Regardless of its seriousness, anyone accused of a crime possesses constitutional rights. The Georgia Supreme Court heard oral argument in one appeal involving a drug shooting conviction. Like other criminal cases, the Court’s ruling could impact the criminal defense for a variety of offenses.
The shooting occurred on April 6, 2012 around 2:30 p.m. in Columbus. The defendant and another man met the 25-year-old alleged victim to buy marijuana.
The victim was in the driver’s seat of his Mazda selling marijuana to another buyer. The defendant and the other man sat in the back seat and the victim showed them the marijuana.
Then, the defendant allegedly pointed a .45-caliber pistol and pointed it between the front seats at the victim who pleaded against being shot. The defendant pulled the trigger, and the bullet went through the victim’s right arm and into his chest.
The other man fled to the defendant’s Mitsubishi while the earlier buyer ran across the street. The defendant dragged the victim from his car and drove off in his Mazda. The victim was allegedly left to bleed to death on the street. The defendant later met the other man, divided the stolen marijuana between them and abandoned the victim’s Mazda.
Police arrested them two days later. They questioned the defendant for hours until he finally admitted to what happened. But he also claimed that he did not intend to shoot the victim and that the gun fired accidentally.
Both men were tried together and were found guilty. In Nov. 2013, the defendant in this appeal was sentenced to life without parole and he is now serving his sentence at Telfair state prison in McRae-Helena. He may, nonetheless, be eligible for parole after 30 years. The defendant was 28 years old at sentencing while his alleged accomplice was 20.
Supreme Court review
His attorneys argued that the defendant’s videotaped confession to the police was not given voluntarily and that it should not have been presented in his trial in Muscogee Superior Court in 2013. Without that statement, according to his attorneys, prosecutors had insufficient evidence to prove that the defendant fired the fatal shot.
They also claimed the trial court judge erred by allowing the prosecutors to incorrectly state the law during closing arguments. Afterwards, the jury found the defendant guilty of killing the victim during the commission of a robbery and other felonies.
An attorney should be contacted as soon as possible during an arrest. They can help protect rights and assist those accused of serious crimes.