Superior Court, Spalding County, W. Fletcher Sams, J.
Michael W. Tarleton, for appellant.
D. Coker, District Attorney, Marie G. Broder, E. Morgan
Kendrick, Assistant District Attorneys; Christopher M. Carr,
Attorney General, Patricia B. Attaway Burton, Deputy Attorney
General, Paula K. Smith, Senior Assistant Attorney General,
Matthew M. Youn, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.
Following a jury trial, Kendrick Cheeves was found guilty of
malice murder and various other offenses in connection with
the shooting death of Quinton Henderson. On
appeal, Cheeves contends only that the trial court erred by
failing to charge the jury on involuntary manslaughter. For
the reasons that follow, we affirm.
Viewed in the light most favorable to the jury’s verdict, the
evidence presented at trial reveals that, on April 11, 2014,
Henderson drove to his uncle’s house with Meshari Brown and
Marshall Westmoreland. Several other individuals, including
Nathaniel Wellmaker, also joined the men at Henderson’s
uncle’s house. When Henderson arrived at the house, Cheeves,
a convicted felon, walked up to Henderson’s car. Henderson
got out of his car and spoke to Cheeves. Brown observed that,
although he could not hear what Henderson and Cheeves were
saying to each other, Henderson was not being aggressive when
he initially interacted with Cheeves. Nevertheless, Henderson
and Cheeves began arguing, and Wellmaker [306 Ga. 447]
separated Henderson from the confrontation by pulling him
back to Henderson’s car. But Henderson walked back over to
where Cheeves was standing. Cheeves pulled out a gun and
started waving it around, and he pointed the gun in
Henderson’s face. Henderson continued to argue with Cheeves.
Cheeves then shot Henderson while angrily saying, "F**k
this ni**er. F**k that ni**er." The wounded Henderson
turned and tried to run away from Cheeves, but Cheeves
followed him and continued to fire at him, hitting him at
least six times. Some of the gunshots occurred after
Henderson had already fallen to the ground. Henderson
suffered nine gunshot wounds, including one behind his right
ear and one in his upper back shoulder; he died at the scene.
Cheeves got into a car and fled. When police arrived,
witnesses to the incident informed them that Cheeves had shot
Cheeves has not challenged the sufficiency of the evidence in
this case, it is our customary practice to review the
sufficiency of the evidence in murder cases. See, e.g.,
Wainwright v. State, 305 Ga. 63 (1), 823 S.E.2d 749
(2019). Having done so, we conclude that the evidence
presented at trial was sufficient to authorize a rational
jury to find Cheeves guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of the
crimes of which he was convicted. Jackson v.
Virginia, 443 U.S. 307, 99 S.Ct. 2781, 61 L.Ed.2d 560
his sole enumeration of error, Cheeves contends that the
trial court erred by failing to give his requested jury
instruction on involuntary manslaughter based on reckless
conduct. See OCGA � 16-5-3 (a) (involuntary manslaughter
based on commission of an unlawful act other than a felony)
and OCGA � 16-5-60 (b) (misdemeanor reckless conduct).
the record does not entirely support Cheeves’s contention
that he clearly requested a charge on involuntary
manslaughter, even if we assume from the record that he did
request such a charge, there is no error. "A person
commits the offense of involuntary manslaughter in the
commission of an unlawful act when he causes the death of
another human being without any intention to do so by the
commission of an unlawful act other than a felony
..." (Emphasis supplied.) OCGA � 16-5-3 (a).
[T]he essential elements of the crime of involuntary
manslaughter in the commission of an unlawful act are, first,
intent to commit the unlawful act [other than a felony]; and
secondly, the killing of a human being without having so
intended but as the proximate result of such intended
[306 Ga. 448] (Citation, punctuation, and emphasis omitted.)
Paulhill v. State, 229 Ga. 415, 418 (2) (a), 191
S.E.2d 842 (1972).
the evidence at trial revealed only a killing resulting from
felony aggravated assault with a deadly weapon (see OCGA �
16-5-21 (a) (2)), not a death that proximately resulted from
Cheeves "consciously disregarding a substantial and
unjustifiable risk that his act or omission w[ould] cause
harm or endanger the safety of [Henderson] and [that] the
disregard constitute[d] a gross deviation from the standard
of care which a reasonable person would [have] exercise[d] in