Edmonds v. State, No. 2004-KA-02081-COA.

CourtCourt of Appeals of Mississippi
Writing for the CourtIrving, J.
Citation955 So.2d 864
PartiesTyler EDMONDS, Appellant, v. STATE of Mississippi, Appellee.
Decision Date25 April 2006
Docket NumberNo. 2004-KA-02081-COA.
955 So.2d 864
Tyler EDMONDS, Appellant,
v.
STATE of Mississippi, Appellee.
No. 2004-KA-02081-COA.
Court of Appeals of Mississippi.
April 25, 2006.

[955 So.2d 867]

Jim Waide, Tupelo, Robert B. McDuff, Jackson, Carlton W. Reeves, attorneys for appellant.

Office of the Attorney General by W. Daniel Hinchcliff, attorney For Appellee.

EN BANC.

MODIFIED OPINION ON MOTION FOR REHEARING

IRVING, J., for the Court.


¶ 1. The motion for rehearing is denied. However, the original opinion is withdrawn and this opinion is substituted.

¶ 2. Tyler Wayne Edmonds was convicted in the Circuit Court of Oktibbeha of the murder of Joey Fulgham, his half-sister's husband and sentenced to life in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections. Edmonds was thirteen at the time of the offense.1

¶ 3. On appeal, he raises the following assignments of error, which we cite verbatim:

I. IN LIGHT OF THE UNUSUAL CIRCUMSTANCES IN THIS CASE, INCLUDING EDMONDS'S AGE, THE REMOVAL OF HIS MOTHER FROM THE ROOM DURING INTERROGATION, THE USE OF HIS HALF-SISTER TO PRESSURE HIM, AND THE OBJECTIVE FACTS INDICATING THAT THE CONFESSION IS FALSE, EDMONDS'S CONFESSION SHOULD BE HELD INVOLUNTARY, UNRELIABLE, AND INADMISSIBLE.

II. EDMONDS SHOULD HAVE BEEN ALLOWED TO PRESENT AN EXPERT TO TESTIFY ABOUT

955 So.2d 868

FALSE CONFESSIONS AND THE CONDITIONS UNDER WHICH THEY OCCURRED.

III. NO SHOWING BY THE PROSECUTION OR FINDING BY THE TRIAL COURT WAS MADE TO SUPPORT THE RELIABILITY OF THE PREVIOUSLY UNDISCLOSED OPINION OF THE STATE'S EXPERT PATHOLOGIST THAT TWO PEOPLE SIMULTANEOUSLY PULLED THE TRIGGER THAT CAUSED THE DEATH IN THIS CASE, AND THE OPINION IS SO UNSUPPORTED BY ANY SCIENTIFIC METHODOLOGY AS TO BE INADMISSIBLE UNDER DAUBERT V. MERRELL DOW AND MISSISSIPPI TRANSPORTATION COMMISSION V. MCLEMORE.

IV. THE FAILURE TO DISCLOSE DR. HAYNE'S TWO-SHOOTER ONE-GUN THEORY REQUIRES REVERSAL UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THIS CASE.

V. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN EXCLUDING THE STATEMENT TO POLICE OF A WITNESS, WHO LATER DIED BEFORE THE TRIAL, THAT WOULD HAVE CORROBORATED THE DEFENDANT'S RECANTATION.

VI. COUNSEL SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN PROHIBITED FROM FULLY PRESENTING THEIR DEFENSE THAT KRISTI FULGHAM, ACTING WITHOUT EDMONDS, KILLED JOEY FULGHAM, AND PROHIBITED FROM PRESENTING TESTIMONY THAT SHE ASKED HER FATHER FOR A GUN TO KILL HIM AND THAT SHE AND JOEY HAD A VIOLENT AND TUMULTUOUS RELATIONSHIP.

VII. POTENTIAL JURORS WHO WERE QUALIFIED TO SERVE WERE WRONGLY EXCLUDED FOR CAUSE.

VIII. SINCE THE JURORS WERE INFORMED BY THE TRIAL JUDGE THAT EDMONDS COULD NOT GET THE DEATH PENALTY BECAUSE OF HIS AGE, THEY ALSO SHOULD HAVE BEEN INFORMED THAT HE OTHERWISE WOULD BE SENTENCED LIKE AN ADULT AND WOULD RECEIVE AN AUTOMATIC LIFE SENTENCE IF CONVICTED.

IX. THE TRIAL COURT ABUSED ITS DISCRETION IN NOT TRANSFERRING THIS CASE TO YOUTH COURT.

X. THE AUTOMATIC LIFE SENTENCE IMPOSED UPON EDMONDS FOR AN OFFENSE WHEN HE WAS THIRTEEN YEARS OLD IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL IN THAT IT FAILS TO TAKE INTO ACCOUNT THE INDIVIDUAL CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE CASE OR MITIGATING FACTORS.

XI. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN REFUSING TO INSTRUCT THE JURY THAT CONFESSIONS BY JUVENILES SHOULD BE CONSIDERED WITH CAUTION.

XII. THE TRIAL COURT DENIED EDMONDS HIS RIGHT TO EFFECTIVE REPRESENTATIVE BY COUNSEL AND RIGHT TO INTRODUCE EVIDENCE IN HIS OWN BEHALF BY REFUSING TO ALLOW THE DEFENSE TO PRODUCE EVIDENCE THAT EDMONDS HAD RETRACTED HIS CONFESSION.

XIII. THE COURT DENIED EDMONDS'S RIGHT TO PUBLIC TRIAL

955 So.2d 869

AND DENIED THE PUBLIC AND PRESS THEIR FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHTS WHEN THE SUPPRESSION HEARING WAS CLOSED.

XIV. A COMBINATION OF THE RULINGS OF THE COURT DENIED EDMONDS A FAIR TRIAL.

¶ 4. We find no error; therefore, we affirm Edmond's conviction and sentence.

FACTS

¶ 5. On Friday, May 9, 2003, Kristi Fulgham picked up her half-brother, Tyler Edmonds, to take him to her home in the Longview community as she did every other weekend. She and Edmonds have the same father, Danny Edmonds.

¶ 6. According to Edmonds's videotaped confession, after arriving at Kristi and Joey's home, Edmonds and Kristi went out for Subway sandwiches for dinner. After dinner, Joey went to bed, while Kristi stayed up and used the computer. Edmonds fell asleep on the floor next to Kristi, and during the night, she woke him up and put him in one of her children's beds.

¶ 7. Between three-thirty and four o'clock the alarm clock went off, waking Edmonds. He then went into the bedroom where Joey slept and, with Kristi's help, shot Joey in the back of the head with a .22 caliber rifle that Edmonds had brought with him at Kristi's request.

¶ 8. Kristi and Edmonds then loaded her three children into the car and took the computer and her jewelry, which, according to Edmonds, was to make it look as if there had been a robbery. Edmonds said he also thought Kristi took Joey's wallet. They then traveled to Jackson. The gun was never found.

¶ 9. The group went to Jackson to pick up Kristi's boyfriend, Kyle Harvey, and then went to the Mississippi Gulf Coast. They stayed at the Beau Rivage and played on the beach. On Sunday, Edmonds called his mother and wished her a happy Mother's Day. On their way back to Jackson, Kristi received several cell phone calls telling her that Joey had been murdered.

¶ 10. Edmonds and his mother voluntarily went to the police station in Oktibbeha County on Monday evening around 6:20 p.m., after learning that the police were interested in questioning him about the murder. In his initial interview, Edmonds claimed not to know anything about what happened. Both he and his mother signed a Miranda statement and agreed to the questioning. Edmonds's mother was then taken out of the room, and Edmonds was told that Kristi had implicated him in the killing. Apparently, Edmonds did not believe the authorities. Consequently, they asked Kristi if she had a problem with telling Edmonds what she had told them. She agreed to do so. Edmonds was taken to the room where Kristi was waiting. He sat down in the chair next to her, and she told him to hold her hand. He complied, and Kristi told him "something to the effect of it's okay. I told the truth. You can tell the truth." The entire visit with Kristi lasted approximately twenty to thirty seconds. At that point, the authorities took Edmonds in the next room where he gave a videotaped confession in which he stated that he and Kristi had killed Joey.

¶ 11. We quote liberally and emphasize portions of the interview in which the confession occurred:

BY OFFICER JAMES LINDSEY:

Q. Okay. We're going to — we going to talk to you about the murder case of Joey Fulgham and we want you to, uh, tell us what you know and give us a statement and this is on May

955 So.2d 870

the twelfth, two thousand and three, and Officer Shannon Williams will, uh — will advise you of your rights and, uh — he's going to be writing the statement up. Okay?

A. Yes, sir.

BY OFFICER WILLIAMS: All right, Tyler. I'm going to go ahead and give you your rights first. Before we ask any questions you must understand your rights. You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can be used against you in court. You have the right to talk to a lawyer for advice before we ask you any questions and have him with you during questioning. If you cannot afford a lawyer one will be appointed for you before any questioning if you wish. If you decide to answer questions now without a lawyer present you will still have the right to stop answering at anytime. You also have the right to stop answering at anytime until you talk to a lawyer. Do you understand?

A. Yes, sir.

* * *

BY OFFICER WILLIAMS: I need you to read this and sign it here.

(THE DEFENDANT READ AND SIGNED SAME)

* * *

BY OFFICER LINDSEY: We want you to understand, Tyler, this is very important, that you — that, uh, you give us this statement, and that you're telling the truth and, uh — and we want you to tell it just like it happened. Okay. Okay?

A. Yes, sir.

BY OFFICER LINDSEY: Now you're going to have to speak up where we can understand you.

EXAMINATION BY OFFICER WILLIAMS:

Q. All right. What I need you to so [sic] is let me let you start. You need to start two days from when this happened or a day, whenever you think you need to start. Okay?

A. Okay, Well Friday, I don't know the date, but —

Q. What was Friday?

A. The tenth, I guess.

* * *

A. We went — I came home cause I didn't go to school Friday.

Q. Who is we?

A. I was home alone.

Q. Okay.

A. And Christy2 was in Jackson and she was supposed to pick me up from school Thursday because I didn't have to go to school Friday for the field day, and she didn't come and she called me and asked me cause, you know, she'd been talking about doing it for awhile because of the way —

Q. Doing what?

A. Killing Joey because — well she kept talking about it. I didn't actually think she was serious, and —

Q. This is on May the tenth when y'all were talking about this?

A. Yes, sir.

Q. Okay. Were y'all taking by phone?

A. Uh, not [sic] — well she had called me about the gun and I just told her that I had a gun, but because

955 So.2d 871

it was a old gun in the fire and was bent or broke or something and it didn't — it wouldn't shoot so I got that just to say that I could try so she'd, you know, stop asking me about it and so it wouldn't work because —

Q. And y'all planning this, this was on Friday, May tenth, when y'all was —

A. Yes, sir. And she came and picked me up and I took that old gun and I think it was like four or five bullets.

Q. Where'd you get the gun?

A. It was — it came from my house, but it was like somebody on my stepdad's side. I think it was his — his grandpa's old gun or something.

Q. What's your stepdad's name?

A. Craig Clay.

Q. Okay.

A. And it didn't work so I had just got it and we went over to her house and she was happy, and, you know, she had —

Q. What day was this?

A. Friday.

Q. This was still Friday. Okay.

A. And we went over to her house and the...

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3 practice notes
  • Edmonds v. State, No. 2004-CT-02081-SCT.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • May 10, 2007
    ...to the Court of Appeals. See M.R.A.P. 16(b). A divided Court of Appeals affirmed Tyler's conviction and sentence. Edmonds v. State, 955 So.2d 864, 2006 WL 1073460, 2006 Miss. Ct.App. LEXIS 311 (Miss.Ct.App.2006). We granted Tyler's petition for writ of certiorari and now we find that Tyler ......
  • Evans v. State, No. 2009–KA–00854–COA.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Mississippi
    • June 14, 2011
    ...constitutional, and Congress may ‘define criminal punishments without giving the courts any sentencing discretion.’ ” Edmonds v. State, 955 So.2d 864, 895 (¶ 96) (Miss.Ct.App.2006) (rev'd on other grounds by Edmonds v. State, 955 So.2d 787 (Miss.2007)) (quoting Chapman v. United States, 500......
  • Edmonds v. State, NO. 2015–CA–01788–SCT
    • United States
    • Mississippi Supreme Court
    • June 29, 2017
    ...Department of Corrections. Edmonds appealed, and the Court of Appeals affirmed his sentence and conviction. Edmonds v. State , 955 So.2d 864, 900 (¶¶ 120–1) (Miss. Ct. App. 2006). The Supreme Court granted Edmonds's petition for writ of certiorari review. Edmonds v. State , 955 So.2d 787, 7......
3 cases
  • Edmonds v. State, No. 2004-CT-02081-SCT.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • May 10, 2007
    ...to the Court of Appeals. See M.R.A.P. 16(b). A divided Court of Appeals affirmed Tyler's conviction and sentence. Edmonds v. State, 955 So.2d 864, 2006 WL 1073460, 2006 Miss. Ct.App. LEXIS 311 (Miss.Ct.App.2006). We granted Tyler's petition for writ of certiorari and now we find that Tyler ......
  • Evans v. State, No. 2009–KA–00854–COA.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Mississippi
    • June 14, 2011
    ...constitutional, and Congress may ‘define criminal punishments without giving the courts any sentencing discretion.’ ” Edmonds v. State, 955 So.2d 864, 895 (¶ 96) (Miss.Ct.App.2006) (rev'd on other grounds by Edmonds v. State, 955 So.2d 787 (Miss.2007)) (quoting Chapman v. United States, 500......
  • Edmonds v. State, NO. 2015–CA–01788–SCT
    • United States
    • Mississippi Supreme Court
    • June 29, 2017
    ...Department of Corrections. Edmonds appealed, and the Court of Appeals affirmed his sentence and conviction. Edmonds v. State , 955 So.2d 864, 900 (¶¶ 120–1) (Miss. Ct. App. 2006). The Supreme Court granted Edmonds's petition for writ of certiorari review. Edmonds v. State , 955 So.2d 787, 7......

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