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Williams v. State

Court of Appeals of Georgia

February 5, 2015


Aggravated assault, etc. Clayton Superior Court. Before Judge Carter.

Jevarik Rogers, for appellant.

Tracy Graham-Lawson, District Attorney, Elizabeth A. Baker, Assistant District Attorney, for appellee.


Miller, Judge.

Following a jury trial, Clinton Delray Williams was convicted of aggravated assault (OCGA § 16-5-21 (b)), possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime (OCGA § 16-11-106 (b)), and aggravated battery (OCGA § 16-5-24 (a)).[1] He appeals from the denial of his motion for new trial, contending that the trial court erred by [330 Ga.App. 607] overruling his objection to particular testimony and that he received ineffective assistance of counsel. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.

On appeal from a criminal conviction, a defendant no longer enjoys the presumption of innocence, and the evidence is viewed in the light most favorable to the guilty verdict. ... [W]e neither weigh the evidence nor assess the credibility of witnesses, but merely ascertain that the evidence

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is sufficient to prove each element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Moreover, conflicts in the testimony of the witnesses are a matter of credibility for the jury to resolve. As long as there is some competent evidence, even though contradicted, to support each fact necessary to make out the [S]tate's case, the jury's verdict will be upheld.

(Punctuation and footnotes omitted.) Goss v. State, 305 Ga.App. 497, 497-498 (1) (699 S.E.2d 819) (2010).

So viewed, the evidence shows that, at about 1:00 a.m. on the day in question, the victim walked from his apartment in Clayton County to a nearby gas station to buy cigarettes. After making his purchase, the victim approached Williams's car, a red Corvette parked near the gas pumps. The victim asked Williams for a light. Williams did not like the way the victim was looking at his car, so he rolled down his window and told the victim to " get the 'F' away from [Williams's] car." The victim backed away from Williams's car, toward the front of the store, and borrowed a lighter from someone else. Williams drove up to the front of the store, where he and the victim engaged in a heated argument. While the men were arguing, Williams walked back to his car, retrieved a gun, and started shooting at the victim. The victim began running as soon as he heard the first gunshot, but was shot in his legs and buttocks. He ran to the apartment complex behind the gas station, knocked on the first door he saw, and asked the woman who answered the door to call 911.

Clayton County Police Department officers responded to a call that there was an armed person at the gas station, and when they arrived, Williams was standing beside a red Corvette and holding a gun. At the officers' direction, Williams put down his gun, and the officers detained him. The officers then received a second call from the apartment complex behind the gas station, indicating that a person had been shot. Police officers, as well as EMTs, responded to the apartment complex. The victim gave the officers a quick statement, reporting that he had been shot at the gas station by a black [330 Ga.App. 608] man who was driving a red Corvette. Then, an ambulance took the victim to the hospital, where he was treated for gunshot wounds.

Following his arrest, Williams waived his right to remain silent and agreed to be interviewed by police officers. During his interview, Williams admitted that he shot the victim because he was not comfortable with the way the victim had been looking at his car and he wanted to protect his property.

1. Williams contends that the trial court erred by overruling his objection to a certain portion of the arresting officer's testimony, regarding whether the officer had visited the victim at the hospital. In the relevant exchange, the arresting officer testified that, although he went to the hospital to check on the victim, he did not speak to the victim at that time. This testimony appeared to be inconsistent with the victim's testimony that a police officer interviewed him at the hospital.[2] The State asked the officer if he believed the victim would be " mistaken" to the extent he reported an in-hospital conversation with the police. Defense counsel objected to this testimony as speculative. The court overruled the defense's objection. The arresting officer then testified that the victim would be mistaken on this point, and reiterated his testimony that the only time he spoke to the victim was in the apartment complex breezeway.

On appeal, Williams argues that the trial court erred by allowing the arresting officer to testify that the victim was mistaken about speaking to the officer at the hospital. Williams contends, first, that this testimony was impermissible bolstering because the officer was sharing his belief that the victim's misstatements were innocent mistakes rather than calculated lies. Before the trial court, however, Williams did not object to the testimony on this ground. He has therefore waived this argument. See Arnold v. State, 301 Ga.App. 714, 716 (2) (688 S.E.2d 656) (2009) (where defendant objected to officer's ...

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