MCFADDEN, P. J., MCMILLIAN and GOSS, JJ.
bench trial, Dardiquez Smith was convicted of robbery by
force and possession of a firearm during the commission of a
crime. He appeals from his convictions and the denial of his
motion for new trial, arguing that the trial court erred by
admitting certain similar transaction testimony. He also
challenges his conviction under the general grounds. For the
following reasons, we affirm.
in the light most favorable to the verdict,  the evidence
shows that the victim, Koixiong Chen, worked as a delivery
person at Number One Chinese Restaurant. After midnight on
July 9, 2013, Chen received an order to deliver food to 213
Rountree Street in Statesboro. As he arrived at the address,
a man was waiting on the lawn to receive the order. As Chen
leaned into the car to take the food out, another man came
out from behind a trash can, pointed a gun at his head and
demanded that Chen hand over all his money and the food. Chen
replied "You can take it. Don't hit me." The
man then used his gun to hit Chen on his head and neck
several times before taking about a hundred dollars and the
food and then disappearing. Chen testified that during the
robbery, he saw at least three African-American men that
appeared to be about 18-20 years old on the lawn. Chen then
got back into his car, drove away and called 911. He
abandoned that delivery.
testified that he had received an order from the same phone
number about two weeks prior to the robbery. He testified
that the caller requested that he deliver food to an address
on Church Street. As Chen was driving to deliver the food to
the address, he became suspicious because a man appeared to
be hiding behind a trash can near the delivery address.
Holly testified that he was charged with being a party to
armed robbery and possession of a weapon during the
commission of a crime for the same incident. Holly testified
that on the night of the incident he was "hanging
out" with friends, including Jeremy Lonon and Smith, in
the breezeway of an apartment building when Lonon came up
with the idea to rob a Chinese food delivery man. Holly
explained that Smith called in the Chinese food order using
Lonon's phone, and that they requested the delivery to be
at Rountree Street, which was a short walk away from the
apartment building. Holly stated that he went to Rountree
Street and hid behind bushes while the robbery took place.
Smith stopped the car and spoke to the delivery man, while
Lonon held the gun, robbed Chen, and hit him with the gun.
Holly saw Lonon with the gun, the money, and the food in his
hands after the robbery.
Perkins testified that he pled guilty to robbery by force as
a result of the incident. He was childhood friends with all
of the defendants except Lonon. He explained that Lonon came
up with the idea to rob the Chinese food deliveryman, that
Smith made the phone call and approached the driver, and that
Perkins hit the driver. He also said that it was Smith's
idea to plan the robbery.
testified at trial that he had pled guilty to robbery by
force for the robbery. He testified that on July 9th, Smith
asked him if he wanted to try "to rob the Chinese
dude" like "last time." Lonon and Smith then
planned on their strategy to commit the robbery using
Lonon's BB gun. Smith placed the food order and flagged
the deliveryman down so that Lonon could rob him.
Smith argues that the trial court erred in denying his motion
for new trial on the general grounds because the evidence was
sufficiently close to warrant the trial court's exercise
of discretion under OCGA §§ 5-5-20 and 5-5-21 to
order a new trial. We find no error.
grant or denial of a new trial is "within the sound
discretion of the trial court and will not be disturbed if
there is any evidence to authorize it. A trial court may
grant a motion for new trial if, in the exercise of its
discretion, it finds that a . . . verdict was against the
weight of the evidence." (Footnotes omitted.) Taylor
v. State, 259 Ga.App. 457, 460 (2) (576 S.E.2d 916)
(2003). OCGA § 5-5-20 authorizes the trial court to
grant a new trial "[i]n any case when the verdict of the
jury is found contrary to evidence and strongly against the
weight of the evidence and the principles of justicy and
equity[, ]" and OCGA § 5-5-21 empowers the trial
court to grant a new trial "where the verdict may be
decidedly and strongly against the weight of the evidence
even though there may appear to be some slight evidence in
favor of the finding." We note that although "a
bench trial does not involve a jury and, technically, there
is no verdict in a bench trial, a motion for new trial
raising the general grounds is a proper means of seeking
retrial or reexamination in the trial court of that same
court's decision of an issue of fact." (Citations
and punctuation omitted.) Kea v. State, 344 Ga.App.
251, 253 (1) (b) (810 S.E.2d 152) (2018).
this Court does not have the same discretion to grant a
motion for new trial as is granted to the trial court in OCGA
§ 5-5-21. "This Court can only review a lower
court's refusal to grant a motion for new trial under the
standard espoused in Jackson v. Virginia[, 443 U.S.
307 (99 S.Ct. 2781, 61 L.Ed.2d 560) (1979)] to determine if
the evidence, when viewed in the light most favorable to the
prosecution, supports the verdict." (Footnote omitted.)
Taylor, 259 Ga.App. at 460 (2). The record shows
that the trial judge exercised his discretion in denying
Smith's motion for a new trial and that the evidence
authorized the trial court's findings of fact under the
standard set forth in Jackson v. Virginia. Several
co-defendants testified that Smith was a co-conspirator, and
a participant in the robbery of Chen. There was evidence that
Smith placed the telephone call to summon Chen, that he was
the first to confront Chen, and that the robbery was
Smith's idea. See OCGA § 16-2-20 (a) ("Every
person concerned in the commission of a crime is a party
thereto and may be charged with and convicted of commission
of the crime"). This is simply not a case in which
"the evidence preponderates heavily against the
verdict." (Punctuation and footnote omitted.)
Taylor, 259 Ga.App. at 461 (2). Accordingly,
"we find no abuse of discretion in the trial court's
denying the motion for new trial" under the general
grounds. (Citation and punctuation omitted.) Kea,
344 Ga.App. at 254 (1) (b).
Smith argues that the trial court erred in allowing Lonon to
testify regarding the group's prior aborted attempt to
rob Chen. We disagree.
argues that the trial court erred in allowing the State, over
objection, to elicit testimony from Lonon about a prior
incident where the group had planned on robbing a delivery
person from the same Chinese food restaurant. Smith contends
that this testimony was inadmissible, without prior advance
notice, under OCGA § 24-4-404 (b) as a prior bad act.
The State argues that this testimony is not subject to OCGA
§ 24-4-404 (b) analysis, but rather is intrinsic
evidence that is inextricably intertwined with the events at
trial. See Smith v. State, 302 Ga. 717, 725 (4) (808
S.E.2d 661) (2017) ("the limitations and prohibition on
'other acts' evidence set out in OCGA § 24-4-404
(b) do not apply to 'intrinsic evidence'")
(Citation, punctuation and footnote omitted).
the facts and circumstances surrounding the crime for which
the accused is charged are admissible as
"intrinsic" despite the fact that the evidence may
incidentally reflect poorly on the accused's character.
"Evidence is admissible as intrinsic evidence when it is
(1) an uncharged offense arising from the same transaction or
series of transactions as the charged offense; (2) necessary
to complete the story of the crime; or (3) inextricably