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Hathorne v. State

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

October 23, 2018

KELTON K. HATHORNE A/K/A KELTON K. HATHORNE SR. A/K/A KELTON KESHAWN HATHORNE A/K/A KELTON HATHORNE APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI APPELLEE

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 05/30/2017

          FORREST COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT HON. JON MARK WEATHERS JUDGE

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: OFFICE OF STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER BY: GEORGE T. HOLMES

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY: LAURA HOGAN TEDDER

          DISTRICT ATTORNEY: PATRICIA A. THOMAS BURCHELL

          BEFORE IRVING, P.J., CARLTON AND GREENLEE, JJ.

          GREENLEE, J.

         ¶1. Kelton K. Hathorne was convicted of possession of a controlled substance (ethylone) in excess of thirty grams. Pursuant to Mississippi Code Annotated section 41-29-139(f)(2)(C) (Rev. 2013), the Forrest County Circuit Court sentenced Hathorne to thirty years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections, with ten years suspended, twenty years to serve, and five years of post-release supervision. Hathorne filed posttrial motions, which the trial court denied. Hathorne now appeals, asserting that (1) the indictment was defective, and (2) his conviction was legally insufficient or against the overwhelming weight of the evidence.

         FACTS

         ¶2. On November 7, 2015, Officer Jason Jarvis witnessed a black Dodge Charger run a red light at an intersection in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Officer Jarvis initiated a traffic stop, and the driver stopped the car in a motel parking lot. As Officer Jarvis approached the car, he noticed two occupants. But, the driver then sped the car away, ultimately stopping behind the motel. Officer Jarvis followed in his patrol car and witnessed a man exit the driver's side of the car. Officer Jarvis testified that he followed this man, later identified as Hathorne, through the parking lot and up one flight of stairs. Hathorne then jumped over the railing and landed in a flower bed. Officer Jarvis saw another officer, Brad Nix, apprehend Hathorne. While assisting Officer Nix move Hathorne to the patrol car, Officer Jarvis saw the passenger in the car move to the driver's seat and begin to drive the car in reverse. After quickly searching Hathorne for a weapon, Officer Jarvis placed Hathorne in Officer Nix's patrol car and then apprehended the other occupant. The other occupant rode to the police station in Officer Jarvis's patrol car.

         ¶3. At the police station, Officer Jarvis searched Hathorne and found $890 in his pocket. Officer Nix, who had transported Hathorne to the police station, checked the back seat after removing Hathorne and found a Crown Royal bag containing marijuana, Xanax, two counterfeit twenty-dollar bills, and a white, rock-like substance later identified as ethylone. The bag had been stuffed under the back seat. Officer Nix testified that the back seat of the patrol car could be lifted up in one piece and that prior occupants handcuffed in the same manner as Hathorne have stuffed drugs under the seat while being transported. Officer Nix also stated that he routinely checks this particular area of his patrol car as a result. He further testified that no one else had been in the back seat of his patrol car that day.

         ¶4. Officer Jarvis testified that he conducted a field test on the white substance, and it tested positive for methamphetamine.

         ¶5. Grady Downey, a forensic scientist who works as a drug analyst for the state, tested the drug and identified it as 31.959 grams of ethylone, commonly known as bath salts. Downey stated that ethylone is a "psychotropic stimulant drug" in the class of amphetamines ...


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