BOYD v. The STATE.
-- September 09, 2013
Ronald G. Shedd, Office of the Public Defender, Rome, for Appellant.Paige Reese Whitaker, Atlanta, Patricia B. Attaway Burton, Senior A.A.G, Benjamin Henry Pierman, A.A.G., Paula Khristian Smith, Senior A.A.G., Samuel S. Olens, A.G., Department of Law, Paul L. Howard Jr., D.A., Christopher Michael Quinn, Senior A.D.A., Joshua Daniel Morrison, A.D.A., for Appellee.
A jury found appellant Christopher Boyd guilty of the felony murder of Puckett Baynes and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.1 The trial court denied appellant's motions for directed verdict and for new trial, and he appeals, challenging the sufficiency of the evidence. Because we find the evidence was sufficient to support the verdict, we affirm.
Based on the evidence presented at trial, the jury was authorized to find that appellant lived across the street from the home where the victim was staying. They had had disputes prior to the shooting, and appellant told one witness that if the victim did not pay appellant the money he owed, appellant was going to kill him. On the day of the crimes, appellant and the victim were arguing outside their homes. A witness working nearby told them to “separate,” which they did for a time, with appellant going inside his home then returning to the street. Shortly thereafter, another witness saw appellant and the victim, who did not appear to have anything in his hands, arguing. The witness then heard gunshots and saw appellant leaving the scene. As appellant passed the witness, he asked him to take care of his dogs. Other witnesses who also knew both men heard gunshots, turned to see the victim fall into appellant in what they described as an embrace, and saw the victim fall to the ground. Appellant was discovered by police at his residence the following day, where police recovered unspent shell casings of the same make and caliber as those used in the crimes. The victim died of multiple gunshot wounds.
Construed in the light most favorable to the verdicts, we find the evidence was sufficient to enable a rational trier of fact to find appellant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of the crimes for which he was convicted. Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307, 99 S.Ct. 2781, 61 L.Ed.2d 560 (1979). Accordingly, the evidence did not demand a verdict of acquittal. See Thomas v. State, 239 Ga. 734(2), 238 S.E.2d 888 (1977) (review of denial of motion for directed verdict is limited to the legal sufficiency of the evidence). Although appellant presented some evidence in support of his claim of self-defense, the issues of self-defense and witness credibility are for the jury to decide from all the facts and circumstances. See Shaw v. State, 292 Ga. 871(1), 742 S.E.2d 707 (2013). See Thomas, supra, 239 Ga. at 735, 238 S.E.2d 888 (“The conclusion that a party acted in self-defense is one the jury is permitted, but not required, to draw from the evidence.”)
THOMPSON, Chief Justice.
All the Justices concur.