Grant appeals his convictions for malice murder and firearm
possession during the commission of a felony in relation to
the shooting death of Travis Shivers. Grant argues that he was
denied a fair trial because the jury array was selected in a
manner inconsistent with the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments
of the U.S. Constitution and Georgia statutory law, that the
trial court erred by denying a motion in limine to exclude an
incriminating statement by Grant, that the trial court erred
by admitting testimony about fingerprint evidence, and that
his trial counsel was ineffective for numerous reasons. We
trial evidence viewed in the light most favorable to the
verdicts showed that on the evening of October 1, 2011,
Grant, along with an unknown man, attacked, shot, and killed
Travis Shivers. A week prior to the shooting, Grant was
witnessed speaking angrily to some male friends and was
overheard saying, "I see that n****r, I'm going to
do that n****r, I'm going to kill that n****r." On
the night of the murder, various witnesses placed Grant and
an unknown man near the Holsey Cobb Village apartments
("the Village"), where the shooting occurred. Grant
was wearing a hat and a dark hooded sweatshirt, and appeared
night, Jasmine Paul (Shivers's cousin) and Kaleesha Ross
heard gunshots coming from the Village. Ross fled towards the
nearest store while Paul ran towards the Village. As Paul
approached the scene of the crime, she recognized
Shivers's voice calling out that he had been shot. Paul
then saw Grant shoot Shivers several times while an unknown
man continually pushed and kicked Shivers to the ground.
Grant and the unidentified man fled the scene, and Paul
called for help.
next morning, Grant voluntarily appeared at the police
station, was informed of his rights, waived them, and agreed
to talk to the police. During the interview, Grant's
statements placed him at the scene of the crime. The night
before, investigators recovered a can of Mountain Dew and a
blue Dallas Cowboys hat near the victim. Grant acknowledged
that he both lost a hat and dropped a can of Mountain Dew
near the scene.
Grant does not expressly challenge the sufficiency of the
evidence, we have independently reviewed the record and
conclude that the trial evidence was legally sufficient to
authorize a rational trier of fact to find beyond a
reasonable doubt that he was guilty of the crimes for which
he was convicted. See Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S.
307, 319 (99 S.Ct. 2781, 61 L.Ed.2d 560) (1979).
argues that he was denied a fair trial because the jury array
was selected in a manner that deprived him of a fair
cross-section of the community as required by the Sixth
Amendment, Fourteenth Amendment, and OCGA §
15-12-40.1. We disagree.
challenge the composition of a randomly selected jury array,
a defendant must prove that "persons [were] . . .
systematically excluded on the basis of race or other
cognizable grouping[.]" Jackson v. State, 294
Ga. 431, 434 (3) (754 S.E.2d 322) (2014) ("While
traverse jury lists must consist of a representative and fair
cross-section of the community to the fullest extent
possible, the same is not true of an array."
(emphasis in original)).
Grant has failed to meet this burden because he fails to
present any evidence of systematic or purposeful
discrimination. To support his claim, Grant relies solely on
the fact that the race of 111 of the 162 jurors of the array
was marked as undetermined. Grant argues that this lack of
information shows that the composition of the array amounted
to "discrimination by random process," and that the
State failed to show a fair cross-section. Grant
misunderstands the burden of proof - he, not the State, bears
the burden of proof on this issue. Id. at 433. The
lack of information upon which Grant relies proves nothing,
and Grant cannot prevail.
Grant argues that the trial court erred in denying his motion
in limine to exclude his statement, "I see that n****r,
I'm going to do that n****r, I'm going to kill that
n****r," because it was irrelevant and highly
prejudicial. We disagree.
motion in limine is a pretrial method of determining the
admissibility of evidence and should be granted only if
"there is no circumstance under which the evidence . . .
is likely to be admissible at trial." Forsyth County
v. Martin, 279 Ga. 215, 221 (3) (610 S.E.2d 512) (2005);
see also United States v. Mitchell, 954 F.2d 663,
665 (11th Cir. 1992). We review the denial of a motion in
limine for abuse of discretion. State v. Wilkins,
302 Ga. 156, 160 (805 S.E.2d 868) (2017).
argues that the statement was introduced solely to put his
character at issue and lacked relevance. Below, the parties
litigated the issue as a matter of motive. While it may be
more properly introduced as evidence of intent, our old
Evidence Code cases did not always delineate between motive
and intent. See e.g., Davis v. State, 249 Ga. 309,
310-311 (1) (290 S.E.2d 273) (1982) (finding the same
evidence as proof of motive and intent); Brock v.
State, 254 Ga. 682, 683 (1) (333 S.E.2d 593) (1985)
(same). Regardless, evidence of a defendant's motive or
intent for a homicide is relevant. Lindsey v. State,
282 Ga. 447, 451 (3) (651 S.E.2d 66) (2007); see also, e.g.,
Davis, 249 Ga. at 311 (1); Brock, 254 Ga.
at 683 (1). This is true even if it may "incidentally
place the defendant's character in evidence[.]"
Goodman v. State, 293 Ga. 80, 84 (3) (742 S.E.2d
719) (2013) (citing Fulton v. State, 278 Ga. 58, 60
(3) (597 S.E.2d 396) (2004)). Even if the statement put
Grant's character at issue, the statement was clearly
also argues that the statement was highly prejudicial because
it was not temporally proximate to the shooting, its target
was unclear, and there is no evidence it was relevant to the
murder. Under the old Evidence Code, which applied to
Grant's November 2012 trial, relevant evidence could be
excluded "if its probative value is substantially
outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice[.]"
Hicks v. State, 256 Ga. 715, 720 (13) (352 S.E.2d
762) (1987). Grant's statement is relevant, and it was
particularly probative given that it was made scarcely a week
before the shooting. The decision to admit evidence is within
the sound discretion of the trial court, and we find no abuse
of discretion here.
Grant argues that the trial court erred in denying his motion
for a mistrial when the State elicited Agent Bryan
Smith's explanation of the Automated ...