495 S.E.2d 34 (Ga. 1998), S97A2012, Wayne v. State

Docket Nº:S97A2012.
Citation:495 S.E.2d 34, 269 Ga. 36
Opinion Judge:THOMPSON, Justice
Party Name:WAYNE v. The STATE.
Attorney:Megan C. DeVorsey, Atlanta, for Willie Mays Wayne., H. Maddox Kilgore, Asst. Atty. Gen., Department of Law, Gina C. Marshall, Asst. Dist. Atty., Cari Kaplan Johanson, Asst. Dist. Atty., Atlanta, for the State. Megan C. DeVorsey, for appellant. Paul L. Howard, District Attorney, Gina C. Marshall,...
Case Date:February 02, 1998
Court:Supreme Court of Georgia
 
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Page 34

495 S.E.2d 34 (Ga. 1998)

269 Ga. 36

WAYNE

v.

The STATE.

No. S97A2012.

Supreme Court of Georgia.

February 2, 1998

Page 35

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 36

[269 Ga. 40] Megan C. DeVorsey, Atlanta, for Willie Mays Wayne.

H. Maddox Kilgore, Asst. Atty. Gen., Department of Law, Gina C. Marshall, Asst. Dist. Atty., Cari Kaplan Johanson, Asst. Dist. Atty., Atlanta, for the State.

THOMPSON, Justice.

Following a jury trial in which Willie Mays Wayne represented himself, he was convicted of malice murder, felony murder (predicated on the underlying felonies of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, aggravated assault, and theft by taking), armed robbery, kidnaping, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, aggravated assault, and theft by taking. 1 On appeal, Wayne primarily asserts that the trial court erred in determining that he knowingly and intelligently waived his right to counsel.

Viewing the evidence in a light favorable to the verdict, we find the following: Wayne knew the victim, Lovell Matthews, and asked him for a ride. Matthews obliged. Later that day, Matthews' girlfriend paged Matthews several times. Each time she did, Wayne answered the page.

The next day, Wayne was seen with Matthews' car, a 1977 Buick. The back seat was bloodied and so was Wayne's shirt. Wayne cleaned the blood from Matthews' car, explaining to a friend that he had been in a fight with the person who owned, and loaned him, the car. Wayne added that he took the owner of the car to the hospital.

Over the course of the next several days, Wayne pawned a gun which belonged to Matthews. He also pawned a gun which, according to a ballistics expert, was probably used to kill Matthews. Then, Wayne left Georgia.

When the police found Matthews' decomposed body, they issued an alert for his car. One month later, the car was located in Michigan. It was being driven by an individual who said he was Wayne's roommate. Wayne was arrested in short order. At that time, he possessed Matthews' birth certificate and social security card, and identified himself as Lovell Matthews.

1. The evidence is sufficient to enable any rational trier of fact to find Wayne guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of the crimes for which [269 Ga. 37] he was convicted. Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307, 99 S.Ct. 2781, 61 L.Ed.2d 560 (1979).

2. Wayne was represented initially by a public defender. Because Wayne made numerous complaints about that attorney and repeatedly asked to represent himself, the trial court permitted the public defender to withdraw and appointed another attorney, Robert F. Coheleach, to represent Wayne. Soon, Wayne complained about Coheleach, too. When Wayne asked to be allowed to proceed pro se, the trial court initially denied his request and advised him to cooperate with Coheleach. When Wayne persisted, the trial court permitted him to proceed pro se, with Coheleach standing by to assist him. Shortly thereafter the trial court reversed

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itself, ruling that Wayne would not be allowed to represent himself, and that Coheleach would be his attorney. Soon, Wayne again expressed dissatisfaction with Coheleach and asked for permission to represent himself. The trial court acceded to Wayne's request and he proceeded to trial without the benefit of counsel.

Wayne asserts the trial court failed to make an appropriate inquiry as to whether he knowingly and intelligently waived his right to counsel. We disagree. The trial court ascertained that Wayne completed the ninth grade, obtained his GED, and attended business school at a university for 18 months. It also ascertained that Wayne was aware that...

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