Jones v. State, 2001-KA-00819-SCT.

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
Writing for the CourtBefore SMITH, P.J., COBB and DIAZ, JJ.
Citation841 So.2d 115
PartiesJason Daniel JONES v. STATE of Mississippi.
Docket NumberNo. 2001-KA-00819-SCT.,2001-KA-00819-SCT.
Decision Date27 March 2003

841 So.2d 115

Jason Daniel JONES
v.
STATE of Mississippi

No. 2001-KA-00819-SCT.

Supreme Court of Mississippi.

March 27, 2003.


841 So.2d 120
Wayne O'Dell Lee, Greenville, Howard Q. Davis, Jr., Indianola, for appellant

Office of the Attorney General by John R. Henry, for appellee.

841 So.2d 121
Before SMITH, P.J., COBB and DIAZ, JJ

DIAZ, JUSTICE, FOR THE COURT:

¶ 1. This is a criminal appeal from a conviction of capital murder from the Circuit Court of Washington County, Mississippi, Honorable W. Ashley Hines, presiding. After a 6 day bifurcated trial by jury conducted March 15-20, 1999, Jason Daniel Jones (Jones) was sentenced by the jury to serve a term of life imprisonment without the benefit of probation or parole.

¶ 2. Michael Wilkerson (Wilkerson) was brutally murdered in a field in Washington County on January 9, 1998. Investigation revealed that Jones had previously lived with and worked for Wilkerson, and on the day of the murder, Jones had left town on a bus. That bus had a scheduled stop in Memphis, Tennessee. Officers from the Washington County Sheriff's Office (WCSO) phoned Memphis authorities and requested that they detain Jones when the bus arrived in Memphis. Jones was arrested in Memphis and later waived extradition back to Mississippi. In Mississippi, Jones confessed and provided officers the details of the crime and led them to substantial evidence later used against him at trial. He also alleged that a man named David Shamoun (Shamoun) hired him to kill Wilkerson and that Shamoun had also participated in Wilkerson's murder. Wilkerson apparently owed money to Shamoun, a financier of his business, and Shamoun had a beneficial interest in a policy of insurance on Wilkerson's life. Jones and Shamoun were both indicted for the murder of Wilkerson.

¶ 3. Six issues are now before this Court:

I. Whether Jones was arrested in Memphis, Tennessee by Law Enforcement Officers of that City and, if so, if the arrest was supported by probable cause;

II. Whether Law Enforcement Officers of Washington County, Mississippi questioned Jones after he had invoked his privilege against self-incrimination and requested an attorney;

III. Whether the District Attorney acted improperly by meeting with Jones, at Jones's request, before counsel was provided to him;

IV. Whether the State of Mississippi failed to provide Jones with a timely initial appearance;

V. Whether the trial judge erred by not recusing himself; and

VI. Whether the cumulative effect of various other assigned errors deprived Jones his right to a fair trial.

FACTS

¶ 4. On the afternoon of January 9, 1998, Wilkerson was found dead in a field near Wilmot Road in Washington County, Mississippi. He had sustained numerous stabs and cuts from a knife, including a cut to the throat. In the course of investigating the scene, deputies of the Washington County Sheriff's Office (WCSO) discovered blood in a palm print found in the mud indicating that the person who killed Wilkerson had injured his right hand. Further investigation at the scene led officers to conclude that two individuals were involved in the murder of Wilkerson: one who actually killed him and another who stayed in a car on Wilmot Road. The investigation progressed rapidly and by that same evening deputies had learned that a man named Jason worked for Wilkerson and had been living with him for about a week before the day of the murder. They learned that on that day, Jason had told co-workers he was going home to West Virginia to live with his mother. Deputies

841 So.2d 122
were told that Shamoun had given Jason a ride to the bus station. Shamoun was interviewed, and he told WCSO that someone named Jason had been living with Wilkerson. He confirmed that he drove Jason to the bus station, and he gave WCSO a description of Jason. However, the interview was cut short by Shamoun. He became nervous, giving several different versions of when and how he picked Jason up, and stated, "You don't understand how deep in this I am, and I really don't want to make any other statements until I ... talk to an attorney." Questioning ceased, and Shamoun was allowed to leave

¶ 5. Officers went to the bus station and learned that someone matching Jones's description boarded a bus bound for West Virginia, with a stop in Memphis, Tennessee. WCSO telephoned Memphis Police, gave them the suspect's first name and Shamoun's description of him, and requested they detain him when the bus stopped there. WCSO Officer Doyle Barrett testified that at that time he also told Memphis police about the suspect's possible injury to his right hand; however, a NCIC description sent to Memphis had no mention of the suspect having an injury.1

¶ 6. Memphis police detained Jones, who did have an obvious injury to his right hand, at the bus station. They then informed WCSO of his detention, gave them his full name, and requested an arrest warrant in order to hold Jones until WCSO officers could arrive from Mississippi. WCSO Officer Kelvin McKenzie testified that he prepared an affidavit setting forth what they knew about Jones at the time. According to testimony, WCSO knew the following about Jones when they prepared the affidavit: his full name, that he worked for and lived with the victim, and that he left town the day of the murder, and that the suspect they were looking for and Jones both had injuries to their right hand. However, the record is silent as to how much of this information was included in the affidavit. This affidavit did not include an underlying facts and circumstances sheet and was not produced at trial.2 Based on the affidavit, WCSO secured an arrest warrant late the night of the murder, which they faxed to Memphis police approximately thirty minutes after Jones had been detained for questioning. WCSO officers then left for Memphis to see if Jones would waive extradition and return to Mississippi.

¶ 7. Upon their arrival, WCSO officers interviewed Jones. They noticed that his right hand was bandaged. WCSO officers informed Jones that Wilkerson had been killed. They testified that he showed no emotion. Officer McKenzie began advising Jones of his Miranda rights, but Jones interrupted, stating, "I want a lawyer." Officer McKenzie finished reading Jones his rights, whereupon Jones again requested an attorney. Questioning ceased at that point. Before Jones was returned to his cell, however, a Memphis officer asked Officer McKenzie what was wrong with Jones's hand. McKenzie in turn asked Jones, who replied, "I'd rather not discuss that." Because it was their policy to evaluate all injuries before booking persons to ascertain if they needed medical treatment,

841 So.2d 123
Jones was required by the Memphis officer to remove the bandage from his hand, revealing a deep cut which Memphis authorities determined did indeed need medical treatment. Jones said he cut the hand at work earlier in the week. WSCO officer McKenzie took two Polaroid photographs of the wound, and Jones was taken to the hospital.

¶ 8. On Monday, January 12, 1998, WSCO Officers returned to Memphis "to attempt to again interview Jason Jones and ascertain if he w[ould] waive extradition and voluntarily return to Mississippi." Before reaching Memphis, the officers learned that Jones had waived extradition. Custody of Jones was relinquished to the deputies, and they drove him back to Washington County, Mississippi. Sometime along the trip, Jones was again advised of his Miranda rights, and he again requested an attorney.

¶ 9. Officer David Sessums testified they were careful not to discuss the case with Jones during the trip from Memphis, because he had previously requested an attorney two times Conversely, Jones testified the officers questioned him about the case and told him they could not help him unless he helped himself. Officer Sessums testified that Jones stated he wanted to tell them what happened, but did not know how to go about it. Officer Sessums further testified that Lieutenant Gaston told Jones he needed to be aware of his rights before telling them anything and then read Jones his Miranda rights again. Jones thereafter requested to speak with the District Attorney. Jones testified he made this request because the officers were questioning him about the case and offering him leniency for cooperation and he knew that any deal would have to be authorized by the District Attorney. As stated, the Officers testified that they did not question Jones.

¶ 10. Pursuant to Jones's request, District Attorney Frank Carlton, met with Jones for a brief time upon his arrival at the Washington County Sheriff's Office. A suppression hearing was held on February 16, 2000, regarding this conversation. Jones sought to suppress his statements on the grounds the statements obtained were not freely and voluntarily given but were a result of promises of leniency made by the District Attorney during this brief meeting. Jones testified that he brought up manslaughter and the District Attorney responded, "I can charge you with manslaughter. I am the district attorney, I can charge you with public urination if I feel like it, as long as the detectives agree with the manslaughter—recommend manslaughter, I'll do it." The District Attorney denied making this or any promise of leniency to Jones. He testified that no discussions about a plea ever occurred, and he made no promises of any kind to Jones. He testified that he shook Jones's left hand, inquired about his right hand, in terms of whether he had received medical attention, and then waited for Jones to say something. District Attorney Carlton testified that Jones said nothing, and so he took his leave.

¶ 11. After his conversation with the District Attorney, Jones, who previously had made no statement or confession, stated he wished to tell WCSO everything about the case. Officer Doyle Barrett testified that after the meeting with the District Attorney, Jones was completely and totally...

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58 practice notes
  • Hutto v. State, NO. 2014-DP-00177-SCT.
    • United States
    • Mississippi Supreme Court
    • 11 d4 Maio d4 2017
    ...jurisprudence that a confession [or statements] given after promises of leniency was incompetent as evidence." Jones v. State, 841 So.2d 115, 129 (Miss. 2003) (quoting Dunn v. State, 547 So.2d 42, 44 (Miss. 1989) ). The State has the burden to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that a confes......
  • Thomas v. State, NO. 2016–KA–01146–SCT
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • 14 d4 Junho d4 2018
    ...objective standard when deciding whether a judge should have disqualified himself.’ " Patton , 109 So.3d at 77 (quoting Jones v. State , 841 So.2d 115, 135 (Miss. 2003) ). " ‘On appeal, a trial judge is presumed to be both qualified and unbiased, and this presumption may only be overcome by......
  • Le v. State, No. 2002-DP-01855-SCT.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • 28 d4 Abril d4 2005
    ..."[w]hen determining voluntariness, the court must look at the `totality of the circumstances' surrounding the statement." Jones v. State, 841 So.2d 115, 130 (Miss.2003). Le, who was nineteen years old at the time of the questioning, also points out that youth can be a factor to consider und......
  • Wilcher v. State, No. 1998-DR-01821-SCT.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • 2 d4 Outubro d4 2003
    ...to disqualify himself if a reasonable person, knowing all the circumstances, would harbor doubts about his impartiality." Jones v. State, 841 So.2d 115, 135 (Miss.2003) (citing Jenkins v. Forrest County Gen. Hosp., 542 So.2d 1180, 1181 s 121. Wilcher contends that his attorneys were ineffec......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
58 cases
  • Hutto v. State, NO. 2014-DP-00177-SCT.
    • United States
    • Mississippi Supreme Court
    • 11 d4 Maio d4 2017
    ...jurisprudence that a confession [or statements] given after promises of leniency was incompetent as evidence." Jones v. State, 841 So.2d 115, 129 (Miss. 2003) (quoting Dunn v. State, 547 So.2d 42, 44 (Miss. 1989) ). The State has the burden to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that a confes......
  • Thomas v. State, NO. 2016–KA–01146–SCT
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • 14 d4 Junho d4 2018
    ...objective standard when deciding whether a judge should have disqualified himself.’ " Patton , 109 So.3d at 77 (quoting Jones v. State , 841 So.2d 115, 135 (Miss. 2003) ). " ‘On appeal, a trial judge is presumed to be both qualified and unbiased, and this presumption may only be overcome by......
  • Le v. State, No. 2002-DP-01855-SCT.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • 28 d4 Abril d4 2005
    ..."[w]hen determining voluntariness, the court must look at the `totality of the circumstances' surrounding the statement." Jones v. State, 841 So.2d 115, 130 (Miss.2003). Le, who was nineteen years old at the time of the questioning, also points out that youth can be a factor to consider und......
  • Wilcher v. State, No. 1998-DR-01821-SCT.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • 2 d4 Outubro d4 2003
    ...to disqualify himself if a reasonable person, knowing all the circumstances, would harbor doubts about his impartiality." Jones v. State, 841 So.2d 115, 135 (Miss.2003) (citing Jenkins v. Forrest County Gen. Hosp., 542 So.2d 1180, 1181 s 121. Wilcher contends that his attorneys were ineffec......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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