OF JUDGMENT: 10/10/2017
COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT TRIAL JUDGE: HON. PAUL S. FUNDERBURK
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: OFFICE OF STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER BY:
ERIN ELIZABETH BRIGGS
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY:
BARBARA WAKELAND BYRD JOSEPH SCOTT HEMLEBEN
DISTRICT ATTORNEY: J. TRENT KELLY
J. WILSON, P.J., WESTBROOKS AND McDONALD, JJ.
Micah Bostic was convicted of capital murder in the Alcorn
County Circuit Court and sentenced to a term of life
imprisonment without eligibility for parole. Subsequently,
Bostic filed a motion for a judgment of acquittal
notwithstanding the verdict ("JNOV") and
alternatively requested a new trial. The motion was denied.
Bostic now appeals the issue of whether the circuit court
erred in failing to suppress his statements made to the
officers on February 3, 2016, which were obtained after he
requested an attorney. Although we agree that the motion to
suppress should have been granted because the officers
violated his rights against self-incrimination and his right
to counsel, as guaranteed by the Fifth and Fourteenth
Amendments,  we find that the court's decision
resulted in harmless error and affirm the conviction.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
On February 1, 2016, two men attempted to rob the Mapco
service station in Corinth, Mississippi. When the clerk
reached for the panic alarm one suspect shot her multiple
times. Corinth Police responded to the Mapco service
station's panic alarm at 5:39 a.m. The clerk later died
from those wounds. When the detectives viewed the
surveillance video, Brooklyn Traylor, the co-defendant, was
identified as the shooter. The second suspect could not be
identified from the Mapco surveillance video.
When Traylor's parents learned that he was a suspect,
they took him to the police station. Traylor denied his
involvement in his first interview. On February 2, 2016,
Traylor's parents watched the surveillance video and met
with him privately. Then, Traylor gave another statement in
which he admitted to committing the crime and stated Bostic,
the appellant, also known as "Drop," was with him.
On or about February 3, 2016, Bostic was arrested. During
Bostic's interrogation, he clearly invoked his right to
counsel when he stated, "I am taking my mother's
advice, I want an attorney," but the officers continued
questioning him. Bostic requested an attorney several times
throughout the interrogation, yet the interrogation lasted
nearly fifty-two minutes.
A grand jury indicted Bostic and Traylor for capital murder
with the underlying felony being armed robbery. Bostic filed
a motion to sever the cases, which the trial court granted.
On January 19, 2017, Bostic filed a motion to suppress his
statements made on or about February 3, 2016. Bostic argued
that despite his multiple requests for an attorney, the
investigators continued to interrogate him violating his
constitutional right to an attorney.
On February 7, 2017, the State filed its response to
Bostic's motion to suppress. The State argued
Bostic's request for an attorney was vague. The State
contends the investigators immediately ceased the
interrogation and did not ask any further questions regarding
the charge at issue. The State also contends the few words
spoken by the investigator were not likely to elicit an
After a hearing on the issue the circuit court denied
Bostic's motion to suppress his statements made on
February 3, 2016. The court found that the statements made by
Bostic to the detectives "were voluntarily, knowingly
and intelligently made after being informed of his Miranda
rights which he knowingly and voluntarily
On October 3, 2017, a trial on the merits began. During the
trial the State called fifteen witnesses. Some of the
witnesses testified to the logistics of the crime itself but
the following witnesses' testimony pertained to
Captain Benjamin Gann testified that he found a loose
distinctive patterned blue hoodie in a dumpster near the
laundromat 75-100 yards away from the scene of the incident.
Gann also testified that all of the garbage in the dumpster
was bagged except for the distinctive patterned blue hoodie
which fit the description of what the second suspect wore.
During officer Jerry Rogers's testimony the State offered
Bostic's videotaped interview into evidence. The
videotaped interview included details pertaining to
Bostic's prior conviction for armed robbery, his
whereabouts and alibi for the night before and morning of the
incident, his affiliations with Traylor, and his prior gang
affiliations with "gangster disciples." Bostic
never admitted to being at the scene where the victim in this
case was murdered.
Ashanti Alexander, who claimed to be Bostic's girlfriend
during the time of the incident, testified that Bostic was
known as "Drop." Ashanti could not testify about
Bostic's whereabouts on the night before the incident or
during the time the incident occurred (sometime before 5:39
a.m.). She could only testify that Bostic arrived at Elease
Lavey Trice's apartment sometime before daylight on the
morning the murder occurred. Once Bostic arrived, she heard
him tell Dezzon Thomas that Traylor shot someone seven
times.Ashanti stated that Bostic was wearing the
distinctively patterned blue hoodie the day before the
incident. But he was not wearing a hoodie when she saw him
after the occurrence of the murder.
Lavey, the owner of the apartment where Bostic, Traylor, and
Dezzon were at some point before or after the incident,
testified that Bostic was also known as "Drop."
Lavey could not testify as to Bostic's whereabouts prior
to the incident's occurrence. She testified that about 7
a.m. she woke up to Traylor beating on her back door and
asking to speak to Bostic. Lavey further testified that
Bostic was not at her home when she went to bed; therefore,
someone must have let Bostic in while she was asleep.
Dezzon testified that he had heard people call Bostic
"Drop." He contends he woke up to Bostic knocking
on the front door of Lavey's apartment. He testified that
Bostic told him that Traylor had just killed a woman at the
store. Dezzon's testimony contradicted with Ashanti's
testimony with respect to whether Bostic was at Lavey's
house on the night before the murder. Dezzon's testimony