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Williams v. State

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

April 16, 2019

MERLIN KENT WILLIAMS A/K/A MERLIN WILLIAMS A/K/A MARVIN KENT WILLIAMS APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI APPELLEE

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 11/16/2017

          HARRISON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, FIRST JUDICIAL DISTRICT HON. CHRISTOPHER LOUIS SCHMIDT JUDGE:

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

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY: SCOTT STUART

          DISTRICT ATTORNEY: JOEL SMITH

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

          WESTBROOKS, J.

         ¶1. Merlin Williams appeals his conviction for one count of aggravated assault in the Harrison County Circuit Court. After a jury trial, Williams was convicted and sentenced to twenty years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC) with fifteen years to serve and five years suspended. Aggrieved, Williams filed a motion for a judgment notwithstanding the verdict (JNOV) or, in the alternative, a motion for a new trial. The circuit court denied Williams's motion, and he timely appeals.

         FACTS

         ¶2. In July 2016, Eddwena Myles was residing with Fredia Henry at her home in Gulfport, Mississippi. Myles and Williams had been dating for approximately four years, and Williams was spending the night with Myles on the night he stabbed her. Myles testified that Williams stabbed her in the chest as she got out of bed to go to the restroom. When she told him that he stabbed her and it hurt, he responded he knew that. Myles stated that she reached for the door and Williams stabbed her again, cutting her arms, and he stated that he must kill her. When she asked why he was acting this way, Williams stated that he would receive one million dollars if he killed her. As a result of the stabbing, Myles had a collapsed lung and damage to her kidneys and spleen.

         ¶3. At trial, Henry testified that she yelled out for Myles to open the door and that Williams left the room and then the house with knife in hand. She stated that she found Myles slumped over the bed. Williams testified that not only did he not stab Myles but also that he was not present in the home when the assault occurred.

         ¶4. After a two-day jury trial, Williams was convicted of aggravated assault and was sentenced to twenty years in the custody of the MDOC, with fifteen years to serve and five years suspended. Subsequently, Williams filed a motion for a JNOV or a new trial. The circuit court denied his motion, and he timely appeals.

         DISCUSSION

         ¶5. Williams's appellate counsel filed a Lindsey[1] brief asserting that there are no issues warranting appellate review. The Mississippi Supreme Court has established a procedure "to govern cases where appellate counsel represents an indigent criminal defendant and does not believe his or her client's case presents any arguable issues on appeal." Thomas v. State, 247 So.3d 1252, ...


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