FROM THE MISSISSIPPI COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, CHICKASAWBA
DISTRICT [NO. 47CR-15-326] HONORABLE MELISSA BRISTOW
H. Bradley, Chief Public Defender, for appellant.
Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: Valerie Glover Fortner,
Ass't Att'y Gen., for appellee.
R. BAKER, Associate Justice
April 20, 2016, a Mississippi County Circuit Court jury
convicted appellant, Daniel Curtis Johnson, of first-degree
murder and found that he had used a firearm in the commission
of that murder. Johnson was sentenced to life imprisonment
and fifteen years' imprisonment for the firearm
enhancement to run consecutively. Johnson's conviction
and sentences stem from the June 22, 2015 death of Vincent
Stone at or near a basketball court in Williams Park in
Blytheville, Arkansas. At trial, Blytheville Police Officer,
Carl Lee Treadway, testified that on the day of the incident,
he responded to a 911 call that shots had been fired at
Williams Park. Officer Treadway testified that he had driven
through the park minutes before receiving the call and
estimated that approximately 80 people were present, enjoying
the park and playing basketball. The State called Jimmy
Aldridge, Jr., and Chardrick Mitchell as witnesses. Both men
testified that they were playing basketball at the park with
Stone on the day of the incident and a large group of people
were at the park. Aldridge and Mitchell also testified that
after they finished their game and were leaving the
basketball court with Stone, two men came up from behind
Stone and shot Stone multiple times. Aldridge and Mitchell
both identified Johnson at trial as one of the assailants.
Johnson was convicted and sentenced as described above.
the trial, pursuant to Rule 33.3(b) (2016), on May 11, 2016,
Johnson filed a motion for new trial following the discovery
of two Facebook posts created by Aldridge and Mitchell. On
May 13, 2016, the circuit court conducted a hearing on the
motion for new trial and on that same day denied the motion.
From that order, Johnson appeals. Johnson does not challenge
the sufficiency of the evidence and presents one issue:
whether the circuit court erred in denying his motion for new
Motion for New Trial
sole point on appeal, Johnson asserts that the circuit court
erred when it denied his motion for new trial. "The
decision whether to grant a new trial is left to the sound
discretion of the trial court, and it is not reversed in the
absence of an abuse of discretion or manifest prejudice to
the complaining party." McIntosh v. State, 340
Ark. 34, 41, 8 S.W.3d 506, 510 (2000) (internal citations
omitted). To prevail on a motion for new trial based on newly
discovered evidence, the movant "must show that the new
evidence would have impacted the outcome of his case, and
that he used due diligence in trying to discover the
evidence." Wilcox v. State, 342 Ark. 388, 394,
39 S.W.3d 434, 438 (2000). "A trial court's factual
determination on a motion for a new trial will not be
reversed unless clearly erroneous." State v.
Cherry, 341 Ark. 924, 928, 20 S.W.3d 354, 357 (2000).
recognized that newly discovered evidence is one of the least
favored grounds to justify granting a new trial. Williams
v. State, 252 Ark. 1289, 482 S.W.2d 810 (1972). A new
trial will not be granted because of perjury on an immaterial
issue, or on a collateral issue, nor generally where the
false testimony may be eliminated without depriving the
verdict of sufficient evidentiary support. Bennett v.
State, 307 Ark. 400, 404, 821 S.W.2d 13, 15 (1991).
Further, newly discovered evidence that relates only to the
impeachment of a witness does not afford grounds for a new
trial. Hayes v. State, 169 Ark. 883, 886, 277 S.W.
36, 37 (1925); Whittaker v. State, 173 Ark. 1172,
1176, 294 S.W. 397, 399 (1927) ("It is the general rule
of practice in this court not to reverse the ruling of the
trial court in refusing a new trial on the ground of newly
discovered evidence where such evidence tends merely to
impeach the credibility of witnesses."); Taylor v.
State, 299 Ark. 123, 126, 771 S.W.2d 742, 744 (1989)
("Evidence which only attacks the credibility of other
testimony is not grounds for a new trial. Williams v.
State, 289 Ark. 69, 709 S.W.2d 80 (1986); Orsini v.
State, 281 Ark. 348, 665 S.W.2d 245, cert.
denied, 469 U.S. 847 (1984)"). Finally, "[t]he
mere fact that the purported evidence would be contradictory
to that offered at the trial by the State is insufficient. It
must also be shown that, because of the proffered evidence, a
different result upon a new trial is probable."
Gross v. State, 242 Ark. 142, 147, 412 S.W.2d 279,
283 (1967) (internal citations omitted).
these standards in mind, we turn to Johnson's argument on
appeal. At trial, Aldridge testified that he and Stone had
been playing basketball, just lost their game, and were
walking off the court when Johnson and another man approached
them. Aldridge testified that in broad daylight, in a
"packed" park, without saying anything, the two men
walked up and both shot Stone:
Aldridge: We were just playing ball. . . . Me and Vincent
[Stone] we were talking, talking to one another . . . Daniel
[Johnson] popped up.
He had a blue hoodie on. . . . [He] was shooting, pointing
[a] gun . . . at [Vincent Stone]. Came on the court, shot
him. . . . Broad daylight.
went on to testify that Johnson wore dreads in his hair and
had a black pistol and identified Johnson as the shooter.
The Prosecutor: And you said [Johnson] . . . had [a] hoodie
on. How were you able to see who . . . [he] was?
Aldridge: Because, actually, you know, the hood,
D'Nasty's hood -
The Prosecutor: You are talking about Daniel Johnson.
Aldridge: Yeah, Daniel Johnson. You know, his braids was in
the way. That's how I actually - - his hood fell off too,
you know what I'm saying? The hood fell off.
trial, Aldridge testified that immediately after the shooting
he spoke with Officer Middlebrook of the Blytheville Police
Department at the hospital and identified Johnson as the
shooter. Aldridge further testified that on July 27, 2015, he
provided a written statement to law enforcement wherein he
also identified Johnson as the shooter. Finally, at trial,