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Morris v. State

Supreme Court of Georgia

June 29, 2015

MORRIS
v.
THE STATE

Murder. Bartow Superior Court. Before Judge Smith.

Steven A. Miller, for appellant.

Rosemary M. Greene, District Attorney, Sharon M. Fox, Assistant District Attorney; Samuel S. Olens, Attorney General, Patricia B. Attaway Burton, Deputy Attorney General, Paula K. Smith, Senior Assistant Attorney General, Clint C. Malcolm, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

HUNSTEIN, Justice. All the Justices concur.

OPINION

Page 666

Hunstein, Justice.

Michael Thomas Morris, Jr., was convicted of malice murder and multiple other crimes in connection with the shooting death of Joshua Moore. Morris appeals, alleging various errors in his trial and sentences. Finding no error, we affirm.[1]

[297 Ga. 427] 1. Viewed in the light most favorable to the verdicts, the evidence presented at trial showed that, on the day of the crimes, Morris and his girlfriend, Cheryl Newborn, argued about his excessive drinking, and she asked him to leave the apartment that they shared. Morris picked up a handgun and pointed it at Newborn, threatening to kill her if she left him. Newborn was able to defuse

Page 667

the situation, and Morris put the gun in his pocket and walked to the apartment of Deana Thomas, a neighbor. Morris told Thomas and her companion that he was upset because Newborn was leaving him. He pulled out his gun, placing it on a table, and said that he had threatened to kill Newborn. Eventually, Morris agreed to let Thomas put the gun in a drawer, and they walked outside.

At about that time, Dewayne Westbrooks, who lived at the same apartment complex, was returning home with his friend Joshua Moore and two other friends. As Moore was getting out of the car, Morris, who was not acquainted with Moore or Westbrooks, began uttering profanities. Moore ran over to Morris and hit him, and a fight ensued. Westbrooks, who had been in the back seat of the car, exited the car and was eventually able to separate Moore and Morris. Moore, Westbrooks, and their companions began walking toward Westbrooks' apartment, but Morris ran back into Thomas' apartment, returned with his gun, and shot Westbrooks from close range, seriously injuring him.[2] Moore tackled Morris, who then shot Moore twice, killing him. Morris left the scene, went to a friend's house, and gave his friend the gun. The friend called the police, and Morris surrendered when officers arrived. The State also presented evidence of Morris' 2005 felony conviction for aggravated assault and his 2007 conviction for interference with government property.

(a) In two enumerations of error, Morris contends that the evidence is insufficient to support his conviction for terroristic threats. However, Morris was not sentenced for terroristic threats because the verdict on that count merged with the verdict for aggravated assault against Newborn. Therefore, this claim is moot. See Threatt v. State, 293 Ga. 549, 549, n. 2 (748 S.E.2d 400) (2013).

(b) Similarly, Morris' challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence with regard to Count 3, a felony murder count, is also moot. Threatt at 549, n. 2.

(c) Morris also contends that the evidence is insufficient to support the conviction for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon based on his 2007 felony conviction for interference with government [297 Ga. 428] property because the certified copy of the 2007 conviction was tendered and admitted into evidence during a bench conference and not properly presented to the jury. However, the record clearly shows that the certified copy was admitted into evidence and made a part of the record and that all the documentary ...


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