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Jones v. State

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

May 8, 2018

CARLOS C. JONES A/K/A CARLOS JONES A/K/A CARLOS J. JONES APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI APPELLEE

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 10/18/2016

          JEFFERSON DAVIS COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, HON. PRENTISS GREENE HARRELL, 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.

          BEFORE IRVING, P.J., BARNES AND WILSON, JJ.

          IRVING, P.J.

         ¶1. Carlos Jones appeals his conviction for second-degree murder, alleging three issues: (1) the trial court erred in admitting a video depicting testimonial evidence; (2) the trial court erred in refusing to allow his witness to testify as an expert; and (3) his trial counsel was constitutionally ineffective. Finding no reversible error, we affirm.

         FACTS

         ¶2. At the time of the events giving rise to trial, Jones and his wife, Tabatha Smith, were living with Tabatha's two children in Jefferson Davis County, Mississippi. Jones testified that on the morning of December 5, 2014, he awoke, got out of bed, and left his and Tabatha's bedroom to wake the children. Upon returning to the bedroom, he and Tabatha-who was awake but still in bed at this point-began "fussing."[1] Tabatha rolled over onto the handgun that Jones kept under his pillow and said, "You and this gun." Jones pulled the gun out from under the pillow and assured Tabatha that it was not loaded. He then put the gun in the back pocket of his pants, but it fell through a hole in the pocket and hit the floor. Jones later testified at trial as follows:

         BY DEFENSE COUNSEL

Q. And you're not saying [the gun] fired when it hit the floor?
A. I'm not saying it fired when it hit the floor. I'm saying when I grabbed it, I don't know how did I [sic] grab it, the gun went off. I know [sic]. I didn't even know how many times she was shot until, you know, I - -I just - - when she - - when that gun went off, she sa[id], "I told you." I looked at my wife. She was bleeding.
* * * *

A. When I was coming up, the gun went off.

BY THE PROSECUTOR

Q: All right. So you - - you're saying apparently that you didn't even pull the trigger.

A. I don't know how I retrieved that gun. . . .
** * *
Q. Well, where did you point the gun when you came up?
A. I didn't - - I didn't know it hit her. I just heard it go off. She just said,
"I told you." I didn't point the gun.
** * *
A. In my attention [sic], I think the gun just shot. I didn't pull no trigger on no gun [sic]. It was an accident. It was an accident.

         ¶3. According to Jones, Tabatha, upon realizing that she had been shot, said, "I told you." Jones asserted that Tabatha told him not to call 911 because it would take too long, so he dragged her out of the house and placed her into the back seat of his car. Then, with Tabatha's two children in the front seat, he drove to Prentiss Regional Hospital.

         ¶4. Jones testified that when he reached the emergency room, he shouted for help from a man standing nearby. The man, later identified as Antonio McClendon, helped Jones alert the nurses, who loaded Tabatha into a wheelchair and admitted her. Tabatha was still conscious at this point.

         ¶5. McClendon later testified at trial that he had been standing outside of an apartment complex near the emergency room when Jones drove up. He recognized Jones and Tabatha from meeting them on a prior occasion and walked over to the hospital to investigate. McClendon further testified:

Q. Okay. Did [Jones] tell you what had happened to her?
A. After - - after we got her out [of the car and into the hospital], he was - - he was saying that, you know, there was some kind of - - it was early in the morning. He was - - you know, they was just [sic], you know, having words I guess or whatever, and he was, like, he was playing with her with - - with the gun, you know, like, ["Y]ou going to get this right here. Now give me some, ["] you know.
I guess something they always do [sic]. You know, I don't know. You know, that's what he was telling me. And he was, like, such and such, and the gun went off and ...

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