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Taylor v. State

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

January 22, 2019

RODERICK TAYLOR A/K/A RODRICK TAYLOR A/K/A RODERICK KENYATTA TAYLOR SR. A/K/A GEORGE WILSON A/K/A RODERICK FLINSTONE TAYLOR A/K/A RODERICK K. TAYLOR A/K/A RODERICK KENYATTA TAYLOR A/K/A RODRICK K. TAYLOR APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI APPELLEE

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 05/18/2017

          HINDS COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, FIRST JUDICIAL DISTRICT HON. JEFF WEILL SR. TRIAL JUDGE.

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

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY: ALICIA MARIE AINSWORTH

          BEFORE GRIFFIS, C.J., WILSON AND WESTBROOKS, JJ.

          WESTBROOKS, J.

         ¶1. Roderick Kenyatta Taylor was charged with aggravated domestic violence, which is a charge for assault under Mississippi Code Annotated section 97-3-7(4) (Rev. 2014), in the Circuit Court of Hinds County. Taylor's first jury trial resulted in a mistrial; however, Taylor's second trial resulted in a conviction. Taylor was sentenced to life without eligibility for parole as a habitual offender in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC). Taylor filed a motion for a judgment notwithstanding the verdict (JNOV), or in the alternative, for a new trial, which the trial court denied. Taylor appeals. After our review of the record, we affirm.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         ¶2. After attending to a motor-vehicle accident on Bailey Avenue, on January 8, 2016, Jackson Police Officer Sam Dukes noticed Melanie Waddell nearby. Officer Dukes testified that dispatch notified him of a white female in distress in that particular area. Officer Dukes approached Waddell and noticed that she was in disarray, sweating profusely, and badly bruised. Waddell informed Officer Dukes that she had been involved in a physical altercation with her husband, Taylor.

         ¶3. An ambulance arrived to transport Waddell to the hospital for treatment. While there, Waddell was questioned by Detective Ellas Thomas. Detective Thomas testified that Waddell informed her that Taylor had beaten her because she was leaving him and filing for a divorce. Waddell also informed Stephanie Horn, a crime-scene investigator with the Jackson Police Department, that Taylor had beaten her with a pole or wall level, kicked her, and hit her in the face. Waddell also maintained that several of her injuries were sustained while Taylor was beating her in a car.

         ¶4. While being questioned by the police, Taylor admitted to being involved in a physical altercation with Waddell. Taylor was arrested and charged with aggravated domestic violence. At the first trial, Waddell maintained that she was assaulted by two women in a park and not by Taylor. Although Taylor's first trial resulted in a mistrial, Taylor's second trial resulted in a conviction. Subsequently, Taylor filed a JNOV motion, or in the alternative, for a new trial, which the trial court denied. Taylor appeals.

         DISCUSSION

         I. Admissibility of Prior Bad-Acts Evidence

         ¶5. Taylor asserts that the trial court erred in admitting evidence of his prior bad acts under Mississippi Rule of Evidence 404(b) through the testimony of Lona Clay, his former paramour, and through the State's closing argument. "Our well-established standard of review for the trial court's admission or suppression of evidence, including expert testimony, is abuse of discretion." Tunica County v. Matthews, 926 So.2d 209, ...


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