Rae Hopwood was tried by a Telfair County jury and convicted
of murder in connection with the fatal shooting of her
longtime boyfriend, Ernest Bray. Hopwood appeals, contending
that the evidence is legally insufficient to sustain her
conviction and that the trial court erred when it admitted a
statement that she gave to an investigator. Upon our review
of the record and briefs, we find no merit in these claims of
error, and we affirm.
Viewed in the light most favorable to the verdict, the
evidence shows that Hopwood admitted in her statement to an
investigator that she became upset with Bray late in the
evening of September 14, 2012, or early on the morning of
September 15, 2012, told him "I'm going to shoot
your a**," pulled a .22-caliber revolver, pointed it at
Bray, and shot him. A firearms expert testified at trial that
the .22-caliber revolver recovered from the scene had fired
the fatal shot and that there was no chance that the weapon
had been fired accidentally because the revolver had a
"hammer block," which prevented it from firing
unless the trigger was pulled back completely and with
significant force. Hopwood testified at trial that she did
not believe the weapon was loaded when she pointed it at Bray
and, in any event, any firing of the weapon was accidental,
as she did not intend to pull the trigger.
argues that the evidence failed to prove that she intended to
shoot Bray and that the firing of the weapon was not
accidental. But as we have explained time and again, "it
is the role of the jury to resolve conflicts in the evidence
and to determine the credibility of witnesses, and the
resolution of such conflicts adversely to the defendant does
not render the evidence insufficient." Graham v.
State, 301 Ga. 675, 677 (1) (804 S.E.2d 113) (2017)
(citation and punctuation omitted). The jury was free to
disbelieve Hopwood's testimony that the shooting was
unintentional. See id. The evidence presented at trial was
sufficient to authorize a rational trier of fact to find
beyond a reasonable doubt that Hopwood was guilty of murder.
See Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307, 319 (III) (B)
(99 S.Ct. 2781, 61 L.Ed.2d 560) (1979).
Hopwood also argues that the trial court erred when it
admitted the statement she gave to the investigator. She
asserts that the investigator violated her constitutional
rights because he elicited her statement during the early
morning hours following a traumatic event when she was
deprived of sleep, under the influence of alcohol, and in a
state of mental and physical fatigue. We disagree.
agent with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation
("GBI") testified that he asked to speak with
Hopwood in his vehicle around 3:30 a.m. on September 15,
several hours after she claimed to have shot Bray. After
reading her the Miranda warnings, Hopwood agreed to
speak with the agent, and she then admitted to shooting Bray,
as discussed above.
trial court conducted a pretrial hearing pursuant to
Jackson v. Denno, 378 U.S. 368 (84 S.Ct. 1774, 12
L.Ed.2d 908) (1964), to determine the voluntariness and
admissibility of Hopwood's statement. At the hearing, the
GBI agent testified that, while Hopwood was emotional
throughout the interview, she did not appear to be
intoxicated or otherwise unable to voluntarily waive her
rights. After reviewing an audio recording of the interview,
the court determined that Hopwood's statement was
admissible because Hopwood knowingly waived her rights and
that the statement she made thereafter was given freely and
on our review of the record, it does not appear that the
trial court erred by denying the motion to suppress. The
record does not show that Hopwood suffered from any mental
incapacity at the time she made her statement. Her statements
were clear throughout the interview, and even though she
stated she had drunk "some wine" earlier that
evening, she appeared to understand and voluntarily waive her
rights, and she was responsive to the GBI agent's
questioning throughout the interview. See, e.g., Krause
v. State, 286 Ga. 745, 751 (7) (691 S.E.2d 211) (2010)
(concluding that a statement was voluntary despite evidence
that the defendant consumed drugs and drank alcohol before
the interview "and . . . appeared tired and fatigued
when he spoke with the police").
affirmed. All the Justices concur.
 Bray was killed in September 2012. In
November 2012, a Telfair County grand jury indicted Hopwood,
charging her with murder with malice aforethought. Hopwood
was tried in August 2013, and the jury found her guilty. The
trial court sentenced Hopwood to life imprisonment without
the possibility of parole. Hopwood moved for a new trial in
September 2013, and amended her motion in March 2019. After a
hearing, the trial court denied the motion in May 2019.
Hopwood timely appealed, and this case was docketed to the
August 2019 term of this Court and submitted for a decision
on the briefs.
Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S.
436 (86 S.Ct. 1602, 16 L.Ed.2d 694) ...