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Carter v. State

Supreme Court of Georgia

May 20, 2019

CARTER
v.
THE STATE.

          Warren, Justice.

         Jehaziel Carter was convicted of malice murder, financial-transaction card fraud, and other crimes in connection with the shooting death of Eric Chepkuto.[1] On appeal, Carter contends that the evidence was insufficient to sustain his convictions, and in particular that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction for financial-transaction card fraud. For the reasons described below in Division 3, we reverse Carter's conviction for financial-transaction card fraud. But because the evidence was legally sufficient to support the jury's guilty verdicts on the other counts, we affirm Carter's remaining convictions.

         1. Viewed in the light most favorable to the jury's verdicts, the evidence presented at Carter's trial showed that Chepkuto lived with his wife, Katina Stoudemire, in a one-bedroom apartment in Fulton County. Stoudemire worked a night laundry shift at a nearby motel from 11:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. and usually left the apartment at 10:30 p.m. On December 27, 2013, Stoudemire went about this schedule as usual and left for work around 10:30 p.m. Shortly before then, however, Carter texted Chepkuto "Wussuup."[2] Chepkuto did not respond, but Carter texted again at 12:06 a.m. The following texts were exchanged from 12:06 a.m. to 12:30 a.m.:

Carter: "Wana see me tonight"
Carter: "Whatever u want"
Chepkuto: "I want to f**k"
Carter: "Ok…Can you host??"
Chepkuto: "Yeah"
Carter: "What's you address I got the car I'll come now"
Chepkuto: "I got scared by what you were carrying last time."
Carter: "Lol oh na that's my bros I don't have it no more he sold it"
Chepkuto: "Y[ou] sure?"
Carter: "My word"
Chepkuto: "8101 colquitt road. Text me when you get to the ...

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