Criminal Appellate Decisions – Mississippi Supreme Court – 4/13/2023


4/13/2023 – Hand Down List and Published Opinions

Samuel Hunter Anderson v. State of Mississippi – Accident/Misfortune Jury Instruction - Anderson and his girlfriend, Rhae Ann Height, were living with Anderson’s grandmother Evelyn Davenport in the pool house behind Davenport’s house. After a night away, partying and using methamphetamine, Anderson and Height returned to Davenport’s home to shower. Height testified they had not slept in three days. Anderson got out of the car and went inside. Height heard Anderson and Davenport arguing loudly. Height testified that Anderson then returned to the car, grabbed an unloaded shotgun, loaded it before walking back inside the house. Anderson claimed the gun discharged by accident when Davenport attempted to take it from him. Anderson disputed that the shotgun was loaded and said that he only removed it from the vehicle, because he was a convicted felon and did not want it in the vehicle when he took Height to court later that day. Davenport died thirteen days after being shot. At trial, Anderson submitted an accident-misfortune instruction. The state objected, and the trial court refused the instruction. A killing is excusable when committed by accident and misfortune in doing any lawful act by lawful means, with usual and ordinary caution, without any unlawful intent. On Appeal, the Court held that due to Anderson’s engagement in an unlawful act (felon in possession of firearm) at the time of the homicide, he was not entitled to an accident/misfortune instruction. The MSSC affirmed.

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