Armed robbery. Dougherty Superior Court. Before Judge Gray, Senior Judge.
Judgment vacated and case remanded with direction.
Kevin C. Armstrong, for appellant.
Gregory W. Edwards, District Attorney, for appellee.
Andrews, P. J., and
Ray, J., concur.
Quantavious Gordon appeals his armed robbery convictions, arguing that the evidence was insufficient. He also argues that when ruling on the motion for new trial, the trial court erred by failing to consider whether the verdict was decidedly and strongly against the weight of the evidence as provided under OCGA § 5-5-21. We find that the evidence was sufficient to support the convictions. But because it is not clear that the trial court exercised his discretion under OCGA § 5-5-21 when ruling on Gordon's motion for new trial, we vacate the trial court's denial of Gordon's motion for new trial and remand for the trial court's further consideration of the motion.
[329 Ga.App. 3] 1. Sufficiency of the evidence.
When a defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence supporting his criminal conviction, " the relevant question is whether, after viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the prosecution, any rational trier of fact could have found the essential elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt." Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307, 319 (III) (B) (99 S.Ct. 2781, 61 L.Ed.2d 560) (1979) (citation omitted; emphasis in original). It is the function of the jury, not the reviewing court, to resolve conflicts in the testimony, to weigh the evidence, and to draw reasonable inferences from the evidence. Id. " As long as there is some competent evidence, even though contradicted, to support each fact necessary to make out the [s]tate's case, the jury's verdict will be upheld." Miller v. State, 273 Ga. 831, 832 (546 S.E.2d 524) (2001) (citations and punctuation omitted).
Viewed in this light, the evidence showed that on June 22, 2010, sometime between 6:30 and 7:00 p.m., Gordon walked into Jessica's Stop and Go and asked store manager Robert Elliot for cigarettes. Elliot said he had none, at which point Gordon pulled out a gun and told Elliot to " give it up." Several other young men then entered the store, some masked, although Gordon was not.
Elliot was sitting on a chair behind the counter, his cashier Cynthia Riggins was on a stool near him, and his friend Michael Mosley was seated in a corner when the robbers entered the store. Gordon jumped over the counter, put a gun to Elliot's head, ordered him to lie down, and demanded to know where Elliot's own gun was. When Elliot told him he did not have it on him, Gordon rolled Elliot over and took his wallet, cell phone, and a wad of cash out of another pocket. He also took cigars, cigarettes, and other merchandise from the store.
Meanwhile, another robber also jumped the counter, put a gun to Riggins' head, and made her open the cash register. He took everything out of it, and then took Riggins' cell phone and cash. When a robber noticed Mosley in the corner, he put a gun to Mosley's head and took $125 from him. The robbers ran out of the store, shouting for no one to move.
All three witnesses independently identified Gordon as one of the robbers from police photo lineups, administered at separate times several days after the robbery. He was unmasked, the store was well-lit, and all three were able to see Gordon clearly. Mosley and Elliot had never seen him before, but Riggins recognized him, as she is Gordon's girlfriend's aunt, and had met him once previously. Additionally, Kwamesia Works, an acquaintance of Gordon who has known him for several years, testified that she saw him and ...