Murder. Clayton Superior Court. Before Judge Benefield.
Stanley W. Schoolcraft III, for appellant.
Tracy Graham-Lawson, District Attorney, Elizabeth A. Baker, Kathryn L. Powers, Assistant District Attorneys, Samuel S. Olens, Attorney General, Patricia B. Attaway Burton, Deputy Attorney General, Paula K. Smith, Senior Assistant Attorney General, Vicki S. Bass, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.
THOMPSON, Chief Justice. All the Justices concur.
Thompson, Chief Justice.
Appellant Christopher Bradshaw and Michael Boykin were jointly indicted for malice murder and other crimes in connection with the shooting deaths of Devonta Stembridge and Dion Brice. The trial court severed the co-defendants' trials, and appellant was tried first, with Boykin testifying against him. Appellant was convicted on all [296 Ga. 651] counts of the indictment, except the count for tampering with evidence, on which the trial court directed a verdict. Appellant appeals, contending that the evidence is insufficient to support his convictions and that the trial court erred by admitting evidence of a prior murder committed by appellant.
1. Viewed in the light most favorable to the verdict, the evidence at trial showed that appellant and Boykin both moved from Dayton, Ohio, to Atlanta, where they met in May 2011 and became friends. On June 25, 2011, appellant told Boykin that he wanted to buy a pound of marijuana. Boykin, who at the time of appellant's trial had not made a deal with the State in exchange for his testimony, testified that he arranged for appellant to purchase marijuana from Stembridge. That night, Stembridge and Brice picked up Boykin at his apartment and drove to a nearby apartment complex, where they met appellant. Appellant got in Stembridge's car and sat behind Stembridge, who was in the driver's seat. Brice was in the front passenger seat, and Boykin was sitting behind him.
Before the marijuana sale occurred, Boykin's phone rang, and he stepped out of the car, which had both passenger side windows open. Boykin finished his conversation and, while outside the car, began speaking with the others in the car. He saw Stembridge hand the marijuana to appellant, who said it " didn't feel right," " like it ain't heavy enough." Appellant cut into the marijuana and " hay starting popping out." Appellant then pulled out a chrome semi-automatic handgun and shot Stembridge in the back of the head. Boykin fled and then heard more shots. Boykin turned around and saw appellant running behind him. Appellant took off his cap and white t-shirt (under which he was wearing a white tank top) and threw them to the side. They both ran to Boykin's mother's apartment, which was nearby. Boykin's mother testified that when Boykin and appellant [296 Ga. 652] came into the apartment that night, both were sweaty and that appellant was wearing a white tank top and no cap, whereas when
she had seen him earlier in the day, he was wearing a white t-shirt and cap. Boykin and appellant went immediately to Boykin's room. According to Boykin, appellant threatened to kill him if he told anyone what he had seen and also said that he knew where Boykin's mother lived. Appellant showered, and he and Boykin then went to appellant's apartment.
Stembridge was shot once in the back of the head, and Brice was shot once in the head and once in the back. Both died from their injuries. Several 9mm shell casings were found in and around the car, and the placement of those casings was consistent with a person shooting from the back seat. Forensic evidence showed that the casings, as well as two bullets recovered from the victims' bodies, were fired from a handgun recovered from appellant's apartment. The police found a cigar in the back seat of the car and a white t-shirt and cap, both with blood on them, near the car. Both the cigar and the cap had appellant's DNA on them, and the blood recovered from the cap and shirt matched Stembridge's DNA.
The State offered evidence of a prior similar crime, which occurred about six months before the present crimes and which the trial court admitted for the limited purpose of proving identity, intent, and motive. Boykin and appellant both have family in Ohio, and Boykin testified that, in early June 2011, he asked appellant to go to Ohio with him. Appellant, however, said that he could not go to Ohio because he was wanted for a murder there. Appellant told Boykin that he had shot Jeffery Beans in the head and killed him because Beans would not pay for drugs that appellant's brother had given him. Appellant said the shooting occurred on Paul Lawrence Dunbar Street in Dayton, Ohio. A Dayton police ...