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Wise v. State

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

July 24, 2018

CHRISTOPHER WISE A/K/A CHRISTOPHER DONTARIUS WISE A/K/A CHRISTOPHER D. WISE APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI APPELLEE

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 03/14/2017

          COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: HINDS COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, FIRST JUDICIAL DISTRICT TRIAL JUDGE: HON. JEFF WEILL SR.

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: JEFFERY KENDRICK HARNESS

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY: JOSEPH SCOTT HEMLEBEN

          DISTRICT ATTORNEY: ROBERT SHULER SMITH

          BEFORE LEE, C.J., BARNES AND WESTBROOKS, JJ.

          LEE, C.J.

         PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         ¶1. On June 26, 2015, Christopher Wise was indicted for the murder of Jerrell Brown. A jury in the Hinds County Circuit Court, First Judicial District, convicted Wise of manslaughter. Wise was sentenced to serve twenty years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections. He now appeals, asserting the following issues: (1) the State committed a discovery violation; (2) the trial court erred in denying his motion for speedy trial; (3) the trial court erred in denying his motion for a directed verdict; (4) the trial court erred in denying his jury instruction; and (5) the evidence was insufficient to convict him of manslaughter. Finding no error, we affirm.

         FACTS

         ¶2. On the night of January 25, 2015, in Jackson, Mississippi, Marcus Ware testified that he received a call from Brown asking to buy drugs. Ware told Brown to come to his apartment and purchase the drugs from Wise. Brown came to the apartment, bought ecstasy pills and marijuana from Wise, and then left the apartment. Later, Brown called Ware complaining that the pills were not effective. Ware said that Brown indicated he was coming back to Ware's apartment. Ware stated that Wise waited on Brown, but left when Brown failed to show. Shortly after, Wise called Ware and told him that he had shot Brown. According to Ware, Wise implied that Brown had tried to rob him. Wise then told Ware, "You ain't seen nothing. You don't know nothing."

         ¶3. Benard Vaughn, Brown's cousin, testified that he and Brown were with friends who wanted ecstasy. Brown then called Ware and asked for help in purchasing ecstasy and marijuana. Ware told them to come to his apartment and buy the drugs from Wise. Later at Ware's apartment, Brown purchased $100 worth of ecstasy pills and marijuana from Wise. According to both Vaughn and Wise, Brown pulled a large amount of cash from his pocket in order to pay for the drugs. Vaughn stated that he and Brown left to share the drugs with friends at a nearby apartment.

         ¶4. After several hours, Vaughn went to wait for Brown in Brown's car. While waiting in the passenger seat, Vaughn fell asleep. He was roused by Brown, who told Vaughn that they were leaving. Vaughn fell back asleep and remained asleep until a police officer woke him and informed him that Brown had been shot. Vaughn then saw Brown's body slumped over in the driver's seat of the car. Vaughn testified that he knew Brown had called Ware complaining that the pills Wise had sold him were not effective. Vaughn also stated that Brown was not carrying his weapon that night.

         ¶5. Alvin McDaniel, a patrolman with the Jackson Police Department (JPD), responded to the scene. McDaniel saw a white car with the driver's side door ajar. A deceased male, later determined to be Brown, was slumped over in the driver's seat with one leg partially protruding from the car. McDaniel noticed another male in the passenger's side seat who was sleeping. McDaniel also found a holstered gun on the driver's side floorboard.

         ¶6. Detective Ella Thomas with JPD testified that she investigated Brown's murder. Detective Thomas noted that Brown's car had blood on the outside and inside of the driver's side door. Brown's holstered gun was found on the floorboard under his legs. Three shell casings from a .9 mm handgun were found at the scene.

         ¶7. After locating Wise several months later, Detective Thomas interviewed him. Wise told her that Brown had threatened him with a gun, but that he was able to grab his gun and shoot at Brown over his left shoulder. Wise said Brown then ran away.

         ¶8. Robert Watts, a crime scene investigator with JPD, testified that he recovered three spent shell casings from the scene and that the location of the shell casings indicated the shooter was moving. Watts testified that "[t]he shooter started in the parking lot, moved ...


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