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Grissom v. State

Supreme Court of Georgia

January 20, 2015

GRISSOM
v.
THE STATE

Page 495

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 496

Murder. Fulton Superior Court. Before Judge Baxter.

Thomas S. Robinson III, for appellant.

Paul L. Howard, Jr., District Attorney, Paige Reese Whitaker, Arthur C. Walton, Assistant District Attorneys, Samuel S. Olens, Attorney General, Patricia B. Attaway Burton, Deputy Attorney General, Paula K. Smith, Senior Assistant Attorney General, Clint C. Malcolm, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

BENHAM, Justice. All the Justices concur. NAHMIAS, Justice, concurring.

OPINION

Page 497

Benham, Justice.

Michael Grissom appeals his convictions for felony murder and other offenses relating to the death of Ron Strozier. The relevant events arose out of a feud between Grissom's friend and co-defendant Markell Dorsey, and Dorsey's associates, on the one side, and an individual known only as " D-Bone," and D-Bone's associates, on the other.[1] For the reasons set forth herein, we affirm the convictions but [296 Ga. 407] vacate the sentences imposed with respect to the convictions on two of the counts and remand for resentencing on those convictions.

Viewed in the light most favorable to the verdict, the evidence shows the feud commenced with a physical altercation on July 31, 2005, between Dorsey and D-Bone over comments D-Bone made about a man referred

Page 498

to as " Tay-Tay." Evidence was presented that Tay-Tay's real name was Dontavious Pettway. In the initial altercation, Dorsey was roundly beaten and, in order to exact revenge, Dorsey and co-defendant Rico Sims traveled from the Chastain West apartment complex where they were staying to an apartment complex located next door, known as Buckingham Court, where D-Bone lived. Dorsey challenged D-Bone and his associates to another fight. Sims was wearing a bullet-proof vest and wielding an assault rifle. During this exchange, D-Bone and others, including Ron Strozier, disarmed Sims and took his weapon and vest. Later that day, D-Bone was overheard talking on the phone to someone who told D-Bone " y'all better tool up."

The following day, August 1, Grissom, Dorsey, and Sims were at the Chastain West home of a friend where Grissom told William Edwards he planned on shooting up D-Bone's car. A wooded vacant parcel of land separated the Chastain West complex from the Buckingham Court complex, and testimony established that trails ran through the woods and that the woods were known to be a place where drugs were sold and used. Later that evening, Grissom was seen leaving the woods moments after a loud shot rang out that sounded like a shotgun blast. In statements to police, Grissom and several of his co-defendants admitted they were in the woods around the time of the shotgun blast, but denied they were involved. Strozier's body was located in the woods the morning of August 2. An autopsy determined he had died from wounds to his neck and torso caused by buckshot from a shotgun blast, and the testimony established that the window of time for Strozier's death encompassed the time at which the shot was heard. A shotgun was recovered during the investigation of these events, and Grissom admitted to police that he had been in possession of the shotgun and stated he obtained it from his cousin Dontavious ...


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