PETER J. HENDERSON A/K/A PETER JULIUS HENDERSON APPELLANT
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI APPELLEE
OF JUDGMENT: 12/12/2017
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:
DISTRICT ATTORNEY: JOEL SMITH
CARLTON, P.J., TINDELL AND McDONALD, JJ.
A Harrison County jury convicted Peter Henderson of the
first-degree (deliberate- design) murder of Chandler Pugh.
Miss. Code Ann. § 97-3-19(1)(a) (Rev. 2014). The
Harrison County Circuit Court, First Judicial District,
sentenced Henderson to life imprisonment in the custody of
the Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC). On appeal,
Henderson argues that his trial attorneys rendered
ineffective assistance and that the verdict was against the
overwhelming weight of the evidence. Finding no error, we
affirm Henderson's conviction and sentence.
At the time of Pugh's death, Henderson was dating
Pugh's ex-girlfriend, Charlotte Guillotte. Henderson
lived in Mobile, Alabama, and Guillotte lived in Gulfport,
Mississippi. Guillotte testified that on the afternoon of
August 10, 2016, Pugh forced his way into her apartment and
assaulted and threatened her in front of the couple's
youngest son. Guillotte reported the incident to police.
She also called Henderson and told him about the altercation.
Henderson arrived in Gulfport that evening and met Guillotte
at her apartment. He then accompanied Guillotte to the police
station to pick up paperwork for a protective order against
Pugh. Guillotte stated that she observed Henderson with his
gun when they left her home. Both Guillotte and Henderson
testified that Henderson always carried his gun because he
worked as a security guard for several night clubs.
Guillotte texted Pugh and told him she planned to get the
protective order against him. Pugh repeatedly tried to call
Guillotte, but she refused to answer her phone. Pugh then
tried to text Guillotte. By way of his text messages, Pugh
apologized to Guillotte for his behavior earlier that day and
told Guillotte that he would not come around again. Based on
these statements, Guillotte felt that Pugh had dropped the
After leaving the police station, Guillotte and Henderson
stopped at a gas station so Guillotte could buy cigarettes.
As Guillotte returned to her car and began to open her
driver's side door, Pugh unexpectedly pulled up beside
her. Although Pugh's sudden arrival startled her,
Guillotte stated that she was not scared of Pugh due to his
earlier apology. Guillotte testified, however, that she was
startled enough that she jumped and ran around her car. Pugh
exited his car and followed Guillotte until she stopped in
front of her car. Guillotte testified that Pugh repeatedly
asked her to drop Henderson off so that she and Pugh could
talk privately. Guillotte replied that she did not want to
talk to Pugh, and she asked him to leave.
Guillotte stated that she never saw a weapon in Pugh's
hands while they were at the gas station. She also testified
that, although Pugh spoke in a loud voice, that was just the
way he acted, and she stated that he never verbally or
physically threatened her during the conversation. While
Guillotte and Pugh were talking in front of Guillotte's
car, Henderson exited the passenger side of the car and
approached them. Guillotte testified that Henderson told Pugh
to leave Guillotte alone. Pugh responded that Henderson
needed to "just step back" because his discussion
with Guillotte did not involve Henderson. Guillotte further
[A]t one point in time, I was going to try to get in my car,
and I didn't see [Henderson] showing [Pugh] his gun, but
I heard [Pugh] say, ["O]h, I see your gun, that's
nice.["] And he [(Pugh)] told me, . . . ["B]ut
Charlotte, you know I'm crazy. You know I'm not
scared of no gun.["] I told [Pugh], ["]I don't
want you to be scared, but can you just please go[?"]
testified that Pugh refused to leave, and he again urged her
to drop off Henderson so she and Pugh could speak privately.
During the confrontation, ...