Rubenstein v. State, No. 2000-DP-00727-SCT (MS 12/1/2005)

Decision Date01 December 2005
Docket NumberNo. 2000-DP-00727-SCT.,2000-DP-00727-SCT.
CourtMississippi Supreme Court

¶1. Alan Michael Rubenstein was indicted in the Circuit Court of Pike County, Mississippi, for the capital murder of Krystal Perry (Krystal)1 while engaged in the commission of felonious child abuse, the murder of Evelyn Anne Loque Perry (Annie)2 and Darrell Perry (Darrell)3 and wire fraud. The count of wire fraud was dismissed. Rubenstein's first trial resulted in a mistrial when the jury failed to reach a unanimous verdict on the murder charges. Rubenstein was tried a second time, and the jury convicted him on all three murder charges. Following a sentencing hearing on the capital murder charge, Rubenstein was sentenced to death by the jury on February 5, 2000, for the capital murder of Krystal.

¶2. Circuit Judge Keith Starrett sentenced Rubenstein to serve two consecutive terms of life imprisonment for the murders of Annie and Darrell.4 Rubenstein filed a motion for new trial which was denied by the trial court.


¶3. On December 16, 1993, Annie, her husband, Darrell, and their four-year-old daughter, Krystal, were found murdered in a cabin in Summit, Mississippi. Rubenstein, Darrell's stepfather, owned the cabin. Rubenstein was the one who "discovered" the bodies.

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¶4. Rubenstein, a resident of Louisiana, used the cabin as a weekend home. On November 5 or 6, 1993, Rubenstein had driven Annie, Darrell and Krystal from New Orleans, Louisiana, to the cabin in Mississippi. Annie and Darrell did not have a vehicle at the cabin.

Zula Loque

¶5. Annie's mother, Zula Loque, testified that she became concerned about her daughter. She testified that she called Darrell's mother, Doris Rubenstein (Doris). After Thanksgiving, she spoke to Rubenstein and asked for directions to the cabin. She asked if he had checked on them. He told Loque that she could ride with him to the cabin the next day. Rubenstein canceled the trip to the cabin and rescheduled for the next day. However, he canceled again. Loque asked for directions, and Rubenstein told her that he would not be able to give her directions and that is was so remote that she would not be able to find the cabin. Sometime later, Rubenstein informed Loque that he checked on them at the cabin, but they were not there.

C.V. Glynnis

¶6. C.V. Glynnis was the Sheriff of Pike County, Mississippi from 1993-1995. Glynnis was sheriff at the time the three bodies were discovered at Johnson Station Road on December 16, 1993. When Sheriff Glynnis arrived at the scene, he saw two adult bodies in the living room and a child's body in the bedroom. All three people were dead.

¶7. Sheriff Glynnis was unable to determine the cause of death. However, the victims had plainly been dead for some time based on the decomposition of the bodies. The cabin itself was very neat.

¶8. Law enforcement first became aware of the situation when Rubenstein called Investigator Donald Lindley. Rubenstein was not under suspicion.

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¶9. Rubenstein rode to the Summit Police Department with Sheriff Glynnis. Once at the police station, Rubenstein told Sheriff Glynnis who the victims were in the cabin, why they were at the cabin and the last time that he seen them.

¶10. Sheriff Glynnis typed a lengthy statement that Rubenstein gave to him. Rubenstein stated that Darrell, Annie and Krystal were in New Orleans November 4 or 5. He drove them to Summit on November 5 or 6. Darrell and Annie told Rubenstein to leave because some people were coming to the house and he did not need to be there. On November 16, Darrell made a collect call and talked to the Rubensteins. On November 27 or 28, Rubenstein drove to the house and knocked on the door. No one came to the door. While Rubenstein normally had a key to the house, he did not bring his key on that day. Rubenstein spoke to Shawn, a next door neighbor, and he told Rubenstein that Darrell was in New Orleans. Darrell had recently been released from prison, and had a troubled past and the couple argued a lot. Annie apparently had a black boyfriend named Sidney Page while Darrell was in prison. Rubenstein and his wife had custody of Krystal. When Rubenstein entered the house on December 16, he found the bodies and did not disturb anything.

¶11. Rubenstein never mentioned anything to Sheriff Glynnis about an insurance policy he and his wife had on Krystal.

¶12. Sheriff Glynnis recovered information from the medical examiner, Dr. Emily Ward, which indicated that the victims were either stabbed to death or strangled to death.

Gail Jackson

¶13. Gail Jackson (Jackson) testified that she lived next door to the cabin where Darrell, Annie and Krystal were discovered. Jackson testified that she knew Darrell and Annie because

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they would ask to borrow her telephone, and they cut across her yard to go to the little store located about a block and a half from her house. She never saw them with a vehicle, and they had no telephone in the cabin. Before the bodies were discovered, Jackson had not seen them in approximately five weeks. She testified that she noticed the same lights stayed on in the cabin never changing for approximately four and a half weeks. Jackson stated that she never saw anyone over at the cabin during this period of time.

¶14. Approximately a week and a half before the bodies were discovered, Jackson sent her son over to the cabin to check on them. Her son heard the television on but no one came to the door. She testified that approximately two weeks before the bodies were found she began to smell an awful odor coming from the house. Jackson was at work when the bodies were discovered by Rubenstein.

Creshon Jackson

¶15. Gail Jackson's son, Creshon Jackson, testified. Creshon was familiar with Rubenstein. He testified that he knew him since he moved in the cabin some where around 1992. He testified that the cabin was next door to his house.

¶16. Creshon testified that on December 16, 1993, Rubenstein came to the trailer and told him that he had discovered some bodies in the cabin. He did not say whose bodies he found.

¶17. Creshon testified that he would talk to Darrell when Darrell cut across his yard with Annie and Krystal to go to the corner store. They always walked to the store. Darrell also used

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his telephone. Occasionally, they would have a beer together. Creshon testified that he never saw any vehicle come pick them up at the cabin. Creshon stated that Darrell and Annie never discussed leaving the cabin. The only person he ever saw at the cabin was Rubenstein.

¶18. Creshon testified that several weeks before the bodies were found, he had not seen Darrell, Annie or Krystal. He testified that at night he could see the television going inside the cabin. He testified that, on one occasion, he went to the cabin and knocked on the door while he and his mom were outside putting up Christmas decorations. He heard the television on, but no one came to the door. Creshon testified that he never told anyone that he saw Darrell, Annie or Krystal leave to go to New Orleans or that they left in a brown rusty van with three black men.

Glen Allen Applewhite

¶19. Glen Allen Applewhite, was the criminal investigator for the Mississippi Highway Patrol on December 16, 1993. Officer Applewhite did not know that it was a homicide until receiving the autopsy report. The television was on, nothing was out of place or disturbed. Only after finding the little girl lying on the bed completely naked, did it appear that the situation was not normal. If the child was in the den with the adults, then the deaths would have appeared to be asphyxiation. The autopsy reports were returned the next day. The police continued to develop leads on the case.

¶20. Based on Sheriff Glynnis's interview with Rubenstein, Officer Applewhite and his staff focused on Sidney Page and Walter Stevenson as probable suspects. Officer Applewhite contacted the Louisiana authorities. Due to the holiday season, it was not until January 5th that Officer Applewhite made contact with Louisiana officials.

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¶21. Officer Applewhite spoke with Rubenstein at his home in Louisiana on January 5 Officer Applewhite was unable to gain any information from Doris Rubenstein because she appeared either over-medicated or intoxicated. Tonya Rubenstein indicated that she saw Darrell and Annie at Mudbugs on December 2. Officer Applewhite then went to the residence of Zula Loque, Annie's mother. Loque told him that Darrell and Annie were completely dependent on Rubenstein for food, money and transportation.

¶22. Officer Applewhite also went to the home of Annie's best friend, Sue Bellows. Sue told Applewhite that Rubenstein went to Summit on November 16 to pick up Darrell and Annie and bring them to Marrero for her birthday party on November 18. This was somewhat inconsistent with Rubenstein's statement that Darrell called on November 16, but Rubenstein only went to the cabin around Thanksgiving.

¶23. The first time Officer Applewhite learned of an insurance policy on Krystal was January 12 when David Perry, Darrell's brother, told him. The policy amount was $250,000.

¶24. Lisa French told Officer Applewhite that she saw a snub nosed green van in the area about November 16. Officer Applewhite followed up on the lead but never found out any information on the van.

¶25. No finger prints were found at the house. No finger prints of Rubenstein were found in the house. No DNA or blood samples linked...

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