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Moore v. State

Supreme Court of Georgia

September 22, 2014

MOORE
v.
THE STATE

Murder. Clayton Superior Court. Before Judge Carter.

Agis R. Bray III, for appellant.

Tracy Graham-Lawson, District Attorney, Elizabeth A. Baker, Frances C. Kuo, Assistant District Attorneys, Samuel S. Olens, Attorney General, Patricia B. Attaway Burton, Deputy Attorney General, Paula K. Smith, Senior Assistant Attorney General, Vicki S. Bass, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

OPINION

Page 671

Hunstein, Justice.

Appellant Patrick Ramon Moore was convicted by a jury of murder and related offenses for the January 3, 2011 shootings of Erica Peterson, Fabian Ellis, and Jervod Jarvis, and shooting death of Tracy Burton. Appellant appeals the denial of his amended motion for new trial, contending that the evidence was insufficient for a jury to find him guilty, and also asserting that the trial court erred by (1) excluding evidence of a victim's possession of drugs, (2) admitting evidence concerning Appellant's Facebook page, and (3) refusing to give a voluntary manslaughter jury charge. Finding no error, we affirm.[1]

Page 672

[295 Ga. 710] Viewed in the light most favorable to the jury's verdict, the evidence adduced at trial established as follows. On January 3, 2011, Appellant and his girlfriend, Toni Hale, returned to their apartment to find the door open and that they had been burglarized. Hale and Appellant suspected that Erica Peterson, Fabian Ellis, Jervod Jarvis, and Tracy Burton had burglarized their apartment.

Later that evening, Peterson, Burton, Jarvis, and Ellis approached Appellant, who was standing in a darkened area of the apartment complex. Jarvis attempted to speak with Appellant about the theft. Appellant pulled an AK-47 from under his jacket and began firing. All of the victims were unarmed and ran. Appellant shot Burton twice from behind, and he died instantly from a gunshot wound to the back of his head. Appellant struck Jarvis in the back, with a bullet exiting his chest and exposing his right lung. Jarvis initially fell down but then was able to get up and keep running. A bullet hit Peterson's phone, which was in her pocket. Appellant shot Ellis in the hand, and he collapsed and pretended to be dead. Appellant continued to fire the gun as he pursued Jarvis and Peterson around the corner of an apartment building in the complex. Appellant then fled into one of the apartment buildings. Meanwhile, Ellis got up, ran to Peterson and Jarvis, and called 911.

Appellant left the AK-47 at Jessica Pettis' apartment and fled the apartment complex. Appellant later called Pettis and told her to put the gun away and that " he tried to shoot them all in their head. But the girl had ran [sic]." Pettis hid the AK-47 in a closet. Later that evening, at the direction of police, Pettis called Appellant, placed the call on speaker phone, and Appellant again told Pettis to put the gun away. Pettis then disclosed to police where she had hidden the AK-47. After police left, Pettis called Appellant and told him that they had found the gun, to which Appellant responded, " F***, they got me then."

[295 Ga. 711] Peterson, Jarvis, and Ellis, as well as a maintenance worker for the apartment complex, identified Appellant as the shooter in a photographic lineup and also at trial. The maintenance worker also testified that he saw Appellant raise his weapon and start firing at the four victims and that Appellant was the only person with a gun.

At trial, a detective testified that the path of the bullet wound that killed Burton was consistent with him running away from the bullet. The investigator testified further that the first cluster of shell casings recovered at the scene was consistent with someone standing in one place and firing in the direction of where Burton's body was found, and the second cluster of shell casings was consistent with someone advancing while continuing to fire. A firearms examiner testified at trial that the shell casings found at the scene had been fired from the AK-47 found at Pettis' apartment. The owner of the AK-47 identified the serial number on the AK-47 found in Pettis' apartment as the same one that had been stolen from his home in December 2010.

Additionally at trial, a copy of Appellant's Facebook page was admitted into evidence over Appellant's objection. Hale read several of ...


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