Murder. Muscogee Superior Court. Before Judge Jordan.
William J. Mason, Worthington & Flournoy, Thomas M. Flournoy, Jr., for appellants.
Julia F. Slater, District Attorney, Robert B. Bickerstaff II, Wesley A. Lambertus, Assistant District Attorneys, Samuel S. Olens, Attorney General, Patricia B. Attaway Burton, Deputy Attorney General, Paula K. Smith, Senior Assistant Attorney General, Andrew G. Sims, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.
Appellants Robert Walker and Tasha Flowers were tried together and convicted of felony murder and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony following a drive-by shooting into a bar in Columbus, Georgia. On appeal, Walker contends only that the trial court erred in failing to give the complete pattern instruction on circumstantial evidence. Flowers contends that the trial court erred in failing to grant her motion for new trial because the jury's verdict was against the weight of evidence; in overruling her motion to exclude identification testimony; in failing to give a proper curative instruction regarding a detective's testimony; and in failing to grant her motion for mistrial because a witness violated the court's pretrial ruling limiting his testimony. We affirm the convictions of both Appellants.
[295 Ga. 689] 1. (a) Viewed in the light most favorable to the verdict, the evidence presented at trial showed the following. On the night of October 4, 2002, the victim, Robert Stephens, walked to the Interlude Bar from his house down the street. While he was at the bar, a man came inside and said that someone was trying to break into cars in the parking lot. A patron then brought a bicycle inside the bar so it would not be stolen. The bicycle belonged to Carlos Flowers. When Carlos came into the bar to retrieve his bike, he was confronted by patrons about the attempted break-ins. He went back outside, but was followed by patrons and beaten up in the parking lot. Stephens, who lived next door to Carlos, broke up the fight and helped Carlos get away. Carlos ran down the street to his house.
Carlos's cousin, Robert Walker, and his sister, Latasha Flowers, were at the house. Shortly after Carlos came home, a neighbor, Nicolas Perry, saw two people get into a car parked by the house and drive down the street to the bar. The car stopped in front of the bar, and a patron heard a female voice yell that everyone inside the bar was going to die. The car then turned around, and as it passed the bar again, at least six shots were fired with a 9mm pistol out of the passenger window toward the open doorway of the bar. Stephens, who was sitting on a barstool, was struck under the eye by one of the bullets; he died on the way to the hospital. Perry then saw the car return to the Flowers house, saw Walker and Flowers standing by the car once it parked, and then heard Walker say something about family business.
Another witness from the neighborhood, Hanalei Kaililaau, had also seen the car drive out of the cul de sac where the Flowers house was located; Kaililaau then heard gunshots and saw the car stopped in front of the bar with smoke coming out of the passenger side. When the car returned to the Flowers house moments later, Kaililaau saw Flowers and Walker get out, with Walker holding a gun and saying " we took care of the family, we took care of business." After Walker was arrested, he bragged to another inmate, Charles Edge, while they were in a holding cell together at the Sheriff's Office, that he had killed a man during a drive-by shooting in revenge for a fight.
[295 Ga. 690] (b) Although only Flowers disputes the sufficiency of the evidence supporting her convictions, we address the issue as to both Appellants, in accordance with this Court's practice in murder cases. After reviewing the record, we conclude that, when viewed in the light most favorable to the verdict, the evidence presented at trial and summarized above was sufficient to authorize a rational jury to find both Walker and Flowers guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of the crimes for which they were convicted. See Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307, 319 (99 S.Ct. 2781, 61 L.Ed.2d 560) (1979). See also OCGA § 16-2-21 (defining parties to a crime).
Flowers argues that the family members and friends who testified on her behalf that she was at a friend's house at the time of the shooting were more believable than ...