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Carpenter v. State

Court of Appeals of Georgia, Third Division

October 24, 2017

CARPENTER
v.
THE STATE.

          ELLINGTON, P. J., ANDREWS and RICKMAN, JJ.

          RICKMAN, JUDGE.

         William Lawrence Carpenter was tried by a jury and convicted of aggravated assault, criminal attempt to commit kidnaping, and two counts of possession of a firearm during a crime. On appeal, Carpenter contends that the trial court erred by allowing the victim to identify him during the trial or, alternatively, that his counsel was ineffective by failing to object to the identification. Carpenter also challenges the sentence imposed by the trial court. For the following reasons, we affirm in part, vacate in part, and remand this case for resentencing with direction.

On appeal from a criminal conviction, we view the evidence in the light most favorable to support the jury's verdict, and the defendant no longer enjoys a presumption of innocence. We do not weigh the evidence or judge the credibility of the witnesses, but determine only whether the evidence authorized the jury to find the defendant guilty of the crimes beyond a reasonable doubt in accordance with the standard set forth in Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307 (99 S.Ct. 2781, 61 L.Ed.2d 560) (1979).

(Citation and punctuation omitted.) Hall v. State, 335 Ga.App. 895 (783 S.E.2d 400) (2016).

         So viewed, the evidence showed that on the afternoon of March 29, 2012, the victim was working at a dry cleaning store in Houston County. A male parked in the drive-thru of the store and from outside of a clear glass door, asked the victim how long it would take for a suit to be cleaned. The victim replied and the male indicated that he would need it sooner than the victim believed it would be ready. The victim called another store to see if the suit could be cleaned faster and she relayed the information from the other store to the male. Another customer came into the store and the male told the victim that she could help the other customer while he decided what to do. The victim dealt with the other customer quickly and then observed that the male appeared to be on the phone so she did some other tasks around the store.

         At some point, the victim turned around and observed that the male was standing inside the store with a gun. The male ordered the victim to "get in the car; get in the car; get in the car." The victim refused but told the male to "take the money." The male told the victim that he did not want any money, he wanted her to "just get in the car." The victim explained to the male that because he had on sunglasses and a hat she would not be able to identify him and he should just leave. The male stopped, turned around, and left the store. As the male left in his car, the victim was able to take a picture of the car with her phone. The photograph depicted a Toyota 4Runner. The numbers on the license plate were too blurry to identify so the photograph was later transmitted to the police department for enhancement.

         The victim called 911, an officer responded to the scene, and the victim gave the officer a description of the assailant. The victim told the officer that the assailant was slightly taller than the officer, not big but not "scrawny, " had strawberry blonde hair, and wore a hat and glasses.

         The victim went to the police station for another interview. While the victim was at the police station, the investigator showed her a photographic line-up. The victim was not 100 percent positive, but she thought the assailant was photograph number two in the line-up. The victim testified at trial that Carpenter's photograph was number two in the line-up.

         The customer who entered the store while the victim was talking to the assailant was also shown a photographic line-up. The customer was also not 100 percent positive, but believed that the male she saw in the store was photograph number two in the line-up. The customer also testified at trial that Carpenter's photograph was number two in the line-up.

         The officer who enhanced the photograph of the assailant's car noticed two, dark in color, squares on the vehicle's back window. The officer was also able to partially identify the license plate number and determined that the name of the county on the tag was four to five letters. A detective who was assisting with the investigation began to run different license plate number combinations through a computer system and the results pointed to a Toyota 4Runner owned by Carpenter.

         The detective assigned to the case retrieved a copy of Carpenter's driver's license. Carpenter's license photograph was consistent with the physical description given by the victim of the male perpetrator.

         The detective drove to Carpenter's address in Bibb County. Neither Carpenter nor his vehicle were at the location; however, at some point later, the detective and Carpenter spoke on the telephone. Carpenter told the detective that he had been playing golf, denied being near the incident location, and stated that his license plate tag had been stolen.

         The detective later interviewed Carpenter at the police station and asked for his cellular telephone number. The detective obtained the telephone records for the telephone number provided but discovered that there had not been much activity on the phone which the detective thought was odd, considering that Carpenter worked for a wireless communications company. The detective thereafter called Carpenter's employer, discovered that Carpenter had another cellular telephone, and obtained the records for Carpenter's other cellular telephone. Those records revealed that approximately 20 minutes before the ...


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