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Mangram v. State

Supreme Court of Georgia

August 2, 2018

MANGRAM
v.
THE STATE.

          Grant, Justice.

         DayQuan Mangram was convicted of malice murder and related crimes in connection with the shooting death of Untavious Gillard.[1] In this appeal, Mangram challenges the sufficiency of the evidence corroborating the testimony of a coindictee and contends that the trial court erred in denying his motion for mistrial after the State introduced testimony about a rumor that the victim had a bounty on his head. We affirm.

         I.

         Viewed in the light most favorable to the jury's verdicts, the evidence presented at trial showed the following. On May 25, 2012, Rena Lang and Shaquilla White picked up Mangram and Gillard in Lang's silver Chevrolet Impala. Lang directed White to drive to the home of an acquaintance in Brantley County so that Lang could collect money that the acquaintance owed her. When they arrived at the acquaintance's mobile home, Lang and White got out of the vehicle, leaving Mangram and Gillard sitting in the back seat.

         Lang and White knocked on the front door, did not receive an answer, and went around to try the back door. When they reached the side of the home, Lang saw her acquaintance's vehicle and stopped to let the air out of the tires. While she was doing so, White and Lang heard a gunshot from the direction of Lang's car.

         The two women ran back around the mobile home and found Mangram standing outside the Impala, saying over and over, "Play with my people . . ." Gillard was slumped over and bleeding in the back seat. Lang's initial response to Mangram was, "Not in my car, Quan." After a moment, Lang, White, and Mangram got into the front seat of Lang's vehicle and White drove them away. A neighbor, who heard three gunshots and saw two people run from behind the mobile home across the street and get into a silver or gray sedan, called 911 at 3:35 p.m. and reported the incident. She described a thin black male wearing shorts (matching Mangram's description) and a heavy-set black female with red hair wearing a halter top and blue jean shorts (matching Lang's description). The neighbor did not see a third person.

         Mangram and Lang directed White to drive down a nearby dirt road, where they pulled over and Mangram dragged Gillard by his feet out of the car and into a grassy area that was difficult to see from the road. Mangram ordered Lang to loot Gillard's pockets. She did so and found a gun, which she gave to Mangram, and money, which she put in her bra. Lang alerted Mangram that his fingerprints were visible on one of Gillard's shoes, prompting him to remove the shoe and take it with him.

         The three then got back into Lang's car, with Mangram once again in the back seat, and White drove them back to Brunswick. On the way, White and Lang asked Mangram why he had shot Gillard. All Mangram would say was that Gillard had "played with [his] people," and that the women should "chill the f*** out." Mangram or Lang threw Gillard's cell phone over the side of a bridge on their way back to Brunswick. Lang told Mangram to throw the murder weapon out too, but he said he needed to return it to its owner.

         The three drove to a car wash in Brunswick and attempted to clean Gillard's blood and brain matter out of the back seat. Security cameras at the car wash captured them arriving in Lang's car at 4:06 p.m.[2] and using the car wash's power sprayer and foaming scrub brush to clean the interior of the vehicle, including the floors, seats, windows, doors, and headliner. Mangram was bare-chested because he had used his shirt to scoop Gillard's brain matter out of one of the vehicle's cup holders. Mangram collected some of Gillard's belongings from the vehicle, including the shoe that he had removed from Gillard's body, and put them into a bag with Mangram's shirt and the two guns. After the three finished cleaning Lang's car, White and Lang dropped Mangram off at his grandmother's house. He took the bag of clothing and guns with him.

         The next day, White and Lang contacted a mobile car detailer. Lang asked him to clean out the back of her car; she claimed that she had spilled raw chicken blood and juice in the back seat on the way to a barbecue to account for the reddish stains. The detailer found the interior of the car soaked with water and Fabuloso all-purpose cleanser. He vacuumed out the water and cleanser and shampooed the carpets. Two days later, Lang called him back and told him to bleach the interior, explaining that she was tired of the strong, foul odor and that she had decided to have the interior dyed a different color once the stains were bleached out.

         On May 28, 2012, a Florida couple riding a four-wheeler discovered Gillard's body and called 911. Buzzards apparently had eaten some of the flesh from Gillard's face, but investigators eventually identified the body from Gillard's fingerprints. The medical examiner determined that Gillard had been fatally shot two or three times in the left side of the head and once in the back of the neck. Gillard also had at least one gunshot wound going through his left hand and forearm. Two bullets were found inside Gillard's skull, and one was located under Gillard's head at the scene where his body was found.

         After the body was discovered and investigators began tracing Gillard's last movements, White went to the Glynn County Police Department and told them what had happened. She claimed that she had been too afraid of Mangram and Lang to contact police earlier; Mangram had threatened her, saying "play with my life and see what happens to yours." Mangram eventually turned himself in to law enforcement as well. He was 17 years old at the time.

         II.

         Mangram contends that the trial court erred in denying his motion for a directed verdict of acquittal because there was insufficient evidence to ...


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