Gillett v. State – death penalty sentencing – Roger Gillett and his codefendant Lisa Chamberlin killed Vernon Hulett and Linda Heintzelman in Hattiesburg and drove their bodies to Kansas. Gillett was later convicted of two counts of capital murder and given two death sentences (possibly to guard against reincarnation). The jury found 4 aggravating factors. His case was affirmed on direct appeal. On post conviction, he gets a new sentencing hearing because on the introduction of inadmissible evidence. The prosecution was relying on four aggravating factors including one involving a previous conviction of threat or violence. The conviction here concerned a prior escape from a prison in Kansas. On direct appeal, the Court held that there was insufficient evidence to determine whether the Kansas conviction of attempted aggravated escape truly involved threats or violence and, thus, it should not have been given the jury. Instead of reversing, though, the Court reweighed the three remaining aggs (avoiding arrest, hac, and felony murder) against the mitigating factors and determined that without the prior, the mitigating evidence did not outweigh the aggravating evidence. It therefore held t hat the giving to the jury this inadmissible agg. was harmless.
On pcr, the Court decides that this was wrong and that its own reweighing violated Gillett’s right to due process under Brown v. Sanders, 546 U.S. 212, 126 S.Ct. 884 (2006)
Conley v. Epps, 2013 Miss. App. LEXIS 818 (Miss. App. Dec. 3, 2013), – Glen Conley was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. The murder for which he was convicted was committed on May 23, 1994. At that time, there were only two penalties for capital murder under MCA Sect. 99-19-101: death and life with the possibility of parole. Before he was convicted, the statute was amended to include life without parole. On direct appeal, Conley claimed that his sentence of lwop violated the doctrine against ex post facto. The Miss.S.Ct. affirmed. Conley v. State, 790 So. 2d 773, 779 (¶1) (Miss. 2001).
This appeal arose after Conley asked MDOC for a parole-eligibility date and was denied. Conley utilized the MDOC Administrative Remedies Program to ask for a parole-eligibility date. This request was also denied. Conley appealed this decision to the circuit court which dismissed his appeal. On appeal to the Ct of App., it held that “Because the Mississippi Supreme Court already reviewed and affirmed the trial court’s decision in Conley, 790 So. 2d at 804 (¶123), Conley is barred from relitigating the issue under the doctrine of res judicata”
And in Michelle Byrom, the Court denies Sonny’s request that it write a “reasoned opinion” (typical Sonny insult) explaining why it reversed her capital murder conviction.