Scott v. State

Decision Date12 April 1948
Docket Number36699.
Citation34 So.2d 718,203 Miss. 349
CourtMississippi Supreme Court
PartiesSCOTT v. STATE.

W. E. McIntyre, of Brandon, and John G. Burkett of Jackson, for appellant.

Greek L. Rice, Atty. Gen., by R. O. Arrington Asst. Atty. Gen., for appellee.

L. A SMITH, SR., Justice.

The grand jury at Rankin County indicted appellant for the murder of L. C. Mattock, and the petit jury convicted him of manslaughter, for which crime the circuit judge sentenced him to the state penitentiary for a term of ten years.

Appellant was gambling with other Negroes in a 'skin game,' played with cards, when deceased and his companion, Harris came upon the scene. Deceased, who was drunk, immediately started an unprovoked row with appellant, who, thereupon, left that game. He went to a nearby group, 'shooting craps,' where deceased followed him and renewed his self-made quarrel with appellant for the second time, threatening to kill him. Finally, in his drunken anger, deceased left, stating he was going after his 'gun,' and kill the appellant, without intimating what kind of 'gun' it was, whether pistol, rifle or shotgun.

On his way to the gambling site, deceased had left a shotgun at the home of Albert Jones, living between his own home and the gambling place. Appellant, a short time later, went to seek the intercession of the Jones Negro, and request Jones' aid in the prevention of his own death, threatened by the deceased. In this, he was corroborated by Harris. Appellant did not know that Mattock was going to Jones' house, or was therein, since Mattock's declaration caused him to understand that he was going to his home for his gun--not that he was going to Jones' house for it.

However, Mattock was in the home of Jones, having entered still in a drunken rage, after knocking down a harmless old Negro, for no cause at all, and shouting he was going to kill some sons of bitches. While Jones went into a room to get the shotgun of deceased, appellant entered, and immediately deceased cried blasphemously, there is the gray haired son of bitch I am going to kill, or words to that effect. Appellant, at the moment, had a pistol in his pocket, which he had also when deceased twice threatened to murder him at the games, but which he there made no effort to use. Accompanying his threat aforesaid on appellant's arrival, deceased reached his hand in his overalls, which appellant, in view of Mattock's previous hostility, aggression and threats, interpreted as an intention to draw a weapon in consummation of the threats. Both he and Harris, who had come to the Jones' house looking for his wife, so testified. Appellant thereupon pulled his own pistol out of his pocket and fired one shot into the face of deceased, under an eye, as deceased faced appellant. This shot was fatal. Jones and his wife testified that it was night, and the house was not lighted, which was contradicted by Harris, and the physical fact that appellant could see well enough to shoot deceased in the face. Appellant fled, and was arrested and tried some months later.

The theory of the State was that appellant pursued deceased for the purpose of slaying him, which, however, was contradicted by appellant, and Harris, and in our judgment the account of the affair given by Harris and appellant is reasonable, and largely undisputed, except by some negative testimony of Jones and his wife, Anne, in which both stated that they did not hear Mattock's alleged exclamation at the house, when appellant entered the front door. But the old Negro hereinbefore mentioned, heard the threats before appellant entered, having fled in the meantime. And Harris had heard the threats at the gambling site, and also deceased's menacing statement in the home of Jones. Jones could not see Mattock at the time of the...

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15 cases
  • Heidel v. State, 07-KA-59495
    • United States
    • Mississippi Supreme Court
    • September 11, 1991
    ...and, "if a reasonable doubt of his guilt arises from the evidence, ... he must be acquitted." Sloan, 368 So.2d at 229; Scott v. State, 203 Miss. 349, 34 So.2d 718 (1948). Instructions that shift the burden to the accused are error and of constitutional proportions. See, e.g., Yates v. Evatt......
  • Robinson v. State
    • United States
    • Mississippi Supreme Court
    • May 18, 1983
    ...510 (1964); Ross v. State, 234 Miss. 309, 106 So.2d 56 (1958); Ward v. State, 203 Miss. 876, 34 So.2d 720 (1948); and Scott v. State, 203 Miss. 349, 34 So.2d 718 (1948). This reasonable appearance of imminent danger is adjudged from a criminal defendant's standpoint and if he has cause to b......
  • Briggins v. State, 53147
    • United States
    • Mississippi Supreme Court
    • July 14, 1982
    ...great bodily harm from the decedent at the time of the slaying are: Bell v. State, 207 Miss. 518, 42 So.2d 728 (1949); Scott v. State, 203 Miss. 349, 34 So.2d 718 (1948); McNeal v. State, 115 Miss. 678, 76 So. 625 (1917); Johnson v. State, 79 Miss. 42, 30 So. 39 (1901); Godwin v. State, 73 ......
  • Wade v. State
    • United States
    • Mississippi Supreme Court
    • October 21, 1999
    ...843 (Miss.1991); Sloan v. State, 368 So.2d 228, 229 (Miss.1979); Pierce v. State, 289 So.2d 901, 902 (Miss. 1974), Scott v. State, 203 Miss. 349, 354, 34 So.2d 718, 719 (1948). ¶ 29. Indeed, even if Wade knew that Simpson was unarmed, she may still have been justified in shooting him under ......
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