Shanki Kennedy v. State of Mississippi – aggravated assault – Kennedy was convicted of aggravated assault for attacking Victoria Watts with a tire arm as she lay in bed. Watts was the estranged wife of Kennedy’s boyfriend. Watts was able to grab a knife and fight back. When Kennedy later sought medical treatment, she was arrested. Kennedy testified that she had been jumped by Watts while walking down the street. On appeal she raises weight and sufficiency of the evidence issues. The COA affirms.
Estate of Frances Christine Jones, by and through the Duly Appointed and Qualified Executor Sidney Jones; Sidney Jones, Heir at Law of Frances Christine Jones, Decedent; Lindrith Jones Thompson, Heir at Law of Frances Christine Jones, Decedent; and Jeffrey Patrick Jones, Trustee of the Lindrith Jones Thompson Testamentary Trust, an Unfunded Testamentary Trust Established Pursuant to the Last Will and Testament of Frances Christine Jones, Deceased v. Irozenell Pruitt and Bocee Pruitt – property/adverse possession/attorneys fees – When Frances Jones died in 1993, she left a 206 acre piece of property in Madison County to be divided by her three children. Bocee Pruitt inherited property adjacent to the Jones property. She transferred title to her daughter in 2011. At that point the Pruitts confronted the Jones’ about their use of a 455 road to access the Jones’ property to connect to Patrick Rd. Sidney Jones testified that the road was there when his parents purchased the property and that it had been improved. In 1974 Sidney placed a gate where the road met Patrick Rd. Bocee testified that she had given the Jones’ express permission to use the road and erect the gate. Since she was seldom in the property, she relied on the Jones to tell her if there were any problems. Sidney was supposed to maintain the roadway but it had developed holes from large machinery. After a trial, the court denied the Jones’ claim for adverse possession or prescriptive easement to the roadway and for adverse possession to a deer camp structure. The Jones’ appealed. The COA affirms. As the trial court noted, all of the testimony was that the use of the roadway was peaceable and permissive. One of the elements of adverse possession is that the use of the land be hostile. The Pruitts cross appealed on the grounds that they should have been awarded attorneys fees. The chancellor had awarded them at first but a successor chancellor vacated the award on reconsideration. “Chancellor Clark, in granting the Joneses’ motion for a reconsideration of the award of attorneys’ fees, determined that the Pruitts failed to offer any evidence as to the financial ability of the Joneses to pay, in accordance with the requirements of McKee v. McKee, 418 So. 2d 764, 767 (Miss. 1982), so as to determine the reasonableness of the attorneys’ fees requested. We cannot find that this was an abuse of discretion.”
Thomas E. Ethridge, III v. Christy Ward Ethridge – custody/tender years – Thomas and Christy married in 2015, had one child, and then both filed for divorce. They eventually agreed to an ID divorce. the court then awarded physical custody to Christy (with Thomas having limited visitation until the child is 2 years old) with the parties sharing joint legal custody. Thomas appealed. He argues that even though the child was only eight months old, the tender years doctrine should not apply. He also argues that the judge should have granted his motion for reconsideration in which he claimed that Christy lied about not having any mental problems. He claims his attorney was distracted at trial by a hit and run and failed to question her about her mental health. The COA affirms.
Ranzino Ahmad Harris v. State of Mississippi – use of unavailable witness’ prior testimony/excited utterance – In 2010, Harris went to the house of his ex girlfriend Ashley. He found her there along with her new boyfriend Justin Murray and Ashely’s sister Tericia and her boyfriend Michael Brewer. Harris confronted Ashley and began choking her. Murray and Brewer were able to pull Harris off. He left but returned with a gun and fired two shots killing Murray. Harris was convicted of murder. On appeal he argues both weight and sufficiency of the evidence. He also argues that the court erred in admitting Ashley’s preliminary hearing testimony when she was deemed unavailable for trial. He also argues that the court erred when it allowed a police officer to testify that when he arrived, Brewer was walking around stating ‘He didn’t have to do this. That wasn’t called for.’” The court admitted it an an excited utterance. Harris argues is was hearsay. The COA affirms.
Sharon Williams v. Potter & Sims Foods, Inc. d/b/a Food Depot – premises liability – In May 2013, Williams was shopping at a Jackson Food Depot when she took a box of light bulbs off the shelf. On realizing that one or more was broken, she put them back but she claims she inhaled some dust from the box. She went back the next day to report her experience to the manager. She filed suit. Food Depot filed a motion for summary judgment. Williams responded to the motion. She then asked for permission to take a trial deposition of her treating physician. The trial court denied the request for the deposition and granted summary judgment. On appeal the COA affirms. Even if Smims could prove that Food Deport was negligent, she had no evidence that the sinus surgery she underwent was caused by the lightbulb incident.
James Kwame Topps v. State of Mississippi – felony fleeing – In 2015, Officer Devarius Smith was called out to a domestic-disturbance call in Winona. When he arrived, Gloria Topps was trying to tell the police what had happened. Topps stated “F*** you and the Winona Police Department. If y’all put your hands on me, I’m going to kill y’all” and walked down the street and got into an SUV. Topps drove crazily followed by police. At one point, Topps stopped. Smith exited his police car and walked to the SUV whereupon Topps tried to back over him. The police ended the pursuit but Topps was eventually arrested. He was convicted of felony fleeing and aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer. On appeal he argues that the verdict was against the weight of the evidence and insufficient evidence. The COA affirms.
Pro se PCR appeals affirmed: