Brown v. State, 2019-KA-00182-COA

CourtCourt of Appeals of Mississippi
Writing for the CourtWILSON, P.J., FOR THE COURT
Citation336 So.3d 134
Parties Oliver BROWN a/k/a Oliver Brown, Jr., Appellant v. STATE of Mississippi, Appellee
Docket Number2019-KA-00182-COA
Decision Date17 November 2020

336 So.3d 134

Oliver BROWN a/k/a Oliver Brown, Jr., Appellant
STATE of Mississippi, Appellee

NO. 2019-KA-00182-COA

Court of Appeals of Mississippi.

November 17, 2020
Rehearing Denied March 2, 2021





¶1. Oliver Brown was convicted of manslaughter following a jury trial in the Copiah County Circuit Court. On appeal, Brown argues (1) that the trial judge erred by admitting his confessions made to law enforcement; (2) that there is insufficient evidence to support his conviction; (3) that the trial judge committed plain error by giving erroneous and inadequate instructions on the crime of heat-of-passion manslaughter; and (4) that the State committed a Brady1 violation. We find no reversible error and affirm.


¶2. On August 12, 2017, Jason Youngblood was driving in his car with Frederick Shannon. As they drove past Oliver Brown's house on Beasley Road in Hazlehurst, Youngblood saw a garbage bin that he thought belonged to him. Youngblood turned his car around and parked on the road in front of Brown's house.

¶3. Youngblood walked up to the house while Shannon remained in the car. Youngblood knocked on the front door, and Brown's wife, Dara, came to the door. Youngblood told Dara that they had his garbage bin. Dara told him that the garbage bin was theirs, but Youngblood insisted that it belonged to him. Dara told Youngblood that she would call Brown about the bin. Dara called Brown, and Brown "told [Dara] to tell [Youngblood] that [Youngblood's] bin [was] gone." He also told Dara, "Tell [Youngblood] I bought that bin from Kenny Beacham." Brown then told Dara to just stay inside the house. He stated that he was on his way home and would talk to Youngblood himself. Dara told Youngblood that Brown would be home soon, and Youngblood said he would wait in his car. Dara testified that Youngblood was angry and cursing and "looked like he was maybe a little high or something."

¶4. Youngblood walked back to the road and sat down in his car. About that time, Brown drove up in his truck and parked directly in front of and facing Youngblood's car. Shannon testified that Youngblood got out of his car and walked back to

336 So.3d 139

the rear of his car. Brown then got out of his truck and walked past Shannon to meet Youngblood at the rear of Youngblood's car.

¶5. Shannon, who was still sitting in the passenger seat of Youngblood's car, heard Brown "hollering and screaming" at Youngblood "to get away from the front of his house." Shannon could not hear what Youngblood said because Youngblood was not talking loudly. Dara was standing at the front door of the house. Shannon heard Dara scream, "No, Little Oliver," followed immediately by a gunshot. Shannon got out of the car, and Brown said to him, "Well, you can get it too." Shannon saw Youngblood lying in the road. He said to Brown, "Man, I didn't have nothing to do with this. I didn't come here for that." Brown told Shannon to get Youngblood "away from in front of [Brown's] house." Shannon responded, "Man, he's dead, bro." Brown then got in his truck and drove off. Shannon did not have a phone to call anyone, so he drove Youngblood's car to Youngblood's cousin's house. Shannon did not see a gun at any time prior to, during, or after the shooting.

¶6. Dara's testimony about the shooting differed from Shannon's testimony. Dara testified that Brown parked his truck in their driveway and started walking toward their house. She testified that Youngblood got out of his car and "kind of cut [Brown] off" in their yard and that the two men began arguing about the garbage bin. Youngblood claimed that it belonged to him, while Brown insisted that it was his. According to Dara, Youngblood became "irate" and began to insult and curse Brown. She testified that Brown told her to go back in the house and told Youngblood to get out of their yard. Dara testified that as she went back inside the house, she heard a gunshot. She looked back and saw Youngblood fall to the ground and Brown "jump back like he was looking at himself." Dara claimed that Brown and Youngblood were in the yard when she turned to go back inside the house. She did not know how they ended up in the road before Youngblood was shot. After Youngblood was shot, Dara called 911, and Brown got in his truck and left. Dara also testified that she never saw either man with a gun.

¶7. Dara testified that after Brown left, Shannon stepped out of Youngblood's car and stated, "I told [Youngblood] not to come over here and start messing with y'all about a garbage bin." Dara was surprised because she had not known that anyone else was in Youngblood's car. She testified that Shannon checked on Youngblood and then said that he needed to go because he was "already on papers."

¶8. On cross-examination, Dara acknowledged that she later told police officers, "I didn't see [Brown] actually pull a gun. If I had, I would have told him, ‘Don't shoot the boy.’ " Dara testified that she called 911 twice because her first call was disconnected. In between the two calls, Brown called her, and she was concerned because he seemed "delusional." During the second 911 call, she told the operator, "I just pray he [(i.e., Brown)] don't do nothing else." When police officers responded to the scene, Dara did not tell them that Brown and Youngblood had struggled prior to the shooting or that she was ever in fear of Youngblood. The gun used to kill Youngblood was never found.

¶9. Dr. Mark LeVaughn, the chief medical examiner for the State, performed the autopsy and testified that Youngblood died of a single gunshot wound to his face. The bullet entered Youngblood's face just over his chin, severed his brainstem, and stopped in the back of his skull. LeVaughn testified that the shooter was standing directly in front of Youngblood

336 So.3d 140

and that the wound was a "close-range wound," meaning that the gun's muzzle was two to four feet from Youngblood's face. Youngblood's only injury was the single gunshot wound. He did not have any injuries that suggested there was a struggle prior to the shooting. On cross-examination, LeVaughn testified that Youngblood's blood alcohol concentration was .13% and that marijuana was present in his system at the time of his death.

¶10. Brown turned himself in at the Hazlehurst Police Department later on the day of the shooting. He was taken to an interview room and given a Miranda2 warning. Brown asked for a lawyer, and questioning ceased. Brown was sent to the booking area of the jail. A short time later, Brown was called back to the interview room, and Investigator Al Farrish asked him if he would consent to a gunshot residue (GSR) test. In response, Brown stated that there no need to waste time and money on a GSR test because he shot Youngblood. Brown stated, "[I] killed the mother f****r."3

¶11. Two days later, Officer Reginald Robinson transported Brown to court for his initial appearance in Brookhaven. Robinson had known Brown "[j]ust about all [his] life," and on the way back to the jail, they engaged in casual conversation about their families and "old times." During their conversation, Brown spontaneously told Robinson that he shot Youngblood with a "revolver" and "got rid of it before [he] turned [him]self in."

¶12. A Copiah County grand jury indicted Brown as a violent habitual offender4 for first-degree murder and possession of a firearm by a felon. Prior to trial, Brown filed a motion to suppress his confessions to Farrish and Robinson. Following a pretrial hearing, the trial judge denied the motion.

¶13. In his opening statement at trial, Brown's counsel argued that "Youngblood walked up on ... Brown, reached in his pocket and pulled out a gun." Counsel argued that Brown grabbed the gun, and "[a]s they tussled over the gun, the gun went off" and shot Youngblood. Counsel claimed that a GSR analysis of Youngblood's hands supported this theory.

¶14. Jason Burchfield, an analyst from the Mississippi Forensics Laboratory, testified that Youngblood's GSR test was negative as to his right palm, left palm, and the back of his right hand. There were "particles indicative of gunshot residue ... present on the back of [Youngblood's] left hand." This meant that Youngblood was "in the environment of a discharged weapon," probably "within two to three feet" of the discharged weapon. On cross-examination, Burchfield testified that particles could have ended up on the back of Youngblood's left hand even if Youngblood's hands were down at his side when Brown shot him in the face.5

¶15. On the first count of the indictment, the court instructed the jury on first-degree

336 So.3d 141

murder, the lesser-included offense of heat-of-passion manslaughter, and the justification of self-defense. The jury found Brown guilty of manslaughter and not guilty of possession of a firearm as a felon. The court sentenced Brown to life imprisonment without eligibility for parole as a violent habitual offender.

¶16. Brown filed a motion for judgment...

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  • Omega Protein, Inc. v. Evanston Ins. Co., 2020-CA-01097-SCT
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • March 31, 2022
    ...out. Item 4 of the insurance contract is titled "Schedule of Underlying Insurance" and clearly lists the Colony policy held by Accu-fab. 336 So.3d 134 The Colony policy contained a schedule entitled "ADDITIONAL INSURED - OWNERS, LESSEES OR CONTRACTORS - SCHEDULED PERSON OR ORGANIZATION." Th......
1 cases
  • Omega Protein, Inc. v. Evanston Ins. Co., 2020-CA-01097-SCT
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • March 31, 2022
    ...out. Item 4 of the insurance contract is titled "Schedule of Underlying Insurance" and clearly lists the Colony policy held by Accu-fab. 336 So.3d 134 The Colony policy contained a schedule entitled "ADDITIONAL INSURED - OWNERS, LESSEES OR CONTRACTORS - SCHEDULED PERSON OR ORGANIZATION." Th......

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