Competency. Douglas Superior Court. Before Judge McClain.
Mary Erickson, for appellant.
Brian K. Fortner, District Attorney, James A. Dooley, Assistant District Attorney, for appellee.
McMILLIAN, Judge. Phipps, C. J., and Ellington, P. J., concur.
Appellant Alaneua Duckett was arrested and charged with aggravated assault, making terroristic threats, simple battery, and criminal trespass following an incident at a hair salon. She represented herself at trial, and a jury found her not guilty of simple [331 Ga.App. 25] battery and guilty of the remaining charges. Duckett, who is now represented by counsel, appeals from the denial of her motion for new trial, arguing that the trial court erred by allowing her to represent herself without first determining if she was competent to do so and by failing to sua sponte investigate her competency during trial.
The evidence, construed to support the jury's verdict, shows that the incident giving rise to the charges against Duckett occurred on Duckett's first day at work as a stylist at a hair salon owned by Lynn Dozier. Duckett arrived at work on time, but the other salon
employee, Shaquera Joyner, was late arriving to open the salon, and Duckett became upset. Joyner called Dozier to tell her that Duckett was upset, and Dozier told Joyner that she was on her way and that Joyner should ignore Duckett until she arrived.
By the time Dozier arrived, customers had come into the salon, and both Duckett and Joyner were styling hair. Dozier came over to watch Duckett work and attempted to correct the technique Duckett was using to do a " weave." Duckett became upset, told Dozier she could look at the customer's hair after she finished, and took Dozier's hand and moved it out of the way.
The altercation between the women escalated, and at some point Duckett grabbed a pair of scissors and held them in a threatening manner. Duckett threw items around the shop, picked up a hot iron, or " stove," and began slinging it around, hitting the wall and a mirror, which broke. Duckett verbally threatened Dozier, telling her that she was going to " whip [her] ass" and words to similar effect.
Joyner called 911, and Officer Timothy Roessel responded to the call. Officer Roessel testified that when he arrived, several women were yelling at each other, and that he could not immediately discern which of the women was the " suspect." He said that several of the ...