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Gaston v. State

Supreme Court of Georgia

January 13, 2020

GASTON
v.
THE STATE.

Page 809

         

          Murder. Fulton Superior Court. Before Judge Brasher.

         COUNSEL:

          Ross & Pines, Noah H. Pines, Andrew S. Fleischman, for appellant.

          Paul L. Howard, Jr., District Attorney, Lyndsey H. Rudder, F. McDonald Wakeford, Kevin C. Armstrong, Assistant District Attorneys; Christopher M. Carr, Attorney General, Patricia B. Attaway Burton, Deputy Attorney General, Paula K. Smith, Senior Assistant Attorney General, Matthew D. O'Brien, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

          OPINION

Page 810

          Bethel, Justice.

          In October 2016, a jury found Lerenzo Gaston guilty of felony murder and other crimes in connection with the shooting death of Terrance Walker.[1] Gaston appeals, contending

Page 811

that he received ineffective assistance of trial counsel because counsel (1) did not request a jury charge on justification; (2) did not object to the State's closing argument referencing evidence outside the record; (3) did not object to the admission of a prior consistent statement; and (4) did not introduce evidence that a witness initially denied seeing Gaston shoot Walker. For the reasons stated below, we affirm.

          1. Viewed in the light most favorable to the jury's verdicts, the evidence presented at trial showed that sometime during the fall of 2011, Gaston solicited sex from Maegan Bostic, who was working as a prostitute at the time. Bostic agreed to have sex with Gaston, and the two drove to an apartment complex where some acquaintances lived. When they arrived, the two prepared to engage in intercourse; however, Gaston refused to use a condom, and the act was not consummated. Bostic then demanded Gaston drive her back to the motel from which he had picked her up.

          When they arrived back at the motel, Bostic informed her then-boyfriend, Walker, what had happened. Walker demanded that Gaston pay Bostic for her time. Gaston refused and threatened to "shoot [the] place up," but Bostic told those present that Gaston was unarmed. “ The people at the [motel]” then began shooting at Gaston's vehicle, and Gaston attempted to flee in his vehicle. He wrecked his vehicle in the process and then fled on foot.

          A month or two later, during the afternoon of November 2, 2011, Walker's mother drove him to an apartment complex where Walker's brother was staying. Gaston — who was parked across the street from the apartment complex at the time — followed Walker and his mother[307 Ga. 635] into the complex in a black car. Shortly after Walker got out of his mother's vehicle, Gaston drove back out of the complex. A short time later, while Walker was standing in a grassy area between some apartments, Kimberly Seaborn saw Gaston and another person approach Walker from behind.[2] The pair began shooting at Walker, ultimately shooting him four times — ...


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