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Brooks v. State

Supreme Court of Georgia

June 30, 1995

BROOKS
v.
The STATE (three cases).

Page 350

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 351

[265 Ga. 552] Bert W. Cohen, Marietta, John B. Sumner, Woodstock, for Derreck Wayne Brooks in Nos. S95A0215 and S95A0265.

Bruce Hornbuckle, Asst. Dist. Atty., Marietta, Susan V. Boleyn, Asst. Atty. Gen., Dept. of Law, Atlanta.

Thomas J. Charron, Dist. Atty., Debra H. Bernes, Nancy I. Jordan, Bruce D. Hornbuckle, Asst. Dist. Attys., Marietta, Michael J. Bowers, Atty. Gen., Susan V. Boleyn, Sr. Asst. Atty. Gen., Marla-Deen Brooks, Asst. Atty. Gen., Atlanta, for the State.

BENHAM, Presiding Justice.

Derreck and Paul Brooks, brothers, were convicted of felony murder for the stabbing death of Randy Wallace. [1] The evidence at trial showed that the Brookses spent the evening preceding the killing with Wallace and several others, drinking, smoking marijuana, playing cards, and shooting pool. When the bar where they were drinking closed at 2:00 a.m., the Brookses returned to their apartment with Wallace, Shilling, and Thibodeaux to continue drinking. The conversation turned to wrestling and Paul and Wallace decided to wrestle in the yard. Consistently defeated by Wallace, Paul grew angry and struck him in the face. When Wallace pinned Paul again, Derreck entered the fray, only to be pinned along with his brother. The Brookses went into their apartment, but as the other three started toward Thibodeaux's truck, the brothers came back outside, each armed with a knife, and attacked Wallace. Although he attempted to defend himself with a pool cue case, Wallace was stabbed several times and died of a stab wound to the heart. The Brookses were jointly indicted and tried for malice murder and felony murder with aggravated assault as the underlying felony. They were convicted of felony murder. Derreck and Paul, represented by counsel, appeal their convictions in Cases No. S95A0215 and S95A0265, respectively. In Case No. S95A0258, Derreck appeals pro se. For the reasons set forth below, we affirm in the cases involving counsel and dismiss Derreck's separate appeal.

1. Although there was conflicting testimony at trial with regard to which of the Brookses struck the fatal blow, the evidence showed without conflict that there was a joint aggravated assault on Wallace by the Brookses resulting in Wallace's death. The evidence at trial was sufficient to authorize a rational trier of fact to find both Brookses guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of felony murder. Jackson [265 Ga. 549] v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307, 99 S.Ct. 2781, 61 L.Ed.2d 560 (1979); Crane v. State, 263 Ga. 518(3), 436 S.E.2d 216 (1993). That being so, there was no error in denying Derreck's motion for a directed verdict of acquittal. Blackwell v. State, 264 Ga. 517, 448 S.E.2d 359 (1994).

2. Because there was some direct evidence of Derreck's guilt and no request

Page 352

was made for a charge on circumstantial evidence, the trial court's failure to give an instruction in the language of OCGA § 24-4-6 was not error. Barner v. ...


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