Antonio Faust was convicted for various crimes related to the
kidnapping of Michael Pippins and the shooting death of David
McMillan, III. Appellant's sole enumeration of error
is that the State failed to prove venue beyond a reasonable
doubt in regard to the crimes appellant committed against
Pippins. For reasons set forth below, we affirm.
in a light most in favor of upholding the jury's verdicts
of guilty, the evidence shows as follows. Pippins testified
he worked as a security guard at an apartment complex where
he met appellant, who was a transient teenager. Pippins
testified he allowed appellant to sleep at his apartment on
approximately three occasions during the four months
preceding the incident at issue. In the early morning hours
of May 17, 2013, Pippins testified he arrived home to find
appellant sitting on his front porch. Pippins said before
exiting his vehicle, he stored his service weapon, a .380
pistol, on the back floor of his vehicle. Pippins allowed
appellant to sleep inside his home for the night. In the
morning, Pippins testified he and appellant got into his
vehicle with the intent of driving to Pippins'
mother's house. Pippins testified appellant asked for
cigarettes, so he stopped at a gas station convenience store
on Covington Highway and Phillips Road. Pippins exited the
vehicle and went into the store, while appellant stayed
inside the vehicle. Pippins testified he returned to the
vehicle with appellant's cigarettes, restarted the
vehicle and continued driving up Covington Highway. At this
point, Pippins said he reached back to feel for his gun and
discovered it was missing. Pippins testified he pulled over
and stopped the car along Covington Highway, but the two men
did not exit the vehicle. Pippins testified he told appellant
to give him the gun. According to Pippins, appellant was
talking on one of Pippins' two cell phones when Pippins
demanded the gun. Pippins testified appellant pulled the gun
out and shot it twice down towards Pippins' feet inside
the car, took Pippins' second cell phone, and told
Pippins to take him where he needed to go. While appellant
held him at gunpoint, Pippins testified he continued to drive
on Covington Highway until he reached a road called Glenwood.
Pippins testified he turned onto Glenwood and continued to
drive on that road until it intersected I-285. Pippins
testified at this point appellant demanded Pippins give him
his wallet. Appellant then directed Pippins to turn off the
main road, going down "off Austin Drive by Towers [H]igh
[S]chool." Pippins testified that appellant directed him
to the Peachcrest area. Still at appellant's direction
and at gunpoint, Pippins turned into a Salvation Army parking
lot. At this point, appellant exited the
vehicle. Pippins drove away from the Salvation Army
parking lot, ultimately stopping at a house located on Tulip
Drive where a woman called 911 for him. At trial, the records
custodian for the DeKalb County police department appeared
and authenticated the 911 call which was played for the jury.
T.A. Green testified he responded to the Tulip Drive address
as a part of his duties as a DeKalb County police officer.
Officer Green testified that he asked Pippins what happened
during the incident and also retrieved two .380 shell casings
from inside Pippins' car. Officer Green testified that
"this incident" Pippins described to him occurred
in unincorporated DeKalb County. Officer J.D. Paden, who was
a DeKalb County police officer in the robbery unit, testified
he interviewed Pippins and showed him a photographic lineup
during which Pippins identified appellant as the
perpetrator. As the lead investigator on the case,
Officer Paden testified he secured a warrant for
early morning hours of May 18, appellant met McMillan at a
gas station. In his statement to DeKalb County police, which
was audio recorded and played for the jury, appellant stated
he entered McMillan's truck and gave directions for
McMillan to drive to a street in the Peachcrest area where
the two pulled over and smoked marijuana inside the truck.
The street in question was Pinehill Drive and an
investigating officer testified that this Pinehill Drive
location was in DeKalb County. McMillan asked if appellant
was a police officer and appellant became upset. In his
statement to police, appellant said he fired the gun he had
near McMillan's knee. Appellant told police that his intent
was to rob McMillan. Appellant said McMillan exited the
vehicle and attempted to flee, so appellant chased him.
Appellant told police he had a struggle with McMillan and the
gun went off. Appellant told police he had only intended to
rob McMillan and the robbery had gone wrong.
eyewitness to the McMillan shooting testified at trial. The
eyewitness testified that he heard people arguing outside his
bedroom window in the early morning hours of May 18. He
looked out of his window to see two people arguing in a
truck. The eyewitness went down to the front door of his home
and continued to watch the occupants of the truck from there.
The eyewitness testified the driver exited the truck and then
the passenger exited the truck. The eyewitness said the
passenger started chasing the driver around the truck until
the driver slipped, at which point the passenger shot the
driver twice. After the shooting, the eyewitness said the
passenger walked away.
time the crimes at issue in this case occurred, appellant was
on juvenile probation and reported to a probation officer.
Appellant's probation officer provided a written
statement to DeKalb County police and also testified at trial.
The probation officer testified that appellant reported to
her office on May 21, 2013, and told her that he had
committed some robberies and possibly killed someone. In her
written statement, the probation officer noted that appellant
said he committed the crimes in the Peachcrest area where he
stayed. Also in her written statement to police, the
probation officer stated she learned that there was a warrant
for appellant's arrest which discovery led her to contact
DeKalb County police.
trial, the medical examiner testified McMillan died of a
gunshot wound to the torso and that he recovered a bullet
from McMillan's body during the autopsy. In addition to
the shell casings recovered from Pippins' vehicle, police
also recovered shell casings from the McMillan crime scene. A
ballistics examiner testified he examined Pippins' stolen
firearm,  two shell casings from Pippins'
vehicle, two shell casings from the McMillan crime scene, and
the bullet recovered from McMillan's body. He testified
the bullet recovered from the body and the four shell casings
from both crimes were all fired from Pippins' stolen
testified at trial. He denied robbing and kidnapping Pippins
and denied killing McMillan; however, he admitted that he
told his probation officer that he had committed the crimes
in question. Appellant also testified that he lied to police
about having a physical altercation with McMillan.
Aside from venue as it relates to the crimes against Pippins,
which we address in Division 2, infra, appellant
does not dispute that the evidence was legally sufficient to
sustain his convictions for crimes against both victims.
Nevertheless, we have independently reviewed the record and
conclude that the evidence was sufficient to authorize a
rational trier of fact to find beyond a reasonable doubt that
appellant was guilty of the crimes for which he was
convicted. See Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307 (99
S.Ct. 2781, 61 L.Ed.2d 560) (1979).
Appellant alleges the State failed to prove venue beyond a
reasonable doubt regarding the crimes against Pippins-armed
robbery, aggravated assault, kidnapping and theft by taking.
The Georgia Constitution requires a criminal case to be tried
in the county where the crime was committed. See Ga. Const.
of 1983, Art. VI, Sec. II, Par. VI. The record shows the
crimes against Pippins occurred entirely in his vehicle while
in transit. OCGA § 17-2-2 (e) provides:
Crime committed while in transit. If a crime is
committed upon any railroad car, vehicle, watercraft, or
aircraft traveling within this state and it cannot readily be
determined in which county the crime was committed, the crime
shall be considered as having been committed in any county in
which the crime could have been committed through which the
railroad car, vehicle, watercraft, or aircraft has traveled.
(Emphasis in original.). In addition, OCGA § 17-2-2 (h)
Crime in more than one county. If in any case it
cannot be determined in what county a crime was committed, it
shall be considered to have been committed in any county in
which the evidence shows beyond a reasonable ...