Gaines v. State, No. 52607

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
Writing for the CourtBefore PATTERSON; SUGG; PATTERSON
Citation404 So.2d 557
PartiesJ. D. GAINES v. STATE of Mississippi.
Decision Date14 October 1981
Docket NumberNo. 52607

Page 557

404 So.2d 557
J. D. GAINES
v.
STATE of Mississippi.
No. 52607.
Supreme Court of Mississippi.
Oct. 14, 1981.

Page 558

Vance & Perrier, Travis T. Vance, Jr., Eugene A. Perrier, W. M. Conerly, Vicksburg, for appellant.

Bill Allain, Atty. Gen. by Mark A. Chinn, Sp. Asst. Atty. Gen., Jackson, for appellee.

Before PATTERSON, C. J., and SUGG and LEE, JJ.

SUGG, Justice, for the Court:

Appellant, J.D. Gaines, was indicted, tried, and convicted in the Circuit Court of Warren County for the crime of capital murder. He was sentenced to serve a term of life imprisonment as a habitual criminal under section 99-19-81 Mississippi Code Annotated (Supp.1977). From this conviction and sentence, he appeals. We affirm.

On October 21, 1978, shortly after 7:00 o'clock a. m., James McIntyre went into the Pack 'N Pay convenience store, and as he did so, a black man passed him who was leaving the store. He stated that there was a light blue late model GM automobile parked in front of the convenience store. About 7:15 a. m. Johnnie Ball and Phylis Morson arrived at the store to find that the clerk was not present. The cash register was closed, the clerk's purse was still there, it appeared that no struggle had ensued, and the safe was closed as well. Ball felt the hood of a blue Toyota, later identified as the victim's automobile, and it was still warm. At approximately 7:20 a. m., the owner of the convenience store, Danny Cappaert, was contacted at his home. He arrived at 7:30 a. m. to find that the victim's car was there but not the victim. Phil Solomon, Vicksburg Chief of Detectives, and other law enforcement officers were then summoned to the convenience store. He stated that it appeared that no struggle had occurred, and nothing was taken from the store.

Harold Hollingsworth left his home about 8:00 o'clock a. m., the morning of October 21, 1978, driving east on Freetown Road. At the point where the blacktop ended and the road forked, he took a right and drove a couple of miles. While driving up an incline, he noticed some clothing in the middle of the road. A short distance from where the clothes were lying, a logging road

Page 559

turned off to the right. Approximately 40 yards down the road he noticed what appeared to be a body, whereupon he contacted Deputy Sheriff Dennis Cahill, and the two of them returned to the location of the body. There, Deputy Cahill found that the victim had been stripped of her clothing and that no signs of life were evident. At this point he cordoned off the road leading to the body and also the area in which the clothes were found. Furthermore, he stated that the body was medium warm when he arrived at the scene, and that there was blood on the back of the head. Detective Solomon, while enroute to the area, called the State Crime Lab to have experts report to the scene. Pictures of the body were taken and introduced into evidence at the trial. Following the autopsy Dr. Leo Scanlon handed the bullet removed from the head of the victim to Detective Solomon. These bullet fragments were introduced at trial.

Earlier that same morning Marvin Summers also saw the clothes in the middle of the road, and 200 yards later, saw a black man talking to a black girl in a late model blue automobile parked by the side of the road. Summers picked the defendant out of a lineup, and identified him as the black man he had seen.

Dr. Leo Scanlon, who had performed the autopsy, stated the cause of death was a gunshot wound to the left side of the head with massive destruction and hemorrhage of the brain tissues. The skin on her elbows was also scraped off, as if she had been pushed down, and there was an extremely severe injury to the vaginal area, though there was no evidence of sexual abuse. At trial, he identified the bullet as the one he had removed from the victim's head. He also stated that, at the time of the autopsy, she had been dead from four and one-half to seven hours.

On May 14, 1979, Sheriff Paul Barrett received a call from Eddie Lucas, Director at Parchman Penitentiary, with regard to certain information that the defendant, J.D. Gaines, thought might prove helpful to the sheriff in solving the case. The defendant had been incarcerated at the Warren County jail on a charge of armed robbery and had heard the sheriff promise to help anyone who could supply him with information related to the murder. An initial statement, implicating several individuals, was taken at Parchman. It was subsequently introduced into evidence at trial. A second statement was also introduced into evidence. Gaines accused nine persons of the murder.

While implicating other individuals, the defendant, Gaines, supplied exact escape routes for the murderers. He accurately described the logging road where the body was located, and he also described the position of the body when it was found. Furthermore, he stated that the victim was carried from the car to the place where she was killed, which would coincide with the fact that none of her footprints were found leading up to the location of the body. Furthermore, a prisoner in the county jail, Shelby Smith, who was serving time for armed robbery, stated that he had overheard a conversation between Gaines and Joe Dawson in which Gaines stated that he and his brothers had gone to the convenience store, had an argument with a lady clerk, abducted her, beat her, and took her jewelry.

Following the defendant's return from Parchman, but preceding his arrest, the murder weapon was recovered. Acting on information supplied by the defendant, the sheriff, two deputies, along with the appellant, went to Gaines' mother's home to retrieve the weapon. Gaines claimed that he had acquired the pistol from Sammy Guajardo on October 22, 1978, the day following the murder. Guajardo stated, on the other hand, that Gaines had taken the gun away from him as the result of a fight over a drug transaction, at the end of the first week of October. Conflicting testimony was presented at trial with regard to the date of the pistol's acquisition.

In establishing an alibi defense, the defendant's two sisters testified that they had visited his apartment the morning of the murder, and that even though he had not

Page 560

responded to their knocking on the door, they knew that he was there. When they returned later in the morning his response to them was, "What do you all want this time." He then told them that his girlfriend had just left the apartment. Gaines' girlfriend testified that she had spent the Friday night before the murder with the defendant, and had not left him until 9:30 or 10:00 o'clock the next morning.

Cindy Bennett, an inmate at Parchman, was called as a defense witness. She testified she was living in a trailer with her boyfriend, Fabregas, at the time of the murder. Fabregas was one of those originally implicated by Gaines in the murder, Don Hester and his girlfriend also lived in the trailer. She went to the Beechwood Lounge on the night of October 20, 1978, where she saw Hester dancing with a woman identified to her as the murder victim. The witness, Fabregas, Hester, and his girlfriend, returned to their trailer at approximately 12:30 a. m. At about 5:30 a. m., Fabregas got up, said he had to take Hester to work, and took a gun with him. Both men returned about 8:30 or 9:00 o'clock a. m., and appeared to be upset. Hester's jacket was torn, and something red had been splashed on his T-shirt.

Gaines did not testify and does not question the sufficiency of the evidence to support the verdict of the jury.

Appellant claims that his Sixth and Fourteenth Amendment rights were violated when the prosecution exercised its peremptory challenges on only...

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12 practice notes
  • Hill, In re, No. 53795
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • November 14, 1984
    ...peremptory challenges to exclude blacks from jury panel is not error. Hughes v. State, 420 So.2d 1060 (Miss.1982); Gaines v. State, 404 So.2d 557 (Miss.1981); Coleman v. State, 378 So.2d 640 (Miss.1979). In Gaines this Court cited to a decision of the United States Supreme Court which suppo......
  • Thomas v. State, No. 56423
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • March 4, 1987
    ...222 (Miss.1984); Mason v. State, 440 So.2d 318, 319-20 (Miss.1983); Gilliard v. State, 428 So.2d 576, 579 (Miss.1983); Gaines v. State, 404 So.2d 557, 560 (Miss.1981); Watts v. State, 317 So.2d 715, 716 (Miss.1975); Dorsey v. State, 243 So.2d 550, 552 (Miss.1971); Irving v. State, 228 So.2d......
  • Gilliard v. Mississippi, No. 82-6775
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • October 3, 1983
    ...Court affirmed, relying on Swain v. Alabama, supra, and two of its own precedents that, in turn, had relied on Swain: Gaines v. State, 404 So.2d 557, 560 (Miss.1981); Coleman v. State, 378 So.2d 640, 645 (Miss.1979). An all-white jury then heard the evidence and sentenced petitioner to deat......
  • Com. v. Chacko
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
    • April 27, 1983
    ...341 (Fla.1970); State v. Brunner, 211 Kan. 596, 507 P.2d 233 (1973); Vines v. State, 285 Md. 369, 402 A.2d 900 (1979); Gaines v. State, 404 So.2d 557 (Miss.1981); State v. Fuller, 204 Neb. 196, 281 N.W.2d 749 (1979); Avant v. Clifford, 67 N.J. 496, 341 A.2d 629 (1975); State v. Amado, 424 A......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
12 cases
  • Hill, In re, No. 53795
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • November 14, 1984
    ...peremptory challenges to exclude blacks from jury panel is not error. Hughes v. State, 420 So.2d 1060 (Miss.1982); Gaines v. State, 404 So.2d 557 (Miss.1981); Coleman v. State, 378 So.2d 640 (Miss.1979). In Gaines this Court cited to a decision of the United States Supreme Court which suppo......
  • Thomas v. State, No. 56423
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • March 4, 1987
    ...222 (Miss.1984); Mason v. State, 440 So.2d 318, 319-20 (Miss.1983); Gilliard v. State, 428 So.2d 576, 579 (Miss.1983); Gaines v. State, 404 So.2d 557, 560 (Miss.1981); Watts v. State, 317 So.2d 715, 716 (Miss.1975); Dorsey v. State, 243 So.2d 550, 552 (Miss.1971); Irving v. State, 228 So.2d......
  • Gilliard v. Mississippi, No. 82-6775
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • October 3, 1983
    ...Court affirmed, relying on Swain v. Alabama, supra, and two of its own precedents that, in turn, had relied on Swain: Gaines v. State, 404 So.2d 557, 560 (Miss.1981); Coleman v. State, 378 So.2d 640, 645 (Miss.1979). An all-white jury then heard the evidence and sentenced petitioner to deat......
  • Com. v. Chacko
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
    • April 27, 1983
    ...341 (Fla.1970); State v. Brunner, 211 Kan. 596, 507 P.2d 233 (1973); Vines v. State, 285 Md. 369, 402 A.2d 900 (1979); Gaines v. State, 404 So.2d 557 (Miss.1981); State v. Fuller, 204 Neb. 196, 281 N.W.2d 749 (1979); Avant v. Clifford, 67 N.J. 496, 341 A.2d 629 (1975); State v. Amado, 424 A......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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