Court of appeals affirms Jeff Davis Co. man's conviction for murder of wife

Court of appeals affirms Jeff Davis Co. man's conviction for murder of wife

JEFFERSON DAVIS COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - The Mississippi Court of Appeals on Tuesday, May 8, affirmed the conviction of Carlos Jones.

Jones was convicted on Oct.18, 2016, of second-degree murder after an alleged disagreement between he and his wife Tabatha Smith. According the court documents, Smith testified that on the morning of Dec. 5, 2014 he woke up, got out of bed, and left his bedroom to wake the children. Upon returning to the bedroom, he and his wife began "fussing." Smith rolled over onto a handgun that Jones kept under his pillow. Jones pulled the gun from under the pillow and told Smith that it was not loaded. Jones then put the gun in the back pocket of his pants, but it fell through a hole in the pocket and hit the floor. Jones later testified that when he came up with the gun, it went off.

Jones testified at trial that the gun "just went off" as he was lifting it from the ground. However, in his police statement, Jones said that the gun went off when he turned.

Jones appealed the conviction, arguing that the trial admitting a video depicting testimonial evidence, the trial court erred in refusing to allow his witness to testify as an expert.

The court of appeals rules Tuesday that it found no error and affirmed the conviction.

Jones also argued his trial counsel was constitutionally ineffective.

Jones argues that the trial court's admission of Investigator Johnson's video of Tabatha at the hospital violated his fundamental rights under the Sixth Amendment's Confrontation Clause. Jones concedes that his counsel did not properly object, but maintains that this issue may proceed under the doctrine of plain error.

"The admission of the video is not grounds for reversal because the statements that Tabatha made on the video were cumulative of other evidence that was admitted at trial, including the admissions that Jones, himself, made," the appeals court said.

Jones argues that his counsel was constitutionally ineffective because he failed to offer an accident instruction which would have allowed the jury to consider his theory of defense. In response, the State maintains that Jones's counsel's decision was trial strategy and, therefore, not subject to review.

Despite the inconsistencies, combined with the testimony of all witnesses during the trial, the state supreme court affirmed.