LARENZO PETTIS A/K/A LARENZO ARTHUR PETTIS A/K/A LARENZO A. PETTIS APPELLANT
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI APPELLEE
OF JUDGMENT: 08/23/2016
HARRISON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, FIRST JUDICIAL DISTRICT HON.
CHRISTOPHER LOUIS SCHMIDT TRIAL JUDGE
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: OFFICE OF STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER BY:
W. DANIEL HINCHCLIFF
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY:
JEFFREY A. KLINGFUSS
DISTRICT ATTORNEY: JOEL SMITH
J. WILSON, P.J., GREENLEE AND McCARTY, JJ.
Following trial, a Harrison County jury found Larenzo Pettis
guilty of robbery in violation of Mississippi Code Annotated
section 97-3-73 (Rev. 2014). The circuit court sentenced
Pettis to a term of fifteen years in the custody of the
Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC), with eight
years suspended after seven years served, followed by five
years of post-release supervision. Pettis appeals, arguing
that his conviction is contrary to the sufficiency and
overwhelming weight of the evidence. We affirm.
AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
On the early morning of July 2, 2014, Pettis left the Walmart
in Pass Christian with a flat-screen television that he did
not pay for. Joseph Albert, a Walmart assistant manager
tasked with asset protection, confronted Pettis at the
store's exit, blocking Pettis from leaving the building
with the television in his shopping cart. Pettis reached in
his left pocket and threatened Albert, stating "this is
not worth dying for, . . . getting shot over, . . . [or]
getting cut." Pettis grabbed the television from the
cart and ran out of the building. The incident was recorded
on a store surveillance camera and was viewed by the jury.
During trial, Albert testified that he was unsure whether
Pettis had a gun or knife in his pocket but was scared by
Pettis's threats and believed that Pettis meant to leave
with the television "by any means." Albert
identified Pettis as the defendant in court.
Samuel Daniels, a Walmart employee who witnessed the
incident, testified that he could not hear what Pettis told
Albert but saw Pettis reach toward his pants. Daniels said
that in Walmart it was unusual to see customers with
televisions in their shopping carts because Walmart policy
encouraged store attendants to assist customers with
transporting televisions. Daniels explained that the
electronics section was located in the back of the store and
that when a customer buys a television, a Walmart associate
escorts the customer and television to the front register.
Pettis testified in his own defense. He maintained that
Albert approached him at the store's exit and asked if he
had a receipt. Pettis said he reached toward his pocket to
act like he was reaching for a receipt but never verbally
Following deliberations, the jury found Pettis guilty of
robbery. Pettis filed a motion for a judgment notwithstanding
the verdict (JNOV) or in the alternative, a motion for a new
trial, which the trial court denied. Pettis has timely filed
his appeal, arguing there was insufficient evidence for the
jury to convict him of robbery and, in the alternative, the
verdict was against the overwhelming weight of the evidence.