Rubenstein v. State, No. 2000-DP-00727-SCT.

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
Writing for the CourtDickinson, Justice
Citation941 So.2d 735
PartiesAlan Michael RUBENSTEIN v. STATE of Mississippi.
Docket NumberNo. 2000-DP-00727-SCT.
Decision Date10 August 2006

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941 So.2d 735
STATE of Mississippi.
No. 2000-DP-00727-SCT.
Supreme Court of Mississippi.
August 10, 2006.
Rehearing Denied November 16, 2006.

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Elizabeth Jane Hicks, Jackson, David Paul Voisin, James E. Shields, Sr., attorneys for appellant.

Office of the Attorney General by Judy T. Martin, Marvin L. White, Jr., attorneys for appellee.



DICKINSON, Justice, for the Court.

¶ 1. The appellant's motion for rehearing is granted. The previous opinions are withdrawn, and these opinions are substituted therefor.

¶ 2. This is a capital murder case in which the jury, unaware of its option to sentence the defendant to life without the possibility of parole, sentenced the defendant to death.


¶ 3. Alan Michael Rubenstein ("Rubenstein"), a Louisiana resident, owned a cabin in Summit, Mississippi, which he used as a weekend home. On December 16, 1993, Rubenstein's step-son, Darrell Perry ("Darrell"),1 Darrell's wife, Evelyn Anne Loque ("Annie"),2 and their four-year-old daughter, Krystal Perry ("Krystal"),3 were found murdered in the cabin.

¶ 4. On November 5 or 6, 1993, Rubenstein drove Annie, Darrell, and Krystal ("the Perrys") from New Orleans to the cabin in Mississippi and left them there without a vehicle. Annie's mother, Zula Loque ("Loque"), grew concerned after several weeks passed without hearing from the Perrys. Sometime after Thanksgiving, she asked Rubenstein if he had checked on the Perrys, and she requested directions to his cabin. Rubenstein told Loque she could ride with him to the cabin the next day. However, Rubenstein canceled the trip and rescheduled it for the following day, but then canceled again. When Loque persisted in requesting directions to the cabin, Rubenstein told her she would be unable to find the remote cabin on her own. Sometime later, Rubenstein informed Loque he had checked the cabin, but the Perrys were not there.

Statements to Sheriff C.V. Glynnis

¶ 5. On December 16, 1993, Rubenstein called the Pike County Sheriff's Department and informed Investigator Donald Lindley he had discovered the murdered bodies of the Perry family at the cabin. Rubenstein later went to the Police Department in Summit where he was interviewed

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by Pike County Sheriff C.V. Glynnis.4 According to Sheriff Glynnis's notes, which he typed following the interview, Rubenstein stated that sometime around November 6, he drove Darrell, Annie, and Krystal from New Orleans to the cabin. Darrell and Annie told him to leave because people were coming to the cabin, and he did not need to be there. On November 16, Darrell made a collect call and talked to Rubenstein and his wife, Doris. On November 27 or 28, Rubenstein drove to the cabin and knocked on the door, but no one answered. While he normally had a key to the cabin, he did not have his key on that day. A next door neighbor, Shawn, told him Darrell was in New Orleans. Rubenstein returned to the cabin on December 16 and found the bodies.

¶ 6. Rubenstein told Sheriff Glynnis that Darrell had recently been released from prison but, while he was in jail, "Annie had a black male boyfriend, Sydney," who Krystal called her "stepdaddy." During Darrell's incarceration, Rubenstein and Doris had custody of Krystal. Rubenstein did not inform Sheriff Glynnis that he and Doris had taken out a $250,000 life insurance policy on Krystal.

¶ 7. After interviewing Rubenstein inside the Summit Police Department, Sheriff Glynnis testified he walked back to the car with Rubenstein, at which point Rubenstein slapped his palm or his fist on the top of the car and stated that he was afraid "that nigger Sydney" sexually assaulted Krystal.5 Sheriff Glynnis testified from the notes he typed following his interview with Rubenstein. However, his notes did not include the incident at the car or the racial epithet attributed to Rubenstein.

Gail and Creshon Jackson

¶ 8. Gail Jackson, who lived next door to Rubenstein's cabin, stated she never saw the Perrys with a vehicle, and they had no telephone in the cabin. Jackson did not see the Perrys, or anyone else, at the cabin during the four- or five-week period preceding the discovery of the bodies. Also, she noticed the same lights stayed on in the cabin during this time.

¶ 9. Approximately a week-and-a-half before the bodies were discovered, Jackson sent her son, Creshon, to check on the Perrys, but no one came to the door when he knocked. On December 16, 1993, Rubenstein told Creshon he had discovered bodies in the cabin, but he did not say whose bodies he found. The only person Creshon ever saw at the cabin was Rubenstein.

Glen Allen Applewhite's Investigation

¶ 10. Glen Allen Applewhite ("Officer Applewhite"), a criminal investigator for the Mississippi Highway Patrol, conducted an investigation in conjunction with the Sheriff's Department. Based on Sheriff Glynnis's interview with Rubenstein, Officer Applewhite and his staff focused their investigation on Sidney Page and another suspect named Walter Stevenson.

¶ 11. On January 5, 1994, Officer Applewhite spoke with Rubenstein and his daughter, Tonya, at their home in Louisiana. Tonya remembered seeing Darrell and Annie on December 2, 1993, at a local bar named "Mudbugs." Officer Applewhite then spoke to Loque, who told him Darrell and Annie were completely dependent on Rubenstein for food, money, and transportation. Officer Applewhite also learned from Annie's best friend, Sue Bellow,

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that Rubenstein went to Summit on November 16 to pick up Darrell and Annie. On January 12, Darrell's brother, David, told Officer Applewhite about the Rubensteins' $250,000 insurance policy on Krystal.

¶ 12. Lisa French stated that, sometime around November 16, she saw a green van in the area of the cabin. Officer Applewhite followed up on the lead but learned no further information about the van.

¶ 13. Officer Applewhite's investigation turned up no fingerprints, DNA, or blood samples linking Rubenstein to the crime. The earliest letters in the mailbox were post-marked November 15, 1993, and the latest were postmarked December 8, 1993.

Dr. Steven Hayne's Findings

¶ 14. At the time of the murders in 1993, Dr. Emily Ward was the medical examiner. Dr. Steven Hayne, a forensic pathologist, later reviewed Dr. Ward's autopsy reports and was called by the State to testify at trial. Dr. Hayne testified Annie died of multiple stab wounds. She had eight stab wounds to the chest area, including two lethal wounds to the left lung. He found no evidence of defensive wounds.

¶ 15. Darrell's body, like Annie's, was in an advanced state of decomposition. His body had numerous stab and slash wounds, including a very deep, seven-inch slash wound across his neck. Three other wounds to Darrell's arms indicated defensive posturing during a struggle. Darrell had four lethal stab wounds, two to the chest and two to the abdomen. No blood samples were taken due to the decomposition of the bodies. Urine samples indicated both Annie and Darrell had nicotine, caffeine, and acetaminophen in their systems.

¶ 16. Krystal suffered a hemorrhage to the neck area, and her death was caused by strangulation. A few hairs were found under her body and were determined to be those of a Caucasian. Dr. Hayne opined that Krystal died at or about the same time as the adults, and that the deaths occurred weeks to months before the family was discovered.

Confession to Earl Ballinger

¶ 17. At some point, Rubenstein became the focus of the investigation, and in September, 1998, he was indicted by the Pike County Grand Jury and captured in Louisiana. While being held for extradition in the Jefferson Parish Correctional Center, Rubenstein met an inmate, Earl Ballinger, who was also fighting extradition to Mississippi, but who was unaware of the deaths which were the subject of Rubenstein's arrest. Ballinger testified he and Rubenstein often talked about ways to fight extradition. According to Ballinger, Rubenstein said that five years earlier, he had "shot his wife, his daughter, and his daughter's boyfriend." Ballinger also testified Rubenstein said he shot his wife for being a "bitch" and having drinking problems and his daughter for running around with black men and "their drugs." Ballinger said Rubenstein gave no reason for killing the boyfriend.

Confession to James Stevens

¶ 18. Rubenstein was extradited to Mississippi and housed in the Pike County Jail with James Stevens, who testified to various conversations with Rubenstein:

At that time he told me that he had planned to hire somebody to kill his stepson, daughter-in-law and the granddaughter. He changed his mind. He was coming to his camp in Summit about two weeks before Thanksgiving. He went there, he killed his stepson, his daughter-in-law with a knife. He did not specifically say how he killed his granddaughter, it was strangulation, choked, or suffocation. And that after

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that he left, he went to the Jackson's [sic] house. These were neighbors of his. He asked if they saw them ....

Later on in December he went back. The bodies were still there, same places. His granddaughter was on the bed nude. His stepson, the eyes were gone, there were maggots on him. And his daughter-in-law was laying where she was at. She had a hole in her stomach the size that you could put your fist in. And basically that was it.

¶ 19. Stevens testified Rubenstein said he killed his family for insurance money, which he recalled being about $200,000. Rubenstein...

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197 practice notes
  • Galloway v. State, No. 2010–DP–01927–SCT.
    • United States
    • Mississippi Supreme Court
    • September 26, 2013 explain an officer's course of investigation are generally excepted from the rule against hearsay. SeeRubenstein v. State, 941 So.2d 735, 764 (Miss.2006) (citing Rule 803(24) of the Mississippi Rules of Evidence). ¶ 88. As to Galloway's argument with regard to the phone records, they wer......
  • Cox v. State, No. 2013–DP–00087–SCT.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • June 25, 2015
    ...AS TO PUNISHMENT AND REMANDED FOR A NEW TRIAL ON SENTENCING PHASE ONLYFulgham v. State, 46 So.3d 315 (Miss.2010).Rubenstein v. State, 941 So.2d 735 (Miss.2006).King v. State, 784 So.2d 884 (Miss.2001).Walker v. State, 740 So.2d 873 (Miss.1999).Watts v. State, 733 So.2d 214 (Miss.1999).West ......
  • Keller v. State, NO. 2010-DP-00425-SCT
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • February 6, 2014
    ...parole. Further, his life sentence without the possibility of parole shall not be reduced or suspended.The Court, in Rubenstein v. State, 941 So. 2d 735, 793 (¶ 267) (Miss. 2006), found reversible error where the trial court had failed "to include the statutorily required sentencing op......
  • Keller v. State, No. 2010–DP–00425–SCT.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • June 5, 2014
    ...parole. Further, his life sentence without the possibility of parole shall not be reduced or suspended.The Court, in Rubenstein v. State, 941 So.2d 735, 793 (¶ 267) (Miss.2006), found reversible error where the trial court had failed “to include the statutorily required sentencing option of......
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202 cases
  • Flowers v. State, NO. 2010–DP–01348–SCT
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • November 2, 2017
    ...If an eyewitness is produced or a statement from the defendant is admitted, the case is not circumstantial. Rubenstein v. State , 941 So.2d 735, 785 (¶ 225) (Miss. 2006) ; Ladner v. State , 584 So.2d 743, 750 (Miss. 1991). Further, a defendant's "admission of culpability ... to a third part......
  • Hutto v. State, NO. 2014-DP-00177-SCT.
    • United States
    • Mississippi Supreme Court
    • May 11, 2017
    ...AS TO PUNISHMENT AND REMANDED FOR A NEW TRIAL ON SENTENCING PHASE ONLY Fulgham v. State, 46 So.3d 315 (Miss. 2010). Rubenstein v. State, 941 So.2d 735 (Miss. 2006). King v. State, 784 So.2d 884 (Miss. 2001). Walker v. State, 740 So.2d 873 (Miss. 1999). Watts v. State, 733 So.2d 214 (Miss. 1......
  • Loden v. State, No. 2002-DP-00282-SCT.
    • United States
    • Mississippi Supreme Court
    • October 4, 2007
    ...So.2d 640 (Miss. 1979). DEATH CASES REVERSED AS TO PUNISHMENT AND REMANDED FOR A NEW TRIAL ON SENTENCING PHASE ONLY Rubenstein v. State, 941 So.2d 735 King v. State, 784 So.2d 884 (Miss. 2001). Walker v. State, 740 So.2d 873 (Miss. 1999). Watts v. State, 733 So.2d 214 (Miss. 1999). West v. ......
  • Robinson v. State, NO. 2014–KA–01038–SCT
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    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • April 19, 2018
    ...alleged instances of misconduct, and as such, these issues are procedurally barred from review on appeal. See Rubenstein v. State , 941 So.2d 735, 755 (Miss. 2006) (citing Howard v. State , 507 So.2d 58, 63 (Miss. 1987) ). However, "where an appellant cites numerous instances of improper an......
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