Williams v. State, No. 50116

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
Writing for the CourtBefore PATTERSON; BROOM; PATTERSON
Citation354 So.2d 266
PartiesEdgar M. WILLIAMS v. STATE of Mississippi.
Docket NumberNo. 50116
Decision Date25 January 1978

Page 266

354 So.2d 266
Edgar M. WILLIAMS
v.
STATE of Mississippi.
No. 50116.
Supreme Court of Mississippi.
Jan. 25, 1978.

Page 267

J. W. Kellum, Sumner, for appellant.

A. F. Summer, Atty. Gen., by Frankie Walton White, Sp. Asst. Atty. Gen., Jackson, for appellee.

Before PATTERSON, C. J., and BROOM and BOWLING, JJ.

BROOM, Justice, for the Court:

Murder conviction and life imprisonment sentence resulted from trial of Edgar M. Williams (defendant, appellant) in the Circuit Court of the First Judicial District of Tallahatchie County. As grounds for a new trial, it is argued that the trial court committed reversible error in (1) admitting into evidence photographs of the victim's body, (2) granting state's instruction No. 4, and (3) refusing to grant certain defense instructions. We reverse.

Testimony indicates that the defendant was an employee of a drug store in Charleston, Mississippi. During late afternoon, December 19, 1974, he went from the drug store to a nearby hardware store where he obtained a 12-gauge automatic shotgun which he loaded. He promptly returned to the drug store and fatally shot a coemployee, Reardon. While shooting Reardon, the defendant stated: "I am going to put an end to this kidding me about bird hunting . . . ." Present was one Aultman (owner of the drug store) who, after hearing the statement and witnessing the shooting, asked the defendant if he realized what he had done. Answer of the defendant was affirmative. The arresting officer, Campbell, testified that at the time he arrested the defendant it was stated by the defendant that "they pushed me too far." Asserted by the defendant as his defense was the proposition that he was insane at the time of the killing.

Admitted into evidence over objection were photographs and x-rays of the body of the deceased. At the time these items were introduced, the corpus delicti and identity of the deceased had been well established by the state's witness, Dr. A. W. Hulett. Dr. Hulett said he examined John Reardon's body at the hospital emergency room and "determined that the cause of death was due to a gunshot wound of the chest." The shooting of the deceased by appellant was not denied or contradicted in any manner. Although considerable discretion is vested in trial judges as to the admissibility of photographs of the corpse of a homicide victim, such items can have no probative value upon a record such as this where the killing is not disputed in any respect. Standing alone, admission of the photographs and x-rays might not constitute reversible error, but at retrial the items should not be admitted upon a similar record.

WAS...

To continue reading

Request your trial
41 practice notes
  • Hutto v. State, NO. 2014-DP-00177-SCT.
    • United States
    • Mississippi Supreme Court
    • May 11, 2017
    ...that photographs of a victim have evidentiary value when they aid in describing the circumstances of the killing, Williams v. State, 354 So.2d 266 (Miss. 1978) ; describe the location of the body and cause of death, Ashley v. State, 423 So.2d 1311 (Miss. 1982) ; or supplement or clarify wit......
  • Brown v. State, No. 94-DP-00248-SCT
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • August 15, 1996
    ...have evidentiary value where they aid in describing the circumstances of the killing and the corpus delicti, Williams v. State, 354 So.2d 266 (Miss.1978); describe the location of the body and cause of death, Ashley v. State, 423 So.2d 1311 (Miss.1982); or supplement or clarify witness test......
  • Brown v. State, No. 95-DP-00407-SCT
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • December 12, 1996
    ...that photographs of a victim have evidentiary value when they aid in describing the circumstances of the killing, Williams v. State, 354 So.2d 266 (Miss.1978); describe the location of the body and cause of death, Ashley v. State, 423 So.2d 1311 (Miss.1982); or supplement or clarify witness......
  • Brooks v. State, No. 98-KA-00322-SCT.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • October 7, 1999
    ...that photographs of a victim have evidentiary value when they aid in describing the circumstances of the killing, Williams v. State, 354 So.2d 266 (Miss.1978); describe the location of the body and cause of death, Ashley v. State, 423 So.2d 1311 (Miss.1982); or supplement or clarify witness......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
41 cases
  • Hutto v. State, NO. 2014-DP-00177-SCT.
    • United States
    • Mississippi Supreme Court
    • May 11, 2017
    ...that photographs of a victim have evidentiary value when they aid in describing the circumstances of the killing, Williams v. State, 354 So.2d 266 (Miss. 1978) ; describe the location of the body and cause of death, Ashley v. State, 423 So.2d 1311 (Miss. 1982) ; or supplement or clarify wit......
  • Brown v. State, No. 94-DP-00248-SCT
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • August 15, 1996
    ...have evidentiary value where they aid in describing the circumstances of the killing and the corpus delicti, Williams v. State, 354 So.2d 266 (Miss.1978); describe the location of the body and cause of death, Ashley v. State, 423 So.2d 1311 (Miss.1982); or supplement or clarify witness test......
  • Brown v. State, No. 95-DP-00407-SCT
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • December 12, 1996
    ...that photographs of a victim have evidentiary value when they aid in describing the circumstances of the killing, Williams v. State, 354 So.2d 266 (Miss.1978); describe the location of the body and cause of death, Ashley v. State, 423 So.2d 1311 (Miss.1982); or supplement or clarify witness......
  • Brooks v. State, No. 98-KA-00322-SCT.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • October 7, 1999
    ...that photographs of a victim have evidentiary value when they aid in describing the circumstances of the killing, Williams v. State, 354 So.2d 266 (Miss.1978); describe the location of the body and cause of death, Ashley v. State, 423 So.2d 1311 (Miss.1982); or supplement or clarify witness......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT