MELTON, PRESIDING JUSTICE.
a jury trial, Kynodious Walton appeals his convictions for
felony murder and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon,
among other crimes, contending that he received ineffective
assistance of trial counsel and that the trial court made
certain erroneous evidentiary rulings. For the reasons
set forth below, we affirm Walton's convictions, vacate
his sentence, and remand this case for resentencing.
the light most favorable to the verdict, the record shows
that Dennis Igidi lived with his long term girlfriend,
Maritza Chick. In the fall of 2012, however, Igidi was in the
process of moving out of their shared home. On October 28,
2012, Igidi sent his mechanic to the house to pick up his
lawn equipment, but the mechanic discovered that someone was
already taking the equipment. The mechanic alerted Igidi, who
immediately drove to the house with his three-year-old
daughter. Igidi found Walton loading the equipment onto a
truck. Walton told Igidi that he had bought all of the
equipment for $450 from Chick. Igidi asked to repurchase the
equipment, but told Walton that he needed an hour to get
sufficient cash. Igidi then called Byron and Bryant Phillips,
who were brothers, and requested their assistance. The
Phillips brothers complied.
the Phillips brothers arrived, Walton drove away, and Igidi
followed, with the Phillips brothers trailing. Igidi
testified that he wanted to determine where Walton was going
to store the equipment. After five to ten minutes of driving,
Walton parked near his cousin's house. Igidi parked
behind him, and the Phillips brothers parked behind Igidi.
When Igidi got out of the car, with his daughter still
inside, Walton jogged over to a group of men. Igidi took a
few steps, and was then rushed by Walton and his compatriots.
Walton grabbed a gun, cocked it, and said to his cohorts,
"Run them pockets, " which Igidi understood to be
an instruction to rob him. Igidi saw the other men had guns,
as well. Igidi, however, was unarmed.
the Phillips brothers got out of their car, Byron heard loud
arguing about money and was then rushed. Byron told
Walton's cohorts that they were just there for the
equipment. Byron and Bryant tried to get back in their car,
but, before they could, two of Walton's crew approached,
and one of them reached into Byron's pockets and asked,
"What you got?" They grabbed Byron's pistol
from his pocket, and then drew their weapons and started
shooting. Byron and Igidi, who decided to flee the scene, saw
Walton shooting a gun. Byron was shot in the arm, and, as he
fell to the ground, he also saw Bryant drop. Police were
called to the scene, and they found Bryant lying in the
street. Bryant died as a result of a gunshot wound to the
chest from several feet away.
evidence was sufficient to enable the jury to find Walton
guilty of the crimes for which he was convicted beyond a
reasonable doubt. Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307
(99 S.Ct. 2781, 61 L.Ed.2d 560) (1979).
Walton contends that trial counsel rendered ineffective
assistance by failing to review a police report indicating
that Igidi and Chick had a violent disagreement over
Igidi's possessions on the night before Bryant's
In order to succeed on his claim of ineffective assistance,
[Walton] must prove both that his trial counsel's
performance was deficient and that there is a reasonable
probability that the trial result would have been different
if not for the deficient performance. Strickland v.
Washington, 466 U.S. 668 (104 S.Ct. 2052, 80 L.Ed.2d
674) (1984). If an appellant fails to meet his or her burden
of proving either prong of the Strickland test, the
reviewing court does not have to examine the other prong.
Id. at 697 (IV); Fuller v. State, 277 Ga.
505 (3) (591 S.E.2d 782) (2004). In reviewing the trial
court's decision, "'[w]e accept the trial
court's factual findings and credibility determinations
unless clearly erroneous, but we independently apply the
legal principles to the facts.' [Cit.]" Robinson
v. State, 277 Ga. 75, 76 (586 S.E.2d 313) (2003).
Wright v. State, 291 Ga. 869, 870 (2) (734 S.E.2d
record shows that, at the beginning of trial, the State moved
in limine to exclude any reference to a domestic
dispute between Igidi and Chick that occurred on the night
before the shooting. The specifics of this confrontation were
contained in a police report that was part of the State's
discovery package. In response to the State's motion,
trial counsel responded that she had no "desire or
interest in going into [the] dispute, " even though she
wanted to elicit information about the events leading up to
the shooting in a general manner. Upon further questioning
from the trial court, the State characterized the police
report as follows:
Ms. Chick and Mr. Igidi get into an argument, because
they're breaking up, over him wanting to get his stuff.
She calls the police on him. The police respond. She makes
some allegations against him that include him threatening
her. I don't know that there's any charges that have
come from that.
trial counsel made no objections, and the trial court granted
the motion in limine. At that time, trial counsel had never
seen or read the report.
review of the record shows that the police report was far
more detailed than the State's in-court summary. The
report contained allegations from Chick that Igidi became
extremely upset and violently threatened her with a gun and a
knife. At the motion for new trial hearing, Walton's
trial counsel admitted that she was unaware of this
information at the time the State presented its motion in
the question of whether Walton's trial counsel performed
deficiently,  Walton must still show prejudice. Under
the facts of this case, he cannot do so. The record shows
that trial counsel cross-examined Igidi as to how upset he
was when he confronted Walton about the lawn equipment. Trial
counsel also brought forth evidence that Igidi was facing
firearms charges with regard to a previous case. Furthermore,
on cross-examination, Igidi admitted that he told one of the
Phillips brothers, "This bitch[, Chick, ] done sell my
stuff, " and that he was angry. Additionally, trial
counsel elicited from Walton's girlfriend, Shantae, on
direct examination that Igidi was "very aggressive,
" "very upset, " and "very angry"
when he confronted Walton on the day of the shooting.
Therefore, the jury did receive evidence that Igidi was
extremely passionate and aggressive regarding the lawn
equipment, and that he was angry at Chick for the way she
handled the situation. Under these circumstances, and
recognizing that the crimes in this case arose from a
confrontation between Igidi and Walton, not Igidi and Chick,
the information contained in the police report was largely
cumulative of information already heard by the jury. As such,
Walton was not ultimately prejudiced by the exclusion of the
police report, even assuming ...