THAXTER T. BAKER A/K/A THAXTER BAKER APPELLANT
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI APPELLEE
OF JUDGMENT: 01/31/2017
CHICKASAW COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, SECOND JUDICIAL DISTRICT HON.
JOHN ANDREW GREGORY TRIAL JUDGE
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: ROBERT SNEED LAHER
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY:
ABBIE EASON KOONCE
DISTRICT ATTORNEY: BENJAMIN F. CREEKMORE
IRVING, P.J., CARLTON AND FAIR, JJ.
A Chickasaw County jury convicted Thaxter T. Baker of
burglary of a dwelling. The trial court sentenced Baker to
serve twenty-five years in the custody of the Mississippi
Department of Corrections (MDOC), with ten years suspended.
The trial court also ordered Baker to pay approximately $2,
833.50 in restitution and costs. Baker filed posttrial
motions, which the trial court denied.
Baker now appeals his conviction and sentence, arguing that:
(1) the evidence presented was insufficient to sustain the
conviction and (2) the trial court erred in refusing
Baker's circumstantial-evidence jury instruction.
Finding no error, we affirm the trial court's judgment.
On August 15, 2014, officers with the Okolona Police
Department responded to a 911 call about a suspicious vehicle
parked across from the "city barn," a facility that
the City of Okolona used for water, sewer, and sanitation
services. Upon arriving at the scene, the officers
encountered Baker, who possessed items that linked him to a
house burglary a block away. Baker was arrested and later
indicted for burglary of a dwelling, in violation of
Mississippi Code Annotated section 97-17-23 (Rev. 2014).
At a trial held on January 25, 2017, the jury heard testimony
from Officers Joey Miller, Tomeka Betts, and Dwight Parker of
the Okolona Police Department, as well as Cassidy Edwards,
the house-burglary victim. Baker also testified in his own
defense. The jury ultimately returned a guilty verdict, and
the trial court sentenced Baker to serve twenty-five years in
the custody of the MDOC, with ten years suspended and fifteen
years to serve. The trial court also ordered Baker to pay $1,
000 in full restitution to the victims, $433.50 in court
costs, $1, 000 for the court-appointed counsel fee, a $200
bond fee, $100 to the Victim's Compensation fund, and
$100 in investigative expenses, for a total of $2, 833.50.
Baker filed a motion for a judgment notwithstanding the
verdict (JNOV), or, in the alternative, for a new trial. The
record reflects that Baker's posttrial motions were
untimely. However, the trial court entered an order denying
Baker's posttrial motions and reopening the time for
Baker to perfect his appeal. Baker subsequently filed his
notice appealing his conviction and sentence.
I.Sufficiency of the ...