Jonathan Michael Smith appeals his convictions for murder and
related offenses arising out of the beating death of
sixteen-year-old Cheyenne Hair and her unborn
child. On appeal, Appellant asserts only that the
evidence was insufficient to support his conviction for false
imprisonment. Finding no error, we affirm.
the record in a light most favorable to the verdict, the
evidence adduced at trial established as follows. In December
2013, emergency personnel and law enforcement responded to a
residence in Jackson County, Georgia, following
Appellant's 911 call reporting that his girlfriend,
Cheyenne Hair, was unresponsive. Appellant, who was then 34
years old, initially reported to law enforcement that he had
discovered Cheyenne's lifeless body in the bedroom of
their shared residence when he had arrived home from work; he
also reported that a cable technician named "Chad"
had been recently harassing Cheyenne. Cheyenne was bruised
about her face and body, and she was transported to a local
hospital where she later died. A medical examiner testified
that the victim died of blunt-force trauma to the head and
was eight-weeks pregnant with Appellant's child at the
time of her death.
a subsequent search of the residence, law enforcement
observed hasps on both interior and exterior doors, as well
as windows that had been glued shut; padlocks were discovered
in the kitchen, and keys to the locks were discovered
elsewhere in the house. Investigators also discovered a
cellular telephone secreted in a wall. A search of the
smartphone revealed earlier images of an obviously battered
Cheyenne with duct tape over her mouth; in some photographs,
Cheyenne appears to be asleep or unconscious. The phone also
contained photographs of Cheyenne's genitals, and
timestamps reflect that the photographs were taken just
minutes before Appellant placed the 911 call. Among the text
messages discovered on the phone was one sent from Appellant
to Cheyenne's mother concerning Cheyenne being
I'm not [going to hit her]. She's just scared I will
cause I did everytime she's let him in my house. Now she
can't let him in and he can't get in. So he's mad
an she want's to leave. What should I thank. The only
reason she has been here is so she could see him why I'm
at work. Now she can't f**k him she wants to leave.
That's how I see it. I'll be fine. I'm use to
people doin me like this. Has been all my life.
he was in pre-trial detention, Appellant told other inmates
that he had kept Cheyenne locked in the house to prevent her
from leaving and that Cheyenne had died while the couple had
been engaged in physically aggressive sexual intercourse.
Specifically, he told others that he had slammed her head
into a bed frame and then a wall during sex, leaving a dent
in the wall, and that he had dropped or pushed her onto her
head following the completion of the sexual act, after which
her eyes rolled back into her head.
jury heard testimony, elicited pursuant to OCGA §
24-4-404 (b), that Appellant had restrained, abused, and
raped other women with whom he had been romantically
involved. The jury also heard testimony from various
witnesses that no cable technician by the name of
"Chad" could be found. Appellant testified on his
own behalf, characterizing Cheyenne's death and earlier
injuries as accidental and attributable to consensual, rough
sole enumeration of error, Appellant contends that the
evidence was insufficient for the jury to consider the charge
of false imprisonment and that he was entitled to a directed
verdict on the count. We disagree.
standard of review for the denial of a motion for a directed
verdict of acquittal is the same as for determining the
sufficiency of the evidence to support a conviction."
Hester v. State, 282 Ga. 239, 240 (647 S.E.2d 60)
(2007). When reviewing the sufficiency of the evidence,
the proper standard for review is whether a rational trier of
fact could have found the defendant guilty beyond a
reasonable doubt. See Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S.
307 (99 S.Ct. 2781, 61 L.Ed.2d 560) (1979). "This Court
does not reweigh evidence or resolve conflicts in testimony;
instead, evidence is reviewed in a light most favorable to
the verdict, with deference to the jury's assessment of
the weight and credibility of the evidence." Hayes
v. State, 292 Ga. 506, 506 (739 S.E.2d 313) (2013).
Thomas v. State, 300 Ga. 433, 436 (796 S.E.2d 242)
person commits the offense of false imprisonment when, in
violation of the personal liberty of another, he arrests,
confines, or detains such person without legal
authority." OCGA § 16-5-41 (a). "To sustain a
conviction for false imprisonment, the State must show
evidence of an arrest, confinement, or detention, and
detention for a brief amount of time is sufficient."
(Quotation marks omitted.) Moore v. State, 340
Ga.App. 151, 154 (796 S.E.2d 754) (2017). "It is for the
jury to decide if the detention amounted to false
imprisonment." (Quotation marks omitted.) Taylor v.
State, 344 Ga.App. 122, 131 (809 S.E.2d 76) (2017).
there was ample evidence from which the jury could conclude
that Appellant had unlawfully imprisoned Cheyenne. The jury
heard testimony that there were hasps on both the interior
and exterior doors of the residence, that padlocks and keys
were found in the house, that the windows were glued shut,
and that containers of epoxy were found in the residence; in
fact, Appellant admitted to making the modifications to the
residence, though he denied that it was to detain Cheyenne.
Further, the State adduced a text message sent by Appellant
to Cheyenne's mother indicating that Cheyenne was
prevented from letting her alleged paramour into the
residence and that, likewise, the alleged paramour was
prevented from gaining access to the house. Finally, the jury
heard testimony from a cellmate that Appellant admitted to
keeping Cheyenne locked in the house so that she was unable
to leave. This evidence was sufficient for the charge of
false imprisonment to be submitted to the jury and for the
jury to return a guilty verdict on the count. See Pierre
v. State, 330 Ga.App. 782 (1) (769 S.E.2d 533) (2015).
See also Metts v. State, 297 Ga.App. 330 (1) (c)
(677 S.E.2d 377) (2009), abrogated on other grounds,
Stephens v. State, 289 Ga. 758 (716 S.E.2d 154)
though not raised by Appellant as error, in accordance with
this Court's standard practice in appeals of murder
cases, we have reviewed the record and find that the
evidence, as discussed above, was sufficient to enable a
rational trier of fact to find Appellant guilty beyond a