Murder. Fulton Superior Court. Before Judge Adams.
Jimmonique R. S. Rodgers, Long D. Vo, for appellant.
Paul L. Howard, Jr., District Attorney, Paige Reese Whitaker, Sheila E. Gallow, Peggy R. Katz, Assistant District Attorneys; Samuel S. Olens, Attorney General, Patricia B. Attaway Burton, Deputy Attorney General, Paula K. Smith, Senior Assistant Attorney General, Michael A. Oldham, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.
NAHMIAS, Justice. All the Justices concur.
Appellant Fabian Powers was convicted of felony murder and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony in connection with the shooting death of Alfred Boyd. Appellant contends that the trial court erred in denying his request for a jury instruction on justification based on self-defense or defense of others. But the court did not err, so we affirm.
1. Viewed in the light most favorable to the verdicts, the evidence presented at trial showed the following. On December 2, 2008, Appellant was at an apartment in College Park smoking crack cocaine with four other people when Boyd arrived with Shekita Gibbs. Boyd stayed a short time and then left with Gibbs. After dropping her off at another house, Boyd returned to the apartment [297 Ga. 346] and robbed everyone there at gunpoint, including taking $3,000 from Appellant. Boyd then fled in a car while people chased after him, shooting at him.
After the robbery, Gibbs called Appellant to tell him she had nothing to do with it, and Appellant threatened to kill her if she did not tell him where Boyd was. Two days later, Gibbs called Appellant and told him that Boyd was at her house. Less than 30 minutes after that, Boyd was shot with an AK-47 rifle while sitting in the driver's seat of his car outside Gibbs' house. He died from gunshot wounds to his chest, right arm, and right shoulder. A pistol was found inside the car underneath where Boyd had been sitting. There was no indication that the pistol had been fired, and all of the bullets found at the scene came from the same AK-47.
No witnesses saw the shooting itself, but a witness testified that he saw one person -- and only one person -- running away from the victim's car with a gun right after the shooting.
Another witness testified that she was sitting in the front passenger seat of Boyd's car waiting for him to return from Gibbs' house, and she heard the shots begin as soon as Boyd got into the car and shut the door, although she did not see the shooter because she ducked down.
The police investigation eventually led Detective David Quinn to interview Appellant about a year after the shooting. At trial, Detective Quinn testified that during the interview, Appellant admitted that he was present during the shooting, but he claimed that his friend Eric Gates, who had also been a victim of the robbery by Boyd, went with him to serve as protection while Appellant confronted Boyd to get his money back. Detective Quinn testified that, according to Appellant, Gates " was holding the AK-47 on the [car]" when Appellant tapped on Boyd's car window, and Gates was the one who shot Boyd. The detective added that Appellant " never said Mr. Boyd produced any kind of weapon." Gates had been killed in an unrelated incident a few months after the shooting and before the interview. The defense theory at trial was that Gates was the shooter and Appellant was merely a scapegoat who had been led into an ambush by Gibbs. Appellant did not testify.
Appellant does not dispute the legal sufficiency of the evidence supporting his convictions. Nevertheless, as is this Court's practice in murder cases, we have reviewed the record and conclude that, when viewed in the light most favorable to the verdicts, the evidence presented at trial and summarized above was sufficient to authorize a rational jury to find Appellant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of the crimes for which he was convicted. See Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307, 319 (99 S.Ct. 2781, 61 L.Ed.2d 560) (1979). See also Vega v. State, 285 Ga. 32, 33 (673 S.E.2d 223) (2009) (" 'It was for the jury ...