[Copyrighted Material Omitted]
Court, Cobb County, A. Gregory Poole, Judge
Wyatt, M. Joel Bergstrom, for appellant.
Melvin, District Attorney, Michael S. Carlson, John R.
Edwards, Assistant District Attorneys; Christopher M. Carr,
Attorney General, Paula K. Smith, Senior Assistant Attorney
General, Scott O. Teague, Assistant Attorney General, for
Appellant Casey Collins was convicted of malice murder and
other crimes in connection with the strangling death of his
78-year-old grandfather, Edward Ronald Smith. On appeal, he
contends that his trial counsel provided ineffective
assistance by failing to investigate and present evidence
that he was sexually abused by Smith and by failing to
withdraw as counsel after Appellant filed a bar complaint
alleging ethical violations. We conclude that these
contentions are meritless, so we affirm.
Viewed in the light most favorable to the jury’s verdicts,
the evidence presented at trial showed the following. Smith
was a drug dealer who ran a prescription pill scheme. As part
of the scheme, he would take Appellant and other family
members to different doctors to obtain prescriptions for pain
medicine. Smith would then give the family member half of the
prescribed pills and keep the remaining half to sell.
Appellant and his girlfriend, Sarah Cook, were addicted to
opiates and would often dissolve the pills in water and
inject the resulting solution. They also bought pills from
Smith almost daily for about $20 per pill, and Smith would
occasionally "front" them pills when they did not
have enough money. Appellant and Cook lived together in her
grandmother’s house on Kemolay Road in Mableton.
2, 2013, the couple woke up "dope sick,"
experiencing withdrawal symptoms and in need of another pill.
They called Smith [306 Ga. 465] to ask for more pills. When
he arrived at the house, he refused to front Cook any pills
because she already owed him about $700. Cook then took her
grandmother’s bank card, and Smith drove Appellant and Cook
to an ATM, but the bank account was empty.
When they returned home, the couple begged Smith to front
them some pills. He refused, which made them angry. Appellant
and Cook went inside while Smith waited in his pickup truck
in the carport. Appellant told Cook to ask Smith one more
time to front them pills; if Smith refused, they would rob
him. Appellant gave Cook a pocketknife and told her that he
"had [her] back" and that "I want to f* *king
kill him." Cook understood that Appellant would give her
a signal and then she was to start stabbing Smith.
they walked outside, Smith was still sitting in the driver’s
seat of his truck. Cook got in the passenger’s seat, and
Appellant stood beside the open driver’s side door. Cook
again asked Smith to front them some pills, and Smith again
refused. Cook looked at Appellant, who gave her a nod; she
then began stabbing Smith in the chest with the pocketknife.
Smith tried to defend himself, but Appellant took his belt
off, wrapped it around Smith’s neck, and twisted the belt as
he pulled it tight, strangling Smith for two to four minutes
until Smith died. Appellant then took Smith’s wallet and
pills, shoved his body behind the truck’s seats, and covered
it with the built-in tarp.
Appellant and Cook drove the truck around town for the rest
of the day, injecting dissolved pills and spending about
$1,000 that they found in Smith’s wallet at two gas stations,
a Walmart, two Targets, and a GameStop. Around 8:20 p.m., the
couple abandoned the truck in a condominium complex, ...