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Bighams v. State

Supreme Court of Georgia

November 17, 2014

BIGHAMS
v.
THE STATE. CREAR
v.
THE STATE

Page 918

Murder. Clinch Superior Court. Before Judge McWhorter, Senior Judge.

L. Michael Johnson, for appellants.

Richard L. Perryman III, District Attorney, Catherine H. Helms, Sandra K. Guest, Assistant District Attorneys, Samuel S. Olens, Attorney General, Patricia B. Attaway Burton, Deputy Attorney General, Paula K. Smith, Senior Assistant Attorney General, Rochelle W. Gordon, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

NAHMIAS, Justice. All the Justices concur.

OPINION

Page 919

Nahmias, Justice.

Ervin Bighams and Jordan Crear appeal their convictions for felony murder, two counts of aggravated assault, and possession of a firearm arising from a shooting that killed Travis Tyson, injured Tony Reeves, and threatened Larry Reeves. We affirm in both cases.[1]

1. (a) Viewed in the light most favorable to the jury's verdicts, the evidence presented at trial showed the following. On the night of July 2, 2004, Crear drove his Toyota Avalanche truck from his home in Kingsland, Georgia, to Homerville, where he picked up his brother-in-law Bighams and Von Cleary, Bighams's friend. The three men drove to a party nearby, but only Cleary went inside the building where the party was taking place. Bighams and Crear stood outside and spoke with Dwight Riley and Torrence Edmonds. While they were talking, Cleary was involved in a fight inside the building and was rushed to the hospital.

Shortly thereafter, Bighams, Crear, Riley, and Edmonds were talking to people outside the building when a Buick sedan driven by Travis Tyson drove down the road in front of them. Believing that Tyson and his gang had attacked Cleary, Riley stopped the Buick, [296 Ga. 268] exchanged words with Tyson, and punched him before the car drove off. Bighams, Crear, Riley, and Edmonds then drove in Crear's Avalanche to the hospital where Cleary was being treated.

After visiting Cleary, the four men got back in the truck and continued to drink alcohol and drive around the area, with Crear driving and Riley sitting behind him, and Bighams in the front passenger seat with Edmonds sitting behind him. As they drove around, the men came across the Buick driven by Tyson. Bighams, Crear, and Riley jumped out of the Avalanche and tried to confront the men in the Buick, but the car drove away. Bighams, Crear, and Riley returned to their seats in the truck, and Riley and Edmonds fell asleep in the back seat.

A short while later, the Avalanche came across the Buick once again and began following the car. When the Buick stopped at a stop sign, Crear drove the Avalanche up to the left side of the car, and three shots were fired into the Buick. Two shots hit and killed the driver, Travis Tyson. One shot grazed Tony Reeves, who was sitting in the front passenger seat. Larry Reeves, who was in the back seat, was not hit. The Avalanche fled the scene; the police located it and arrested Bighams and Crear a few hours after the shooting. Riley and Edmonds were arrested separately.

At Appellants' trial, two witnesses who were in a car behind the Avalanche when the shooting took place testified that they saw the Avalanche drive up to the left of the Buick and heard shots fired from the passenger side of the truck, although neither witness could say whether the shots came from the front or rear passenger-side window. ...


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