Bevill v. State

Decision Date24 January 1990
Docket NumberNo. 03-DP-85,03-DP-85
PartiesRandy BEVILL v. STATE of Mississippi.
CourtMississippi Supreme Court

Jackson M. Brown, Paula E. Drungole, Starkville, for appellant.

Mike C. Moore, Atty. Gen., Marvin L. White, Jr., Asst. Atty. Gen., Charlene R. Pierce, Sp. Asst. Atty. Gen., Jackson, John R. Young, Dist. Atty., Corinth, for appellee.

En Banc.

HAWKINS, Presiding Justice, for the Court:

Randy Bevill appeals his conviction of capital murder in the circuit court of Monroe County, upon change of venue from Lee County, and sentence to death. We have addressed numerous claims of error made by Bevill. One requires reversal, the introduction into evidence of an admission by Bevill, given to law enforcement officers without a Miranda warning, that he was in the neighborhood of the victim on the night of the murder. We reverse and remand. In this opinion we also give direction as to questions which either will or may recur upon retrial.


July 31, 1986, was a Thursday. Amy Clayton, who had turned 18 on July 3, graduated that May from Saltillo High School, and who expected to attend Itawamba Community College in the fall on a cheerleader scholarship, lived with her parents Joe and Carolyn Clayton at 1401 Frances Square in Tupelo. Also living at this home were Amy's two older brothers, Brad and Robert (Rob) Clayton.

Amy spent the day at the home of her maternal grandmother, who had broken When Amy got to the Clayton residence, only Brad was there. They went to a store for some gasoline for Amy's car and soft drinks, and then returned home where Amy prepared supper. The two ate around 7:00-7:30 p.m.

her leg, and was being cared for by the Claytons. Mrs. Clayton went to their home to get some clothes before spending the night with her mother on Mitchell Road, and relieving Amy. Amy left her grandmother's about 6:30 p.m.

Their brother Rob came home about 7:30 and a short while later Jimmy Gray, on the softball team with the boys, arrived. The two of them left around 8:00 to go to the softball field in the Palmetto community. Around 9:00 p.m. Brad left to join the team. He invited Amy to go with him, but she wanted to stay home and jog. Amy routinely jogged on a pathway above the Joyner School around the Joyner City Park area.

This was the last Brad saw his sister alive.

Mr. Clayton was employed by the Lee County Extension Service. He was out in the field all day, and did not get off work until 6:00 or 6:30 that evening. He went to the softball game, arriving there around 9:00. Following the game he and Brad returned to the Clayton residence, arriving around 11:30.

Amy was not home, and around midnight Mr. Clayton became worried. He telephoned Mrs. Clayton who came home. He called some of Amy's friends. Around 1:00 a.m. he notified the police, who came to the Clayton residence, and Mr. Clayton accompanied them looking for Amy. They traced the area where she normally jogged. The Claytons spent a sleepless night, continuing to search and wait for Amy. Around 6:00 a.m. Mr. Clayton called his brother Jerry Lee Clayton, the chancery clerk.

Al Wallace was jogging around Legion Lake at 6:00 a.m. that Friday, August 1, and as he looked across the lake he saw what appeared to be a human body down by the lake. When he got to the area where he had spotted the body, he left the road, walked down to the lake and discovered the body of a girl who had been dead for a period of several hours.

Wallace called the police, who promptly investigated. Jerry Lee Clayton was called to the scene and identified the body as Amy.

City and county law enforcement officers investigated the scene. Sheriff Roy Sandefer and Police Chief Ed Crider assigned officers to comb the area. 1 The body was 22 feet from the road and 18 feet from the lake. The shoes were 8-to-10 feet from the body in underbrush, and a white sock was found three feet above her head. The body was slightly over a half mile north of the Clayton residence. This was not the area where Amy had customarily jogged, Joyner Park being south of Frances Square. Found 167 feet from the body was a bloodied, sleeveless, white Fruit of the Loom brand "tank top" muscle shirt, also called a "t-shirt." While called a "t-shirt" this should not be confused with military t-shirts which have short sleeves. This undershirt was made of ribbed material, size 46-48 extra large. At a distance of 515 feet from the body, near a stop sign intersection of Country Club and Legion Lake roads, a size 34 pair of J.C. Penney brand under shorts was also found.

Dr. Thomas Bennett, state medical examiner, performed an autopsy on the body in Jackson. He determined the time of death between 10:00 p.m. and 12:00 midnight on Thursday, July 31. Amy's sock and shoes had been removed, and prior to her death, one of her shoe strings was used to tightly bind her wrists in front of her body, and one of her socks was used as a gag. Dr. Bennett noted two bruises on the top of her head caused by some blunt instrument. The autopsy revealed 34 stab wounds as well as abrasions, lacerations and bruises. The vagina had been torn, bruised and scraped by something blunt, which Dr.

Bennett stated could have been a penis, and dead spermatozoa were found inside the vaginal vault. Dr. Bennett determined this spermatozoa had probably been deposited some time between 18 and 14 hours before the 7:30 p.m. autopsy on Friday, August 1.


Randy Bevill, a native of Pontotoc County, 30 years of age, was indicted on March 10, 1986, by the Pontotoc County grand jury in cause number 9041 for burglary of the inhabited dwelling of Lonnie Briggs on December 7, 1985. The same grand jury also indicted Bevill in cause number 9042 for burglary of an inhabited dwelling of Sue Hurley on September 10, 1985.

On July 11, 1986, Bevill pleaded guilty to both indictments. Bevill was sentenced on July 18, in cause number 9041 to ten years imprisonment, with the sentence suspended. He was placed on five years probation, three years supervised.

In cause number 9042 no sentence was imposed by the circuit court at the July Term. An order was entered on July 18 continuing the cause indefinitely for sentencing.

Following the crime, the officers received descriptions of suspicious or strange people in the area. Michael H. Sadler, a next door neighbor to the Claytons, furnished a description of a man seen walking toward the Clayton home around 10:15-10:30 p.m. on Thursday night. He appeared approximately five feet nine inches tall, was stocky, with a beard, dark hair, and wearing a headband, a light t-shirt and dark trousers. This description helped make a composite picture which was published in the North Mississippi Daily Journal on August 2.

Iris Cowly lived at 1201 Eugene Street, in the immediate neighborhood of the Claytons, although they were not acquainted. She and Bevill had previously dated, but had broken up. She had complained to the police that Bevill had come by her house on Thursday night, banging on the door and wanting to get in.

Larry K. Rickels, criminal investigator with the Mississippi Highway Patrol, and a resident of Lee County, led the criminal investigation. The law enforcement officers had received sufficient information to want a picture of Bevill. The sheriff's office in Pontotoc County was contacted on Saturday, August 2, and Lee Monts, a constable and deputy sheriff in Pontotoc County, informed the law enforcement officers he could obtain one. According to Monts a picture of Bevill was obtained. It was delivered by Monts to a Lee County deputy at the county line shortly after 1:00 p.m. This picture, however, is not in the record.

Monts' version of what transpired that afternoon was given at a pre-trial suppression hearing. Later that afternoon, according to Monts, he ran into Bevill at a barn in the north part of Pontotoc County. After about another hour, according to Monts, he received a radio call asking him "if I knew where I could pick this subject up at." Monts then attempted, without initial success, to locate Bevill. Still later, according to Monts, he received another radio call, and this time recognized Rickels' voice on the radio. The Lee County sheriff's office radioed "to see if I had went [sic] 10-15 with the subject." Finally, around 5:00 p.m., after searching for Bevill, Monts found Bevill with some more individuals working on a barn. According to Monts, Bevill came over to him and said, "Somebody tells me that you want to talk to me." Monts replied, "Yeah, Randy, I do. You have got to go to Tupelo with me." Bevill wanted to know the reason, and Monts replied, "Randy, I can't tell you." He also told him it was very serious and "you are going to have to go with me."

According to Monts he radioed Lee County that "I was in 10-15," and "that means that you've got your subject arrested, in custody and fixing to transport them." According to Monts, Rickels asked him if Bevill's truck was there, and Monts told him it was. Monts told one of the other men to drive Bevill's truck to Tupelo, and Bevill rode with Monts. He testified that Bevill had asked him if he could drive his own truck, and Monts told him that he could Monts testified that he never told Bevill he was under arrest, but he did tell Bevill that "he had to go with me."

not, but had to stay in the car with him [Monts].

When Monts had transported Bevill to the Lee County jail, he told him that he had to go in and "talk with some investigators." Monts walked into the jail with Bevill, told the officers "This is Randy."

Monts did not give Bevill any Miranda warning.

There were several law enforcement officers gathered at the jail. Sadler was also there, although Monts did not know him. According to Monts, when Rickels came in he asked the man (Sadler) if Bevill was the man he had seen walking down the street. Sadler replied that from the picture he had seen he did not think it was Bevill, but after seeing Bevill in person he...

To continue reading

Request your trial
141 cases
  • Stevens v. State, No. 2000-DP-00507-SCT.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • September 13, 2001
    ...606 So.2d 1015 (Miss. 1992). Balfour v. State, 598 So.2d 731 (Miss.1992). Griffin v. State, 557 So.2d 542 (Miss.1990). Bevill v. State, 556 So.2d 699 (Miss.1990). West v. State, 553 So.2d 8 (Miss.1989). Leatherwood v. State, 548 So.2d 389 (Miss. 1989). Mease v. State, 539 So.2d 1324 (Miss.1......
  • Bennett v. State, No. 2003-DP-00765-SCT.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • May 11, 2006
    ...606 So.2d 1015 (Miss. 1992). Balfour v. State, 598 So.2d 731 (Miss. 1992). Griffin v. State, 557 So.2d 542 (Miss. 1990). Bevill v. State, 556 So.2d 699 (Miss. 1990). West v. State, 553 So.2d 8 (Miss.1989). Leatherwood v. State, 548 So.2d 389 (Miss.1989). Mease v. State, 539 So.2d 1324 (Miss......
  • Brawner v. State, No. 2002-DP-00615-SCT.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • April 29, 2004
    ...606 So.2d 1015 (Miss. 1992). Balfour v. State, 598 So.2d 731 (Miss. 1992). Griffin v. State, 557 So.2d 542 (Miss. 1990). Bevill v. State, 556 So.2d 699 (Miss. 1990). West v. State, 553 So.2d 8 (Miss.1989). Leatherwood v. State, 548 So.2d 389 (Miss.1989). Mease v. State, 539 So.2d 1324 (Miss......
  • Walker v. State
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • March 31, 2005
    ...606 So.2d 1015 (Miss.1992). Balfour v. State, 598 So.2d 731 (Miss.1992). Griffin v. State, 557 So.2d 542 (Miss.1990). Bevill v. State, 556 So.2d 699 (Miss.1990). West v. State, 553 So.2d 8 Leatherwood v. State, 548 So.2d 389 (Miss.1989). Mease v. State, 539 So.2d 1324 (Miss.1989). Houston v......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT