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Murray v. State

Court of Appeals of Georgia

July 10, 2014

MURRAY
v.
THE STATE

Page 591

Burglary. Bibb Superior Court. Before Judge Self.

Veronica E. Brinson, for appellant.

K. David Cooke, Jr. , District Attorney, Myra H. Tisdale , Assistant District Attorney, for appellee.

MCFADDEN, Judge. Andrews, P. J., and Ray, J., concur.

OPINION

Page 592

McFadden, Judge.

After a jury trial, Omega Murray was convicted of burglary. He appeals, challenging the sufficiency of the evidence, a variance between the indictment and proof at trial, the denial of a continuance, the refusal to remove a juror, and the use of his prior guilty pleas to impose a recidivist sentence. However, there was sufficient evidence to support the verdict, the variance complained of did not affect Murray's substantial rights, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying a continuance or in refusing to remove the juror in question, and Murray has shown no irregularity with any of the pleas used for recidivist sentencing. Accordingly, we affirm.

1. Sufficiency of the evidence.

Murray contends tat there was insufficient evidence to support his burglary conviction. The contention is without merit.

On appeal from 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 the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.

Williams v. State, 326 Ga.App. 418, 419 (1) (756 S.E.2d 650) (2014) (citation omitted).

So viewed, the evidence shows that on June 7, 2011, a real estate broker called police to report that a man carrying a bag was seen going into a vacant house that she had listed for sale. An officer responded to the call and discovered that glass had been broken out of the back door, which was ajar. The officer saw Murray inside the kitchen, with a tool bag on the kitchen counter, using a screwdriver on a wall fixture. Screws were later found in Murray's pants pocket that matched those used to hold up a ceiling fan that had been taken down and placed by the back door of the house. Murray initially told the arresting officer that he was doing work on the house, but later claimed that he had gone inside the house to use the bathroom.

Page 593

At trial, Murray testified that he went on the property to urinate outside the house and that he then went inside the house because he was " just being nosey." The real estate broker and the buyer of the house testified that they had not given anyone permission to enter the house.

[328 Ga.App. 193] Having reviewed all the evidence in the light most favorable to the verdict, we conclude " that there was sufficient evidence for the jury to find [Murray] guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of burglary. [Cit.]" Williams, supra at 419-420 (1) (punctuation omitted). See also OCGA ยง 16-7-1 (b) (defining burglary to include entering the dwelling house ...


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