Jackson v. State

Decision Date05 October 1976
Docket NumberNo. 49178,49178
Citation337 So.2d 1242
PartiesFrank JACKSON v. STATE of Mssissippi.
CourtMississippi Supreme Court

Lamar Conerly, Jr., C. A. Ray, Jr., Hazlehurst, for appellant.

A. F. Summer, Atty. Gen. by Vera Madel Speakes, Sp. Asst. Atty. Gen., Jackson, for appellee.


WALKER, Justice, for the Court:

Frank Jackson was tried, convicted and sentenced to death by the Circuit Court of Copiah County for the murder and attempted rape of Mrs. Georgia Mae Evans. In his appeal, Jackson has assigned several errors, involving the proof of corpus delicti, the lawfulness of his arrest, the admissibility of his confession, and the refusal of several requested instructions. We must also consider the constitutionality of Mississippi's capital punishment statutes in light of the cases recently decided by the Supreme Court of the United States.

On July 14, 1974, the body of Mrs. Georgia Mae Evans was found lying on the ground behind a junked automobile located to the rear of the victim's home. The body was clad in a nightgown and some pants which had been torn practically off the body. The private part of her body was exposed and a chewed match stem was lying on the private part. Bruises appeared on the head, arm, face and chin. There were flies on the body, and it appeared to have swollen.

On July 16, 1974, Jackson was arrested and charged with the murder of Mrs. Evans. On July 27, 1974, Jackson confessed to the crime. The confession was taped, reduced to writing, and signed by Jackson. Jackson's brother was one of the four witnesses to the confession. It reads as follows:

July 27, 1974

Sheriff's Office

Hazlehurst, Miss.

My name is Frank Jackson and I was born on February 10, 1948.

My constitutional rights have been explained to me repeatedly by Sheriff Earl B. Guess. I understand that I have a right to remain silent and that anything I say can and will be used against me in Court. I know that I have a right to have a lawyer present to advise me and that a lawyer will be appointed for me free of charge if I cannot afford to pay one. I understand that if I decide to answer questions now without a lawyer present I can stop at any time I want to.

Sheriff Guess explained these rights to me when I was first taken into custody and he explained them to me each time that he questioned me, before any questions were asked. I almost completed the 12th grade and I fully understand these rights. Mr. Jim Kitchens, the district attorney, explained these same rights to me again today before he asked me any questions. I fully understand them and I am willing to give this statement without having a lawyer present. This was also true in regard to the prior statement I made to Sheriff Guess earlier today.

No one has threatened or abused me in any way, nor have any of the officers or the district attorney made me any promises.

On the night of July 13, 1974 Larry Perryman gave me a ride to Georgia Mae Evans' house on Thomas Road south of Crystal Springs, in Copiah County. Actually, Perryman took me to the house next door, which is the home of John Lewis Evans, Georgia Mae's brother-in-law, and I walked next door to Georgia Mae's house. Her brother, George Taylor, was in the house drunk and asleep.

I asked Georgia Mae Evans to have sexual relations with me and she refused. She said that she would not because I was living with her sister.

I pulled her out of the house, through the carport door, and forced her to go around the side of the house and back behind the house.

Georgia Mae was struggling the entire time, trying to get away from me.

I pulled her over behind an old car body-a blue and white Ford with no tires-where I hit her three or four times with my fist. I believe that each lick struck her in the face or head.

I am 6 feet 4 1/2 inches tall and I weigh about 200 pounds. At that time I worked every day as a logger.

As I was hitting her she finally fell to the ground and didn't move any more. I stayed there with her between five and eight minutes and saw no life signs except for her grunting a little.

My purpose in forcing Georgia Mae Evans from her house on that occasion was to force her to have sexual intercourse with me. She never at any time consented to have sexual intercourse with me and this is why I hit her. It was my intention and purpose to have sexual intercourse with her at that time, whether she consented or not.

When I realized that she was dead I ran away and walked home.

It was about 11:30 p.m. when I got to Georgia Mae's house that night and about 12:15 a.m. on July 14 when I got home.

I clearly remember everything that happened that night, even though I had been drinking whiskey and beer and smoking marihuana.

I have read the above statement, which consists of about four pages in Mr. Kitchens' handwriting, and it is true and correct. I have given this statement and am about to sign it of my own free will and accord.

Signed this the 27th day of July, 1974 at 1:10 o'clock p.m.

/s/ Frank Jackson


Jim Kitchens

John O. Jackson

Earl B. Guess

Burnell Ramsey

On the night in question the murder victim's husband, Robert C. Evans, last saw his wife alive about 6 p.m. He did not stay at home the night of July 13, 1974, but went next door to his brother's house, where a party was in progress. The victim's husband came home about 2 a.m. on July 14 but did not look for his wife. Prior to this time, Jackson had told Robert C. Evans that he, Jackson, 'was going to get even' with him because Robert had gone with one of Jackson's girl friends. Jackson and Robert C. Evans went to work together the next day. Evans did not know that his wife was dead. During the day, and before the body was found, Jackson said: 'You all know what, brother (Robert Evans is called 'Brother') lost his wife . . . he don't know where his wife is.' Later, when Jackson and Robert got off work, Jackson said: 'Bobbie Jean (a sister of the victim) ain't at home either and they probably gone to Jackson.' After Robert came home some children found the body of Mrs. Evans lying on the ground behind her house beside a junked car.

John Lewis Evans, Robert's brother, saw the victim about 9:30 p.m. when she was at his home for a brief period during the party. Jackson was in and out of John Lewis Evans' house during July 13. On July 14, before the body was found, the defendant told John Lewis Evans that some 'stuff was going on somewhere.' Evans asked the defendant what he meant, and the defendant replied, 'I don't know but there is some stuff going on somewhere.' Further, while they were near the victim's house, Jackson was looking behind the house. After Robert C. Evans was taken to jail on July 14, the defendant said that Robert 'didn't do it,' and repeated time and again that he knew that Robert didn't do it and that he was going to get him out of jail. The defendant stated to John Lewis Evans that nobody could prove who committed the murder because 'ain't nobody seen nothing and ain't nobody heard nothing.'

Jerry Lewis Evans, the fifteen-year-old son of John Lewis Evans, testified that he was on his way home about 10:15 on the night of the murder, when the defendant asked him to go down to the victim's house with him to make a phone call. The same witness saw the murder victim standing in her door in a nightgown sometime after the defendant had gone there to make the call.


The defendant assigns as error the action of the trial court in overruling defendant's motion to dismiss the indictment and suppress the confession.

The principal argument on behalf of the appellant is that there was no probable cause for his arrest, and that he was, therefore, illegally arrested. He argues that the confession should therefore be suppressed and the indictment dismissed. The conclusion reached by the appellant is not valid because an illegal arrest does not bar prosecution for the crime charged. An illegal arrest may result in the suppression of any evidence obtained thereby. However, a confession obtained after an illegal arrest is not necessarily excluded from evidence on the trial of the charge, absent a showing that the confession was in fact tainted by the illegal arrest. Brown v. Illinois, 422 U.S. 590, 95 S.Ct. 2254, 45 L.Ed.2d 416 (1975); Wong Sun v. United States, 371 U.S. 471, 83 S.Ct. 407, 9 L.Ed.2d 441 (1963); Harrison v. State, 307 So.2d 557 (Miss.1975); Bell v. State, 274 So.2d 371 (Miss.1973).

Appellant's entire argument and the conclusions he draws therefrom are predicated on the assumption that there was no probable cause for his arrest. Therefore, the precise inquiry here is whether there was probable cause for appellant's arrest. We reach the conclusion that there was probable cause and, therefore, we are not confronted with the problem of whether the confession was obtained by exploitation of his illegal arrest.

At the time Sheriff Guess arrested the defendant, the Sheriff had the following information: (1) He knew that a felony had been committed and the body had been found with obvious evidence of a criminal agency; (2) he knew that Frank Jackson almost always 'chewed on a match'; (3) he had seen a chewed match on the private part of the victim's body; (4) he knew that Frank Jackson had a reputation for assault on women and that included rape; (5) he knew Mrs. Evans' body had been found clad only in a nightgown and panties which had been torn and left her private parts exposed; (6) he knew that Frank Jackson had been at Mrs. Evans' house on the night preceding her death and that no one had seen her alive since; (7) he had information from a reliable informant who had seen him enter Mrs. Evans' house; (8) he knew that Frank Jackson was a strong man and knew how to use a hold called the 'sleeper'; (9) he knew that the hold cut off the supply of oxygen to the brain and Jackson had bragged about killing four women in Chicago with the 'hold'; (10) he knew that Jackson had threatened to get even...

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