McFADDEN, P. J., RICKMAN and MARKLE, JJ.
a jury trial, Carl Ricardo Beamon was convicted of armed
robbery (OCGA § 16-8-41), aggravated assault (OCGA
§ 16-5-21), and possession of a firearm during the
commission of a felony (OCGA § 16-11-106). Beamon appeals
his convictions and the denial of his motion for new trial,
as amended, contending that (i) his trial counsel rendered
ineffective assistance, (ii) the trial court committed error
in admitting certain evidence over objection, and (iii) the
evidence was insufficient to support the evidence. Finding no
error, we affirm.
in the light most favorable to the verdict, Jackson v.
Virginia, 443 U.S. 307 (99 S.Ct. 2781, 61 L.Ed.2d 560)
(1979), the evidence shows that on the early morning of
December 11, 2013, Beamon and two co-defendants entered a
grocery store where the clerk and the cash register were
enclosed in glass behind a locked door. Beamon, who was not
wearing a mask, kicked down the door to the enclosure and
stole cash and lottery tickets while holding a gun to the
armed robbery was recorded on the store's surveillance
cameras. The store manager pulled the footage from the
cameras and gave the video to the police. The video was
admitted into evidence at trial, over objection, and was
played for the jury. Items of clothing Beamon was seen
wearing in the surveillance video, as well as a firearm
similar to the one used during the robbery, were later
recovered during a search of his residence, and were also
admitted into evidence at trial.
the State's case-in-chief, the store clerk was called as
a witness. In the presence of the jury, the clerk was unable
to take the oath because of difficulties understanding
English. The trial court held a hearing outside the presence
of the jury, and ultimately determined the clerk was
incompetent to testify without an interpreter. As the State
did not secure an interpreter, the jury heard no testimony
from the victim.
conclusion of the trial, the jury convicted Beamon on all
counts. Beamon filed a motion for new trial, as amended,
contending that he received ineffective assistance of counsel
and that the evidence was insufficient to support his
conviction. The trial court denied the motion. This appeal
Beamon first contends his trial counsel was ineffective for
failing to object to certain remarks made by the prosecutor
in closing argument. We disagree.
prevail on a claim for ineffective assistance of counsel, a
defendant must show both that counsel's performance was
deficient, and that the deficient performance prejudiced the
defendant. Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668,
687-695 (104 S.Ct. 2052, 80 L.Ed.2d 674) (1984).
To meet the first prong of the required test, the defendant
must overcome the strong presumption that counsel's
performance fell within a wide range of reasonable
professional conduct, and that counsel's decisions were
made in the exercise of reasonable professional judgment. The
reasonableness of counsel's conduct is examined from
counsel's perspective at the time of trial and under the
particular circumstances of the case. To meet the second
prong of the test, the defendant must show that there is a
reasonable probability that, absent any unprofessional errors
on counsel's part, the result of [his] trial would have
(Citations and punctuation omitted.) Peterson v.
State, 282 Ga. 286, 290 (4) (647 S.E.2d 592) (2007).
"If an appellant fails to meet his . . . burden of
proving either prong of the Strickland test, the
reviewing court does not have to examine the other
prong." (Citation omitted.) Wright v. State,
291 Ga. 869, 870 (2) (734 S.E.2d 876) (2012). In reviewing
the trial court's ruling on a claim of ineffective
assistance of counsel, we give "deference to the lower
court's factual findings, which are upheld unless clearly
erroneous; the lower court's legal conclusions are
reviewed de novo." (Citation omitted.) Boatright v.
State, 308 Ga.App. 266, 267 (1) (707 S.E.2d 158) (2011).
Bearing these principles in mind, we address Beamon's
claims of ineffective assistance of counsel.
Beamon argues that his trial counsel was ineffective for
failing to object to the State's closing arguments,
during which the prosecutor referenced a photographic lineup
that was not admitted into evidence.
State first referenced the photographic lineup in its opening
statement; however, the lineup was not tendered into evidence
since the clerk did not testify. During closing argument, the
[Defense counsel] went back to my opening and said that
during my opening I showed you a picture and said there was a
lineup shown to a witness, that witness is going to come in
here and identify somebody. And I did. I showed you a picture
of the lineup, a picture of this Defendant, signed by . . .
[the clerk]. You did not see that in the trial. Now, I would
love to argue it, but I have to tell you the rule is you
cannot consider that in your deliberations. What you can
consider is the argument they made that it doesn't exist
and that it's not there. Now, ask yourself, we didn't
hear it from [the clerk], but what did you see in the
courtroom? [The clerk] is a foreign national. English is not
his first language. I don't even know what his legal
citizenship status is. That's probably one of the reasons
he's afraid to talk and come to court. But he comes in
here, tries to take the oath, doesn't understand it, and
when you can't take the oath, you can't testify. When
you can't testify, nothing you would say can be
considered. So I wish we could have had that evidence for
you. It's not as though the State hid something. We
brought the man in here. He just, for some reason today,
whether he was telling the truth that he couldn't speak
or not, because of some cultural thing or worried about being