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Marion v. State

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

March 12, 2019

DARNELL DONTE MARION A/K/A DARNELL D. MARION A/K/A DARNELL MARION APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI APPELLEE

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 08/14/2017

          COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: JACKSON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT TRIAL JUDGE: HON. KATHY KING JACKSON

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: OFFICE OF STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER BY: MOLLIE MARIE McMILLIN

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF ATTORNEY GENERAL BY: BARBARA WAKELAND BYRD

          DISTRICT ATTORNEY: ANTHONY N. LAWRENCE III

          BEFORE BARNES, C.J., GREENLEE AND WESTBROOKS, JJ.

          WESTBROOKS, J.

         ¶1. Darnell Donte Marion was convicted in the Jackson County Circuit Court of one count of touching M.B.[1] for lustful purposes in violation of Mississippi Code Annotated section 97-5-23(1) (Rev. 2006). Marion was sentenced to fifteen years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections, with six years to serve without parole, and the remainder on postrelease supervision.[2] Marion filed a motion for a judgment notwithstanding the verdict (JNOV motion), or in the alternative, for a new trial. However, the circuit court denied Marion's motion, and he appeals. After review of the record, we affirm.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         ¶2. In 2013, Marion was evicted from his apartment in Pascagoula, Mississippi. Mariah H. offered to let Marion stay with her until he worked out other living arrangements. Mariah shared an apartment with her three children and her friend, Angelique. Mariah's younger sister, M.B., sometimes stayed at the apartment as well and slept in the room with Mariah's children. At that time, M.B. was seven years old.

         ¶3. Mariah testified that Angelique informed her that she had gone through Marion's phone and discovered a number of photographs and videos of M.B. Mariah and her boyfriend at the time woke Marion to confront him about the images. Marion denied having any photos or video; however, Marion later admits to deleting the video. Subsequently, Angelique called the police, and Marion was apprehended a short time later walking down the street.

         ¶4. Officer Ryan Morris testified that he had been alerted that Marion's cell phone may have contained photographs and other evidence, so he seized the phone. Detective Kimberly Stevens arrived and collected Marion's cell phone.

         ¶5. Mariah called M.B.'s mother, Tammy, who checked M.B. out of school to bring her to Mariah's apartment to speak with the police. M.B. informed Tammy that Marion had been asking whether he could be her boyfriend. M.B. also told Tammy that Marion "hunched"[3] her when he slipped into bed with her one night. M.B. was later interviewed by Stephanie McGrew at the Child Advocacy Center. McGrew testified that M.B. informed her that Marion tried to kiss her and "humped" her while in the bed. M.B. testified that Marion tried to remove his clothing; however, M.B. said she would tell, and Marion got up and lay on the floor. M.B. testified that she tried to tell Mariah what happened shortly after the incident but Mariah did not wake up.

         ¶6. Marion was arrested and denied being in bed with M.B. But, later in the recorded interview, Marion stated that he may have been in the bed with M.B.; however, the "hunching" motion was actually him rocking himself to sleep because he had gone out drinking earlier in the night. Marion also stated to police that he must ...


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