Court of Appeals reverses Lafayette circuit decision

By Patsy R. Brumfield
Daily Journal

JACKSON – Anthony Carothers should get a new trial in the 2011 assault of his half-sister, the Mississippi Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday.

Carothers was convicted Nov. 4, 2011, in the beating of Sheena Carothers and was sentenced to 40 years in prison with 30 years suspended and 10 years to serve.

On appeal, Carothers cited four reasons, but the COA agreed that one issue – that the circuit court erred in allowing the state to treat Sheena as a hostile witness – was enough to warrant a new trial.

The legal opinion rests on the state’s need to prove it was surprised by her responses to its questions.

A review of Sheena’s testimony at her half-brother’s bond hearing, the court said, “essentially mirrors her testimony at trial.” She also showed no “blatant hostile behavior” prior to the state’s request that she be treated as such.

The appeals court, voting 8-2, said that her designation as a hostile witness opened the door for the production to testimony that brought about Carother’s conviction.

The case could go back before Judge Andrew K. Howorth, although the state may appeal to the Mississippi Supreme Court.