A Pike County man’s appeal of his attempted murder sentence in a “domestic squabble” was rejected by the Mississippi Court of Appeals.
Antonio Laron “Ron” Bridges, who was previously convicted of manslaughter and felony drug possession, was convicted of four charges and sentenced to four consecutive life sentences.
He was indicted Jan. 31, 2017, with two counts of attempted murder, one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and one count of shooting into a motor vehicle when he shot and wounded Roy Boss and Cedric Martin.
Bridges shot into the vehicle Boss and Martin occupied after an argument between Bridges’s nephew Tyreace Bridges and his nephew’s girlfriend Latoya Nunnery. Nunnery went to the apartment complex where the shooting occurred after the argument because her siblings lived there.
Bridges and his nephew went to the apartment complex and fought with Nunnery’s brother Brandon Stewart. Martin observed the fight but did not participate. Police were called to the location, so Bridges and his nephew left.
Boss heard about the fight while at a nearby bar and decided to go to Stewart’s apartment. Boss parked his Crown Victoria in from of Stewart’s apartment when Bridges, accompanied by Tyreace Bridges and his brother Clarence Bridges, shot into the car, believing it to be Stewart.
Martin pulled out a revolver and shot twice at Bridges. All three men sustained wounds and were taken to the hospital — Bridges by his nephews and his victims by ambulance. All of them survived.
Bridges’ the trial was in late March 2018. During the trial, Deputy John Glapion testified that Boss and Martin were in shock when he arrived on the scene, but they told him that Bridges “come running towards the driver’s side of the door and shot them.”
Dr. Shunte Jones, a former emergency-room physician at Southwest Mississippi Regional Medical Center, testified that both Boss and Martin had life-threatening wounds.
Investigator Robby Roberts testified that when the two were in the hospital, Martin could not identify the shooter, but Boss, when shown a picture of Bridges, indicated Bridges was the shooter.
Roberts also said the car that transported Bridges to the hospital had no gun and Bridges’ clothes were missing as well.
Clarence Bridges testified during the trial that he never saw his uncle walk toward Boss’s vehicle, nor did he see a gun. When the shots went off, he ducked and hid until his uncle came back to him, holding his side, saying he had been shot.
Antonio Bridges was charged as a habitual offender and was given four life sentences, but the jury did not agree on the death penalty. Bridges appealed, claiming the admission of his prior felonies into evidence was prejudicial and constitutes a plain error.
During the trial, both parties agreed to the admission of Bridges’s record, but Bridges now claims the defense’s failure to object to this was ineffective assistance of counsel. The Appeals Court said this argument does not stand in a direct appeal.
The court said his defense consulted Bridges before deciding whether or not to object, and the decision not to object appeared to be a defense strategy.
Bridges also asserted that Roberts mentioning Bridges’ prior conviction in the statement violated his fundamental right to a fair trial. The Appeals Court said because Bridges did not raise this issue in his post-trial motion, the issue was barred from a review on appeal.
“The plain-error doctrine allows our appellate courts to ‘recognize obvious error which was not properly raised by the defendant on appeal, and which affects a defendant’s ‘fundamental, substantive right.’ ” the court’s statement reads. “In this instance, we can find no plain or obvious error or deviation from a legal rule in the trial court’s admission of the investigator’s statement.”
With that judgment, the court rejected the appeal and found no error in the circuit court’s trial.