Murder. Walker Superior Court. Before Judge Wood.
David J. Dunn, Jr., for appellant.
Leigh E. Patterson, District Attorney, Natalee L. Staats, Assistant District Attorney, Samuel S. Olens, Attorney General, Patricia B. Attaway Burton, Deputy Attorney General, Paula K. Smith, Senior Assistant Attorney General, Jason M. Rea, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.
THOMPSON, Chief Justice. All the Justices concur.
Thompson, Chief Justice.
A jury convicted appellant, Samuel L. Parker, of malice murder and other crimes in connection with the disappearance of his estranged wife, Theresa Parker. His motion for new trial was denied, and he appeals, asserting that the trial court erred (1) in denying his motion to suppress evidence obtained during a warrantless search of his property; (2) by permitting the State to present similar transaction evidence; and, (3) by giving the jury an Allen charge on the fourth day of deliberations. Finding no error, we affirm.
1. Viewed in the light most favorable to the jury's verdict, the evidence showed that appellant was a police officer for the City of LaFayette, Georgia, who had a history of abusing the victim both verbally and physically and of exhibiting violent behavior and making threats against others. In March 2007, the victim, a 911 operator who was in the process of divorcing appellant, disappeared in the course of moving some of her belongings from the marital home to a new apartment. At approximately 10:30 p.m. on the evening of March 21, 2007, while at her new apartment, the victim called Rhonda Knox, a close friend and co-worker. During their conversation, the victim told Knox that she planned to drive back to the marital home for the night but was waiting until after she believed appellant would be asleep in order to avoid a confrontation with him. Previously, the victim had told Knox she was afraid of appellant.
[296 Ga. 200] Around 6:00 a.m. the next morning, Knox received a phone call from the victim's cell phone. The call ended seconds later without any communication and Knox's subsequent attempts to reach the victim, by calling both the victim's cell phone and home phone numbers, failed. Concerned, Knox asked a friend at the Walker County Sheriff's Department, Deputy Shane Green, to ride by the marital residence to check on the victim. Shortly thereafter, Deputy Green and Deputy Corey Griffin arrived at the marital residence and knocked on the front door. Receiving no response, the deputies used flashlights to make their way around the side of the house to a detached garage. Appellant's gray truck was parked outside next to the garage and, although the garage doors were closed and locked, Deputy Green peered through a crack between the doors and, using his flashlight, was able to see appellant's patrol car
parked on the left side. The deputy was also able to ascertain that the victim's vehicle was not inside the garage at that time.
Earlier on the morning of March 22, at approximately 2:00 a.m., appellant went to the home of an acquaintance, Christy Bellflower. While there, appellant used Ms. Bellflower's cell phone to call Ben Chaffin, a fellow police officer. During their phone conversation, appellant told Chaffin that he had " shot Theresa through the head" and that he had a place where they would never find her. He also threatened to kill Chaffin if ...