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Taylor v. State

Supreme Court of Georgia

March 27, 2015

TAYLOR
v.
THE STATE

Murder. Fulton Superior Court. Before Judge Adams.

James C. Bonner, Jr., Tyler R. Conklin, for appellant.

Paul L. Howard, Jr., District Attorney, Paige Reese Whitaker, Joshua D. Morrison, Assistant District Attorneys, Samuel S. Olens, Attorney General, Patricia B. Attaway Burton, Deputy Attorney General, Paula K. Smith, Senior Assistant Attorney General, Ryan A. Kolb, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

HINES, Presiding Justice. All the Justices concur.

OPINION

Page 806

Hines, Presiding Justice.

Travius Taylor appeals from his convictions and sentences for malice murder and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime, all in connection with the death of Kasey Cogburn. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.[1]

Construed to support the verdicts, the evidence showed that Cogburn and Desmick Shivers had a history of selling marijuana together. On October 21, 2008, Shivers asked Cogburn if he knew anyone who wanted to buy some marijuana. Cogburn telephoned Taylor, who expressed an interest in so doing. After a first attempt to meet for the sale was forestalled due to law enforcement activity, Cogburn arranged for the parties to meet, and accompanied them to the place where the transaction would occur. After the sale, Cogburn telephoned Olivia Gagne, his fiancé e, and told her that he and Taylor were going to another location to get some additional marijuana for Cogburn to sell. Cogburn, Taylor, and Taylor's friend LaForrest Rush went to an apartment that Rush leased. There, Cogburn telephoned Gagne and told her that Taylor believed that Shivers " set him up," thought that he might have had something to do with it, and that Taylor was holding a gun to his head; Cogburn also said that he loved her. Frantic, Gagne placed several calls to Cogburn's cell phone; he eventually answered, told Gagne that he loved her, began to cry, and terminated the telephone call.

Rush's neighbors heard gunshots, and shortly thereafter, saw Rush and Taylor exit the apartment, stepping over Cogburn's body. [296 Ga. 762] Police found Cogburn's body in the doorway; his cell phone was nearby. He had died of three gunshot wounds, two in the torso and one in the leg.

1. The evidence was sufficient to authorize a rational trier of fact to find beyond a reasonable doubt that Taylor was guilty of

Page 807

the crimes of which he was convicted. See Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307 (99 S.Ct. 2781, 61 L.Ed.2d 560) (1979).

2. During jury selection, the trial court read the indictment, which also named Rush as a co-indictee as to most of the crimes charged, although the court did not read the count of the indictment that charged Taylor with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, or the count charging him with felony murder based upon that crime. The court read the count of the indictment which charged Rush with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Two potential jurors indicated that this information caused them to form an opinion about Taylor's guilt or innocence, even when it was made clear that the charge pertained only to Rush; both potential jurors were excused for cause.

Taylor now asserts that it was incumbent upon the court to inquire specifically of all the remaining potential jurors as to whether they held similar views. However, at trial, Taylor made no such assertion or otherwise suggested error in the court's action, and told the court that he was satisfied with the jury selection process and had no " issues" concerning it. Accordingly, Taylor is procedurally barred from raising this issue on appeal. See Solomon v. State, 293 Ga. 605, 606 (2) (748 S.E.2d 865) (2013). To ...


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