JOHN BATTLE, JR. A/K/A JOHN BATTLE A/K/A JOHN WESTLEY BATTLE, JR. APPELLANT
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI APPELLEE
OF JUDGMENT: 02/12/2016
COAHOMA COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT HON. ALBERT B. SMITH III
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: AZKI SHAH
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY:
BARBARA WAKELAND BYRD
DISTRICT ATTORNEY: BRENDA FAY MITCHELL
GRIFFIS, P.J., CARLTON AND WILSON, JJ.
John Battle was convicted of deliberate design murder and
sentenced to life imprisonment following a jury trial in the
Coahoma County Circuit Court. On appeal, Battle argues that
there is insufficient evidence to support the conviction,
that the jury's verdict is against the overwhelming
weight of the evidence, and that his trial counsel provided
ineffective assistance. We find no error and affirm
Battle's conviction and sentence. We decline to address
his ineffective assistance claim because the record is not
sufficient to address the claim on direct appeal.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Around 9 p.m. on March 27, 2012, Patrick Williams and his
girlfriend, Tanedra Christian, were sitting on the porch of
Christian's home in Jonestown in Coahoma County. A white
car, later identified as belonging to Clyde Chatman Jr.,
drove past Christian's house, turned around, and drove by
again. Chatman had bought Christian gifts in the past, and
she knew that he was interested in her romantically.
Christian testified that Williams watched the car drive by,
stood up, and walked toward the street. Williams then said,
"[T]hey won't stop playing with me." After the
car passed by, Williams left Christian's porch and began
walking toward his home nearby. As Christian started to walk
back inside her home, she heard gunshots. She ran inside and
told her sister to go look for Williams. Christian did not
see who fired the shots and had not seen anyone nearby except
for the white car.
Byron and Toshemah Cosby own a nearby gas station. They heard
the gunshots, but they did not go outside immediately because
customers were waiting on them. When they went outside a few
minutes later, they found Williams lying on the ground.
Toshemah testified that Williams called to her for help and
said that "those motherfuckers from Friars Point"
had shot him. Williams had been shot three times in the back.
He died at the scene a few minutes later.
Deputy Myette Dawson of the Coahoma County Sheriff's
Department testified that within about an hour he had
received tips identifying Chatman, Battle, and Reginald Cox
as potential suspects. All three were brought in for questioning,
and Dawson obtained gunshot residue samples from each man.
Chief Deputy Fernando Bee testified that prior to
Williams's murder, he saw Chatman driving his white Crown
Victoria in Jonestown. Bee initially testified that he
thought he saw Chatman around 6 p.m., but he later
acknowledged that he was uncertain of the time and that it
could have been later. Bee could see two more people inside
Chatman's car, but he could not identify them. Bee knew
that Chatman was from Friars Point, and he wondered what he
was doing driving around Jonestown. Later that evening, Bee
heard gunshots, and someone flagged him down near the gas
station where Williams had been shot. Williams had lost
consciousness by the time Bee arrived.
After Battle was arrested, he asked to speak to Bee. Bee
testified that he gave Battle a Miranda warning, and
Battle then gave a voluntary statement. According to Bee,
Battle admitted that he was in a car in Jonestown with
Chatman and Cox on the night that Williams was killed. Battle
claimed that Williams reached inside their car and hit
Chatman. Battle then "heard a gunshot, " and
Williams ran away. Battle admitted that he then "reached
out of the car and . . . took a couple of shots at
Williams" as Williams fled. Battle stated that he,
Chatman, and Cox then drove back to Friars Point, and he
tossed the gun into a field along the way. ...