JIMMY DALE REID A/K/A JIMMY DALE REID, JR. A/K/A JIMMY REID A/K/A JIMBO REID APPELLANT
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI APPELLEE
OF JUDGMENT: 10/24/2018
COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT HON. ISADORE W. PATRICK JR. TRIAL JUDGE
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: OFFICE OF STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER BY:
GEORGE T. HOLMES
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY:
JOHN R. HENRY JR.
DISTRICT ATTORNEY: RICHARD EARL SMITH JR.
CARLTON, P.J., GREENLEE AND TINDELL, JJ.
Richard May Jr. was shot and killed at a motel in Vicksburg,
Mississippi. After a three-day trial, a Warren County Circuit
Court jury convicted Jimmy Dale Reid of manslaughter for
May's death, and the jury also convicted Reid of being a
felon in possession of a firearm. Reid was sentenced to
twenty years of incarceration for the manslaughter conviction
and to serve a consecutive term of ten years for the firearm
conviction. He is presently incarcerated with the Mississippi
Department of Corrections (MDOC).
Reid appeals, asserting that the trial court erred by
refusing his castle doctrine jury instruction, by
mischaracterizing testimony as "hearsay" and
issuing a limiting instruction with respect to that
testimony, and by failing to exclude other-bad-act evidence
under Rule 404(b) of the Mississippi Rules of Evidence. Reid
also asserts that there was insufficient evidence to support
the jury's manslaughter verdict against him and that the
manslaughter verdict was contrary to the overwhelming weight
of the evidence. For the reasons discussed below, we affirm
Reid's convictions and sentences.
OF FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
May was shot and killed at the Battlefield Inn motel in
Vicksburg shortly after 9:00 p.m. on September 11, 2015.
After the police responded to the "shots-fired"
call and had been at the scene for several hours, they found
Reid under a storage building behind the motel around 1:15
a.m. Reid was bleeding from three gunshot wounds. Reid was
subsequently indicted in May 2016 for May's murder
pursuant to Mississippi Code Annotated section 97-3-19 (Rev.
2014) (Count I) and for felon-in-possession-of-a-weapon
pursuant to Mississippi Code Annotated section 97-37-5 (Rev.
2014) (Count II).
The case was tried before a Warren County Circuit Court jury
on September 24-26, 2018. The State presented thirteen
witnesses. The defense presented one witness, and Reid also
testified on his own behalf. For clarity, we will set forth
the facts primarily in the order in which the events
occurred, which does not necessarily follow the order in
which the witnesses were presented at trial.
The testimony and evidence at trial showed that Reid has a
2014 conviction in Warren County for felony
fleeing-or-eluding-a-law-enforcement-officer. His sentence
included suspended time and supervised release. Between July
2015 and September 7, 2015, Reid was incarcerated on a
technical parole violation for a period of forty-five days.
While Reid was incarcerated in an MDOC technical-violation
facility, his girlfriend, Christina Cotter, who testified
that she made her living selling drugs, exchanged $250 worth
of methamphetamine for a stolen assault rifle. According to
Cotter's testimony, that rifle, along with other
firearms, had been recently stolen from May by a person named
Chase Sherman. Cotter testified that Reid was not involved in
her drug business or the assault-rifle transaction.
Before Reid's release, Cotter testified that there were
communications between her and May about Cotter returning
May's rifle to him in exchange for May reimbursing Cotter
the cash equivalent of what she traded for the stolen rifle.
She testified, however, that when they met for the exchange,
May did not pay her. Instead, according to Cotter, May, and
others that were with him, beat up Sherman and then left.
Cotter testified that she did not return the rifle to May but
later gave it to someone in Louisiana because, as a convicted
felon, she was not supposed to have a weapon. She testified
that she does not know where the gun is.
During this same time, the record reflects that May posted
accusations and threats on Facebook and another Internet
site, demanding that the persons involved in taking his
weapons return them. He specifically mentioned Reid in his
posted accusations and threats. Both Cotter and Reid
testified that Cotter made Reid aware of May's postings
while Reid was still incarcerated.
Reid testified that, while at the technical violation
facility, he had Cotter call May on a three-way connection,
and Reid tried to explain to May, without success, that he
was not involved. According to Reid, May continued to insist
that Reid should see that Cotter return the stolen firearms,
and May said, "I ain't going to let nobody take
anything from me. I don't know who you all, who the f-
you all think I am."
Reid testified that when he was released from the
technical-violation facility on September 7, 2015, Cotter
showed him May's Facebook and other postings. Reid
described another phone conversation between May and Reid on
the day Reid was released from custody. Reid testified that
although May did not specifically threaten to kill him, he
did threaten him, telling Reid that "[y]ou better have
my s- back as soon as I see you. When I see you, you better
have my s-. I want it right then."
On September 10, Cotter and Reid went to the Battlefield Inn
in Vicksburg where Cotter was sharing room number 135 with
two other women. Reid testified that the next day, he rented
another room, number 162, as evidenced by the room receipt,
which was marked exhibit D-8 and admitted into evidence at
trial. According to Reid, he rented room 162 so that he and
Cotter could have more privacy. Reid also testified that when
he was in the motel office, he saw an acquaintance, Tamarus
Dillon (sometimes referred to as "B" or
"Binky"), who asked Reid if he already had a room.
When Reid told him that he did, Dillon asked if he could
"put his stuff in Reid's room" until he
(Dillon) figured out what he wanted to do. Reid testified
that he told Dillon that he could do that but that he (Reid)
"just wanted the room back for [the night]."
According to the testimony of Dillon and his girlfriend, Anna
Brown, however, Reid had called Dillon earlier that day to
tell them to come over to the Battlefield Inn because he had
a room for them. Reid, Cotter, Dillon, and Brown went to room
162. Later, the record reflects that a friend of
Dillon's, Josh Rush, went to room 162. Numerous witnesses
testified about the ensuing events as follows.
The State's Case-in-Chief
The State's witness, Peyton Lipe, testified that he, his
wife, and Josh Rush went to the Battlefield Inn during the
evening of September 11. Lipe testified that he had talked to
Dillon earlier that day. Dillon had called wanting something
to eat, so they were taking food to Dillon in exchange for
drugs. As they were pulling into the Battlefield Inn, Lipe
testified that they saw May in his pick-up truck. Lipe
testified that they were in a Chevrolet Z-71, and May was in
"some sort of pick-up." May flashed his truck
lights a couple of times, Lipe stopped in the front of the
motel, and they had a short conversation about some money
Lipe owed May. Because a car had pulled up behind them and
needed to get through, they drove to the back parking lot.
Lipe testified that Joseph Acuff was May's passenger,
although he did not know Acuff at the time. According to
Lipe, after they parked, Rush exited Lipe's vehicle and
went around the corner to room 162 where Dillon was. Acuff
exited May's truck and went in the same direction. May
came over to Lipe's truck and stood at the passenger door
and they talked. May asked Lipe if he had seen Reid or knew
where he was. Acuff then returned and also asked Lipe if he
had seen Reid or knew where he was. Lipe testified that Acuff
then went back around the corner of the building to room 162,
and a few minutes later Cotter walked past them from the
direction that Acuff had gone.
Lipe testified that "no sooner than it seemed like
[Cotter] got out of sight, [he] heard one gun shot."
Lipe testified that May then ran in the same direction as
Acuff had gone, toward room 162. Lipe further testified that
immediately after May got out of his sight, Lipe heard
multiple gunshots and saw May fall at the corner of the
building. Lipe then saw two men run past his truck, one
chasing the other, and heard more gunfire. Lipe recognized
Reid as the one being chased.
Lipe testified that his truck was struck by two bullets, and
the record reflects that one projectile was recovered from
Lipe's vehicle. Lipe testified that he did not see who
was shooting, nor did he see any weapons, he only heard
shooting. He further testified that he and his wife left
The record reflects that Lipe gave a statement to police the
following day (September 12), and at that time he told police
that May walked away toward the motel rooms before Cotter
came walking by and was not by Lipe's truck when the
shooting started. Lipe testified at trial, however, that this
was not correct-May was still at Lipe's truck when Cotter
walked by and when the first shot was heard. Lipe said he
could see things "more clearly today" and that he
was at a better point in his life, having been in a
faith-based rehabilitation program for three months by the
time he testified at trial.
Eric Collins (the Battlefield Inn Desk
The motel clerk on the evening of the shooting, Eric Collins,
also testified for the State. He testified that, before the
shooting, he saw two pick-up trucks pull up in front of the
motel. After sitting in front of the motel for a short while,
the trucks pulled around to the back side of the motel.
Collins testified that the people in the trucks appeared to
be having a conversation, and he did not see anyone get out
of either truck.
The desk clerk further testified that shortly before 9:00
p.m., a man came to the back door of the office, which is
kept locked, and tried to enter. As he was going to unlock
the door, that man and another man entered the office.
Collins testified the first man had a black pistol in his
right hand. The second man, who the clerk said was unarmed
but was chasing the first, came in and told the him,
"[c]all the police this guy just killed someone."
Collins testified that the other man (the one being chased)
"[n]ever said anything." He testified that the men
ran through the back of the building down a hallway, but they
could not exit; so they ran back through the front. The clerk
testified that, at some point, the men ran behind the front
desk of the building into a small room and were scuffling.
The clerk ran down the hallway, locked himself in a motel
room, and called 911. The two men continued running
throughout the building, and the desk clerk heard the chaser
say, "[H]ey, you fin [sic] to die too, boy, they coming
for you." Collins testified that he heard police sirens
right after he heard that statement. He identified Reid at
trial as the man that he saw running with the gun. Collins
testified that he did not hear any gun shots.
Tamarus Dillon ("B" or
The State's witness Dillon, also known as "B"
or "Binky" as noted above, testified that he and
his girlfriend, Anna Brown, went to the Battlefield Inn on
September 11 between 6:00 and 7:00 p.m. He testified that
they went there because Reid had called him saying he had a
room for him. When Dillon and Brown got to the Battlefield
Inn, Reid let them use room 162 that Reid had rented. Dillon
and Brown first went to room 135 to meet Reid and get the
key, and then Dillon, Brown, and Reid went to room 162, and
Cotter joined them. Dillon's friend Josh Rush, who had
come with Lipe, arrived later.
Dillon testified that he had drugs and all the drugs that
were in the room belonged to him. He also testified that he
brought a .45-caliber handgun with him, but he did not bring
any other guns. He testified that he saw other weapons in the
room and that Reid had a .40-caliber handgun that he showed
to Dillon before the shooting. Dillon testified that just
before the shooting, he was in the bathroom-area of the room
"messing with the drugs" when Reid said something
to him about somebody being outside "messing with his
girl." At trial the judge asked Dillon to clarify this
statement. Dillon testified that what he believed Reid meant
was that he (Reid) thought someone was outside having an
altercation with his (Reid's) girlfriend.
Dillon testified that shortly after Reid made the remark to
him, he heard "gun shot" or a "gun cock."
Right after that he heard more gun shots-"a lot of
shots." Dillon testified that when the shooting stopped,
it was just him, Brown, and Rush in the room. He and Brown
gathered up their belongings and left the room with Rush.
Dillon testified that as they left, he cautiously peeked out
of the room's door and saw May's body on the ground.
Dillon testified that he did not see who was outside the
door, he did not hear a knock, and did not hear the door
open. He testified that Brown and Rush ran off. Dillon
testified that he was standing outside of the room, and
Joseph Acuff was also there and asked him for a gun. Dillon
testified that he told him "no." Dillon testified
that the police arrived, Acuff told them that May had been
shot, and Dillon left.
Dillon also testified that the next day, he went to get the
Jeep that he had purchased from May. May and Acuff were
supposed to put a motor in it that day. Dillon testified that
Acuff pulled up in a black SUV and said, "[A]in't
nobody leaving in this truck," referring to the Jeep.
The two men argued. According to Dillon, Acuff threatened
Dillon with a knife. Dillon fatally shot Acuff. The matter
was presented to a grand jury, but it was not tried.
Dillon was also questioned about his contact with May
throughout the day and evening of September 11. He testified
that he had been communicating with May, and phone records
were admitted into evidence through another witness as
exhibit D-11 that reflected numerous calls between May's
and Dillon's phones. Dillon testified that the phone
calls were about a Jeep he was buying from May. Dillon
testified that he did not know of any plan that May was going
to confront Reid. He testified that on September 11 he told
May to come to the Battlefield Inn to pick him up and for
them to go work on the Jeep. Dillon said he did not tell May
he was in room 162. Dillon also testified that he was aware
of "some problem" between Reid and May, but he did
not think it was serious. He testified that he had been told
about May's accusations concerning the stolen firearms,
but he did not know anything firsthand or any details. He
testified that he did not know that May had threatened Reid.
Dillon denied helping May by setting Reid up on the night of
Anna Brown (Dillon's Girlfriend)
Anna Brown, Dillon's girlfriend, also testified for the
State. She testified that she went to the
Battlefield Inn with Dillon on September 11, and, like
Dillon, she also testified that they went there because Reid
had called Dillon to tell him he had a room for him. She
testified that during the evening, she, Cotter, Dillon, Reid,
and Rush were in room 162. Cotter left before the shooting.
Brown testified that she was sitting on the bed with a
laptop. After Cotter left, Reid was on the phone. Brown
testified that this might have been Cotter calling Reid.
After this phone call, Brown testified that Reid said to
Dillon, "[Y]ou better get your boy, . . . or I'm
going to end this s- tonight."
According to Brown, drugs and guns were present in the room.
She said everyone had a gun. Brown testified that Rush
brought several guns to the room, and they were on a table
that was near the door. She testified that Reid had a
handgun. After further questioning, she testified that she
could "kind of notice" it under his clothing and
that she saw it when he pulled it out from under his clothing
"[w]henever the hotel door opened, and the shooting
Brown also testified that he was aware that May had sold a
Jeep to Dillon. She said May was supposed to take Dillon
somewhere and that he kept calling Dillon's cell phone.
She answered one call and talked to May on Dillon's phone
just before the shooting. She testified that May asked her
where Dillon was, and she told May that Dillon had stepped
out for a minute; May said to tell Dillon he (May) was there.
She told May she would tell Dillon to call him when he got
back. When questioned about the shooting, Brown testified
that it happened very fast, and that she did not hear anyone
knock. She testified that Reid opened the door, and she saw
Acuff from where she was sitting. She also testified that she
was positive that May was also there because she saw him on
the ground and not moving when she left the room. According
to Brown, when Reid opened the door, Acuff said to Reid,
"[D]o you think we give a f- about that pussy-a-"
and then Reid "shot his bullet." She testified that
Reid was inside the room when he shot. Brown testified that
she and Rush then ran into bathroom, and Dillon was also in
the bathroom. Brown further testified that when Reid opened
the door, she was not sure whether he had his handgun pulled
already or not. She did not know if May and Acuff had any
weapons, and she did not see any.
Defense counsel brought out in cross-examination that in
Brown's statement to the police, she said that she did
not know who fired first, implying that someone else was
firing a gun. She also told police that she could not see who
was at the door. Additionally, Brown told police there were
no firearms in the room or drug activity. Brown testified
that at the time she gave her statement to the police she was
on suicide watch and medication.
Brown testified that after the shooting, she gathered her
belongings and left the room with Dillon and Rush. She saw
May on the ground as they left the motel room. Brown
testified that she ran "into the woods" and stayed
there about four hours-she threw her belongings "in the
bushes" but held onto her purse and cell phone. She did
not know where Dillon went. She testified that Rush went into
the woods separately. Brown testified that the small handgun
found with her belongings that the police later found
"could have" been put in her bag by her or someone
else. Before entering the woods, Brown heard Acuff ask Dillon
for a weapon. She said Dillon had a handgun but that he did
not give it to Acuff.
E.The Crime Scene and the Results of May's Autopsy