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Walker v. State

Court of Appeals of Georgia

October 28, 2014

WALKER
v.
THE STATE

Page 600

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 601

Armed robbery, etc. Lowndes Superior Court. Before Judge Horkan.

Jon W. McClure, for appellant.

J. David Miller, District Attorney, Bradfield M. Shealy, Jessica W. Clark, Assistant District Attorneys, for appellee.

DOYLE, Presiding Judge. Miller and Dillard, JJ., concur.

OPINION

Page 602

Doyle, Presiding Judge.

Following a jury trial, Furman Walker appeals from his conviction of armed robbery[1] and possession of a firearm during the [329 Ga.App. 370] commission of a felony.[2] He contends that the trial court erred because (1) the evidence was insufficient to support the guilty verdict, (2) the indictment failed to allege an essential element of the crime and was therefore void, and (3) he received ineffective assistance of counsel. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.

On appeal from a criminal conviction, we view the evidence in the light most favorable to the verdict and an appellant no longer enjoys the presumption of innocence. This Court determines whether the evidence is sufficient under the standard of Jackson v. Virginia,[[3]] and does not weigh the evidence or determine witness credibility. Any conflicts or inconsistencies in the evidence are for the jury to resolve. As long as there is some competent evidence, even though contradicted, to support each fact necessary to make out the State's case, we must uphold the jury's verdict.[4]

So viewed, the evidence shows that during an overnight shift at a Sonic fast-food restaurant, a man in a ski mask appeared at the door and entered the restaurant, demanding money and threatening to shoot someone. At the robber's insistence, an employee opened a cash register and put money into a plastic Sonic salad bag. The robber then ordered an employee to open the safe, but the employee explained that he did not know how, so the robber fled in a dark colored sedan with a vinyl top that was parked next door to the restaurant.

Employees called 911 and described the robber and the vehicle to the police operator. A police officer who was responding to another call happened to be a block away from the Sonic. The officer immediately spotted a dark sedan driving at an excessive rate of speed with no lights, and the officer requested a description of the robber's vehicle. The vehicle matched the description given to him by dispatch, so the officer pursued it at a high rate of speed for some time. Ultimately, the officer lost sight of the vehicle, but soon spotted it again parked at a nearby residence. As the officer got out of his vehicle to approach the residence, Walker appeared at the door of the residence, sweating and breathing heavily. As the officer walked past the sedan, he saw in the front floorboard a black ski mask. The officer explained that he was investigating an armed robbery, and Walker denied any knowledge of the robbery. In light of the ski mask, the matching vehicle, and [329 Ga.App. 371] Walker's sudden appearance at the door, the officer, along with other arriving backup, briefly detained Walker for further investigation. A Sonic salad bag was also found in Walker's vehicle.

Shortly thereafter, witnesses from the Sonic were asked to identify Walker, and although one later said that he was 90 percent sure Walker was the robber, none of the witnesses could positively identify him at that time because the robber was wearing a mask.[5]

Police later asked Walker to make a recording of his voice, and based on this recording, two Sonic witnesses were able to positively identify Walker's voice as that of the robber. The witnesses recognized the voice as " just like" and " exactly" like the robber's. Both witnesses described a peculiarity about the robber's speech -- that he

Page 603

spoke with a thick-tongued lisp -- which was also present in the recording. Based on the police investigation, Walker was charged with armed robbery and possession of a firearm during the commission of a ...


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