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Chatman v. State

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

April 17, 2018

CLYDE CHATMAN, JR. A/K/A CLYDE CHATMAN A/K/A LITTLE CLYDE APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI APPELLEE

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 02/26/2016

          MOTION FOR REHEARING FILED DATE: 10/31/2017

          COAHOMA COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT HON. CHARLES E. WEBSTER

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: OFFICE OF STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER BY: JUSTIN TAYLOR COOK

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY: LAURA HOGAN TEDDER DISTRICT

          ATTORNEY: BRENDA FAY MITCHELL

         EN BANC.

          BARNES, J.

         MODIFIED OPINION ON MOTION FOR REHEARING

         ¶1. The motion for rehearing is denied. The previous opinion of this Court is withdrawn, and this opinion is substituted in its place.

         ¶2. Clyde Chatman was convicted of the murder of Patrick Williams and sentenced to life imprisonment with eligibility for parole. After his post-trial motions were denied, he appealed, arguing the sufficiency and weight of the evidence do not support the verdict, and testimony regarding an accomplice's statement to law enforcement violated his right to confront witnesses under the Confrontation Clause. Finding no error, we affirm.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         ¶3. On the evening of March 27, 2012, Williams was visiting his girlfriend, Tanedra Christian, in Jonestown, Mississippi. While the two were talking and kissing on her front porch, a white car drove by her house, turned around, and came back up the road. Williams abruptly left and walked up the road toward his house, ignoring Christian's calling out after him. A few minutes later, Christian heard gunshots. Larry Wiley, a neighbor, and Toshema Crosby, the owner of a nearby gas station, also heard shooting, and Crosby found Williams lying on the ground outside her store with gunshot wounds. When she asked Williams who shot him, he replied: "Those mother f***ers from Friars Point." Crosby called 911 and contacted Williams's aunt, Shamon Williams. When Shamon arrived, Williams told her that "Little Clyde and them" had shot him and that they were driving a "white car." The first officer on the scene was Deputy Stephen James, who heard Williams say, "I'm gonna get those mother f***ers. They shot me." Williams died at the scene.

         ¶4. Law enforcement recovered .25-caliber shell casings in the road nearby; forensic testing indicated the casings were all fired from the same gun. By the following day, law enforcement had arrested Friars Point residents Chatman, John Battle, and Reginald Cox for Williams's murder. The three suspects were tested for gunshot residue (GSR) and submitted buccal swabs. Law enforcement also tested a white Crown Victoria titled to Chatman's mother for GSR and fingerprints, as well as a glove found in the back seat. A search was conducted for the weapon in Friars Point, Mississippi, but it was never located.

         ¶5. On May 30, 2013, Chatman, Battle, and Cox were co-indicted for deliberate-design murder. See Miss. Code Ann. § 97-3-19(1)(a) (Rev. 2006).[1] Chatman and Cox were tried on February 16-18, 2016, in Coahoma County Circuit Court.[2]

         ¶6. Christian, Williams's girlfriend, testified that before Williams left her home, he said "something about he was tired of something." She also testified that Chatman had expressed a romantic interest in her, bringing her a toy bear and flowers on Valentine's Day. Shameka Cox, Cox's mother, also lived in Jonestown and said Cox and Chatman had visited her that evening. She noted it was odd since Cox never came to visit her.

         ¶7. Deputy Fernando Bee of the Coahoma County Sheriff's Department testified he had seen Chatman driving a white Crown Victoria in Jonestown the night Williams was shot. He noted two persons in the car with Chatman. Deputy Bee, who was off duty, was talking with another individual in the yard of a Jonestown home when he heard shooting. After he learned Williams had been shot, he went home to get ready for work and then returned to the scene. Chatman's sister later phoned Deputy Bee to inform him that Chatman wanted to turn himself in.

         ¶8. A forensic pathologist, Dr. Mark LeVaughn, testified that Williams sustained three gunshot wounds: two to the right side of his back, and one to the right forearm. He determined the shots were not fired at close range. DNA results for the rear passenger-door grip of the Crown Victoria and the glove found in the car "contained a profile consistent" with Chatman. Forensic testing also revealed "particles indicative of gunshot residue" on Chatman's palms. There were also GSR particles found on Battle's and Cox's hands and located "behind [the] driver seat and headrest."

         ¶9. Chatman testified that he was in Jonestown, driving the white Crown Victoria with the windows down. His version of events was that Williams ran up to his car and "attacked" him. Then Chatman heard gunshots and saw Battle shooting a gun. In shock, he drove home to Friars Point. He denied having a gun and shooting Williams. He admitted that he liked Christian, claiming the two had relations in the past. He had planned to drive by ...


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