Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Shepard v. State

Supreme Court of Mississippi

November 1, 2018

DONTE SHEPARD A/K/A DONTE MEVALONE SHEPARD A/K/A DONTE M. SHEPARD Appellant
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI Appellee

          ORDER

          JAMES D. MAXWELL II, JUSTICE.

         This matter is before the Court, en banc, on the Petition for Writ of Certiorari filed by Donte Shepard. The petition was granted by order of the Court on August 9, 2018. Upon further consideration, the Court finds that there is no need for further review and that the writ of certiorari should be dismissed.

         IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that the writ of certiorari is hereby dismissed on the Court's own motion.

         SO ORDERED.

          TO DISMISS: RANDOLPH, P.J., COLEMAN, MAXWELL, BEAM, CHAMBERLIN AND ISHEE, JJ.

          KING, JUSTICE, DISAGREEING WITH THE ORDER WITH SEPARATE WRITTEN STATEMENT:

         ¶1. After unanimously granting Donte Shepard's petition for certiorari review of his capital-murder conviction, this Court now summarily dismisses his case by order. Because Shepard's sufficiency-of-the-evidence argument has merit and because the trial court erred in denying Shepard's circumstantial-evidence instruction, I disagree with dismissing Shepard's case.

         I. Sufficiency of the Evidence

         ¶2. The State contended that Shepard had been acting as a lookout for two men who, while in the commission of a burglary, allegedly had shot Tony Brown. Shepard argues that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction. When considering a motion for acquittal or judgment notwithstanding the verdict (JNOV), the circuit court must "view all of the credible evidence which is consistent with the defendant's guilt in the light most favorable to the State." Knight v. State, 72 So.3d 1056, 1063 (Miss. 2011). If the evidence shows "beyond a reasonable doubt that [the] accused committed the act charged, and that he did so under such circumstances that every element of the offense existed," this Court will not disturb the circuit court's ruling. Id.

         ¶3. Shepard was found guilty of capital murder after the State alleged that Shepard had aided and abetted two men who had committed a burglary resulting in Brown's death. This Court previously has defined aiding and abetting as follows:

Any person who is present at the commission of a criminal offense and aids, counsels, or encourages another in the commission of that offense is an 'aider and abettor' and is equally guilty with the principal offender. However, the defendant's mere presence when another person suggests possible future criminal activity does not create criminal liability as an aider and abettor.

Pace v. State, 242 So.3d 107, 119 (Miss. 2018) (internal citations omitted). Thirteen-year-old Willie Thomas, the State's key witness, identified both Lucious Perkins and Jordan Johnson as having been in Brown's house, and Thomas identified Perkins as the one who had shot Brown. Thomas stated that he had seen Shepard on November 17, 2013, the night of the burglary, and that Shepard had been standing across the street in a pathway by an abandoned house. Thomas said that Shepard had started running after the gunshots sounded. He did not, however, state that Shepard had been running with or toward Johnson or Perkins, the men who had committed the burglary and the murder. Thomas affirmatively testified at trial that when Perkins and Johnson ran out of the victim's house, Shepard had not run with them.

         ¶4. When the police asked what Thomas had seen Shepard doing that night, Thomas responded that after hearing gunshots, Shepard at first ran and then came back to the pathway. When he returned to the pathway, Thomas stated that Shepard had been on the phone. The police asked, "so, he was pretty much looking out for the other guys that was in the house?" Thomas at first gave no verbal response and then stated yes. Therefore, the interviewing detective was the first person to suggest that Shepard had been "looking out" for Perkins and Johnson.

         ¶5. Had Shepard been the "look-out" for Johnson and Perkins, testimony that he had been on the phone after Johnson and Perkins had committed a crime does not further that theory. Both Johnson and Perkins testified at trial that they were not friends with Shepard and that he was not involved in the crime. Johnson testified that he had committed the burglary with someone named "Little John" and stated that Shepard did not participate in the commission of the crime in any way. Perkins additionally testified that he did not see or speak to Shepard that day. In addition, the night that the crime was committed, Shepard had ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.