Murder. DeKalb Superior Court. Before Judge Flake.
Ghanayem & Rayasham, Musa M. Ghanayem, Mark J. Issa, Jonathon J. Majeske, for appellant (case no. S14A1286).
Anthony S. Carter, for appellant (case no. S14A1287).
Robert D. James, Jr., District Attorney, Gary D. Bergman, Charles C. Olson, Charles A. Spahos, Joseph F. Burford, Samuel S. Olens, Attorney General, Patricia B. Attaway Burton, Deputy Attorney General, Paula K. Smith, Senior Assistant Attorney General, Matthew B. Crowder, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.
Appellants Mason Babbage and Samuel Hall were jointly tried and convicted of murder, armed robbery, and related crimes in connection with the October 2011 death of Breyon Alexander. Both men were sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole plus consecutive terms of years, and each now appeals his convictions and sentences. Finding no error in regard to either appellant, we affirm.
Viewed in the light most favorable to the jury's verdicts, the evidence adduced at trial established as follows. Around midday on October 18, 2011, Marvin Evans heard a loud noise from the back of his second floor DeKalb County apartment. From his balcony, Evans observed a white Chevrolet Malibu with its back side facing the apartment building. Evans saw two light-skinned black men, one beside the car and the other, whose hair was worn in dreadlocks, running toward the car. Proceeding downstairs to investigate, Evans passed a bald, light-skinned black man coming up the stairs. At trial, Evans identified Hall as the man he passed on the stairs.
In the downstairs apartment, Evans discovered the victim hogtied and bleeding, with several teeth knocked out of his mouth. The apartment had been ransacked. Evans called 911. Though conscious when Evans discovered him, the victim died from his injuries soon thereafter. His injuries included both blunt and sharp force injuries, consistent with having been stabbed and beaten with the butt of a gun. A knife was found in the apartment's patio area.
There were no signs of forced entry into the apartment, from which numerous items of electronic equipment, firearms, and a large [296 Ga. 365] sum of cash had been taken. Among the stolen items were a 50-inch flat screen television, a 42-inch television, a 12-gauge shotgun, two laptop computers, two Playstation gaming systems, an Xbox gaming system, a .40 caliber Smith and Wesson handgun, two .380 caliber handguns, and three other guns. The victim's roommate testified that the victim sold drugs from their apartment and for this reason was always careful about whom he allowed inside.
As of the time of the crimes, Babbage had known the victim for six to seven years. Babbage had stayed in the victim's apartment the week prior to the crimes, had been in the apartment many times, and knew that there were guns, money, and marijuana there. Babbage had sold a 50-inch TV to the victim a few weeks prior, and there was testimony that Babbage had recently demanded the victim sell it back, a demand the victim had refused. A search of Babbage's home uncovered a pair of black pants, identified as belonging to Babbage, bearing blood stains matched to the victim and DNA matched to Babbage. Babbage's wife owned a white Chevrolet Malibu, and there was evidence that Babbage had driven that vehicle on the morning of the crimes. A search of the Malibu uncovered fingerprints on the exterior of the front passenger side door belonging to Hall, a friend of Babbage.
Hall's girlfriend, Erin Tew, testified that, on the day before the crimes, she had overheard a telephone conversation on speaker phone between Hall and Babbage, in which they discussed " hitting a lick" on a man who had molested Babbage's niece and who had guns and drugs. The State established that, at the ...