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White v. State

Court of Appeals of Georgia

June 15, 2015

WHITE
v.
THE STATE

Armed robbery, etc. Glynn Superior Court. Before Judge Scarlett.

Judgment affirmed.

Nic L. Roberts, for appellant.

Jacquelyn L. Johnson, District Attorney, Andrew J. Ekonomou, Assistant District Attorney, for appellee.

MCMILLIAN, Judge. Barnes, P. J., and Ray, J., concur.

OPINION

Page 449

McMillian, Judge.

In March 1997, Michael Jerome White was convicted by a jury of armed robbery, kidnapping with bodily injury, and burglary. The trial court subsequently granted White's June 16, 2014 pro se motion for out-of-time appeal, and this appeal followed. White asserts on appeal that the trial court erred in overruling his counsel's objections to the court's questioning of the victim and that the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions. We affirm for the reasons set forth below.

Viewed in the light most favorable to the verdict,[1] the evidence showed that on August 16, 1996, at around 9:00 p.m., 63-year-old Jack Morris left his place of business in his truck and drove home after a quick stop at a store. When Morris arrived home, he went inside and placed his briefcase on the living room sofa and turned on lights inside and outside of the house. When Morris went back outside to retrieve his mail, White confronted him, put a gun to his head, and ordered him to open his truck door. After searching the truck, White forced Morris back inside his house. White grabbed the briefcase off the sofa in the living room and took Morris and his briefcase to the dining room. White opened the briefcase, scattered the papers inside, and kept asking where the money was. At that point, White took Morris's ring, watch, and a small caliber handgun from the briefcase and put them in his pocket. He also demanded Morris's wallet and took $40 to $45 and credit cards from inside. White then forced Morris into the kitchen and from there, into the den where he demanded that Morris unlock his gun cabinet. He directed Morris to take the rifles and shotguns out of the cabinet and lay them on the floor, and he told Morris to remove the ammunition and put it in a plastic bag, which Morris did.

Next, White forced Morris into the back bedroom of the house and then into the front bedroom. White ordered Morris to lie down on the bed and then snatched the telephone cord from the wall. White put a pillow over Morris's head, put the gun next to the pillow, and fired. White left the room, and Morris, who had survived the gunshot, retrieved another gun that he kept under his mattress and followed White out of the bedroom. Morris found White at his front door with a stack of guns in front of him. When White turned to face him, Morris fired his gun. White crawled toward the dining room then got up and ran into the kitchen. Morris then fired a second shot. He heard White [332 Ga.App. 496] drop the bag of ammunition and heard the back door slam. Morris went to the back door and locked it, and after locking the front door, he called police. The gunshot had entered Morris's left chest, injuring his chest and lung and fracturing multiple ribs. Morris underwent surgery to treat his injuries and to remove the bullet. He remained in intensive care for ten days.

Page 450

After their arrests, White and his co-defendant, Alvin Jones, told police that they had spotted Morris leaving the mall and followed him to the store and then home in order to rob him. White admitted that he had confronted Morris with a gun outside his house, forced him back inside, walked him around the house, and then forced him to remove the guns from the cabinet. White also admitted to hitting Morris in the head with the gun and to shooting him but said that occurred because they were struggling. Afterward, White and Jones drove to Darien, Georgia, where White hid some guns and threw the shirt he was wearing out the car window. Police later recovered the shirt, and the blood on it was identified as belonging to Morris. White took police to the location where he hid the guns, and one of the guns recovered was identified as the gun used to shoot Morris, and another gun was identified as belonging to Morris. The evidence at trial also showed that White had pawned Morris's ring at a pawn shop the day after the incident.

White testified at trial and admitted, inter alia, that he was at Morris's house on the day of the incident with a gun; that he intended to steal something when he went into the house; that he ordered Morris to open the gun cabinet, take the guns out and put the ammunition in the bag; that he took Morris's ring and pawned it; that he shot Morris; that afterward he went to Darien to hide the guns; and that his shirt was thrown out the window on the way.

1. White asserts that the trial court erred in overruling his counsel's objection to the court's own questions posed to Morris at the end of his testimony.[2] The trial judge asked Morris whether he gave White or his accomplice authority to come to his house and enter his house, to which Morris replied in the negative. And the trial court asked whether White or the ...


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