Crumbley v. State, S96A0888

CourtSupreme Court of Georgia
Citation478 S.E.2d 132,267 Ga. 354
Docket NumberNo. S96A0888,S96A0888
Parties, 96 FCDR 4294 CRUMBLEY v. The STATE.
Decision Date05 December 1996

Page 132

478 S.E.2d 132
267 Ga. 354, 96 FCDR 4294

No. S96A0888.
Supreme Court of Georgia.
Dec. 5, 1996.

Page 133

[267 Ga. 356] Nancy K. Peterson, Public Defender's Office, Stacy S. Levy, DeKalb County Public Defender, Decatur, for Timothy Crumbley.

John Tom Morgan, III, Dist. Atty., Barbara B. Conroy, Asst. Dist. Atty., Decatur, Michael J. Bowers, Atty. Gen., Department of Law, Atlanta, Robert M. Coker, Thomas S. Clegg, Asst. Dist. Attys., Decatur, Allison Beth Goldberg, Asst. Atty. Gen., Department of Law, Atlanta, for the State.

[267 Ga. 354] FLETCHER, Presiding Justice.

Timothy Crumbley was convicted of felony murder in connection with the burning death of his wife, Merry Christine Sumner. 1 He challenges the state's introduction of prior acts of violence against the victim. Because the prior act evidence was admitted for a proper purpose and the state presented sufficient evidence that Crumbley ignited the fire, we affirm.

1. The evidence presented at trial shows that Sumner died in the [267 Ga. 355] back seat of a car in which she was living with Crumbley. A neighbor testified that she saw Crumbley walking away from the car while the back seat was in small flames and that within six minutes the flames started a rolling motion. Fire fighters testified that water was ineffective in putting out the fire, the fire kept flaring up as they tried to extinguish it, and they needed 500 gallons of water to put out the fire rather than the typical 75 to 100 gallons for a car fire. Fire investigators testified that they eliminated accidental causes of the fire and found evidence of an accelerant in the fire's "pour and run" patterns. Their opinion was that the car was intentionally set on fire with gasoline. The crime lab report found evidence of evaporated gasoline in two soil samples taken next to the car and in clothing taken from the rear seat of the car. After reviewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the jury's determination of guilt, we conclude that a rational trier of fact could have found Crumbley guilty of the crime charged. 2

2. Before introducing evidence of prior difficulties between the victim and the defendant, the state must give notice and the court must hold a hearing under Uniform

Page 134

Superior Court Rule 31. 3 At the hearing, the state must show that there is sufficient evidence that the prior difficulty occurred, the evidence is offered for an appropriate purpose, and there is a...

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1 cases
  • Vega v. State, S09A0023.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Georgia
    • February 9, 2009
    ...v. State, 283 Ga. 126, 129(1), 657 S.E.2d 221 (2008); Funderburk v. State, 276 Ga. 554, 555(1), 580 S.E.2d 234 (2003); Crumbley v. State, 267 Ga. 354(1), 478 S.E.2d 132 2. Vega also contends that he was denied the right to a fair trial because of the State's failure to comply with the disco......

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