BARNES, P. J., MCMILLIAN and REESE, JJ.
Evans appeals from the denial of her motion for new trial
after a jury convicted her of one count of involuntary
manslaughter in connection with the death of Rodney
Graham ("RG"),  an inmate who died while incarcerated
at the jail run by the Douglas County Sheriff's Office.
Evans asserts on appeal that the evidence was insufficient to
support her conviction. Although we find that the evidence
was sufficient to support a jury finding that Evans'
actions and inactions constituted reckless conduct, the
alleged crime underlying the charge of involuntary
manslaughter, we find that the State failed to present
evidence sufficient for the jury to find beyond a reasonable
doubt that Evans' reckless conduct caused RG's death.
Accordingly, we reverse.
this Court considers the legal sufficiency of the evidence to
support a criminal conviction, "we must view the
evidence in the light most favorable to the verdict, and we
inquire only whether any rational trier of fact might find
beyond a reasonable doubt from that evidence that the
defendant is guilty of the crimes of which he was
convicted." (Citation omitted.) Walker v.
State, 296 Ga. 161, 163 (1) (766 S.E.2d 28) (2014). See
also Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307 (99 S.Ct.
2781, 61 L.Ed.2d 560) (1979). Under this review, "we put
aside any questions about conflicting evidence, the
credibility of witnesses, or the weight of the evidence,
leaving the resolution of such things to the discretion of
the trier of fact." White v. State, 293 Ga.
523, 523 (1) (753 S.E.2d 115) (2013). Rather, "in every
case the jury is the arbiter of credibility including as to
the defendant's explanation, and the jury is the body
which resolves conflicting evidence, and where the jury has
done so, the appellate court cannot merely substitute its
judgment for that of the jury." (Citation omitted.)
Lowery v. State, 264 Ga.App. 655, 658 (3) (592
S.E.2d 102) (2003). Nevertheless, "it is axiomatic that
the evidentiary burden in a criminal prosecution is upon the
State to prove every material allegation of the indictment
and every essential element of the crime charged beyond a
reasonable doubt." (Citation and punctuation omitted.)
Jones v. State, 272 Ga. 900, 902 (2) (537 S.E.2d 80)
(2000). And when the State fails to carry this burden, the
defendant is entitled to a reversal of his or her conviction.
See, e.g., Chestnut v. State, 331 Ga.App. 69, 77
(769 S.E.2d 779) (2015); Futch v. State, 316 Ga.App.
376, 380 (1) (a) (730 S.E.2d 14) (2012); Brown v.
State, 152 Ga.App. 273, 274 (1) (262 S.E.2d 497) (1979).
viewed, the evidence showed that at the time of RG's
incarceration at the jail, Evans was serving as the
supervisor for the medical department for the Douglas County
Sheriff's Office. The department's three other
employees were Chad Skinner, Kelli Brown, both EMTs, and Jody
Faircloth, a medical assistant, and all four employees worked
at the Douglas County jail. Dr. Jimmy Graham contracted as
the medical director for the sheriff's office, which
meant he made limited, regular visits to the jail but was
on-call for all medical issues. RG was admitted to the jail
for a probation violation on Wednesday, October 28, 2009, and
the following Sunday, November 1, he submitted a form
requesting medical assistance, stating that he was vomiting,
could not keep anything down, and was "really
weak." Faircloth, who was on call that day, visited RG
in his cell, and he told her of his symptoms and also that he
had a history of kidney stones and infections. Faircloth gave
RG medication to treat his symptoms. At around 10 p.m. that
night, RG called his wife, Cathy Graham, to tell her that he
thought he was getting a kidney infection and was concerned
that he was not going to get adequate care at the jail.
next morning, Monday, November 2, Faircloth reported the
situation involving RG to Evans, and they arranged for him to
come to the medical department for a follow-up. After a
urinalysis revealed blood, leukocytes, and bilirubin in
RG's urine, which Evans and Faircloth believed to be
indications of an infection, they continued treating RG for
nausea and pain and added an antibiotic to treat the
infection and Gatorade for hydration. Faircloth and Evans
also performed a drug test, which reflected the presence of
several illegal drugs in RG's urine. In the meantime,
Cathy had obtained a note from Dr. Vance Boddy, RG's
physician and delivered it to the jail. The note stated that
RG had a severe kidney problem and impaired renal function,
which caused him to pass multiple kidney stones weekly and
required "frequent narcotic administration and medical
oversight[.]" Evans acknowledged receiving this note and
calling Dr. Boddy's Office for further clarification.
During that call, she learned that Dr. Boddy had prescribed
Percocet, a narcotic, to treat RG's condition, and she
knew that she was unable to administer narcotics at the jail.
Evans made the decision to initiate the protocol for detox by
giving RG additional medication and placing him in an
isolation room at around 11 a.m. with a camera to monitor
had also communicated RG's concerns to his parents
overnight, and his father Ray Graham called the jail Monday
morning and spoke to a woman he believed was Evans. Ray told
her that RG had serious kidney problems and asked that he
receive appropriate help. The woman replied that they knew
what was wrong with RG - he was detoxing - and they did not
need any help or any medical records. Concerned about this
response, Ray sent an e-mail to the division commander
overseeing the Douglas County jail, explaining that RG had
"a very bad kidney problem" that caused him to pass
kidney stones weekly and resulted in frequent, severe kidney
infections, requiring hospitalizations due to his kidneys
shutting down. Ray stated that he was concerned that RG's
kidneys were in danger of shutting down again, which could
endanger his life or his long-term health. Evans admitted
that she received and read Ray's e-mail, and after
discussing the issues raised in the e-mail and Dr.
Boddy's note with Faircloth, she asked for a release from
RG to obtain his medical records from one of the local
emergency rooms ("ER"). Evans reviewed these
records, which showed that RG had visited the hospital ER on
a number of occasions for kidney stones, infections, and
renal failure, which sometimes required hospitalization.
next day, Tuesday, November 3, between 8:05 and 9:00 a.m.,
Evans visited RG in his isolation cell to give him medicine
for nausea, which was the only time she ever visited RG's
cell and the last time she had personal contact with him.
Thereafter, she relied on Brown and Skinner, as well as other
non-medical jail employees, to monitor RG's condition;
however, the evidence supported that Evans never told any of
them that RG suffered from a recurring kidney condition,
involving weekly kidney stones and serious infections.
Instead, they were told only that RG was detoxing. At around
12:30 that day, Joan Graham, RG's mother called the
sheriff's office to discuss his condition and to offer to
bring RG's medical records from two hospitals where he
had received treatment. However, she was told that the
records were not needed; rather, she was told that RG was
detoxing. That evening after Deputy Tina Shepherd arrived for
her 6:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. shift, she noticed that RG was
"really weak" and that he had been vomiting and
could not keep anything down. Two deputies were required to
take him to the shower that night because he was so weak.
Deputy Shepherd left the next day, Wednesday, November 4, at
around 6:00 a.m., she spoke with Brown about RG's
condition, telling her he was "really sick," weak,
and could not keep anything down. About an hour later, during
the inmate headcount, Deputy Robert Glynn Gale found RG lying
face down on the floor, shaking and moaning. Brown was
summoned to the cell to check on RG. When Brown took his
vital signs, she could not get a blood pressure reading, his
oxygen level was extremely low, and his pulse was elevated.
Brown testified that based on these observations, she
believed RG had experienced a seizure. Deputy Gale testified
that he told Brown at the time that he thought RG needed to
go to the hospital, but Brown told him that RG was detoxing
and did not need to go to the hospital. When Evans arrived
for her shift at around 8:00 a.m., Brown told her that she
thought RG "had had a seizure, that his boxers were wet,
that he was laying face down, on the floor, when [she] first
saw him, and that he was slow to arouse," but she
reported that he later appeared to have come out of the
seizure and become alert and oriented. At around 1:00 to 2:00
p.m., a deputy found RG lying under his bunk and shaking. He
notified the medical department, and Evans sent Skinner to
check on RG. Skinner found RG lying on the floor of his cell,
but he did not take RG's vital signs because he was in a
rush to perform other tasks. However, he asked RG if he
wanted to get in his bunk, and RG said "no."
Skinner reported these circumstances to Evans. Deputy Gale
stated that he continued to check on RG throughout his shift
that day and he could see RG lying on his back, on the floor
of his cell, with his hands in the air, shaking. Gale
testified that on four occasions, he asked Evans and/or Brown
to check on him. Although he continued to urge Brown and
Evans that RG needed to go to a hospital, they continued to
respond that RG was detoxing. After Shepherd returned for her
shift that evening at around 6:00 p.m., during the inmate
head count, she discovered, RG lying on the floor with his
hands in the air, unresponsive, with his eyes wide open, and
not moving. Another deputy and Skinner began CPR, but after
RG was transported to the hospital, he was pronounced dead.
was convicted of involuntary manslaughter under OCGA §
16-5-3 (a) "in that the defendant did cause the death of
Rodney Graham, without any intention to do so, by the
commission of an unlawful act other than a felony, to wit:
Reckless Conduct, O.C.G.A. § 16-5-60 (b)[.]" More
specifically, Count Two of the indictment alleged that Evans
failed to provide RG proper medical care and treatment
in that inmate Rodney Graham was suffering from a life
threatening kidney disorder while incarcerated at the Douglas
County jail and despite repeated requests from family members
of Rodney Graham the defendant failed to properly treat and
care for Rodney Graham and further, notwithstanding these
repeated requests to provide the necessary treatment the
defendant failed to do so resulting in his death, contrary to
the laws of said State, the good order, peace and dignity
OCGA § 16-5-60 (b), the reckless conduct statute,
[a] person who causes bodily harm to or endangers the bodily
safety of another person by consciously disregarding a
substantial and unjustifiable risk that his act or omission
will cause harm or endanger the safety of the other person
and the disregard constitutes a gross deviation from the
standard of care which a reasonable person would exercise in
the situation is guilty of a misdemeanor.
trial court charged the jury, "the crime of reckless
conduct is, in essence, an instance of criminal negligence[,
] rather than an intentional act[, ] which causes bodily harm
to or endangers the bodily safety of another." See also
Riley v. State, 250 Ga.App. 427, 429 (2) (551 S.E.2d
833) (2001). And criminal negligence is statutorily defined
as "an act or failure to act which demonstrates a
willful, wanton, or reckless disregard for ...