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Wrenn v. State

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

November 20, 2018

JOHN E. WRENN A/K/A JOHN E. WRENN JR. A/K/A JOHN EDWARD WRENN A/K/A JOHN WRENN APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI APPELLEE

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 04/24/2017

          DESOTO COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT HON. GERALD W. CHATHAM SR. TRIAL JUDGE.

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: ANNA K. ROBBINS

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

          DISTRICT ATTORNEY: JOHN W. CHAMPION

          BEFORE GRIFFIS, P.J., WILSON AND TINDELL, JJ.

          WILSON, J.

         ¶1. A police officer stopped John Wrenn's truck because he believed that it fit the description of the truck driven by a fleeing suspect who had fired his shotgun minutes earlier during a disturbance at a nearby home. The officer suspected that Wrenn was armed, so he waited for backup to arrive before approaching the truck. With guns drawn and trained on the truck, officers ordered Wrenn to exit the truck and then handcuffed him while they briefly searched the truck to make sure that no one else was inside. The officers immediately found a sawed-off shotgun and shells in the cab of the truck. Wrenn subsequently was indicted for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Prior to trial, he filed a motion to suppress all evidence that was seized during the search of his truck or collected thereafter, arguing that there was no probable cause for the stop. The trial judge denied Wrenn's motion. Following a jury trial, Wrenn was convicted and sentenced to serve ten years in the custody of the Department of Corrections as a habitual offender. On appeal, Wrenn challenges the denial of his motion to suppress. However, we find no error and affirm.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         ¶2. On April 4, 2011, around 11:30 p.m., Horn Lake emergency dispatch received a call from a woman who lived on Heather Cove. She reported that a man two houses down was causing a disturbance loud enough to wake her up. Following an audible bang, the woman told the dispatcher that the man had just fired a gun. She then told the dispatcher that the man was driving away from Heather Cove in a large, loud, white truck, possibly a Ford F150 or a Chevy. The dispatcher sent the information out over the radio and told the caller that officers were on the way.

         ¶3. Dorothy Frazier lived at the house where the disturbance and shooting occurred. Between 11:15 and 11:30 p.m., she woke up to the sound of her husband and Wrenn arguing on the front porch. Her husband told Wrenn to leave several times, but Wrenn refused. Frazier also called 911. While she was on the phone, Wrenn went to his truck, opened the door, and took out a shotgun. He pointed the gun at the Fraziers and then fired into the air. Wrenn and the Fraziers then heard sirens, and Wrenn jumped into his truck and fled.

         ¶4. Officer Martin Gipson was on patrol that night nearby. He heard a gunshot and a radio dispatch about a disturbance on Heather Cove, which was in the general direction of the gunshot. Gipson responded to Heather Cove within five minutes of the gunshot. Frazier told Gipson that her husband had been in an argument with a man and that the man had been drinking, and Gipson relayed that information over the radio.

         ¶5. Officer Ken Magill was sent to Heather Cove in response to the disturbance call. While he was en route to Heather Cove, the dispatcher informed him that shots had been fired. As Magill neared Heather Cove, the dispatcher advised him that the suspect was driving a white truck and traveling north away from Heather Cove. When Magill approached the corner of Heather Cove, there were two people standing outside pointing north. Magill drove north and spotted a truck that he believed fit the description of the suspect's truck. He followed the truck and initiated a stop about half a mile from Heather Cove. Based on dispatch reports, Magill believed that the driver might be armed, so he waited for additional officers to arrive.

         ¶6. Once backup arrived, Magill ordered the driver to get out of the truck and approach him slowly. The officers had their guns drawn on the driver, later identified as Wrenn, as he exited and approached them. The officers "conducted a quick Terry pat of [Wrenn] for weapons, handcuffed him, [and] put him in the back of [Magill's patrol] car for security purposes."[1] The officers immediately noticed that Wrenn smelled of alcohol and that his speech was slurred, and Wrenn admitted that he had been drinking. Accordingly, the officers placed Wrenn under arrest for suspicion of driving under the influence. Officers then "did a quick search of ...


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