Dozier was tried by a Gwinnett County jury and convicted of
murder with malice aforethought, armed robbery, and other
crimes in connection with a home invasion that led to the
fatal shooting of Nicolas Jackson. Dozier appeals, claiming
only that the evidence is legally insufficient to sustain his
convictions. Upon our review of the record and briefs, we see
no merit in this claim of error, and we affirm.
in the light most favorable to the verdict, the evidence
shows that Timothy Lamar Johnson assembled a crew to
burglarize Jackson's house in February
2012. According to Johnson,  he recruited
Darrez Chandler, Eddie Green, Anthony Lumpkin, Reco West,
Michael Davis, and Dozier to help with the
burglary. Early in the evening of February 2, the
crew (with the exception of Chandler) traveled in a silver van to
Jackson's house. Along the way, Lumpkin said that he was
going to enter the house by "smash[ing]" the door,
and Dozier replied, "I'm right behind you,
said that, when they arrived, it appeared that the home was
occupied, and Johnson urged the men not to proceed with the
burglary at that time. But Lumpkin, West, Davis, and Dozier
decided to proceed anyway. They exited the van and ran toward
the house. Johnson remained in the van with Green. Lumpkin
kicked down the basement door, and he, West, Davis, and
Dozier went inside. Johnson heard shots from inside the
house, and he called Dozier to find out what had happened.
Eventually, Lumpkin, West, Davis, and Dozier fled the house
and returned to the van. Several of them were carrying
firearms, and Dozier was carrying a black laptop bag. Lumpkin
told Johnson that they had shot someone inside the house.
sister testified that, at the time of the home invasion,
Jackson was in the basement playing video games, and she was
in her room on the third floor watching television. She heard
a noise downstairs, and she went downstairs in time to see
(out the front window of the house) a silver van with a
driver and six passengers, including a man with a black
laptop bag over his shoulder. She called 911, and she later
discovered her brother in his room, which had been ransacked.
Jackson had been shot and later died of his wounds.
officers quickly located the silver van and stopped it,
apprehending Johnson and his crew. The officers recovered
four handguns inside or near the van, including a Kel-Tec
.380-caliber handgun and a Jimenez nine-millimeter pistol.
They also recovered a black laptop bag, which contained
Jackson's laptop. The hands of each of the men in the van
were tested for gunshot residue, and Lumpkin, West, Davis,
and Dozier tested positive. On their way to jail, Johnson
asked Dozier what happened, and Dozier admitted, "Man,
[Lumpkin] shot and I shot." Dozier continued, "I
had to shoot with him," but "I ain't killed
evidence collected at the scene included a shoe print, which
matched the shoes Lumpkin was wearing, just outside the
basement door. In addition, nine-millimeter and .380-caliber
shell casings were found inside and just outside
Jackson's bedroom, and there were six bullet holes in his
bedroom door. Several of these shell casings were linked to
the Kel-Tec handgun, on the grip of which investigators found
Dozier's DNA, and on the magazine of which they found his
thumbprint. A bullet recovered from Jackson's body was
determined to have been fired by the Jimenez pistol.
evidence presented at trial included cell phone records,
which showed that Johnson attempted to call Dozier during the
burglary. In addition, Jackson's mother testified that
the stolen laptop was either upstairs on the third floor or
downstairs in the basement near Jackson's room at the
time of the burglary. And while Dozier was in jail, he placed
a telephone call to his father in which he said that officers
had tested his hands for gunshot residue and that he
"did some shooting."
argues that the evidence was insufficient to sustain his
conviction for armed robbery because the State failed to
prove that he took the laptop "from the person or the
immediate presence" of Jackson. OCGA § 16-8-41 (a).
We disagree. Jackson's mother testified that the laptop
was either in the basement near Jackson's room or
upstairs, and based on the testimony of Jackson's sister,
the jury could have inferred that it was in the basement
(because she only heard a noise downstairs, where the
burglars entered the house and where Jackson's room was
ransacked). Jackson was in the basement at the time-that is
where he was shot-and the place from which the laptop was
taken was under his control. This is sufficient to satisfy
the immediate presence requirement for robbery. See
Benton v. State, 305 Ga. 242, 244-245 (1) (b) (824
S.E.2d 322) (2019) (noting that "the victim's
physical presence at the theft is not required for armed
robbery if what was taken was under his control or his
responsibility and if he was not too far distant")
(citation and punctuation omitted).
also contends that the State did not prove beyond a
reasonable doubt that he had the requisite intent necessary
to sustain a conviction for malice murder. We disagree. The
evidence shows that Dozier and Lumpkin knew that there were
people inside the house when they entered, that they fired
multiple shots through the bedroom door, and that a bullet
from Lumpkin's gun struck and ultimately killed Jackson.
The men proceeded to ransack the room while Jackson laid
dying. A rational trier of fact could have relied on this
evidence to infer malice. See Jones v. State, 303
Ga. 496, 499 (813 S.E.2d 360) (2018) (malice may be inferred
by conduct which demonstrates "such a reckless disregard
for human life as to show an abandoned and malignant
heart") (citation omitted). Moreover, even though the
bullet that killed Jackson came from Lumpkin's gun, and
not Dozier's gun, there is ample evidence that Dozier
shared Lumpkin's criminal intent with respect to Jackson,
and so he properly could be convicted as a party to the crime
of malice murder. See, e.g., Jackson v. State, 303
Ga. 487, 488-489 (1) (813 S.E.2d 372) (2018) ("Even
where it is undisputed that the victim was shot by another
person, every person concerned in the commission of the crime
may be convicted of the crime").
viewed in the light most favorable to the verdict, the
evidence presented at trial was sufficient as a matter of
constitutional due process to authorize a rational jury to
find beyond a reasonable doubt that Dozier was guilty of the
crimes of which he was convicted. Jackson v.
Virginia, 443 U.S. 307, 319 (III) (B) (99 S.Ct. 2781 61
L.Ed.2d 560) (1979).
addition, Dozier argues that the evidence is legally
insufficient as a matter of state law to sustain his
convictions because the only evidence that he was an active
participant in the crimes was the testimony of Johnson, an
accomplice. We disagree. Although the testimony of an
accomplice, without more, is insufficient to sustain a
conviction, it may be sufficient if corroborated by other
evidence. And "sufficient corroborating evidence may be
circumstantial, it may be slight, and it need not of itself
be sufficient to warrant a conviction of the crime
charged." Coley v. State, 305 Ga. 658, 660 (2)
(827 S.E.2d 241) (2019) (citation and punctuation omitted).
That said, the corroborating evidence must be independent of
the accomplice testimony and must directly connect the
defendant with the crime or lead to the inference that he is
guilty. Id. Here, there was sufficient evidence to
corroborate Johnson's testimony, including the gunshot
residue on Dozier's hands, his admission in the call to
his father that he had fired a weapon at the scene, and his
DNA and thumbprint on the Kel-Tec .380-caliber handgun to
which several shell casings from the scene were linked.
affirmed. All ...