Haney and Ledarius Jackson appeal from the denial of their
motions for new trial after a jury found them guilty of
malice murder, felony murder, and armed robbery in connection
with the death of Gregory Smith. In Case S19A0351, Haney
argues that the evidence presented against him at trial was
insufficient for the jury to find him guilty beyond a
reasonable doubt as to each of the charged offenses and that
his defense counsel was ineffective for failing to object to
certain opinion and identification testimony offered by two
of the State's witnesses. In Case S19A0352, Jackson
challenges the sufficiency of the evidence presented against
him by the State as to each count of the indictment.
Additionally, he argues that his defense counsel was
ineffective for failing to raise an objection, pursuant to
Bruton v. United States, 391 U.S. 123 (88 S.Ct.
1620, 20 L.Ed.2d 476) (1968), to certain statements made by
State witnesses who recounted statements made by Haney
implicating Jackson in the crime and for failing to object to
the introduction of an audio tape of a conversation between
Jackson and his girlfriend. Finding no merit in any of these
enumerations, we affirm the convictions of both Haney and
Construed in the light most favorable to the verdicts, the
evidence presented at trial showed that Gregory Smith worked
as a manager at a restaurant in Fayetteville. Smith was
dating Katasha Wilson, and the two had an infant daughter. On
the night of June 6, 2015, Smith, who was working an evening
shift, called Wilson around 9:00 p.m. from the restaurant to
let Wilson know he would be working late. Wilson woke up
around 5:00 a.m. on June 7, and she saw that Smith had not
returned to their home. Wilson called Smith's cell phone,
but he did not answer. Wilson then drove to the restaurant
with their daughter, and as she pulled into the parking lot,
she saw that Smith's car lights were on. Wilson saw a
bullet hole through Smith's car window, and she went up
to the car, opened the driver's side door, and saw that
Smith was dead and "slumped to the side." Wilson
called 911. Police responded to the scene, and after talking
with Wilson, officers discovered that Smith's car key
fob, iPhone, iPad, and military knife were missing.
officers who examined the scene discovered one spent shell
casing underneath Smith's car and a second spent shell
casing about ten feet away from the car. One projectile was
found inside Smith's vehicle lodged in the area under the
driver's seat. A second projectile passed through
Smith's torso and was recovered from his right arm during
his autopsy. There was a bullet hole in the glass of the
window on the driver's side of Smith's car, and there
were bullet holes in both the driver's seat and the
pocket of Smith's pants. The projectiles and shell casings
recovered from the scene and from Smith's body during the
autopsy were nine-millimeter Blazer-brand ammunition, and the
crime scene investigator testified that the shell casings
recovered from the scene were consistent with having been
fired from a nine-millimeter Jimenez handgun.
State obtained surveillance videos from the restaurant and
from a different business in an adjacent building. The
restaurant surveillance video showed that Smith left the
front door of the restaurant at 2:51 a.m. and moved toward
the location in the parking lot where his car was later
found. That video also showed a different vehicle, a
Chevrolet sedan, pass behind the restaurant with its
headlights off at approximately 2:56 a.m. Video from the
adjacent building showed the Chevrolet turn its headlights
on, drive through the parking lot, and then turn its
headlights off again. The video also showed a person sitting
in the passenger seat of the Chevrolet with the window down.
The Chevrolet's license plate could not be seen in any of
the surveillance videos. With the assistance of a local
Chevrolet dealer, the police identified the vehicle in the
video as a Chevrolet Malibu.
21, 2015, Haney saw Shakerra Carson at a Father's Day
party Haney's mother, Alicia Paschal, was hosting. Carson
was a friend of Haney's sister, and she had previously
dated Haney. At the party, Haney told Carson that he and his
friend "had went somewhere, and something went wrong
because somebody got shot." Haney elaborated that he and
Jackson went to the restaurant to commit a robbery, and Haney
shot the person they robbed because he "flinched"
and appeared to be trying to get away.
the ongoing investigation of Smith's murder, the
surveillance video taken from the adjacent building was
released to local media on June 24, 2015. Paschal,
Haney's mother, saw the video the next day. She
recognized the car shown in the video and knew that it
belonged to Jackson's girlfriend, Keshunta
Wright.Paschal later told the police that she
recognized Haney as the passenger in the vehicle because of a
distinctive way he slumped down when he sat in a car. Paschal
was familiar with the restaurant where the shooting occurred
because Haney had previously worked there. When Paschal saw
the initial news of the shooting, she attempted to call Haney
and left him a message. She then left another message to say
that there had been a murder at the restaurant where Haney
had worked. Haney called back and was upset, telling Paschal
not to leave messages "like that." According to
Paschal, in a later conversation between the two, Haney
became irate and screamed at Paschal, saying that the message
Paschal left on his phone was "incriminating."
also saw the news report, and she called Paschal to talk to
her about what Haney told Carson about the shooting. Paschal
and Carson decided to talk to police about what they had
learned. Paschal later confronted Haney, asking him "did
you do it?" He replied, "Yeah, Momma." Haney
then told Paschal that they had planned only to rob Smith but
that he shot Smith because Smith flinched. Haney told Paschal
that he and Jackson took Smith's iPhone and destroyed it.
asked Haney if there was anything she needed to be worried
about at her home, and Haney replied, "Nah. Betty is
dead, but the children are living." Paschal understood
that statement to mean that "Betty" was the gun and
that "the children" were the bullets. In his
conversation with Paschal, Haney also mentioned that he was
concerned about Jackson.
days later, Paschal spoke with Jackson. Jackson said that he
did not "do it" but admitted that he and Haney went
to the restaurant together. Jackson said that "it just
went wrong" and that they did not go to kill someone.
Jackson told Paschal that he and Haney had taken a phone from
Smith. Paschal relayed this information to the police. She
also provided police with assorted possessions belonging to
Haney, including a pistol magazine and a box of
nine-millimeter Blazer ammunition. The officer who examined
the materials Paschal provided also found Haney's
employment documentation from the restaurant, old pay stubs,
a trigger guard for a nine-millimeter Jimenez gun, and a
receipt for the gun. Haney's fingerprint was identified
on the Blazer ammunition box.
was also interviewed by the police. She told the police that
Haney confessed to her that he shot Smith and that Jackson
was with him when the shooting occurred.
time of Smith's killing, Jackson did not own a car and
would use Wright's car, which was a 2007 Chevrolet
Malibu. Jackson was arrested on June 25, 2015, at his
workplace. He had driven Wright's car that morning.
Police impounded the car and kept it as evidence.
his arrest, Jackson made a phone call from the jail to
Wright. During the call, Jackson asked Wright what exactly
was on the surveillance video that had been aired on the
local news, and whether the vehicle's license plate was
visible. Wright read portions of a news story about
Smith's killing to Jackson over the phone. Concerning the
video, Jackson said to Wright, "So you know that is your
car," and Wright responded, "Yes, yes." In the
same call, Jackson told Wright that she did not have to let
the police search her home.
trial, an employee of a pawn shop in Jonesboro testified
that, on February 28, 2015, Haney's then-girlfriend,
Letasha Fortson-Coats, bought a Jimenez J.A. nine-millimeter
handgun, a box of Blazer-brand ammunition, and a holster.
Three days later, on March 2, Fortson-Coates returned the
first Jimenez nine-millimeter gun and bought another Jimenez
J.A. nine-millimeter handgun from the pawn shop. Haney was
present with Fortson-Coates when she purchased the first
Jimenez nine-millimeter gun in her name on February 28, and
he was present when she exchanged it for the second Jimenez
nine-millimeter gun on March 2. Fortson-Coates testified at
trial that she bought the gun and ammunition for Haney.
Fortson-Coates did not know what Haney did with the box of
ammunition. She later asked Haney for the gun back, and Haney
refused. Officers from the Fayetteville Police ...