his cousin,
Mark Fairley, outside of a local shaved-ice stand in Biloxi,
Mississippi, on July 15, 2015. Although Fairley claimed to
have shot Mark in self-defense, a Harrison County Circuit
Court jury found Fairley guilty of deliberate-design murder
in violation of Mississippi Code Annotated section
97-3-19(1)(a) (Rev. 2014).
On the day in question, Fairley, his pregnant girlfriend, and
their two minor children arrived at the shaved-ice stand.
Fairley's girlfriend, MeShawn McCauley, exited the car to
retrieve shaved ice for the family. Shortly after, Mark drove
into the parking lot, parking near Fairley's car.
According to Fairley, he and Mark had a strained
relationship. Fairley testified that Mark had threatened to
kill him in the past. Witnesses disagreed as to whether
McCauley first confronted Mark or whether Mark first
confronted both Fairley and McCauley. Regardless, after
arguing, all three retreated to their respective cars. Mark
got into his car and proceeded to back away, but exited his
car and continued arguing with Fairley. At some point,
Fairley reached into his car, grabbed a gun, and shot Mark.
Two eyewitnesses observed the shooting. One witness, Gary
Gage, testified that he was sitting in his car at the
shaved-ice stand when he saw Fairley and McCauley arguing
with Mark. The other eyewitness, John Condon, was in a local
gym that shared a parking lot with the shaved-ice stand. Both
saw Fairley shoot Mark and continue to shoot Mark several
more times as Mark turned back toward his car. Neither one
saw a weapon in Mark's hands or thought Fairley was in
any danger from Mark. Gage estimated that Fairley and Mark
were standing approximately fifteen feet apart when Fairley
fired the first shot.
Dr. Mark LeVaughn, chief medical examiner for the State of
Mississippi, testified that Mark had been shot three times,
with the fatal gunshot wound to Mark's head. Fairley
objected to Dr. LeVaughn's testimony since Dr. LeVaughn
had not performed the autopsy. The trial court overruled
According to testimony by police officers who responded to
the scene, no weapon was found in Mark's car or on the
ground near Mark's car. ...