Reconsideration denied March 2, 2015.
Murder. Hall Superior Court. Before Judge Deal.
Yurachek & Associates, Mark A. Yurachek, for appellant.
Lee Darragh, District Attorney, Lindsay H. Burton, Wanda L. Vance, Assistant District Attorneys, Samuel S. Olens, Attorney General, Patricia B. Attaway Burton, Deputy Attorney General, Paula K. Smith, Senior Assistant Attorney General, Ryan A. Kolb, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.
Alston & Bird, Emily R. Chambers, Gerald R. Weber, Jr., amici curiae.
MELTON, Justice. All the Justices concur.
Following a jury trial, Lynitra Ross was found guilty of malice murder based on her role in a murder-for-hire plot that resulted in the shooting death of Richard Schoeck. On
appeal, Ross contends that the trial court erred by failing to suppress certain cell phone records evidence at trial and that her trial counsel was ineffective. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.
1. Viewed in the light most favorable to the jury's verdict, the record reveals the following facts. Ross worked as a medical assistant and billing coder at Georgia Spine and Neurosurgery Center, and her friend, Stacey Schoeck, worked there as the office administrator. In January 2010, Ross and Schoeck had lunch together, and Schoeck told Ross that she wanted to have her husband, Richard Schoeck, killed because she thought that he was molesting her sons. Ross informed Schoeck that her boyfriend, Reginald Coleman, could kill Mr. Schoeck because Coleman did such work " on the side" for extra money. Ross told Schoeck that she would talk to Coleman about killing Mr. Schoeck.
Schoeck followed up with Ross via text message on the weekend after their lunch conversation to see if Ross had spoken with Coleman. Ross indicated that she had, and she set up a time for her and Schoeck to meet with Coleman at his apartment the following week to discuss the details of their arrangement. Schoeck and Ross met with Coleman at his apartment on January 18, 2010, and they discussed their plans for the murder and the terms for payment. Ross suggested that the killing should take place in a secluded area near Schoeck's grandparents' home, and Schoeck said that Belton Bridge Park, which was such a location, would be a good place. For the [296 Ga. 637] killing, Schoeck agreed to pay Coleman $10,000 in cash, give him her grandparents' 2009 Chevrolet Impala, and give him a house that his girlfriend, Ross, had currently been renting from Schoeck. The parties agreed that the murder would take place on Valentine's Day and that Coleman would kill the victim in a manner that would make it appear to have been a robbery after Schoeck lured the victim to Belton Bridge Park. Because Coleman needed a gun to commit the murder, Schoeck took out $600 from a nearby ATM to pay Coleman's expenses for purchasing a gun.
After scoping out the proposed murder location with Ross and Coleman, Schoeck gave Coleman the Impala as partial payment, and she transferred $8,900 to Ross' bank account to cover part of the $10,000 for the murder. Schoeck transferred the remaining $1,100 balance to Ross' bank account the Friday before Valentine's Day, as Ross had previously ...