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Shepherd v. State

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

September 18, 2018

DEVIN SHEPHERD A/K/A DEVIN RAY SHEPHERD APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI APPELLEE

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 06/08/2017

          COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: HON. GERALD W. CHATHAM SR. DESOTO COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT TRIAL JUDGE

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT: OFFICE OF STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER BY: BENJAMIN A. SUBER GEORGE T. HOLMES.

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

          BEFORE LEE, C.J., FAIR AND WILSON, JJ.

          LEE, C.J.

         ¶1. Following a jury trial in the Circuit Court of DeSoto County, Mississippi, Devin Shepherd was convicted of home-invasion burglary in violation of Mississippi Code Annotated section 97-17-23(1)-(2) (Rev. 2014) and sentenced to serve seven years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections, with four years suspended upon completion of an anger-management program and a drug-and-alcohol treatment program, and with three years of postrelease supervision. Shepherd was credited with time served while awaiting trial. He was ordered to pay fines and court costs and also ordered to have no contact with the victim or the victim's family. Shepherd now appeals his conviction. Finding no error, we affirm.

         FACTS

         ¶2. On January 11, 2016, Officer Christopher Rainbolt with the Southaven Police Department responded to a dispatch call to 2207 Colonial Hills Drive in Southaven, Mississippi. When Officer Rainbolt arrived, he spoke with Eva Steverson, the owner of the residence, who made the 911 call. Officer Rainbolt investigated the scene and learned that Shepherd had entered Eva's home and was beating on the door threatening Franklin Steverson, Eva's grandson. Officer Rainbolt noticed and took pictures of a busted door frame and door to the Steverson residence, damage to the laundry room-door, and a broken bedroom window. Officer Rainbolt found Shepherd two blocks away from the home.

         ¶3. At Shepherd's trial, Eva testified that she lived with her husband and with her grandson, Franklin. On the date of the burglary, Eva heard her door slam and then heard beating on one of the bedroom doors. She went to the bedroom door where she saw Shepherd beating on the door and telling Franklin "come out of there," and that he was "going to kill him." Eva testified that she told Shepherd to leave her home and that she was going to call the police. Then, Shepherd ran down the hall in front of Eva and punched one of her doors, breaking two slated pieces. He also went out to the den door and "kicked it and punched the trim around it." Eva stated that Shepherd told her he was going to kill her grandson. Eva also testified regarding an incident with Shepherd two days prior to the burglary. On January 9, 2016, Shepherd was on her front porch, and she told him to leave. She stated that Franklin was drinking a cup of coffee on the porch, and Shepherd started beating on him. Eva told Shepherd to stop, and he pushed her. Franklin then stabbed Shepherd in the leg with a kitchen knife. Eva testified that she was scared of Shepherd for Franklin.

         ¶4. Franklin also testified at Shepherd's trial. According to Franklin, he knew Shepherd only as an acquaintance since eighth grade, but the two were not friends because Shepherd "was always a bully." Franklin stated that he never invited Shepherd to his house, and that his grandparents told Shepherd to leave every time he came over. Franklin stated that Shepherd forced himself around Franklin and that his grandparents did not allow Shepherd over and had called the police on him before. Franklin testified that on the day of the burglary, Shepherd "jerked open the screen door" which was "locked, but he jerked it out of place." Franklin was standing in the hallway when he saw Shepherd had entered the house. Franklin stated he ran to his room because Shepherd was "coming back to retaliate, to kill me." Franklin put a wooden board under his bedroom-door handle and said that Shepherd "started beating on the door, and he said he was going to kill me multiple times." Because Shepherd could not get in Franklin's room from inside the house, Shepherd ran outside to the window and kicked the window. He was not able to knock out the window but broke the glass. Franklin believed that Shepherd was there to retaliate for an altercation that happened on January 9, 2016. According to Franklin, two days prior to the burglary, Shepherd showed up at the Steverson house uninvited. Franklin told him to leave, but Shepherd refused. Franklin testified that Shepherd smirked at him and started punching him in the face. Eva witnessed the event and became very upset, and then Shepherd pushed Eva. Franklin stated he grabbed a kitchen knife and stabbed Shepherd in the leg. Shepherd continued to hit Franklin in the face and would not leave the house. Franklin threw some things at Shepherd. The police were called, but no charges were pressed. Franklin stated he hoped that Shepherd would "leave [him] alone and not come back, but he did." Franklin testified that he believed Shepherd came back on January 11, 2016, to retaliate for the incident two days prior, and that he was afraid Shepherd was going to kill him.

         ¶5. Shepherd also testified on his own behalf. He stated that he and Franklin had been close friends for years who simply "got into an argument." He said that he spent a lot of time at the Steverson house, that he "h[u]ng out with them quite frequently," and that he and Franklin smoked weed together. Shepherd admitted he went to the Steverson house drunk on the date of the burglary incident and entered without knocking. He also admitted to breaking the window when he left but blamed it on being drunk. He stated he made "a bad decision to go over there," that he "trespassed," and "maybe vandali[zed]," but he denied that he committed burglary.

         ¶6. The jury found Shepherd guilty of home-invasion burglary. He now appeals his conviction arguing (1) that there was insufficient evidence to support his conviction and (2) that the ...


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