214 S.E.2d 365 (Ga. 1975), 29419, Prevatte v. State

Docket Nº:29419, 29420.
Citation:214 S.E.2d 365, 233 Ga. 929
Opinion Judge:HALL, Justice.
Party Name:Ted Anthony PREVATTE v. The STATE. William Bill JORDAN v. The STATE.
Attorney:[233 Ga. 933] Bishop & Sexton, Fred A. Bishop, Jr., Lawrenceville, E. L. Owens, Norcross, for appellants. Bryant Huff, Dist. Atty., Dawson Jackson, Asst. Dist. Atty., Lawrenceville, Arthur K. Bolton, Atty. Gen., Lois F. Oakley, Atlanta, for appellee.
Case Date:February 25, 1975
Court:Supreme Court of Georgia

Page 365

214 S.E.2d 365 (Ga. 1975)

233 Ga. 929

Ted Anthony PREVATTE

v.

The STATE.

William Bill JORDAN

v.

The STATE.

Nos. 29419, 29420.

Supreme Court of Georgia.

February 25, 1975

Rehearing Denied March 12, 1975.

[233 Ga. 933] Bishop & Sexton, Fred A. Bishop, Jr., Lawrenceville, E. L. Owens, Norcross, for appellants.

Bryant Huff, Dist. Atty., Dawson Jackson, Asst. Dist. Atty., Lawrenceville, Arthur K. Bolton, Atty. Gen., Lois F. Oakley, Atlanta, for appellee.

Syllabus Opinion by the Court

HALL, Justice.

Appellants were charged in two counts with the March 6, 1974, armed robbery and

Page 366

murder of James Addison Rouse, Jr. At separate trials, both were convicted and sentenced to death on each count.

The victim, Rouse, was an assistant principal of East Atlanta High School. On the day of the murder, Wednesday, March 6, he drove to work in his 1973 blue Toyota station wagon, wearing a wristwatch and carrying a grey briefcase. Though he telephoned his wife at about 8:00 p.m. that evening, he was last seen alive at about 7:30 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Motel located at the Suwanee exit from interstate highway I-85. He was identified by the bar manager of the Inn, who testified that Rouse left the bar near the time appellants entered. Appellants were also identified by the bar manager, who recognized Jordan by his 'teased hair' and Prevatte by the mole on his face.

Appellants were arrested together on Thursday afternoon, March 7, by sheriff's deputies in Anson County, North Carolina, after a high speed chase during which appellants fired upon the deputies and threw a sawed-off shotgun from their vehicle. They were driving Rouse's blue Toyota and in the car was Rouse's briefcase, a polaroid camera, two polaroid pictures (one of each appellant holding the sawed-off shotgun and a pistol in front of Rouse's automobile), two black bags and other shotgun shells. Jordan was wearing Rouse's watch. Appellants explained the photographs as 'just clowning around' and as a 'souvenir.'

Rouse's body was discovered on the following Saturday afternoon, March 9, 1974, at a lake in Gwinnett County, Georgia, about one and one-half miles from the Holiday Inn. An autopsy revealed 'a close range shotgun wound to the back of the head which completely disintegrated the head,' causing his death at a time approximately between 9:00 and 10:00 p.m., March 6th. A shotgun shell, found 14 feet from the body, was identified [233 Ga. 930] as having been fired from the sawed-off shotgun earlier found in the possession of Prevatte and Jordan.

Each testified for the other at his trial, both testifying that they knew nothing of the killing and had merely found Rouse's automobile abandoned in Atlanta, stolen it, and driven to North Carolina where they were apprehended.

Following their convictions and sentences to death, appellants bring this consolidated appeal.

1. Appellants' enumeration of error on the general grounds is without merit considering the evidence recited above, which we hold adequate to convict them of murder and armed robbery.'

2. It was not error to admit in evidence photographs of the victim showing wounds inflicted upon him and his condition at the scene where his body was found. Lingerfelt v. State, 231 Ga. 354, 201 S.E.2d 445; Henderson v. State, 227 Ga. 68, 79, 179 S.E.2d 76. Also there was no error in allowing this evidence to be taken into the jury room and to remain with the jury during its deliberation. Walker v. State, 216 Ga. 15, 114 S.E.2d 431.

3. The trial court did not abuse its discretion in Jordan's case by allowing a state's witness (Detective Bishop) to remain in the courtroom following the sequestration of all other witnesses. McNeal v. State, 228 Ga. 633, 187 S.E.2d 271.

4. The attack upon the constitutionality of the 1973 death penalty procedure (Ga.L.1973, p. 159) is without merit. McCorquodale v. State, 233 Ga. 369, 211 S.E.2d 577; Floyd v. State, 233 Ga. 280, 210 S.E.2d 810; Eberheart v. State, 232 Ga. 247, 206 S.E.2d 12; House v. State, 232 Ga. 140, 205 S.E.2d 217; ...

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