Brandon asks appeals court to look at Lee murder conviction

By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Christopher A. Brandon takes his depraved heart murder conviction to the Mississippi Court of Appeals next month.
Last week, the COA granted him an oral argument to reconsider his Lee County guilty verdict and sentence of life in prison.
Brandon will be represented by Robert W. “Chip” Davis Jr. of Tupelo and Valena E. Beety of Oxford, while LaDonna Holland of Jackson will advocate for the state.
The arguments before the nine justices are set for 1:30 p.m. Oct. 5 in the downtown Jackson court headquarters.
Brandon was indicted Oct. 15, 2007, accused in the death of 15-month-old Xavier Staples.
The child reportedly died of injuries from shaken baby syndrome, pathologist Dr. Steven Hayne ruled.
A Lee County jury convicted him Aug. 7, 2009, in the fourth day of his trial.
It found him guilty of depraved heart murder, rather than a suggested alternative of culpable negligent manslaughter.
Judge Jim Pounds presided at the trial and sentenced Brandon to life in prison.
Brandon’s appeal is based on his contention that not enough credible evidence was presented to support the verdict.
Xavier Staples died June 10, 2007, at LeBonheur Children’s Hospital in Jackson. The death report there said he sustained “massive head injuries.”
Haynes’ autopsy report noted a variety of hemorrhages in the child’s brain and his optic nerves.

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