BYRON ARMSTRONG A/K/A BYRON J. ARMSTRONG A/K/A BYRON JAMELL ARMSTRONG APPELLANT
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI APPELLEE
OF JUDGMENT: 02/16/2017
COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT HON. JON MARK WEATHERS JUDGE
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: OFFICE OF STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER BY:
ERIN ELIZABETH BRIGGS
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY:
KATY TAYLOR GERBER
DISTRICT ATTORNEY: PATRICIA A. THOMAS BURCHELL
IRVING, P.J., CARLTON AND GREENLEE, JJ.
Byron Armstrong was convicted of murder and possession of a
weapon by a convicted felon. Armstrong was sentenced as a
violent habitual offender to two life-without-parole
sentences, with the sentences to be served concurrently in
the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections.
Finding no arguable issue for appeal, Armstrong's
appellate counsel filed a brief pursuant to Lindsey v.
State, 939 So.2d 743 (Miss. 2005). This Court gave
Armstrong additional time to file a supplemental brief, which
he has not done.
Armstrong admittedly killed James Hartfield but claimed he
did so in necessary self- defense. Hartfield had confronted
Armstrong about a drug sale that had occurred the previous
day. Hartfield felt that Armstrong had not given him all of
the pills for which he had paid. The confrontation occurred
at Jerome McLeod's house. McLeod was Armstrong's
grandfather, and Armstrong was living with him at the time.
McLeod testified that he had seen Armstrong with a gun
sometime during the week prior to Hartfield's death, but
he did not see Armstrong with the gun on the day of
Hartfield's death. When Hartfield arrived at the house,
McLeod spoke with him, and Hartfield showed him a bag of
pills. McLeod testified that he did not see Hartfield
carrying a gun.
Andrew Krause testified that he drove Hartfield to
McLeod's house to find Armstrong. Krause, waiting in the
car, saw Hartfield knock on the door and then go around the
side of McLeod's house. A few minutes later, Krause heard
several gunshots. Krause left the scene and called the local
When the police arrived, they found Hartfield dead and the
gun approximately ten to fifteen yards away. According to
police, Armstrong stated that he threw the gun across the
yard after the shooting. They also found a bag of pills and a
cell phone under Hartfield's body. Hartfield had three
gunshot wounds located in his neck, left arm, and right leg.
The medical examiner described the gunshot wounds as
"distant," or "beyond three and a half to four
feet between the muzzle and the skin."
One of the responding officers testified that Armstrong said
he got into an altercation with Hartfield, took
Hartfield's gun, and as he was stumbling backward, shot
Armstrong's sister, "BW, " who was ten years
old at the time of the shooting, testified that she saw
Armstrong and Hartfield fighting. She then saw Hartfield pull
out a gun, Armstrong take ...