BARNES, P. J., McMILLIAN and MERCIER, JJ.
Barnes, Presiding Judge.
connection with a bank holdup, Raymond Charles Whitmire was
convicted of armed robbery. He thereafter sought, but was
denied, a new trial. In this appeal, Whitmire challenges,
inter alia, the sufficiency of the evidence on legal and
general grounds. We conclude that the evidence was legally
sufficient. But because it appears that the trial judge
failed to exercise discretion to sit as a "thirteenth
juror" with respect to the general grounds raised, we
vacate the denial of Williams's motion for new trial and
remand the case for reconsideration thereof. We thus do not
reach the remainder of Whitmire's enumerated claims of
Where an appellant challenges the legal sufficiency of the
evidence, "the relevant question is whether, after
viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the
prosecution, 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, 317
(III) (B) (99 S.Ct. 2781, 61 L.Ed.2d 560) (1979); see
White v. State, 293 Ga. 523, 523 (1) (753 S.E.2d
viewed, the evidence adduced at the jury trial showed the
following. On April 26, 2014, at about 11:00 a.m., a man
holding a bag walked into a bank and stood in line for a bank
teller. When it was his turn to be assisted, the man
approached the teller's window, placed the bag on the
counter, then handed the teller a note that demanded money
and stated that he had a grenade. After reading the note, the
teller saw the imprint of a "small bulge" on the
side of the bag, discerned that a weapon was inside, and
realized that she was being robbed. Fearful of the man, the
teller gave him cash from the teller drawer. The man put the
cash in the bag, then exited the bank, carrying with him the
bag of cash.
the teller began yelling that she had just been robbed. She
asked a nearby customer sales representative to secure the
building, then ran to a window and observed the robber
leaving the scene driving a white, "older model"
Nissan Pathfinder with a dealer tag.
police investigation ensued, and Whitmire became a suspect.
About a month after the incident, a detective showed to the
teller and the customer sales representative a photographic
array of six men, one of whom was Whitmire. The teller
testified that, during the incident, she had taken note of
the man's physical characteristics. The customer sales
representative testified that, given her employee training to
notice individuals entering or exiting the bank, she had
greeted the man - taking note of his physical attributes.
When shown the array, both bank employees identified the
photograph of Whitmire as the man who had committed the
State also presented the testimony of a bank customer who was
inside the bank during the robbery. During the police
investigation, he also pointed to Whitmire's photograph
in an array as the man who committed the robbery. At trial,
the customer maintained that he was "one hundred
percent" certain that Whitmire was the man who had
perpetrated the crime. The customer acknowledged on
cross-examination, however, that he was "always
behind" the man. And when next asked whether the man had
"ever turn[ed] and look[ed] at you that you recall,
" the customer replied, "I don't recall."
two step-daughters were also questioned during the police
investigation. One of the step-daughters told police that she
was 95 percent certain that the man depicted in a still
photograph from the bank's surveillance video was
Whitmire. At trial, she recalled that Whitmire had
"driven or owned" a white, "90's
model" Nissan Pathfinder; she also testified that she
had seen a "dummy grenade" inside Whitmire's
shed. Whitmore's other step-daughter told police during
the investigation that she was 80 to 85 percent certain that
the man depicted in the same still photograph was Whitmire.
And at trial, that stepdaughter acknowledged further that the
man in the still photograph was wearing a jacket and hat that
looked like ones belonging to Whitmire. Notwithstanding, both
of Whitmire's step-daughters went on to testify that they
had recently viewed the bank's security video of the
criminal incident and that the perpetrator captured therein
did not appear to be Whitmire.
used-car dealer recounted at trial that in February 2014
(about two months before the bank holdup), he sold Whitmire a
white Nissan Pathfinder for approximately $2, 500, then
placed a dealer tag on the vehicle. On April 28, 2014, the
dealer initiated repossession proceedings on the vehicle due
to Whitmire's failure to maintain the payment schedule.
spotted Whitmire driving a white, 1997-model Nissan
Pathfinder and arrested him. A subsequent police search of
his home yielded, inter alia, two explosive devices, but no
to OCGA § 16-8-41 (a),
A person commits the offense of armed robbery when, with
intent to commit theft, he or she takes property of another
from the person or the immediate presence of another by use
of an offensive weapon, or any replica, article, or device
having the appearance of such weapon. The offense of robbery
by intimidation shall be a lesser included offense in the
offense of armed robbery.
was charged with committing armed robbery by taking cash, the
property of a bank, from the immediate presence of a bank