CHRISTOPHER GRACE A/K/A CHRISTOPHER LASHAWN GRACE A/K/A CHRISTOPHER LASHAUN GRACE A/K/A CHRIS GRACE A/K/A CHRIS LASHAWN GRACE APPELLANT
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI APPELLEE
OF JUDGMENT: 10/18/2017
COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT HON. LARRY E. ROBERTS
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: GEORGE H. SPINKS.
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY:
DISTRICT ATTORNEY: BILBO MITCHELL
CARLTON, P.J., LAWRENCE AND C. WILSON, JJ.
A Kemper County Circuit Court jury convicted Christopher
Grace (Christopher) of two counts of armed robbery and one
count of felony fleeing or eluding a law enforcement officer
in a motor vehicle. As a result of his conviction,
Christopher filed a motion for a judgment notwithstanding the
verdict (JNOV) and a motion for a new trial. The circuit
court denied the motions. Christopher appeals, asserting that
there is insufficient evidence to sustain his convictions and
that the jury's verdict is contrary to the overwhelming
weight of the evidence. We find no error and affirm.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
On August 14, 2015, around 11:30 a.m., Christopher and his
uncle, LaBrandon Grace (LaBrandon), drove in LaBrandon's
green Lincoln Town Car to the Citizens Bank of Philadelphia
in Scooba, Mississippi. They drove around the bank several
times waiting for bank customers to leave. The Graces
eventually parked toward the back of the bank's parking
lot. LaBrandon subsequently left the vehicle and entered the
bank wearing a mask over his face and carrying a .40 caliber
pistol. Once inside the bank, LaBrandon brandished the pistol
and demanded money from the bank tellers. The first teller,
Tracy Jones, handed LaBrandon $2, 931. The second teller,
Peggy Fairchild, handed LaBrandon $3, 258. LaBrandon pointed
the pistol at a third teller, Ken Aust, but did not ask him
for money. LaBrandon ran out of the bank and jumped into the
passenger side of the green Lincoln Town Car. Christopher,
who was driving, sped off.
Debra Jenkins, a bank customer, entered and exited the bank
prior to the robbery. As she entered the bank, Jenkins saw a
green-colored Lincoln Town Car parked in the parking lot with
two male passengers in the vehicle. When she exited the bank,
Jenkins saw the same vehicle still parked in the parking lot.
When Jenkins heard about the robbery, she went back to the
bank and provided a description of the vehicle to a law
enforcement officer on the scene. Jenkins also provided the
officer information about the whereabouts of the vehicle.
The vehicle was subsequently located on Highway 16. Kemper
County law enforcement officers were dispatched and proceeded
to the location. Deputy Allen Griffin identified the vehicle
and initiated a traffic stop by turning on his emergency blue
lights and siren. Despite the officer's signal,
Christopher did not stop the vehicle but sped up instead.
Christopher attempted to pass an 18-wheeler truck via the
right shoulder but lost control and wrecked the vehicle. The
vehicle slid down an embankment and into some bushes.
Christopher and LaBrandon exited the vehicle and began to
run. Deputy Griffin yelled, "Police. Halt. Stop."
Both men continued to run. Deputy Griffin then fired one shot
into the air. At that point, Christopher and LaBrandon
"hit the ground." They were both apprehended and
taken into custody. Law enforcement officers later returned
to the scene where they located both the pistol and the
That night, after being Mirandized,  Christopher gave