Collins v. State, S21A0627, S21A0628, S21A0629

CourtSupreme Court of Georgia
Writing for the CourtWarren, Justice.
Citation864 S.E.2d 85
Parties COLLINS v. The STATE. Burdine v. The State. Love v. The State.
Docket NumberS21A0627, S21A0628, S21A0629
Decision Date05 October 2021

864 S.E.2d 85

COLLINS
v.
The STATE.


Burdine
v.
The State.

Love
v.
The State.

S21A0627, S21A0628, S21A0629

Supreme Court of Georgia.

Decided: October 5, 2021


Brian Steel, The Steel Law Firm, P.C., 1800 Peachtree Street, N.W., Suite 300, Atlanta, Georgia 30309, for Appellant in S21A0627.

Timothy Bryan Lumpkin, The Law Office of T. Bryan Lumpkin, 332 Lawrence Street, Marietta, Georgia 30060, for Appellant in S21A0628.

Herman Maddox Kilgore, Kilgore & Rodgriguez, LLC, 36 Ayers Avenue, Marietta, Georgia 30060, for Appellant in S21A0629

Patricia B. Attaway Burton, Deputy Attorney General, Paula Khristian Smith, Senior Assistant Attorney General, Christopher M. Carr, Attorney General, William C. Enfinger, Assistant Attorney General, Department of Law, 40 Capitol Square, S.W., Atlanta, Georgia 30334, Joyette Marie Holmes, District Attorney, John Richard Edwards, A.D.A., Flynn Duncan Broady, Jr., Cobb County District Attorney's Office, 70 Haynes Street, Marietta, Georgia 30090-9602, for Appellee.

Patricia B. Attaway Burton, Deputy Attorney General, Paula Khristian Smith, Senior Assistant Attorney General, Christopher M. Carr, Attorney General, William C. Enfinger, Assistant Attorney General, Department of Law, 40 Capitol Square, S.W., Atlanta, Georgia 30334, Joyette Marie Holmes, District Attorney, John Richard Edwards, A.D.A., Cobb County District Attorney's Office, 70 Haynes Street, Marietta, Georgia 30090-9602, for Appellee in S21A0629.

Warren, Justice.

864 S.E.2d 90

Jalin Collins, Percy Burdine, and Brandon Love were tried together and convicted of murder and other offenses in connection with the shooting death of Milton Carl Kelley.1 Although the three co-defendants raise different contentions on appeal, their appeals have been consolidated for purposes of issuing an opinion. Burdine contends that the evidence was insufficient to sustain his convictions; that the trial court erred by denying his motion for a separate trial, by improperly modifying a pattern jury instruction, by failing to properly address a question the jury asked during deliberations, and by sentencing him based on an inconsistent verdict; and that his trial counsel provided constitutionally ineffective assistance. Collins contends that the trial court committed plain error by giving the jury an inapplicable instruction on the definition of "accomplice" and that his trial counsel provided constitutionally ineffective assistance.2 Love contends that the trial

864 S.E.2d 91

court erred by denying his request for a jury instruction on voluntary manslaughter. For the reasons explained below, we affirm the convictions in all three cases.

1. Viewed in the light most favorable to the verdicts, the evidence presented at the co-defendants’ trial showed the following.3 Collins and Burdine lived in a three-bedroom duplex apartment, and Love stayed there often, spending several nights at the apartment leading up to April 21, 2012. On that day, Angela Smallwood, Angela Peace, and Michele Black were visiting Sheree Christiansen, who lived in the apartment adjoining Collins and Burdine's apartment. During the afternoon, Black overheard all three co-defendants on the front porch planning to rob someone. At some point on the same day, Black saw Love with a 9-millimeter pistol and Collins with some type of revolver that had been "extended" and looked like a "sawed-off" rifle. That evening, Smallwood and Peace agreed to give Collins and Love a ride in Smallwood's car to purchase some marijuana, and they saw Collins or Love with a handgun. Burdine followed in Collins's pickup truck, giving Collins and Love directions to Kelley's house. Burdine turned "away from" Smallwood's car, Collins and Love directed Smallwood to park on a cul-de-sac with no houses, and Collins and Love exited Smallwood's car. The location where Smallwood parked was about 200 to 300 yards from Kelley's house. Around 10:30 p.m., Kelley's girlfriend heard a loud noise outside their home, went outside to check on Kelley, and found him lying on the garage floor with a gunshot wound to his face.

About 20 minutes after Collins and Love arrived at the cul-de-sac, they ran back to Smallwood's car, breathing heavily and telling her to "go, go, go"; one of them said not to ask any questions. Upon their return to the duplex, Collins and Love first went to Collins and Burdine's side of the duplex and then about 30 minutes later to Christiansen's side. Christiansen saw Collins and Love burning their clothes in the backyard. Black saw the two men place guns in Christiansen's attic. Collins and Love smoked marijuana with Smallwood and Peace. Love later told Smallwood and Peace that he and Collins had shot a man in the face in self-defense, and also told them not to tell the police. Black heard Love say that he thought he had murdered somebody, and Collins became "very angry" and told Love to "shut up."

When police officers responded to the 911 call from Kelley's girlfriend, they discovered that Kelley was dead. The medical examiner testified that the cause of Kelley's death was a gunshot wound to his left-eye region from a very close range, about seven inches away. Officers found a 9-millimeter shell casing in the garage, but no firearms around the body or in the house. According to Kelley's girlfriend and son, Kelley was opposed to firearms and never owned or possessed any. Although Kelley repaired cars and worked as a landscaper, he also sold marijuana to "older people" he knew and to Burdine. But Kelley began to ignore Burdine's attempts to contact him, and their relationship had soured.

The day after the shooting, Love used Christiansen's phone to call his mother in Chicago and tell her that he needed money to get to Chicago because he thought he had killed someone. Black and Christiansen spoke with Kelley's son and realized that Kelley was probably the murder victim Love had talked about. Black and Christiansen then spoke with law enforcement officers and were able to give them information about the shooting that had not been made public yet. Police officers executed a search warrant and found marijuana in Collins and Burdine's apartment.

864 S.E.2d 92

Detectives interviewed all three co-defendants, beginning with Collins, who at first denied—but later admitted—that he had a cell phone and confirmed the number. Collins denied any involvement in Kelley's murder and said that he had been at home all day, went to his girlfriend's house that evening, and stayed there for the rest of the night. Burdine also denied any involvement in the murder, saying that he had been home all day and night, although he may have gone to a nearby drugstore at some point. Burdine admitted that he occasionally purchased marijuana from Kelley, and that he called and texted Kelley for that purpose on April 21, but that Kelley responded that he had company and it "wasn't going to work out." Burdine also claimed that he tried to contact Kelley the next morning by text.

Cell phone logs and records showed that one of the last calls on Kelley's phone was from Burdine's phone at 10:05 p.m. on the night of Kelley's murder and that, contrary to Burdine's statement, Burdine did not call or text Kelley's phone the next morning. However, records showed that all text messages on Burdine's cell phone from the week preceding the murder through April 21 had been deleted. Cell phone location data showed that both Collins's and Burdine's phones moved towards the area of Kelley's house shortly before the murder and back to the area of the duplex after the murder. During the 10:05 p.m. call from Burdine's phone to Kelley's phone and a call from Collins's phone to Burdine's phone right after that, both Collins's and Burdine's phones were signaling off a cell tower near Kelley's house, and Collins's phone continued to signal off that tower as he sent text messages to his girlfriend from 9:56 p.m. to 10:27 p.m. that night. Records also showed that Collins and his girlfriend sent 63 text messages to each other between 8:00 p.m. on April 21 and 3:00 a.m. on April 22, and Collins's girlfriend later admitted that Collins would not have texted her so many times if he had been with her that night.

Love also initially denied any involvement in the murder, telling detectives that he had been with Black at Christiansen's apartment on the evening of the murder and all the rest of that night. When Love was told that there were surveillance cameras outside Kelley's house and that Smallwood had told detectives "what happened that night," Love admitted that he had a "pirate gun" that was long with a small scope, and he also mentioned a 9-millimeter pistol. Love claimed that he discarded the "pirate gun" in a yard before walking from Smallwood's car to Kelley's house for what was "supposed to be a drug deal, and at some point ... turned into a robbery" because Kelley had cash or marijuana, and that the "two Angies" did not know what was going to happen. Love also claimed that he "blacked out" as he approached Kelley's house, but he recalled seeing either a quarter pound or half pound of marijuana back at the duplex after leaving Kelley's house.

At trial, Love testified that he had lied about "blacking out"; that Burdine was going to buy marijuana from Kelley but did not do so because Kelley told him he had company; that Love and Collins decided to...

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6 practice notes
  • Cook v. State, S21A1270
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Georgia
    • March 15, 2022
    ...that is governed by Taylor or offers a compelling reason to reconsider Taylor or its progeny. See Collins v. State, 312 Ga. 727, 735 (864 S.E.2d 85) (2021) (appellant "does not offer any compelling reason to abandon precedent that has been a settled part of our law for 35 years, is straight......
  • Cook v. State, S21A1270
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Georgia
    • March 15, 2022
    ...that is governed by Taylor or offers a compelling reason to reconsider Taylor or its progeny. See Collins v. State , 312 Ga. 727, 864 S.E.2d 85 (2021) (appellant "does not offer any compelling reason to abandon precedent that has been a settled part of our law for 35 years, is straightforwa......
  • Terrell v. State, S21A0942
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Georgia
    • February 1, 2022
    ...way considering all the circumstances and in the light of prevailing professional norms." Collins v. State , ––– Ga. ––––, –––– (8), 864 S.E.2d 85 (2021) (citation and punctuation omitted). This showing "requires a defendant to overcome the strong presumption that trial counsel's performanc......
  • Terrell v. State, S21A0942
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Georgia
    • February 1, 2022
    ...way 25 considering all the circumstances and in the light of prevailing professional norms." Collins v. State, ____ Ga.____, ____ (8) (864 S.E.2d 85) (2021) (citation and punctuation omitted). This showing "requires a defendant to overcome the strong presumption that trial counsel's perform......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
6 cases
  • Cook v. State, S21A1270
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Georgia
    • March 15, 2022
    ...that is governed by Taylor or offers a compelling reason to reconsider Taylor or its progeny. See Collins v. State, 312 Ga. 727, 735 (864 S.E.2d 85) (2021) (appellant "does not offer any compelling reason to abandon precedent that has been a settled part of our law for 35 years, is straight......
  • Cook v. State, S21A1270
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Georgia
    • March 15, 2022
    ...that is governed by Taylor or offers a compelling reason to reconsider Taylor or its progeny. See Collins v. State , 312 Ga. 727, 864 S.E.2d 85 (2021) (appellant "does not offer any compelling reason to abandon precedent that has been a settled part of our law for 35 years, is straightforwa......
  • Terrell v. State, S21A0942
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Georgia
    • February 1, 2022
    ...way considering all the circumstances and in the light of prevailing professional norms." Collins v. State , ––– Ga. ––––, –––– (8), 864 S.E.2d 85 (2021) (citation and punctuation omitted). This showing "requires a defendant to overcome the strong presumption that trial counsel's performanc......
  • Terrell v. State, S21A0942
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Georgia
    • February 1, 2022
    ...way 25 considering all the circumstances and in the light of prevailing professional norms." Collins v. State, ____ Ga.____, ____ (8) (864 S.E.2d 85) (2021) (citation and punctuation omitted). This showing "requires a defendant to overcome the strong presumption that trial counsel's perform......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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