CHAD SANDERS A/K/A CHAD RAEL SANDERS A/K/A CHAD R. SANDERS APPELLANT
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI APPELLEE
OF JUDGMENT: 12/09/2016
FROM WHICH APPEALED: PIKE COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT HON. DAVID H.
OF STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER BENJAMIN A. SUBER, GEORGE T. HOLMES
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT:
OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL KAYLYN HAVRILLA MCCLINTON ATTORNEY
BATES DISTRICT ATTORNEY
GRIFFIS, P.J., BARNES AND GREENLEE, JJ.
Chad Sanders was convicted of first-degree murder and
possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Sanders was
sentenced to life for the first-degree murder charge and five
years for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, with
the sentences to run consecutively. He was ordered to pay a
$7, 000 fine, restitution in the amount of $6, 500 to the
Crime Victim's Compensation Fund, and all court costs.
Sanders subsequently filed a motion for a judgment
notwithstanding the verdict (JNOV) and a motion for a new
trial, which the circuit court denied. Sanders now appeals
and argues an insufficiency of the evidence and ineffective
assistance of counsel. Upon review, we find no error and
Sufficiency of the Evidence
Sanders first argues the evidence is insufficient to support
his convictions. "A motion for [a JNOV] implicates the
sufficiency of the evidence." Lenoir v. State,
224 So.3d 85, 90 (¶18) (Miss. 2017). When reviewing a
case for sufficiency of the evidence, "[t]his Court
considers each element of the offense and reviews all of the
evidence in the light most favorable to the verdict."
Id. "[We] must accept as true all credible
evidence consistent with guilt" and "give the State
the benefit of all favorable inferences that may reasonably
be drawn from the evidence." Id. at 90-91
(¶18) (internal quotation mark omitted). "[We] may
reverse only when, with respect to one or more of the
elements of the offense charged, the evidence so considered
is such that reasonable and fair-minded jurors could only
find the accused not guilty." Id. at 91
(¶18) (internal quotation mark omitted). "Thus, if
any rational trier of fact could have found each and every
one of the elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt,
when viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the
prosecution, the verdict must stand." Id.
Sanders was convicted of the first-degree murder of Timothy
Butler. First-degree murder is defined as "[t]he killing
of a human being without the authority of law by any means or
in any manner . . . [w]hen done with deliberate design to
effect the death of the person killed, or of any human
being." Miss. Code Ann. § 97-3-19(1)(a) (Rev.
Sanders claims "the State failed to prove that [his]
actions . . . cause[d] [Butler's] death." However,
the trial testimony shows that two people, Andrew Barnes and
Kevin Brown, witnessed Sanders shoot and kill Butler. Barnes
testified that he heard multiple gunshots and saw Sanders
shoot Butler. According to Barnes, prior to the shooting,
Butler was outside of Sanders's house, leaning against a
car, facing Sanders and talking to him. Barnes explained that
Butler put his hands up defensively to shield himself from
the bullets, but "was steady going down."
Additionally, Brown testified that he heard multiple gunshots
and saw Butler "scrambling for his life . . . trying to
get away from [Sanders]." However, according to Brown,
"[Sanders] was pursuing ...