Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Harris v. State

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

April 16, 2019

MAURICE LAMAINE HARRIS A/K/A MAURICE L. HARRIS APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI APPELLEE

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 02/20/2018

          SCOTT COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT HON.CHRISTOPHER A. COLLINS TRIAL JUDGE:

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: OFFICE OF STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER BY: ERIN ELIZABETH BRIGGS

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY: LAURA HOGAN TEDDER

          DISTRICT ATTORNEY: STEVEN SIMEON KILGORE

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

          BARNES, C.J.

         ¶1. A Scott County jury found Maurice Harris guilty of one count of attempting motor vehicle theft and one count of possession of methamphetamine. Harris now appeals, claiming that the trial court erred in limiting his trial testimony regarding his mental state during the crime and prior mental health issues. Finding no error, we affirm.

         FACTS

         ¶2. Around midnight in May 2016, Porfirio Vellegas Modesto heard his dogs barking outside his home in Forest, Mississippi. He looked out a window but saw nothing suspicious. Even so, the dogs continued to bark; so Modesto put on some clothes and went outside to investigate. He walked to his red truck and retrieved his .38 revolver. He then went to his white 2016 GMC company-truck and walked around it, but he did not see anybody inside or outside the truck. He went to the driver's side and noticed the passenger's side door was open. Modesto went around the truck to the passenger side and saw an individual exiting that door. The man had his hand in his pocket. Feeling scared and wanting to protect his family, Modesto fired his pistol at the man several times. Harris was hit in the chest and fell to the ground. Someone in Modesto's family called an ambulance immediately.

         ¶3. Officer Dewayne Robinson of the Forest Police Department was the first person on the scene. When he arrived, he saw Harris on the ground leaning up against the white truck with blood coming from his shirt. Modesto was on the opposite side of the truck holding a gun. Officer Robinson took the gun from Modesto and secured it in his patrol car.

         ¶4. Robinson and the other officers arriving after him were wearing body cameras that captured events at the scene. The footage was entered into evidence and played for the jury. Officer Robinson spoke to both Modesto and Harris. Modesto told the officer that he shot Harris, and fired his gun at least three times. He did not know Harris, and Harris did not have permission to use his truck. Modesto was taken into custody for questioning.

         ¶5. Harris appeared to be shot twice to the chest and abdomen. Harris admitted to Officer Robinson he had some "dope" on his person. He took it out of his pocket and threw it under the truck. Officer Robinson retrieved the substance and secured it in an evidence bag, which was put in his patrol car. Forensic tests later determined the substance to be 1.081 grams of methamphetamine. Officer Robinson also found liquor and what appeared to be marijuana near Harris in a plastic bag. He testified Harris seemed to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol. While waiting for the paramedics, Harris told Officer Robinson he was not trying to steal the truck; he thought it was given to him by God as a gift, but he was "misled" by a voice in his head. He was just trying to get a ride to the casino to enjoy himself. Harris apologized and prayed for forgiveness from God and Modesto. Due to the severity of Harris's injuries, he was airlifted to the hospital.

         ¶6. When Forest Police Investigator Nathan Yates arrived at the scene, he spoke with the officers who arrived earlier. Investigator Yates found drugs on the scene, which were collected for evidence. Harris had already been airlifted, but four months after the shooting Yates interviewed him. At that time, Harris waived his rights and provided a verbal and written statement; he did not appear to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol. A suppression hearing was held at trial, with the trial court finding the statement was voluntary and admissible. Similar to the statement he gave Officer Robinson four months previously at the scene, Harris wrote: "I felt God had [done] something great for me and that the truck ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.