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Powell v. State

Supreme Court of Georgia

June 15, 2015

THE STATE (two cases)

Page 763

Murder. Wayne Superior Court. Before Judge Scarlet.

Earle J. Duncan III, for appellant (case no. S15A0600).

Samantha F. Jacobs, for appellant (case no. S15A0601).

Jacquelyn L. Johnson, District Attorney, Andrew J. Ekonomou, John B. Johnson III, 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.

BENHAM, Justice. All the Justices concur.


Page 764

Benham, Justice.

Appellants William and Sharmilla Powell are husband and wife. They appeal their various convictions stemming from the death of Jesse Evans and the armed robbery of Geno Evans and Antonio Cunningham.[1] The evidence viewed in a light most favorable to the verdicts showed that William sold drugs and that Geno Evans was believed to be a drug dealer.[2] William and Sharmilla decided

Page 765

to rob Geno. On the day in question, William and Sharmilla drove a rented black Chrysler Pacifica to Geno's house. William entered the house and pointed a chrome colored handgun at Geno and Cunningham [297 Ga. 353] who had been inside watching television. Wearing a Halloween mask and armed with an assault rifle, Donovan Scott, who was William's uncle, entered the home shortly after William. William and Scott ordered Geno and Cunningham to the ground and demanded money. Not satisfied with the amount of money they obtained from the pockets of Geno and Cunningham, the men had Geno make a phone call to have someone bring more money. Geno first tried to call police, but Scott knocked the phone out of Geno's hand. Next, Geno called his father Jesse Evans who lived nearby. Jesse, discerning from the phone call that something was wrong, walked over to Geno's house armed with a shotgun. When Jesse arrived outside Geno's door, William looked through the window. William and Scott then exchanged guns, and William used the assault rifle to shoot Jesse through the door. During the melee, both Geno and Cunningham were shot and wounded, but Geno was able to make it outside the house, and he ran over to a neighbor's house to call police. While Geno was outside, Sharmilla emerged from the van and shot at him twice, but missed. William and Sharmilla eventually fled in the Chrysler Pacifica. When the police arrived, they found the bodies of Jesse and Scott on the porch of Geno Evans' house and found a wounded Cunningham inside the house. Police later apprehended appellants in Washington, D.C.

At trial, Sharmilla testified that she was never at Geno's house on the night in question and, instead, was at home with her children when the shooting occurred. She said William sometimes sold drugs and that, on the night in question, he did leave the house and go out, but noted William was not driving the Pacifica. She also testified that she had purchased the guns that were used in the shooting, but surmised that Scott had taken the guns from her home. Later on the same night of the shooting, Sharmilla stated she, William, and the children left to go to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, for the couple's anniversary.[3]

1. The evidence adduced at trial and summarized above was sufficient to authorize a rational trier of fact to find appellants guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of the crimes for which they were convicted. Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307 (99 S.Ct. 2781, 61 L.Ed.2d 560) (1979).

(a) Appellant William Powell alleges that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction for felony murder and aggravated assault of Jesse Evans because he contends there was no proof that any bullet he fired wounded the victim and because he asserts [297 Ga. 354] that the ballistic examiner's testimony was " totally incompetent" concerning the identity of the caliber of rounds fired. These contentions lack merit. Two eyewitnesses stated that appellant shot through the door with an assault rifle when Jesse Evans arrived on the porch of Geno's house. Eyewitnesses also identified Scott as a shooter during the incident. The physical evidence showed that gunshots were fired through the entrance door from the inside to the outside of the house. The evidence was sufficient to show that ...

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