MCFADDEN, P. J., RICKMAN and MARKLE, JJ.
Johnson was tried and convicted in DeKalb County on one count
each of armed robbery, aggravated assault, and possession of
a weapon during the commission of a felony, all crimes that
occurred in that county. He was sentenced to life in prison.
At trial, the State presented evidence that Johnson was
involved in a five-day crime spree that covered three other
counties, with incidents in Cobb County and Fulton County
preceding the DeKalb County incident, and additional crimes
in Gwinnett County following the DeKalb County incident.
Following the denial of his amended motion for new trial,
Johnson appeals, raising three enumerations of error,
including that the DeKalb County trial court erred by
allowing evidence of the crimes in Cobb County and Fulton
County. Finding no error, we affirm.
in favor of the verdict, the evidence presented at trial
shows that at about 5:30 p.m. on November 1, 2011, a female
victim and her granddaughter were assaulted at a service
station in Cobb County. A black man wearing a black-hooded
jacket, with the hood pulled down over his forehead,
approached the victim from behind as she was getting out of
her car and said to "give it up." The two argued
and started scuffling as the man tried to take the
victim's keys. Eventually, the man put a gun to the
victim's forehead, snatched her keys, and pushed her to
the ground, breaking the victim's arm and shoulder. The
man also pointed the gun at the victim's granddaughter to
force her out of the car. The man then drove off in the
victim's black Chevrolet Cobalt. The victim's
billfold, including identification cards, credit cards, and
cash, was in the vehicle when the man left. A red truck
appeared to leave in coordination with the perpetrator. At
the DeKalb trial, the Cobb victim identified Johnson as the
man who assaulted her in Cobb County.
days later, at approximately 12:30 a.m. on November 4, a
woman driving a blue 2007 Honda Civic was assaulted at a gas
station in Fulton County. As she was pumping gas, a man with
a gun approached from the front as a second man approached
from behind. The gunman pointed the weapon at her head and
told her to "drop the m-fing pump and give up the
keys." She complied. The two men got into her car and
left. The victim described the gunman as a black man
"smaller than the other guy," who was about 5 feet
8 inches tall, and both men were wearing black hoodies. The
victim described the gun as small and black, and she recalled
seeing a black car nearby just prior to the assault. An
investigator documented that the Cobb victim's black
Chevrolet Cobalt had been left at the scene. A fingerprint
examination revealed Johnson's print on removable items
in the Chevrolet and on the exterior of the car. At the
DeKalb trial, the Fulton victim identified Johnson as the man
with the gun who assaulted her in Fulton County.
than 12 hours after the Fulton incident, the crime directly
at issue in this case was committed. A woman pumping gas at a
DeKalb County gas station had just started the pump and
gotten back into her car to put her credit card away, when
she heard loud music and turned and found a man standing with
a gun pointed at her face from close range. The victim
screamed, leaned back in her car, and started kicking the
man. The man yelled at her in a violent tone and fired the
gun, but the bullet missed the victim. The man then grabbed
her arm, pulled her out of the car, and got in. The man
rifled through the victim's belongings; took some,
including the victim's phone, her Ipod, a business card
case with cards inside, and her purse; then exited the
victim's car and left in what was later determined to be
the Fulton victim's blue Honda Civic. The DeKalb victim
described the assailant as black, approximately 5 feet 8
inches tall, and wearing a gray, long-sleeved hooded
sweatshirt with the hood not pulled up. Later, the DeKalb
victim identified Johnson from a photo line-up with 80%
certainty, and she identified him at trial as her assailant
with 100% certainty. Police recovered a bullet casing from
the scene. A BOLO was issued on the blue Honda Civic.
days later at about 9:00 a.m., a Gwinnett officer saw a blue
Honda Civic parked in a cemetery in Gwinnett County with a
man sitting inside, pulling up his hooded jacket. She
reported the vehicle's license tag number to dispatch,
approached the car, and asked to see the man's
driver's license. The man acted nervous as he pulled out
a stack of cards, including his license, from one pocket. The
license showed that the man was Johnson. The officer noticed
a bulge in a different pocket and suspected that it was a
weapon. At about that moment, dispatch advised that the car
had been reported stolen, and a backup officer arrived. The
second officer asked Johnson to step out of the car, and the
first officer patted down the bulging pocket and found a
black .22 Beretta handgun. In Johnson's other pocket the
officer found a business card holder with some business cards
inside, an Ipod, a cell phone, and numerous debit and other
cards. One of the debit cards belonged to the Cobb victim.
Johnson was arrested by the Gwinnett police and charged with
theft by receiving a stolen motor vehicle and possession of a
firearm during the commission of a felony. The second officer
identified Johnson in court as the person arrested in the
cemetery. Johnson pled guilty to the crimes in Gwinnett
bullet casing recovered from the DeKalb County incident was
eventually tested, and it proved to have been fired from the
gun recovered from Johnson in Gwinnett County. As the
investigation ensued, law enforcement officers discovered the
connections between the crimes in the four counties, and
Johnson was subsequently arrested and charged in DeKalb
County. Prior to trial in the DeKalb case, the trial court
held a hearing to determine the admissibility of the evidence
regarding the Cobb County and Fulton County crimes. The State
argued that the Cobb and Fulton incidents were admissible as
intrinsic evidence of the DeKalb crimes or as proper
extrinsic evidence under OCGA § 24-4-404
Johnson, acting pro se at the time, argued that the State
could not introduce evidence of the other incidents without
making the showings required by OCGA § 24-4-404 (b). The
trial court determined that the evidence was admissible, both
as intrinsic evidence and as extrinsic evidence under OCGA
§ 24-4-404 (b). At the beginning of trial, Johnson, then
represented by counsel, objected to the evidence of the Cobb
and Fulton incidents.
Johnson contends the trial court erred by allowing the State
to introduce evidence in the DeKalb County action of the
crimes that occurred in Cobb County and Fulton County.
Evidentiary rulings are reviewed for abuse of discretion.
Reeves v. State, 294 Ga. 673, 676 (2) (755 S.E.2d
695) (2014). We find no abuse of discretion because, as shown
below, the crimes in Cobb County and Fulton County were
intrinsic to the crimes in DeKalb.
intrinsic to the charged offense is admissible and not
subject to the limitations and prohibition on "other
acts" evidence found in OCGA § 24-4-404 (b). See
Smith v. State, 302 Ga. 717, 725 (4) (808 S.E.2d
661) (2017); Williams v. State, 342 Ga.App. 564, 566
(1) (804 S.E.2d 668) (2017). "Evidence is intrinsic
'if it is (1) an uncharged offense which arose out of the
same transaction or series of transactions as the charged
offense, (2) necessary to complete the story of the crime, or
(3) inextricably intertwined with the evidence regarding the
charged offense.'" Brooks v.
State, 298 Ga. 722, 726 (2), n.11 (783 S.E.2d 895)
(2016) (quoting United States v. Utter, 97
F.3d 509, 513 (II) (B) (11th Cir. 1996)); see also
Williams, 342 Ga.App. at 566 (1). Our Supreme Court
Evidence pertaining to the chain of events explaining the
context, motive, and set-up of the crime, is properly
admitted if it is linked in time and circumstances with the
charged crime, or forms an integral and natural part of an
account of the crime, or is necessary to complete the story
of the crime for the jury.
(Citation and punctuation omitted.) Smith, 302 Ga.
at 725 (4); see also State v. Battle, 344 Ga.App.
565, 568 (1) (812 S.E.2d 1) (2018).
Williams, 342 Ga.App. 564, this Court held that
evidence of a Newton County carjacking-the second in a
three-day, three-carjacking spree-was admissible intrinsic
evidence during the trial of the first and third carjackings,
both of which occurred in Clayton County. Id. at 567
(1). The Court noted that the Newton County carjacking
"established the complete time line of the consecutive
carjackings, and items from the first two carjackings were
found in the vehicle stolen in the third hijacking."
Id. Also, evidence from the third incident tied the
defendant to the first and second incident. Id.
Thus, the Court concluded, "the Newton County carjacking
was inextricably intertwined with the first and third
carjackings." Id. And in Baughns v.
State, 335 Ga.App. 600 (782 S.E.2d 494) (2016), this
Court held that evidence of all eleven crimes "committed
in a similar way, within a two-week period . . . in the same
area. . . [that] included overlapping participants" were
admissible against one of three defendants who was being
tried separately, even though that defendant directly
participated in only six of the eleven crimes. Id.
at 603 (1).
Johnson's fingerprints were found in a car stolen in the
Cobb incident and abandoned in the Fulton incident. Johnson
himself was found in Gwinnett County in a car stolen in the
Fulton incident, where the first car was abandoned, and used
by assailants in the DeKalb incident. A small handgun was
used in all three assaults, and the same gun that was
recovered from Johnson's person in Gwinnett County was
fired in the DeKalb incident. Items belonging to the Cobb and