Cert. applied for.
Voluntary manslaughter. Fulton Superior Court. Before Judge Lee.
Charles H. Frier, for appellant.
Paul L. Howard, Jr., District Attorney, David K. Getachew-Smith, Assistant District Attorney, for appellee.
BARNES, Presiding Judge. Boggs and Branch, JJ., concur.
Barnes, Presiding Judge.
In November 2003, a Fulton County jury convicted Chenard Carter of possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime and multiple counts of voluntary manslaughter and aggravated assault. The trial court sentenced him to serve a total of 25 years. After a lengthy delay, this appeal followed, in which Carter argues that the trial court erred in sentencing him for voluntary manslaughter on a repugnant verdict because the
jury returned both not guilty and guilty verdicts on voluntary manslaughter. He also contends that his trial counsel was ineffective for failing to object to the repugnant verdict and improper sentence. Because the verdict is not legally repugnant and Carter's trial counsel was not ineffective, we affirm the judgment of conviction and sentence.
1. After the jury rendered its verdict in November 2003, newly-appointed counsel filed a timely motion for new trial. He amended it in October 2004, and the trial court denied the motion in December 2004. In September 2007, the State moved the trial court to appoint an appellate attorney for Carter, which the court did in February 2011. After the trial court granted Carter's motion for an out-of-time [331 Ga.App. 213] appeal in October 2013, Carter filed another amended motion for new trial, which the court denied in February 2014, and he subsequently filed this appeal.
The delay of more than 11 years between the verdict and this court's review
put[s] at risk the rights of defendants and crime victims and the validity of convictions obtained after a full trial. We therefore reiterate that it is the duty of all those involved in the criminal justice system, including trial courts and prosecutors as well as defense counsel and defendants, to ensure that the appropriate post-conviction motions are filed, litigated, and decided without unnecessary delay.
Shank v. State, 290 Ga. 844, 849 (5) (c) (725 S.E.2d 246) (2012). The failure to discharge that duty in this case does not affect the outcome of this appeal, however, because Carter has enumerated no error associated with this delay. Morgan v. State, 290 Ga. 788, 789, n. 2 (725 S.E.2d 255) (2012).
2. Viewed in the light most favorable to the verdict, Francis v. State, 296 Ga. 190, 191 (766 S.E.2d 52) (2014), the evidence at trial revealed that the victim was lying down in her bedroom when a bullet from a " very high velocity military[-]type weapon, [an] assault rifle" such as an AK-47, pierced the outer wall of her apartment, continued through her bedroom wall, and penetrated her abdomen. She died 30 days later as a result of the gunshot wound. In a complicated fourteen-count indictment, the State charged Carter and two other men with malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, and firearms offenses, contending that the men were shooting at each other outside of the victim's apartment when a bullet from one of their weapons struck the victim and caused her death.
Carter was charged with one count of malice murder for shooting the victim and three counts of felony murder for causing the death of the victim while committing the underlying felony of aggravated assault on the victim, aggravated assault on his co-defendant Smith, and aggravated assault on his co-defendant Nesmith. He was similarly charged with three counts of aggravated assault against the ...