Reconsideration denied February 10, 2020.
Murder. Dougherty Superior Court. Before Judge Lockette.
N. Finkelstein, for appellant (case no. S19A1493).
& Smith, Gregory D. Smith, for appellant (case no. S19A1494).
Gregory W. Edwards, District Attorney; Christopher M. Carr,
Attorney General, Patricia B. Attaway Burton, Deputy Attorney
General, Paula K. Smith, Senior Assistant Attorney General,
Matthew B. Crowder, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.
Dougherty County jury found Louis Floyd, Jr., and Tara Lee
Harrell guilty of murder and other offenses in connection
with the death of William Jackson. Floyd and
Harrell now appeal. Floyd argues that the trial court erred
by not granting his motion to sever the trial and by failing
to charge the jury on justification. He also claims that his
trial counsel provided ineffective assistance. Harrell argues
only that the evidence presented by the State against her was
insufficient to support the verdicts and that the trial court
should have granted her motion for directed verdict. Finding
no error, we affirm.
evidence presented at trial showed the following. Floyd and
Harrell lived together for two years beginning in September
2011, during which time they were in a romantic relationship.
Floyd is a black male, and Harrell is a white female.
Harrell also had a relationship with William Jackson, whom
she and others knew as "TV Man." Harrell
and Jackson met in 2011 while Harrell's sister, Donna
Timbes, was living at the Dollar Inn in Dougherty County.
Jackson also lived at the Dollar Inn. Harrell and Jackson had
a sexual relationship, and they had a child together who was
born in early 2013.
relationship between Floyd and Harrell became strained and
sometimes violent after Floyd learned that Harrell had
started seeing Jackson. Floyd and Harrell had daily arguments
about Harrell's relationship with Jackson, which were
sometimes observed by others. They also argued because Floyd
had begun sleeping with Timbes. Harrell would regularly go to
the Dollar Inn to see Jackson after she and Floyd argued.
Jessica Arnold testified that she spoke with Floyd and
Harrell at the gas station where Arnold worked. When Harrell
mentioned Jackson in the context of being the father of
Harrell's child, Floyd began to get angry and told
Harrell that if he ever caught her around Jackson again, he
would kill Jackson.
Another friend, Brandi Luke, testified that she had also been
around Floyd and Harrell several times when Jackson came up
in conversation. Luke testified that, through those
conversations (which occurred while Harrell was pregnant),
she learned that Floyd did not like Jackson because Jackson
might have been the father of Harrell's child. Luke
testified that Floyd spoke very badly about Jackson, and that
Floyd “ let it be known very clearly” on multiple
occasions that if Harrell went to see Jackson, there would be
also testified that Floyd and Jackson did not get along, and
that Floyd said that he did not like Jackson because Jackson
was seeing Harrell. Timbes testified about an incident in
2011 in which police were called to Floyd's house after
he and Harrell got in an argument and punched each other when
Floyd refused to take Harrell to the Dollar Inn. Timbes also
testified that she had previously heard Floyd tell Harrell
that if he ever saw her with Jackson again, he was going to
Another sister of Harrell, Stephanie, testified that Floyd
sometimes came to her house with Harrell. Stephanie testified
that Floyd would regularly bring up Jackson in conversation
and say that Floyd wanted to kill Jackson for getting Harrell
Harrell testified that, on August 14, 2013, she drove herself
and Floyd to the Dollar Inn to meet someone called “
Georgia Boy” to buy drugs and alcohol. Harrell parked
the car behind the building near a laundry room.
they realized that Georgia Boy was not in his room, Harrell
and Floyd walked to the front of the Dollar Inn and saw
Shelby Royal (who was in a relationship with Timbes,
Harrell's sister) and Carl Grant standing near a
dumpster. Harrell said to Royal, “ Have you heard what
your girlfriend has been doing?” This angered Floyd
because it was apparently in reference to Timbes trying to
sleep with[307 Ga. 791] Floyd. Floyd knocked a drink from
Harrell's hand and pushed her down because he thought she
was trying to sleep with Royal. Floyd then waved a knife at
Royal and Grant and threatened to kill them,
after which Grant left and walked to his room on the corner
of the Dollar Inn.
and Harrell walked back to their car. A man who had been
sitting inside the laundry room heard some loud talking, came
outside, and saw Floyd and Harrell standing outside their
car. When he asked them to be quiet, Floyd told Harrell,
“ Come on, b****. Let's go. Shut up and get in the
f***ing car.” They got back in the car, and Harrell
began to drive away. According to Harrell, Floyd then hit her
in the face, causing her nose to bleed. She stopped the car,
parked in front of the Dollar Inn, and got out. Seeing that
Jackson's door was open, Harrell ran into Jackson's
room so that she could use his bathroom.
According to Harrell, Jackson was sitting on a chair inside
the room repairing an electronic device. Harrell told him she
needed some tissue because Floyd had hit her, and Jackson let
her go to his bathroom where Harrell began washing her hands.
As Harrell moved back toward the door, Floyd ran in and said,
“ B****, what you in here for?” Harrell attempted
to pull Floyd out of the room as he and Jackson began to
fight, but Floyd pushed Harrell through the door of the room
out onto the sidewalk. Outside, Harrell called out for help.
Floyd and Jackson continued to “ wrestle” inside
the room, and Jackson tried to force Floyd out of the room.
Their struggle continued against one of the walls of the
room, and Harrell then saw Floyd stab Jackson in the ...