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Farmer v. State

Court of Appeals of Arkansas, Division III

June 5, 2019

Jaylen Lamarvin FARMER, Appellant
v.
STATE of Arkansas, Appellee

          Rehearing Denied July 17, 2019

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          APPEAL FROM THE CRITTENDEN COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 18CR-17-518], HONORABLE JOHN N. FOGLEMAN, JUDGE

         Roy C. Lewellen, for appellant.

         Leslie Rutledge, Att’y Gen., by: Kent G. Holt, Ass’t Att’y Gen., for appellee.

         OPINION

         LARRY D. VAUGHT, Judge

          Jaylen Lamarvin Farmer appeals the sentencing order entered by the Crittenden County Circuit Court convicting him of one count of attempted capital murder, with an enhancement for employing a firearm; sixteen counts of second-degree unlawful discharge of a firearm from a vehicle,

Page 883

with each count being enhanced for employing a firearm; and one count of fleeing, with an enhancement for employing a firearm. Farmer was sentenced to a total of ninety-six years’ imprisonment for these convictions. On appeal, Farmer raises three points: (1) the circuit court erred in denying his motion for mistrial; (2) the circuit court erred in denying his motion for new trial; and (3) there was insufficient evidence corroborating the accomplice testimony to support his convictions. We affirm.

          At trial, the evidence established that around 9:30 p.m. on May 19, 2017, patrol officer Cody Gross of the West Memphis Police Department observed a gold Oldsmobile Alero with three occupants turn into a convenience store. Officer Gross witnessed two of the occupants of the Alero, Farmer and Vondre McClure, standing outside the vehicle at the gas station. When the Alero left the convenience store, the officer followed it. As the vehicle approached speeds of fifty-five to sixty-five miles an hour, Officer Gross turned on his blue lights to initiate a traffic stop. The Alero made an abrupt right turn without applying the brakes, after which someone in the backseat of the Alero pointed an assault rifle out of the window and began firing multiple shots at the officer. One of the bullets struck the passenger-side windshield of Officer Gross’s patrol vehicle. Officer Gross stopped his vehicle, and the Alero drove away. Law enforcement officers later found the Alero in a ditch at a dead end still running with the front doors open.

         Officer Gross testified that he was familiar with Farmer’s vehicle and had assumed, immediately after the incident, that Farmer was driving it when the shots were fired from the backseat. Gross further testified that he could have been mistaken and that he was unable to identify the person who was driving. After reviewing surveillance video from the convenience store, Officer Gross stated that Farmer was wearing a green shirt and a watch and that McClure was wearing a red hooded sweatshirt.[1]

          Farmer, McClure, and JK, a minor, were arrested following the incident. Farmer gave an interview to police wherein he stated that the Alero is his vehicle and that he had been driving the vehicle. He said that he was going to pull over for the officer when JK unexpectedly started firing a weapon from the backseat. Farmer denied that either he or McClure shot at the officer. Farmer stated that once he stopped the vehicle, he ran from his car on foot.

          McClure testified at trial that JK had been driving the Alero when Farmer, who was in the backseat, fired the assault rifle at Officer Gross. McClure stated that when the officer tried to stop the Alero, Farmer told JK to "go, go." McClure further testified that when JK reached a dead end, all three occupants jumped out of the car and ran away. McClure stated that he met up with Farmer later that night and that Farmer told McClure that JK was going to take the blame as the shooter and for McClure not to "snitch." According to McClure, when he disagreed with Farmer’s plan, McClure felt threatened by Farmer. McClure turned himself in to the authorities the next day.

          McClure also testified that he had given three interviews to police. In his first two interviews, he said that he had lied ...


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