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Smith v. State

Supreme Court of Mississippi

August 9, 2018

RICKIE OMAR SMITH a/k/a RICKIE SMITH
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 06/16/2017

          CLAIBORNE COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT HON. LAMAR PICKARD, JUDGE

          TRIAL COURT ATTORNEYS: DANIELLA MARIE SHORTER M. A. BASS, JR.

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT: OFFICE OF THE STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER BY: MOLLIE M. McMILLIN GEORGE T. HOLMES

          GEORGE T. HOLMES ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY: ALICIA AINSWORTH

          DISTRICT ATTORNEY: ALEXANDER C. MARTIN

          BEFORE WALLER, C.J., COLEMAN AND MAXWELL, JJ.

          COLEMAN, JUSTICE

         ¶1. Rickie Omar Smith was indicted on one count of armed robbery in violation of Mississippi Code Section 97-3-79 (Rev. 2014) and one count of burglary of a dwelling in violation of Mississippi Code Section 97-17-23 (Rev. 2014). The jury found Smith guilty on both counts, and the circuit court sentenced Smith to thirty years for armed robbery and twenty-five years for burglary of a dwelling, with the sentences to run concurrently. Following the denial of Smith's post trial motions, he appeals, arguing that the evidence was insufficient to sustain the jury's verdict for armed robbery. Because the evidence was sufficient to sustain the jury's verdict for armed robbery, we affirm.

         FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         ¶2. One evening in April 2016, Jessica Joe-Cobblah Turner, a student at Alcorn State University, studied for exams at her home in Port Gibson, Mississippi. Around 10:00 p.m., Jessica told her fiancé Joe Turner that she was going to sleep. Joe told Jessica he was going out with friends, and Jessica went to sleep. Jessica woke up when Joe came back in the house around 11:00 p.m. to change clothes. Joe left and Jessica went back to sleep. Some time later, Jessica woke up when she heard something fall in the bathroom. At the same time, she heard a knock at the door. Thinking it was Joe, she went to the door and asked who was there. Jessica did not recognize the voice and she heard a second man at the door. They demanded that Jessica open the door. While standing at the door, she heard a kitchen window break.

         ¶3. Jessica went to get her phone and called Joe to tell him that people were breaking in, but Joe did not answer. While she was trying to call Joe, a tall man approached her from the back and started choking her. Jessica believed that the tall man had come through the bathroom window. The tall man later was identified as Smith. Smith forced Jessica to the door where the two other men were waiting outside. Smith threatened to kill Jessica unless she opened the door; Jessica opened the door and a man with a medium build entered the house pointing a handgun at Jessica. The third man remained at the door as a lookout. Smith and the other man forced Jessica to a chair and began asking where "random stuff" was located, including Joe's gun and money. Smith had a covering on his face, but it kept falling down, so she was able to see his entire face. Jessica observed a tattoo on Smith's forehead.

         ¶4. Jessica, who was about to leave for military training, had two months of rent saved up in her bedroom. In an effort to delay in case Joe returned and because she did not want to give up her money, she responded that she did not know. Smith began to push Jessica around and said "Stop playing with me, bitch." Smith said, "You're lying to us" and began hitting Jessica. Smith and the other man passed the handgun back and forth between one another. Smith put the handgun to Jessica's head, saying "I'll kill you now, bitch, if you don't stop playing with me." Jessica was terrified and thought she was going to die. Smith continued to hit and threaten Jessica. Smith held a knife to her neck and she told them she would take them to the money.

         ¶5. They threw Jessica to the floor, and the other man put the gun to the back of her head. Smith put the knife to Jessica's neck and said, "Bitch, I'll kill you right now if you keep playing with me." Jessica responded, "I'm taking you to the money." She led the men to the bedroom, which they ransacked. The men took $400 or more from the bedroom. At trial, photos of the ransacked bedroom were admitted into evidence.

         ¶6. They demanded more money and Joe's gun, but Jessica told them that she did not know where more money or the gun were. The men took Jessica to the dining room, where she was left with Smith. Smith began punching Jessica, demanding more money. One of the other men said to Smith, "Watch that bitch. Make sure she don't move." Smith responded, "She's not going to move. I'm going to kill her if she moves." One of the other men told Smith, "Shoot that bitch. Shoot that bitch. I don't give a f***. Shoot that bitch." Smith responded, "If she acts stupid, I'm going to shoot her."

         ¶7. Meanwhile, the other men were walking through the house looking for other items. At trial, photos of the ransacked kitchen, dining room, and laundry room were admitted. Smith tied up Jessica with a vacuum cord and retrieved Jessica's BB gun. Smith tried to shoot Jessica with the BB gun, but it would not shoot. Smith turned the BB gun around and tried to hit Jessica with the butt of the gun, then one of the other men said, "we've got to go." Smith dropped the BB gun, and the three men left the house.

         ¶8. Jessica waited a few minutes and called the police. Jessica was taken to the emergency room. Jessica described the items that had been taken during the robbery, including a red designer belt, to law enforcement. From a photo line-up, Jessica identified Smith as one of the men who had robbed her and burglarized her home. Later, at the trial, Jessica testified that she was 100 percent sure that Smith was one of the men who had robbed her and burglarized her home. Jessica also testified that Smith had the same forehead tattoo at the time of trial that she had observed during the robbery and burglary.

         ¶9. Isaiah Anderson testified at trial. Anderson testified that he had known Smith a/k/a "Big Slim" for a few weeks prior to April 2016. Anderson had heard about the robbery and spoke with Smith a day or two later. Smith told Anderson that he had just "hit a lick" and offered to sell him a PlayStation and a red designer belt. Smith showed Anderson the PlayStation and red designer belt that Anderson presumed had been taken during the robbery. Smith told Anderson that someone who committed the robbery with him had told Smith to shoot the victim, but Smith did not.

         ¶10. Smith took the stand in his defense. Smith denied breaking into Jessica's house. Smith testified that he was in another county when the robbery occurred. Smith denied being associated with the other two men involved in the robbery. Smith admitted that he knew Anderson and had hung out with him a number of times. Smith denied offering to sell any items to Anderson. Smith testified that Anderson had been a jailer, but he had been caught bringing contraband into the facility where he had worked. Smith testified that Anderson was in jail with one of the men involved in the robbery, who had told him what ...


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