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Murder. Seminole Superior Court. Before Judge Bishop.
The Smith Group, Gregory D. Smith, for appellant.
T. Craig Earnest, District Attorney, Samuel S. Olens, Attorney General, Patricia B. Attaway Burton, Deputy Attorney General, Paula K. Smith, Senior Assistant Attorney General, Jason M. Rea, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.
HUNSTEIN, Justice. All the Justices concur.
Appellant Steve McDonald was convicted of malice murder and other offenses in connection with the July 13, 2001 homicide of Kim Condry. Appellant now appeals, contending that his trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance and challenging the sufficiency of the evidence, the composition of the jury pool, and the trial court's refusal to allow him to represent himself at trial. Though we find no error in the verdicts, we do find error with respect to the trial court's merger of offenses, and we therefore must vacate and remand to the trial court for proper merger and resentencing.
Viewed in the light most favorable to the jury's verdicts, the evidence adduced at trial established as follows. In July 2001, Appellant and co-indictee Carol Sue Gibson devised a plan to rob a drug dealer. On the day of the crimes, the pair purchased handcuffs and duct tape from a K-Mart in Bainbridge, then drove to Dothan, Alabama, where they checked into an American Inn motel under a false name. Appellant drove Gibson to a local gambling house known as the Tree, where Gibson met the victim, Kim Condry, and asked about buying some marijuana. Condry took Gibson to his house, where he propositioned her for sex; she told him she wanted to go to a motel, and the pair proceeded to the American Inn. Once back in the motel room, Gibson summoned Appellant, who entered with a gun and ordered the victim to take off his clothes and get on the ground. Condry complied, and Gibson handcuffed him.
Gibson took the victim's car, drove back to the victim's home, and ransacked it in search of drugs and money. She took approximately $200 worth of crack cocaine and then returned to the motel. When she entered the room, Condry was bound and gagged. On Appellant's [296 Ga. 644] orders, Gibson went to a convenience store in close proximity to the Tree to ascertain whether anyone was looking for Condry, and two people approached her to ask of his whereabouts. Gibson used Condry's phone to call Appellant to inform him of these inquiries.
When Gibson returned to the motel, she and Appellant discussed the fact that various individuals at the Tree knew her or would recognize her as having been with the ...