Bullock v. State, 51937

Decision Date06 August 1980
Docket NumberNo. 51937,51937
PartiesCrawford BULLOCK, Jr. v. STATE of Mississippi.
CourtMississippi Supreme Court

Bell & Brantley, Don H. Evans, Robert J. Brantley, Jr., Jackson, for appellant.

Bill Allain, Atty. Gen. by Marvin L. White, Jr., Sp. Asst. Atty. Gen., Edward Peters, Dist. Atty., Jackson, for appellee.

En Banc.

LEE, Justice, for the Court:

Crawford Bullock, Jr. was indicted at the November 1978 Term of the Circuit Court, First Judicial District, Hinds County, for the capital murder of Mark Dickson, while committing the crime of robbery against Dickson. A bifurcated trial was held during the May 1979 Term of said court, Honorable William F. Coleman presiding, and the jury returned a guilty verdict of capital murder at the conclusion of the first phase of the trial. A separate sentencing phase was held following the guilty verdict, and, after deliberation, the jury returned a verdict imposing the death sentence as punishment for the crime. Bullock has appealed here and has assigned and argued twenty-eight (28) errors in the trial below.

On the evening of September 21, 1978, Crawford Bullock, Jr. and Rickey Tucker went to Town Creek Saloon, where they drank alcoholic beverages during the night. When Bullock and Tucker decided to leave in the early morning of September 22, they discovered that the person, with whom they had ridden there, had left them. Mark Dickson was leaving the place and he offered to give them a ride home in the gray Thunderbird automobile he was driving.

On the way home, Bullock had Dickson stop at a convenience store in order for him to buy some bread. Dickson gave Bullock thirty-five cents (35cents) for that purpose, but the money was returned when it was found the store had no bread.

Dickson drove on at his riders' instructions. Bullock asked him to stop the automobile in order that he could answer a call of nature. Upon returning to the vehicle, Bullock overheard an argument between Tucker and Dickson and heard Tucker say, "Don't make me pull this gun," and he heard Dickson say that he did not have any money but that they could have the automobile. All three re-entered the vehicle, the argument continued, and Dickson stopped on Byrd Drive near a construction site where blows were exchanged between Tucker and Dickson. Tucker told appellant to grab Dickson, which he did. Dickson broke away and left the vehicle. Tucker got out with a whiskey bottle, using it as a club, and advanced toward Dickson who fled with Tucker in pursuit. Tucker tackled Dickson; appellant caught up with them and grabbed Dickson by the head. Tucker struck Dickson on the head with the whiskey bottle which also hit Bullock's hand, broke and cut it. Tucker beat Dickson with his fists, knocked him to the ground, kicked him in the head as he lay on the ground and then repeatedly struck him with a concrete block on the head which resulted in his death. Appellant went across the street to an automobile agency and tried to start one of the vehicles on the outside of the building to no avail.

Tucker suggested that they burn the body and the car, but appellant told him that he knew of a lake near Byram where the body could be disposed of. Dickson's body was loaded into the car, and they drove to a car wash, where the blood was washed away. Tucker removed Dickson's wallet from the body, went through it, found no money and disposed of it in a garbage can. Appellant drove the vehicle to his home, where they cleaned up, obtained a garden hose and then drove to the lake near Byram. Dickson's outer clothing was removed, concrete blocks were placed in his T-shirt and shorts, the garden hose was wrapped around the body and the weights, and Tucker pulled the body out into the Appellant and Tucker returned to Jackson and to appellant's home, again cleaned up, and appellant took Tucker home, then went to the University Medical Center where he obtained medical attention for his hand. The next day Tucker and he drove in the Dickson automobile to McComb for the purpose of visiting appellant's grandfather. They failed to find him and returned to Jackson. Appellant retained possession of the automobile.

lake and submerged it. Appellant also went into the lake, felt of the body with his feet, making sure that it was submerged and stuck in the mud at the bottom of the lake.

During the early morning hours of September 23, 1978, appellant began to have pain in his hand, and he returned to University Medical Center, driving the Dickson automobile, where he obtained prescriptions for his injury. On his way home from the hospital, he was stopped by officers of the Jackson Police Department, was arrested, and was taken to the police station. On being stopped and asked about the automobile he was driving, appellant responded that he had borrowed the automobile from a friend. While Dickson was driving the vehicle on the night of his death, the registration tag was on the back seat of the car and when Bullock was stopped, it had been placed on the tag mount outside the car.

At the police station, appellant made inculpatory oral and written statements about the commission of the homicide, which substantially set forth the facts related hereinabove.


Did the court err in finding that appellant's oral and written statements were freely and voluntarily given?

Appellant moved to suppress all statements made by him while in custody of the officers, contending that the statements were inadmissible because they were not freely and voluntarily given. He was held in the Jackson City Jail for approximately nine (9) hours after his arrest and at the end of that period, he was questioned by Detective Fondren and Officer Jordan about the homicide. Appellant executed a written waiver of his constitutional rights, and afterwards, gave an oral statement to the officers setting out his involvement in the crime. The statement was reduced to writing and was signed by the appellant. A pre-trial suppression hearing was conducted, the officers present when the statements were made testified that appellant was advised of his constitutional rights prior to making the statement, that he acknowledged understanding them and executed a written waiver thereof. The oral statement made to the officers was typed up by Detective Fondren, was read by the appellant, and was then signed by him.

Appellant denied that the statements were freely and voluntarily made and contends that the officers withheld medical treatment for his injured hand until he gave the statements. The officers testified that appellant did not complain of pain with his hand until they had completed the interrogation. They offered medical assistance to him, but appellant insisted on getting through with the statement first, and that he then go to the doctor. The officers testified that appellant was alert and coherent, and that he was not under the influence of medication or pain. After the officers received the statements, appellant was taken to the hospital. His temperature was 103o , he was treated, and remained in the hospital for one week.

Detective Fondren visited appellant while he was in the hospital and, after again being advised of his constitutional rights, appellant told Detective Fondren that on the night of the homicide Tucker and he were high on drugs and beer and the only explanation he could give for killing Dickson was that Tucker was trying to rob him. Security Officer King was outside the hospital room and he could see Detective Fondren talking to appellant, but he could not hear what was being said. They both testified that his statement was given freely and voluntarily.

After appellant testified, the officers were placed on the stand in rebuttal, and testified that the Miranda rights were given, the statements were freely and voluntarily made, and that the appellant knew what he was doing when he made the statements and executed them. The procedure outlined in Agee v. State, 185 So.2d 671 (Miss.1966) was strictly followed, and the trial judge held that the statements made by appellant were freely and voluntarily given. The court's finding was supported by the evidence, and we cannot overrule or disturb that finding. Clemons v. State, 316 So.2d 252 (Miss.1975).

Appellant testified in his own defense at both phases of the trial. His testimony was practically identical with that of his statements, and reiterated and enlarged upon those statements.


Did the trial court err in refusing to sustain defendant's demurrer to the indictment?

Appellant contends that the indictment here was faulty and subject to demurrer for the reasons that it did not set forth the necessary and essential elements of the crime of robbery, and did not refer to the proper statute (Mississippi Code Annotated § 97-3-19(2)(e) (Supp. 1979)), to charge the crime of capital murder.

The same question was raised in Bell v. State, 360 So.2d 1206, 1208-09 (Miss.1978), wherein the Court held that the indictment, such as here, was sufficient to give the accused fair notice of the crime charged in clear and intelligible language. See also Culberson v. State, 379 So.2d 499 (Miss.1979); Bell v. State, 353 So.2d 1141 (Miss.1977). The trial court properly overruled the demurrer.


Did the trial court err in refusing to grant appellant's requested circumstantial evidence instructions?

Appellant contends that the trial court should have granted the circumstantial evidence instructions requested by him. Such instructions should be given only in a purely circumstantial evidence case. DePriest v. State, 377 So.2d 615 (Miss.1979). The case sub judice does not come under that classification because there was direct evidence consisting of the statements made by appellant and his own testimony adduced in the trial on the guilt phase of the case. See McCray v. State, 320 So.2d 806 (Miss.1975).

The trial court granted an instruction known as the ...

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