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Stuckey v. State

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

April 17, 2018

EARNEST STUCKEY APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI APPELLEE

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 12/13/2016

          WASHINGTON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, HON. W. ASHLEY HINES

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: OFFICE OF STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER BY: ERIN ELIZABETH BRIGGS

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY: KAYLYN HAVRILLA MCCLINTON

          DISTRICT ATTORNEY: WILLIE DEWAYNE RICHARDSON

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

          WESTBROOKS, J.

         ¶1. The grand jury of Washington County indicted Earnest Stuckey for one count of first- degree murder with a firearm enhancement. Following a jury trial, Stuckey was convicted of second-degree murder with a firearm enhancement and sentenced to forty years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC) and five years for the firearm enhancement, to run consecutively. Stuckey filed a motion for a judgment notwithstanding the verdict (JNOV), or for a new trial, which the trial court denied. Stuckey timely appeals. After review of the record, we affirm.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         ¶2. In late 2013 or 2014, Stuckey met Jennifer Triplett. The pair began dating and moved in with each other in Greenville, Mississippi. They often referred to each other as "husband" and "wife." Jennifer's brother, Arthur Triplett, [1] would stay with Stuckey and Jennifer from time to time, and several witnesses testified that Stuckey and Arthur had a good relationship. Sharnika Laws, Arthur's niece, testified that she considered Stuckey and Arthur to be friends, and Stuckey also referred to Arthur as his "brother-in-law."

         ¶3. In January 2015, Jennifer, Stuckey, Arthur, Sharnika, and Sharnika's daughter were visiting out at Jennifer and Stuckey's home. Jennifer testified that some of the guests were consuming beer and alcohol. At some point in the evening, Clifford "Cliff" Gray stopped by the home. Stuckey testified that Arthur and Cliff were involved in a heated exchange regarding loud music that Cliff was playing when he entered Jennifer and Stuckey's home.

         ¶4. Jennifer testified that shortly after this exchange, everyone left except Arthur and Stuckey. Jennifer stated that Clifford left, because she called the police after Cliff and Arthur's brief exchange. Jennifer testified that while she was in her daughter's room she heard Stuckey and Arthur loudly yelling. Jennifer stated that she left the house and drove to a gas station because she had a headache. After about ten minutes, Jennifer's niece, Sharnika, arrived at the gas station.

         ¶5. Sharnika testified that after speaking with Jennifer at the gas station, she drove to Jennifer's home to locate Arthur. Sharnika stated that as soon as Stuckey opened the door, she saw a big puddle of blood at the front door and that when she asked Stuckey about Arthur's whereabouts, Stuckey replied, "I shot him." Further, Sharnika stated that Stuckey falsely informed her that an ambulance came to pick up Arthur. She stated that she believed him because Stuckey's demeanor was calm. However, moments later Sharnika and her Aunt Marsha found Arthur lying in the street right down from Jennifer and Stuckey's home. Arthur had been shot, and he was bleeding. Sharnika stated that she tried to stop the bleeding by applying pressure to the wound while Marsha prayed. Shortly after, the police and the ambulance arrived to care for Arthur; however, Arthur later died from his injuries.

         ¶6. Cordell Daniels, an officer with the Greenville Police Department at the time, arrived to Jennifer and Stuckey's home. Officer Adams and Officer Michael Hollingsworth also were at the scene shortly after Arthur's body was discovered in the street. Officer Daniels testified that Stuckey admitted to shooting Arthur or "his brother-in-law" after Arthur lunged at him twice. However, Officers Daniels and Hollingsworth testified that there were ...


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