FROM WHICH APPEALED: CHICKASAW COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT TRIAL
JUDGE: HON. ANDREW K. HOWORTH
COURT ATTORNEYS: BENJAMIN CREEKMORE THAD J. MUELLER JAMES D.
MOORE WILLIE C. ALLEN
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT: OFFICE OF STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER BY:
JUSTIN T. COOK GEORGE T. HOLMES
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY: JOE
DISTRICT ATTORNEY: BENJAMIN CREEKMORE
David Lee Stanfield was convicted of aggravated assault and
of felon in possession of a firearm. The sole issue before
the Court is whether the trial court erred in instructing the
jury that self-defense is not a defense to the crime of felon
in possession of a firearm. It did not. Accordingly, we
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
On the night of February 18, 2015, Stanfield was at his
sister Glenda Rose Stanfield's house in Okolona,
Mississippi, where people were drinking, smoking, and
gambling. Terence "Buck" Ford, Michael
"Weezee" Ford, and Markel "Ketchup" Weeks
also were at Glenda's that night. At some point that
night, gunshots were fired, and Terence, Michael, and Weeks
were injured. Several other people were at Glenda's that
night, but most had left to obtain more alcohol before the
shooting occurred. Conflicting testimony exists in the record
regarding whether Stanfield fired the shots that night in
self defense or if Stanfield had been the aggressor.
Stanfield was indicted for three counts of aggravated assault
for the shooting of Terrance, Michael, and Weeks. Stanfield
was also indicted for one count of felon in possession of a
Terrance testified that he had not been in possession of a
gun the night of the shooting and that he had not seen
Stanfield gambling. Terrence testified that Stanfield had
walked into the kitchen that night and had shot him in the
chest three times.
Michael testified that he had not seen Stanfield gambling the
night of the shooting. Michael testified that he had been
sitting in the kitchen with Terrence and Weeks when Stanfield
came into the kitchen with a gun in his hand and, without
speaking, shot Terrence three times in the chest. After
Stanfield shot Terence, Michael ran and hid in a corner.
Michael testified that Stanfield then reached across the
table and shot at him. Michael saw Weeks dive under the
table. Then, Stanfield was "talking to Robert Hill,
Skeebo; and Skeebo was talking to him back. He said,
[Stanfield], you ain't got to kill me. You can have
Michael testified that Stanfield then flipped the table over
and asked Weeks, "Where's the gun?" Weeks
responded that he did not have a gun. Michael testified,
"I reached up for the back door. He seen me and said,
Don't you move. You know you had this coming. I said,
Don't kill me. I got a son to live for. That's when
[Weeks] started running." Michael testified that
Stanfield began shooting at Weeks, and he jumped out the
window. Michael sustained a minor injury on his left arm. The
evidence was disputed whether Michael was grazed by a bullet
or whether he sustained a laceration from jumping out of the
Weeks testified that he had not seen Stanfield play dice the
night of the shooting, that Stanfield had entered the kitchen
without saying anything, and that Stanfied had started
shooting. Weeks testified that Stanfield shot Terrence two or
three times and then leaned over the table and shot again.
Weeks hid under the table. Stanfield then put a gun in
Weeks's face and asked him if he had a gun. Weeks
responded that he did not have a gun. Weeks testified that no
one else had brought a gun to Glenda's on the night of
the shooting. Weeks testified that he fled and that Stanfield
was chasing him. Weeks heard gunshots. Weeks fell to the
ground, and, when he got up and began running again, he
realized he had been shot in the pelvic area. The evidence
was disputed whether Weeks was shot from behind or from the
Marquon Evans, a part-time Okolona Fire Department employee,
testified that he had lived close to Glenda and that Michael
had run to his house that night, had asked for help, and had
stated that Stanfield had been shooting at him. Tameka Betts,
an officer with the Okolona Police Department, testified that
she had been patrolling that night when a vehicle came behind
hers at a high rate of speed. Officer Betts stopped her car
and observed Terrence jump out of the car behind hers.
Officer Betts testified that Terrence had stated that he had
been shot by Stanfield while he was at Glenda's house.
Dwight Parker, assistant chief of police, testified that he
received a call that another gunshot victim was located at
the Townhouse Apartments. Assistant Chief Parker testified
that when he arrived at the apartment, he observed Weeks with
a gunshot wound to the pelvic area. Assistant Chief Parker
also testified that Weeks said that Stanfield had shot him.
Stanfield gave a statement that on the night of the shooting,
he had been playing dice at Glenda's house and won $900.
After he finished gambling, Stanfield fell asleep in the
living room. When he awoke, he stated that his pockets were
flipped inside out. Stanfield walked into the kitchen where
Terence, Michael, and Weeks were sitting and asked who had
taken his money. Stanfield stated that Terence then had
pulled out a gun and had told him to give him the rest of the
money. Stanfield claimed that he started wrestling with
Terence for the gun, and the gun went off and struck Terence.
Stanfield said he shot once or twice more, dropped the gun,
and left the house because he was scared. Stanfield's
testimony at trial essentially mirrored his statement.
Stanfield stipulated that he had been convicted of a felony.
The trial court instructed the jury on both self-defense and
the defense of necessity. The trial court gave a
defense-of-necessity instruction, Instruction C-7, which read
A defense to being a felon in possession of a firearm may
occur when the Defendant acts out of necessity.
In order to be entitled to a defense of necessity, the
Defendant must prove the following: (1) the act charged was
done to prevent a significant evil, (2) there was no adequate
alternative, and (3) the harm ...