DILLARD, C. J., RAY, P. J., and SELF, J.
Woodward was indicted on two counts of aggravated
assault-family violence (OCGA § 16-5-21) and a separate
count of arson (OCGA § 16-7-60). A jury found Woodward
guilty of arson and of the second count of aggravated
assault-family violence. Woodward appeals from the denial of
his motion for new trial, contending that the evidence was
insufficient to support the verdict. For the reasons that
follow, we affirm.
appeal of the sufficiency of the evidence, we view the
evidence in the light most favorable to the prosecution to
discern whether any rational trier of fact could have found
the essential elements of the crime beyond a reasonable
doubt. Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307, 319 (III)
(B) (99 S.Ct. 2781) (1979).
evidence adduced at trial showed that Woodward, who was 17
years old, lived in a two-story house in DeKalb County with
his mother, his step-father, and his four younger siblings.
At about 11:00 p. m. on March 28, 2010, as the family was
getting ready for bed or had gone to bed, Woodward's
parents and siblings heard a loud crash from Woodward's
bedroom followed by the smoke detector going off. When family
members came out of their rooms, they saw fire coming from
Woodward's bedroom. The floor was on fire, and Woodward
was laughing. Woodward was setting things on fire with a
grill lighter and with an aerosol spray can he was using as a
torch to set the walls, floor, and his bed alight. Family
members also saw him setting the couch afire. Woodward's
burning stereo or television was lying on the floor of his
bedroom, and his window blinds were on fire.
his makeshift torch, Woodward was shooting flames "three
feet" out toward his family, saying "Get back,
nobody come in here, " although he forced one of his
younger siblings back into the room. No one had threatened
Woodward in any way. Woodward's parents eventually got
the younger children out of the house, but when his
step-father tried to get Woodward to leave, Woodward would
use his "man-made torch" with lighter fluid that he
would light and would "spray [his step-father]
back" while laughing. He told his step-father, "I
only want you."
the rest of the family had evacuated, his step-father ran
back to the house to try to get Woodward to leave. Woodward
had locked the door, and his step-father used a key to get
back in. Eventually, Woodward came out. Though accounts
differ, testimony showed that Woodward began walking toward
his step-father's car with the lighter and spray can in
his hands. One of the siblings and the step-father testified
that they believed Woodward intended to set the car on fire.
step-father had at some point picked up a hand-weight or
dumbbell, and he began walking or running toward Woodward to
fend him off. However, he dropped the dumbbell and did not
strike Woodward with it. Woodward struck his step-father on
the head with the spray can. After his step-father had
dropped the dumbbell, Woodward then ran at his step-father
with a knife in each hand, saying, "I'm gonna kill
you[, ]" and stabbed him multiple times. Family members
saw a "knife going up and down." One of
Woodward's siblings testified that, earlier in the
evening, she had seen Woodward put kitchen knives in his
Woodward was subdued by family members until firefighters
came on the scene. His mother took one of the knives from
him, and firefighters took the others. Woodward was arrested,
but even after being restrained by law enforcement, he
continued laughing and smirking. Woodward was uninjured, but
his step-father was bleeding heavily from knife wounds and
was transported to the hospital for treatment.
Woodward argues that the evidence was insufficient to sustain
his conviction for aggravated assault-family violence. He
argues that the State failed to disprove his contention that
he was acting in self-defense. We disagree.
justification defense has been raised, the State's
evidence must be sufficient to authorize a rational trier of
fact to find beyond a reasonable doubt that Woodward did not
act in self-defense. Noble v. State, 282 Ga.App.
311, 312 (638 S.E.2d 444) (2006). This Court does not weigh
the evidence or determine the credibility of witnesses, as
that is the function of the jury. This Court will sustain a
jury's verdict if there is competent evidence, even if
contradicted, to support that verdict. Waller v.
State, 267 Ga.App. 608, 608 (600 S.E.2d 706) (2004).
count of the indictment under which Woodward was convicted
charged him with injuring his step-father by stabbing him
with a knife. OCGA § 16-5-21 (a) (2) provides that
"a person commits the offense of aggravated assault when
he or she assaults . . . [w]ith a deadly weapon or with any
object, device, or instrument which, when used offensively
against a person, is likely to or actually does result in
serious bodily injury[.]" In order to prevail on a
justification defense, the person who is claiming
self-defense must not have been the aggressor. OCGA §
16-3-21 (b) (3).
argues that he presented evidence that he acted in
self-defense, that his step-father was armed with the
dumbbell and followed him outside, and that he defended
himself because he thought he was in imminent danger. He
testified that he hit his step-father with the spray can
because his step-father chased him out of the house, and that
when his step-father charged him again with the dumbbell, he
used a knife to defend himself. As outlined above, however,
there was conflicting evidence indicating that Woodward
stabbed his step-father only after his step-father had
dropped the dumbbell.
the State has met its burden of proof that Woodward was the
aggressor and not entitled to a justification defense was for
the jury, Noble, supra, as was the resolution of
conflicts in the evidence. Waller, supra.
Woodward's evidence conflicted with the State's
evidence, as outlined above, which showed that Woodward was
the aggressor in using a knife as a deadly weapon to injure
his step-father. We find that the evidence was sufficient.
See Hazelwood v. State, 265 Ga.App. 709, 710 (595
S.E.2d 564) (2004) (finding the evidence sufficient to uphold