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Lambert v. State

Court of Appeals of Georgia

January 24, 2014

LAMBERT
v.
The STATE.

Terry Mack Taylor, for Appellant.

Page 393

Madonna Marie Little, Rebecca Ashley Wright, for Appellee.

BARNES, Presiding Judge.

A jury found Charlie James Lambert guilty of aggravated assault, terroristic threats, possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Lambert appeals from the denial of his motion for new trial, contending that the evidence was insufficient to support the verdict. Upon our review, we affirm.

Following a criminal conviction,

we view the evidence in the light most favorable to the verdict, with the defendant no longer enjoying a presumption of innocence. We neither weigh the evidence nor judge the credibility of witnesses, but determine only whether, after viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the prosecution, a rational trier of fact could have found the essential elements of [each] crime beyond a reasonable doubt.

(Citations and punctuation omitted.) Sidner v. State, 304 Ga.App. 373, 374, 696 S.E.2d 398 (2010). See Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307, 99 S.Ct. 2781, 61 L.Ed.2d 560 (1979).

Construed in favor of the prosecution, the evidence showed that Lambert did yard work for the victim at her house in Burke County. Three or four weeks after meeting Lambert, the victim allowed him to move into a bedroom in her house " [b]ecause he needed a place to live and [she] had extra rooms." While Lambert lived with her, the victim would sometimes drive him to the store where she would purchase alcohol for him.

On the day in question, Lambert asked the victim to drive him to the store and purchase some alcohol. When she refused, he became [325 Ga.App. 604] angry. The victim then went outside to speak with her next-door neighbor. While the victim was speaking with her neighbor in the yard, Lambert came out of the house carrying a Winchester 30-30 rifle owned by the victim. At that point, Lambert's sister drove up and saw Lambert holding the rifle. Lambert " ran ... off" the neighbor and his sister and then forced the victim into the house at gunpoint.

Once inside the house, Lambert made the victim get down on the floor in the living room and begin to pray. Lambert told the victim that he had one bullet for him, one for her, and one for her granddaughter who lived next door. While pointing the rifle at her face and chest, Lambert asked the victim where she wanted the bullet. He cursed at the victim and threatened to kill her.

While Lambert was inside the house with the victim, his sister called the police, who responded to the scene and established a perimeter. One of the responding officers interviewed Lambert's sister, who said that Lambert had a rifle, was holding the victim hostage inside the house, and had threatened to " blow [the victim's] head off." Lambert's brother was contacted by another family member and came to the police staging area, where he spoke with Lambert on speaker phone while the police listened. Lambert told his brother that he was " too late" because the victim was already dead. However, Lambert then let the victim speak briefly with his brother before hanging up the phone.

Lambert held the victim at gunpoint in the house for approximately three hours. He ultimately allowed the victim to leave the house when she feigned a heart attack and begged to go to the hospital. Officers took Lambert into custody after the victim left the house. They found the Winchester 30-30 rifle on the living room floor.

At trial, the victim testified to the events discussed above. Lambert's brother testified about his phone conversation with Lambert in the presence of the police. Lambert's sister took the stand and denied telling the responding officer that Lambert was holding the victim hostage or had threatened to blow her head off, but the officer later testified otherwise. One of the responding officers also testified regarding the rifle that had been found in the living room after Lambert was apprehended. Lambert did not testify or call any witnesses on his behalf.

After hearing all of the testimony, the jury found Lambert guilty of aggravated assault, terroristic threats, and possession of a firearm ...


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