Attaway v. State, 57332

Decision Date24 April 1979
Docket NumberNo. 57332,57332
Citation256 S.E.2d 94,149 Ga.App. 693
PartiesATTAWAY v. The STATE.
CourtGeorgia Court of Appeals

Leon A. Wilson, II, Alva J. Hopkins, III, Folkston, for appellant.

Dewey Hayes, Dist. Atty., M. C. Pritchard, Asst. Dist. Atty., for appellee.


On August 30, 1978, the defendant was indicted for voluntary manslaughter of his wife by the Grand Jury of Charlton County. The indictment alleged that the offense occurred on March 18, 1978. Defendant contends his wife was attempting to kill herself and he tried to intervene. As a result, a pistol accidentally fired, killing his wife.

Defendant filed a motion for change of venue on the grounds that (1) an impartial jury cannot be obtained in Charlton County; and (2) that there was a probability or danger of violence being attempted to be committed on defendant.

An evidentiary hearing was held in October, 1978, in which the defendant called eleven witnesses. The state called no witnesses. Its opposition to the motion consisted only of the cross examination of defendant's witnesses.

The court denied the motion. A certificate of immediate review was issued and this court granted the application for an interlocutory review of this issue.

The evidence shows the following: Charlton County has a population of between 6,000 and 7,000. The alleged victim came from a large family that took an active part in community life and was well-liked. Defendant was the manager of a local garment factory, and during his tenure as manager, discharged about 200 individuals, the result of which made a lot of enemies. The incident which brought about this indictment was a matter of general public discussion throughout the county. Nine of the eleven witnesses who testified, including the defendant, gave the opinion that based on the widespread public discussion of the case that an impartial jury could not be obtained in Charlton County.

One of these was the tax commissioner of Charlton County, a person actively involved politically in the county and dependent upon the good will of the electorate of the county to retain his official position. Notwithstanding the high feeling to which he testified as being prevalent throughout the county, the witness in substance testified that citizens of the county had formed such fixed opinions that either the defendant or the state could not receive a fair trial.

The two other witnesses were the county sheriff and the police chief of Folkston. The sheriff testified that he had been out among the citizens and that he believed that defendant as well as anyone else could receive a fair trial in Charlton County. The chief of police testified that he saw no evidence of hostility toward defendant. Defendant testified that approximately three months prior to the hearing, his deceased wife's brother had threatened to kill defendant, but that since the date of her death (March 18, 1978), he had continued to work in Charlton County. The sheriff testified that in his opinion the defendant would not be placed in danger of being harmed during a trial in Charlton County; however, the sheriff was of the further opinion that in the event of defendant's acquittal that there would be a "good possibility . . . that something could...

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3 cases
  • Claxton Poultry Co., Inc. v. City of Claxton
    • United States
    • Georgia Court of Appeals
    • July 15, 1980
    ...voir dire those persons named on the jury list (Code § 3-207), although such an undertaking is not required. See Attaway v. State, 149 Ga.App. 693, 694, 256 S.E.2d 94 (1979). The judge is also authorized to consider other evidence such as the testimony of public witnesses "in order to throw......
  • Gunn v. State, 35567
    • United States
    • Georgia Supreme Court
    • March 4, 1980
    ...nor do we find that the trial court abused his discretion in not granting the motion. Pierce v. State, supra; Attaway v. State, 149 Ga.App. 693, 694, 256 S.E.2d 94 (1979). Defendant also argues that his change of venue motion should have been granted because due to pretrial publicity he was......
  • McKay v. Consolidated American Ins. Co., Inc., 57284
    • United States
    • Georgia Court of Appeals
    • April 24, 1979

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