Divided Mississippi Supreme Court overturns manslaughter conviction in Chinn case

The Mississippi Supreme Court has overturned the manslaughter conviction of Noah Brent Chinn in the killing of his wife and has ordered a new trial.  Chinn had been sentenced to 20 years in prison for the 2004 shooting of Shaniqua Chinn.

But the court ruled in a narrow 5-4 decision Thursday that Jones County Circuit Judge Billy Joe Landrum erred when providing jury instructions.

Presiding Justice Oliver Diaz Junior wrote that Landrum failed to grant a jury instruction on the defendant's theory of the case.

Chinn said the shooting was accidental.

The couple was in an argument in front of two witnesses when the shooting occurred around 2:00 a.m. July 31st, 2004.

A short time later Shaniqua Chinn got in the couple's vehicle and attempted to leave.

The witnesses testified during trial that Noah Chinn was not armed when he reached into the vehicle to try and stop his wife from leaving.

While they could not see the struggle inside the car, they saw a flash, heard the shot and witnessed the aftermath.