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Francis v. State

Supreme Court of Georgia

November 17, 2014

FRANCIS
v.
THE STATE

Page 53

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 54

Murder. Newton Superior Court. Before Judge Johnson.

Judgment affirmed.

Teresa L. Smith, for appellant.

Layla H. Zon, District Attorney, Melanie M. Bell, Assistant District Attorney, Samuel S. Olens, Attorney General, Patricia B. Attaway Burton, Deputy Attorney General, Paula K. Smith, Senior Assistant Attorney General, Katherine L. Iannuzzi, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

HUNSTEIN, Justice. All the Justices concur.

OPINION

Page 55

Hunstein, Justice.

Appellant Thomas Marlin Francis was convicted by a jury of murder and related offenses for the October 31, 2006 shooting death of his wife, Denise Michele Francis. Francis appeals the denial of his amended motion for new trial, contending that the evidence was insufficient for a jury to find him guilty; the trial court erred by denying his motion to suppress his custodial statement and refusing to give specific jury charges; and his trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance. Finding no error, we affirm.[1]

[296 Ga. 191] Viewed in the light most favorable to the jury's verdict, the evidence adduced at trial established as follows. By 2006, Francis had been married to his wife for approximately five years, and they had a tumultuous relationship. The night before the shooting, Francis and his wife had argued, and they slept in separate bedrooms. The next morning, Francis got dressed, heard his wife in the master bathroom, and carried a loaded gun to the master bathroom. When his wife saw the gun in his hand, she jumped up, overturned the stool on which she had been sitting, picked up a knife off of the bathroom counter, and backed away from Francis. Francis shot her two times from approximately three feet away. Francis walked to the living room, but then returned to the master bathroom, where he found his wife on the floor talking on the phone with 911. His wife told the 911 operator that her husband had shot her and was kicking her. Francis pushed the phone with his foot out from under her ear, put the phone up to his ear, heard nothing, and hung up. He ripped the phone cord out from the back of the phone. His wife moved, and Francis shot her again in the back of the head. A 911 operator returned the call to Francis' home, and Francis eventually answered, telling the operator that he had shot his wife and that she had a knife. When officers arrived at the scene, they found the victim, deceased and lying in the doorway of the master bathroom. They also found a gun with the clip removed lying on a sofa in the living room. Francis testified that he killed his wife because he was scared of her. He also told officers that he was " glad he shot her. Because she was mean and vindictive as hell and would not leave things alone."

The medical examiner testified that the victim sustained one gunshot wound to the mouth and one to the chest, neither of which ...


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