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Motes v. State

Court of Appeals of Georgia, First Division

August 22, 2019

MOTES
v.
THE STATE.

          BARNES, P. J., MERCIER and BROWN, JJ.

          BROWN, JUDGE.

         Dewayne Motes appeals from the denial of his amended motion for new trial following his conviction for aggravated cruelty to animals, criminal damage to property in the second degree, battery, and criminal trespass.[1] In his sole enumeration of error on appeal, Motes contends that because the State failed to prove the amount of damage to the victim's automobile, insufficient evidence supports his conviction for criminal damage to property in the second degree. For the reasons explained below, we disagree and affirm.

On appeal from a criminal conviction, we view the evidence in the light most favorable to the verdict and the defendant no longer enjoys the presumption of innocence. We do not weigh the evidence nor determine witness credibility, but determine only whether the evidence was sufficient for a rational trier of fact to find the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Taliafero v. State, 319 Ga.App. 65, 66 (1) (734 S.E.2d 61) (2012) (citing Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307, 319 (III) (B) (99 S.Ct. 2781, 61 L.Ed.2d 560) (1979)). A jury's verdict will be upheld so long as there is "some competent evidence, even though contradicted, to support each fact necessary to make out the State's case." (Punctuation omitted.) Hartlzer v. State, 332 Ga.App. 674, 676 (1) (774 S.E.2d 738) (2015).

         The State charged Motes with criminal damage to property in the second degree for "intentionally damag[ing the victim's] automobile . . . by shooting into said automobile, said damage exceeding $500.00. . . ." Viewed in the light most favorable to the verdict, the evidence shows that during an altercation between the victim on one side and Motes and his two adult sons on the other, one of Motes' sons approached the victim's automobile, in which the victim's dog was enclosed. The son fired four shots into the automobile, shattering its rear driver-side window, and killed the dog. Photographs admitted into evidence show damage to the window, as well as the deceased dog amidst glass and blood on the back seat. The victim testified as follows regarding the damage to his automobile:

Q. Was there any damage to the car when Matthew shot the dog?
A. The windows were shot out.
Q. Were the windows intact prior to Matthew shooting them?
A. They were.
Q. Do you recall how much it cost to get that car fixed?
A. It was 1600 less than 400, so they cut a check for like 12 and change.

OCGA § 16-7-23 (a) provides that "[a] person commits the offense of criminal damage to property in the second degree when he . . . [i]ntentionally damages any property of another person without his consent and the damage thereto exceeds $500.00." The value of the damage to the property "may be established by several means." Spann v. State, 250 Ga.App. 354, 355 (551 E2d 755) (2001).

For example, a lay witness may give opinion testimony as to such value, subject to stating the factual predicate on which the opinion is based or otherwise showing that he or she had the opportunity to form a reliable opinion. Alternatively, the cost of an item may be sufficient to show the value of damage to everyday items if supported by other evidence showing the before and after ...

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