May 8, 2014 10:19:39 AM
JACKSON -- An Alabama man sentenced to serve 15 years in prison for manslaughter in a 2008 shooting death at a Mississippi bar has appealed his conviction to the Mississippi Court of Appeals.
James "Chuck" Newell was sentenced in 2012 in Lowndes County Circuit Court in the slaying of Adrian Boyette.
Prosecutors said Newell, of Vernon, Alabama, fatally shot Boyette after an altercation outside the Slab House, a bar on the outer limits of Lowndes County, near the Alabama state line.
The case is among dozens the Appeals Court will consider during its May-June term. It will not hear oral arguments. A decision may be issued later this year
Newell had been convicted of manslaughter in 2009, but the Mississippi Supreme Court overturned the verdict and sent the case back for retrial.
In his appeal, Newell argues he acted in self-defense and his actions are protected by the Castle Doctrine.
Mississippi adopted the castle doctrine in 2006. It allows people to defend themselves in their homes, workplaces or vehicles.
Newell argues Boyette was the aggressor. Newell argues he shot Boyette in or immediately outside of his vehicle after Boyette attempted to open the door to Newell's truck and was reaching for a knife.
"Newell was statutorily and legally presumed to have reasonably feared imminent death or great bodily harm, and he was therefore not guilty," said Hunter N. Aikens, an attorney with the Office of State Public Defender who is representing Newell.
Assistant Attorney General Billy Gore said in briefs that witnesses testified that Boyette was backing away with his hands raised when Newell shot him. Gore said there was also testimony that Newell was inside his truck and got out to shoot Boyette.
"A reasonable and fair-minded juror could have also found that Newell was inside his truck behind closed doors and that Newell could have left with no harm done. A knife is no threat to a pickup truck in motion," Gore said.
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