robbery, etc. Chattooga Superior Court. Before Judge Graham.
William B. Mills, for appellant.
Herbert E. Franklin, Jr., District Attorney, Rachael H.
Stein, Assistant District Attorney, for appellee.
Judges: REESE, Judge. Miller, P. J., and
Rickman, J., concur.
Chattooga County jury found James Carmichael ("the
Appellant") guilty of armed robbery, robbery, aggravated
assault, possession of methamphetamine, two counts of
possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, three counts of
possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony,
and three counts of possession of a firearm by[353 Ga.App.
65] a convicted felon during the commission of a
crime. The trial court sentenced him as
a recidivist, to serve a life sentence without
the possibility of parole, followed by 45 years in
confinement with no possibility of parole, as well as a
consecutive sentence of 13 more years in confinement.
Appellant seeks review of the denial of his motion for new
trial, arguing that the trial court erred by permitting him
to withdraw his motion to bifurcate the trial, and by
permitting evidence under OCGA � 24-4-404 (b) (“ Rule
404 (b)” ), as well as evidence of his prior
convictions. He also argues that he received ineffective
assistance of counsel when trial counsel withdrew his motion
to bifurcate and failed to object to receiving untimely
notice pursuant to Rule 404 (b). For the reasons set forth
infra, we affirm.
in the light most favorable to the jury's
verdict, the record shows that, Tommy
Wilson, an admitted drug addict, testified that he met the
Appellant on January 22, 2016, through Paige Blalock,
Wilson's drug dealer, when Blalock brought the Appellant
to Wilson's home, where Wilson lived with his cousin, P.
W. Wilson testified that, on that day, Blalock brought
methamphetamine, and Wilson traded his handgun for the drugs.
He also held Blalock's cell phone as collateral because
she did not have enough drugs to cover the cost of the gun.
Three days later, Blalock and the Appellant returned to
Wilson's home and Blalock retrieved her cell phone.
Blalock left the Appellant at Wilson's home, leaving him
with Wilson and P. W., and Wilson noticed that the Appellant
carried the handgun that he (Wilson) had traded to Blalock.
testified that the Appellant was angry that Blalock left him
at Wilson's house, stating, “ [Blalock] left with
the money.” The three men used methamphetamine, and the
Appellant spent the night at Wilson's home. Wilson
testified that, on January 26, the Appellant stated that he
wanted to go shopping for something to drink. Wilson further
testified that, at around 2:00 p.m., he, the Appellant, and
P. W. took Wilson's Dodge Durango and, at the
Appellant's direction, Wilson drove to a back alley
behind TJ's Package Store. Wilson testified that, as he
drove to the store, he saw the Appellant put on pink gloves
and a mask that looked like “ a folded up poncho”
that covered his entire face. According to Wilson, the[353
Ga.App. 66] Appellant exited the truck while wearing
Wilson's hooded camouflage jacket and carrying
Wilson's cell phone and the handgun.
testified that, while the Appellant was in the package store,
Wilson drove around near the store because he “
fear[ed] for [his] life” and the Appellant had told him
“ not to sit [in the alley].” As he continued
driving, Wilson saw the Appellant leave the package store
wearing the mask and pink gloves, and carrying “ two
liquor bottles and a [plastic] bag.” The Appellant got
into Wilson's vehicle, and Wilson drove back to his
residence. Wilson testified that, after arriving at his home,
he did not want the Appellant to come inside, telling him
that “ whatever [the Appellant] was going to do[,] he
was going to have to do it out in the front yard[.]”
The Appellant responded by putting the two liquor bottles on
Wilson's front porch and pointing the handgun at Wilson.
Wilson testified that Blalock drove up and picked up the
Appellant from the front yard. He further testified that he
found his camouflage jacket inside his vehicle. P. W. put the
liquor bottles in a bookbag and “ dumped it [into the
Chattooga River].” In the meantime, Wilson saw that a
picture of his Durango had been “ posted all over
Facebook” by law enforcement. Wilson pled guilty to
being a party to the armed robbery and for drug possession,
and he identified the Appellant at trial as the person he had
dropped off and picked up from the package store.
around 4:00 p.m. on January 26, 2016, while M. D. worked at
TJ's Package Store, a black man wearing a “
solid” face mask, cap, camouflage jacket, and pink
gloves walked into the store with a “ chrome
looking” handgun that he pointed at M. D. The robber
told M. D. to “ open the register.” M. D. put his
hands in the air and told the robber, “ just calm down,
you can have the money[.]” The robber walked around the
counter, and ...