Reconsideration denied December 8, 2014.
Rape, etc. Fulton Superior Court. Before Judge Markle.
Michael W. Tarleton, James C. Bonner, Jr., for appellant.
Paul L. Howard, Jr., District Attorney, Lori L. Canfield, Assistant District Attorney, for appellee.
BARNES, Presiding Judge. Boggs and Branch, JJ., concur.
Barnes, Presiding Judge.
Following a jury trial in 2006, Marvin Harris was convicted of one count each of rape and kidnapping. He filed a motion for new trial, which was denied by the trial court. On appeal, Harris argues that the trial court applied the wrong standard and refused to exercise its discretion when concluding that the defense opened the door to character evidence and, consequently, erred by admitting evidence of Harris's prior convictions. He further argues that the trial court erred by admitting certain testimony from the State's expert that he alleges [330 Ga.App. 268] was nonresponsive and improperly bolstered the victim's testimony. We find no error and affirm.
On appeal from a criminal conviction, we construe the evidence in the light most favorable to the verdict, and the defendant no longer enjoys the presumption of innocence. See Knight v. State, 251 Ga.App. 145 (553 S.E.2d 670) (2001). We neither weigh the evidence nor assess witness credibility, both of which lie exclusively within the province of the jury. See Bell v. State, 311 Ga.App. 289 (715 S.E.2d 684) (2011).
So viewed, the evidence adduced at trial showed that in April 1995, Harris and his cousin had driven from Birmingham to Atlanta in order to attend " Freaknik," an annual African-American college weekend event. The 19-year-old victim had also attended the event and, after exiting the MARTA train to return home, discovered that the last bus had departed the station. She was preparing to walk home when she encountered Harris, who was the passenger in his cousin's vehicle.
Harris exited the vehicle and approached the victim in a flirtatious manner before grabbing her arm and pulling her into the car. Once inside, Harris repeatedly told her that there was a gun in the glove compartment. Harris then had sexual intercourse with the victim in the front seat of the vehicle while his cousin drove. The men then switched positions and Harris's cousin also had sexual intercourse with her. Throughout the ordeal, the victim was crying and pleading to go home.
When the assaults were over and the vehicle was stopped at a traffic light, the victim ran out of the car to the vehicle immediately behind it and begged the driver, " Let me in. Let me in. [I've] just been raped." The driver, who happened to be a former schoolmate of the victim, observed that she was crying hysterically, her clothes were disheveled, and she appeared to be " running for her life." Expressing shame and fear that the perpetrators would discover where she lived, the victim asked that she not be taken home. The driver therefore drove the victim around for several hours before taking her to his own house and allowing her to rest.
The following morning, the driver took the victim home and she relayed to her mother that she had been raped by two men. Her mother immediately called the police, and the victim was taken to the hospital, where a rape kit was performed and cervical swabs were taken in order to preserve any biological evidence. A DNA profile was subsequently created from those cervical ...