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Thompson v. State

Supreme Court of Arkansas

October 24, 2019

Lavar T. THOMPSON, Appellant
v.
STATE of Arkansas, Appellee

Page 164

          APPEAL FROM THE DREW COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 22CR-16-18], HONORABLE SAM POPE, JUDGE

         Montgomery, Adams & Wyatt, PLC, Little Rock, by: James W. Wyatt, for appellant.

         Leslie Rutledge, Att’y Gen., by: David L. Eanes Jr., Ass’t Att’y Gen., for appellee.

         OPINION

         JOHN DAN KEMP, Chief Justice

          Appellant Lavar T. Thompson appeals an order of the Drew County Circuit Court convicting him of two counts of first-degree murder, one count of attempted first-degree murder, and one count of aggravated residential burglary and sentencing him to three terms of life imprisonment and one term of fifty years to run consecutively. For reversal, Thompson argues that the circuit court erred in denying his motion for mistrial. We affirm.

          I. Facts

         On January 10, 2016, Thompson and two of his friends, Jeremiah Jones and Kareena Gold, spent the early morning hours drinking and gambling at a juke joint in Monticello. According to Gold, Thompson had lost most of his money by gambling with the proprietor, and she and Jones encouraged Thompson to leave. Gold drove the friends to Jones’s house. When they arrived, Thompson shot Jones and Gold while inside the car. Jones died immediately. Gold sustained a gunshot wound to the head but survived. She escaped the vehicle and ran toward a neighbor’s house to seek help.

         Thompson then drove Gold’s car to the home of his former girlfriend, Shalonda Binns. There, he broke a window, entered the residence, and found Binns and her boyfriend, Markeia Jamison, in a bedroom. Thompson shot and killed Binns. Jamison and Thompson "tussled for the gun," and Jamison shot two rounds at Thompson. Jamison fled the residence and called the police. Law enforcement arrived at the scene and found Thompson, wounded, in the home and discovered Binns, deceased, with a gunshot wound to the head. Police also discovered Gold’s vehicle near Binns’s residence with Jones’s body inside.

          On February 22, 2016, the State filed a felony information charging Thompson with two counts of capital murder, one count of attempted capital murder, one count of aggravated residential burglary, and one count of felon in possession of a firearm. The case proceeded to trial, and a jury found Thompson guilty of two counts of first-degree murder, one count of attempted first-degree murder, and one count of aggravated residential burglary. The jury sentenced Thompson to three life sentences for the murder convictions and fifty years’ imprisonment for the burglary

Page 165

conviction to run consecutively. On November 2, 2018, the circuit court entered a sentencing order reflecting the jury’s convictions and sentences. From this order, Thompson timely filed his appeal.

          II. Mistrial

          For his sole point on appeal, Thompson argues that the circuit court erred in denying his motion for mistrial. Specifically, he contends that Gold’s testimony was nonresponsive to defense counsel’s question, irrelevant to the crimes for which he was tried, and intended to accuse him "of being a bad man or a criminal." Thompson further asserts that Gold’s testimony was so prejudicial that no admonition to the jury could have cured it.

          At trial, the State called Gold as a witness. During cross-examination by defense counsel, ...


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