McLaughlin v. State

Citation338 So.3d 705
Decision Date17 May 2022
Docket Number2020-KA-00360-COA
Parties Malcolm MCLAUGHLIN, Appellant v. STATE of Mississippi, Appellee
CourtCourt of Appeals of Mississippi

ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: OFFICE OF STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER, BY: HUNTER NOLAN AIKENS

ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY: LAUREN GABRIELLE CANTRELL

BEFORE WILSON, P.J., WESTBROOKS AND LAWRENCE, JJ.

LAWRENCE, J., FOR THE COURT:

¶1. A jury convicted Malcolm McLaughlin (McLaughlin) of capital murder, third-degree arson, conspiracy, and felon in possession of a firearm in Hinds County, Mississippi. The Hinds County Circuit Court sentenced McLaughlin to serve life in prison for the capital murder of Kiaris Porter (Porter). McLaughlin was also sentenced to serve three years for the conviction of third-degree arson, five years for the conviction of conspiracy, and ten years for the conviction of felon in possession of a firearm. The court ordered these sentences to run concurrently with one another, and McLaughlin would serve them in custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC). McLaughlin filed a motion for a new trial or judgment notwithstanding the verdict (JNOV). The trial court granted the motion as to McLaughlin's conviction for felon in possession of a firearm, set that conviction aside, and dismissed that charge, but the court denied the motion as to the other three convictions. McLaughlin appealed.

¶2. McLaughlin raises six issues on appeal: (1) the evidence was insufficient to support the conviction of capital murder; (2) the evidence was insufficient to support the conviction of third-degree arson; (3) the evidence was insufficient to support the conviction of conspiracy; (4) the State violated McLaughlin's Miranda1 rights by asking Detective Jermaine Magee (Detective Magee) about McLaughlin's decision not to provide a statement to police; (5) the trial court erred in allowing a photograph to be admitted into evidence; and (6) the retroactive misjoinder of McLaughlin's felon in possession of a firearm conviction entitles McLaughlin to a new trial for the charges of capital murder, third-degree arson, and conspiracy. Upon review of the record, this Court finds that the evidence was sufficient for each of the convictions. McLaughlin is procedurally barred on appeal from raising an issue for the alleged right to remain silent violation, but in considering the issue, this Court finds there is no plain error because of the overwhelming evidence presented against McLaughlin. Further, we find that the trial court did not err in admitting a photograph into evidence, and retroactive misjoinder does not apply. Therefore, the trial court's judgment is affirmed.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

¶3. On April 29, 2016, Porter was found deceased at a dead end on Noble and Faulks Boulevard in Hinds County, Mississippi. His left pocket was turned inside out, indicating he had been robbed. The police were called to the scene and started their investigation. They quickly determined that Porter had been shot in the back of the head. Their investigation revealed the events leading up to Porter's death.

¶4. On April 28, 2016, the day before Porter's body was found, Zamarious Harden (Harden) saw Shaneka Brown (Brown) riding in a black Dodge Charger with McLaughlin. Harden got in the vehicle, and McLaughlin asked Harden if he knew anyone who would want to buy the vehicle. Harden named the victim, Porter, as a potential buyer. McLaughlin, Harden, and Brown picked up Keishawn Rose (Rose) and rode to Porter's home that evening. Porter looked at the black Dodge Charger, and told McLaughlin to come back the next morning, and he would buy the vehicle because Porter would have money to pay for the vehicle then.

¶5. On April 29, 2016, McLaughlin, Brown, Harden, and Rose picked up Porter from his home and drove to the bank. Porter withdrew $733.00. They left the bank, stopped at a library to check the registration on the vehicle, and then drove down to a dead end on Noble and Faulks Boulevard. While on the dead-end road, Brown, who was sitting in the back seat, pointed a gun at Porter's head and demanded that he give her his money. Then, Brown shot Porter in the head two times. McLaughlin took the money out of Porter's pocket, and he, Harden, and Rose took Porter out of the black Dodge Charger and left him in the middle of the road. Officers arrived at the scene later that morning to begin their investigation. That evening, the police responded to a call about a burning black Dodge Charger. The vehicle had been "burned beyond recognition."

¶6. Officers began identifying suspects after Harden posted on Facebook, saying, "[I]t was messed up what Mack did to my boy KJ."2 McLaughlin was ultimately arrested after he was spotted sitting in a green Ford Explorer. McLaughlin did not give a statement to police. Harden and Rose were also arrested, and both gave statements to police. Brown was arrested and did not give a statement to police. Brown and Harden pled guilty and agreed to testify on behalf of the State and against McLaughlin. Rose pled guilty to second-degree murder.3 On May 2, 2019, the grand jury of Hinds County, Mississippi, indicted McLaughlin on four counts: capital murder, third-degree arson, conspiracy, and felon in possession of a firearm.

¶7. At trial, the State called nine witnesses to testify about McLaughlin's involvement in the armed robbery, Porter's death, and the burning of the black Dodge Charger. The State's first witness was Detective Magee. Detective Magee testified that on April 28, 2016, McLaughlin tried to sell a stolen black Dodge Charger to Porter after Zamarious Harden (Harden) introduced them to each other. That evening, Porter looked at the vehicle, but he did not have the money to purchase it. Detective Magee testified that Porter told McLaughlin to come back the next morning, April 29, 2016, because his "disability check" would be deposited by then. Detective Magee stated that at 8:00 a.m. the next day on April 29, 2016, McLaughlin returned to Porter's house in the black Dodge Charger. Brown, Rose, and Harden were also in the vehicle. McLaughlin drove everyone to the bank, where Porter made two cash withdrawals–one for $700.00 and one for $33.00. Detective Magee stated that the video-surveillance footage from the bank showed Porter getting money from a bank teller, putting the money into a white envelope, and getting into a black Dodge Charger. Detective Magee testified that McLaughlin, Porter, Brown, Harden, and Rose then went to the library to calm Porter's concern and assure him that the vehicle had not been stolen. However, the library was closed. After the library, they drove to a dead end on Noble and Faulks Boulevard where Porter was shot in the head twice, robbed, and left face-down on the street. Each occupant of the vehicle received part of the $733.00 that Porter had in his pocket from his bank withdrawals earlier that morning.

¶8. Detective Magee stated that the police department was called at 9:24 a.m. on April 29, 2016, about Porter's body being found in the street. Detective Magee testified that when he arrived on the scene, he saw Porter's body lying face-down in a "pool of blood." When the coroner turned Porter's body over, Detective Magee noticed Porter's left pocket had been "turned inside out." Detective Magee also testified that preliminary investigations revealed that Porter had "suffered from two ... gunshot wounds to the back of the head." Detective Magee also stated that Porter's "underwear was torn[, and] ... it appeared that he had been pulled on."

¶9. Detective Magee stated that he went to Porter's home on April 29, 2016, and spoke to Porter's mother, Camille Porter (Camille), who said she saw "a black male in a black ... Dodge Charger picker her son up that morning." Detective Magee showed Camille a photo lineup, and she identified McLaughlin as the man who had picked up Porter on April 29, 2016.

¶10. Detective Magee stated, "Mr. McLaughlin was developed as a suspect through Mr. Zamarious Harden." Harden wrote a Facebook post saying, "[I]t was messed up what Mack did to my boy KJ." Detective Magee testified that Harden gave a statement to police, and Harden said that McLaughlin asked him if he knew Porter. Harden responded, "I know him well. If you want to rob him just don't kill him." Detective Magee stated that McLaughlin, Brown, Harden, and Rose also discussed robbing Porter on April 29, 2016, while Porter was in the bank withdrawing money.4

¶11. Detective Magee testified that the black Dodge Charger was found the night of April 29, 2016, "burned beyond recognition." Detective Magee stated that McLaughlin was the only one suspected of burning the vehicle because the other individuals involved in Porter's murder said that McLaughlin told them he would burn it. Detective Magee testified that in Rose's statement to police, Rose said, "I learned that [McLaughlin] was going to clean the vehicle and from the understanding he was going to burn the vehicle."

¶12. Detective Magee testified that he received information that McLaughlin was at the Mustang Hotel in a green Ford Explorer. Police officers arrived and found McLaughlin wearing the "clothing ... [in] which he committed this crime."5 A "white and black T-shirt with stars on it" was also recovered from the back of the Ford Explorer.6 Further, Detective Magee testified that "the shirt that [McLaughlin] had on that was recovered from the green Ford Explorer on the day of his apprehension ... came back to be positive to have [Porter's] DNA, which was blood, on it."

¶13. On cross-examination, Detective Magee agreed that he had no personal knowledge about "the time line and what occurred in the car and who said what ...." Additionally, Detective Magee testified that McLaughlin was suspected of burning the Dodge Charger because he was the last person seen with the vehicle, and "[b]ased on corroborating evidence that he said he was going to clean the vehicle, a crime has been...

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3 cases
  • Lewis v. State
    • United States
    • Mississippi Court of Appeals
    • April 25, 2023
    ... ...          ¶60 ... "Retroactive misjoinder occurs when a trial or appellate ... court determines that while joinder of two or more counts ... against a defendant was initially proper, one or more of ... those counts should be vacated." McLaughlin v ... State , 338 So.3d 705, 728 (¶68) (Miss. Ct. App ... 2022) (internal quotation mark omitted). "If the ... defendant can show that he suffered clear and compelling ... prejudice as a result of the evidence used to support the ... vacated count he or she will be ... ...
  • Green v. State
    • United States
    • Mississippi Court of Appeals
    • November 15, 2022
    ... ... supports his conviction of sexual battery. As a result, he ... asks this Court to reverse the jury's decision and render ... a verdict of not guilty. Our standard of review on a ... challenge to the legal sufficiency of the evidence was stated ... in McLaughlin v. State , 338 So.3d 705, 717 ... (¶33) (Miss. Ct. App. 2022), as follows: ... Rulings on the sufficiency of the evidence claims are ... reviewed de novo. Turner v. State , 291 So.3d 376, ... 383 (¶20) (Miss. Ct. App. 2020). When a challenge to the ... sufficiency ... ...
  • Jolly v. State
    • United States
    • Mississippi Court of Appeals
    • May 17, 2022

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