Curinton v. State

Decision Date25 February 2008
Docket NumberNo. S08A0007.,S08A0007.
PartiesCURINTON v. The STATE.
CourtGeorgia Supreme Court

Patricia Fontaine Angeli, Jonesboro, for Appellant.

Anece Baxter White, Asst. Dist. Atty., Jewel Charmain Scott, Dist. Atty., Thurbert E. Baker, Atty. Gen., David Allan Zisook, Asst. Atty. Gen., for Appellee.

HINES, Justice.

Following the denial of his motion for new trial, Dejuan Valdez Curinton appeals his convictions for felony murder, aggravated assault, and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime in connection with the fatal shooting of Edward Rivers, Jr. His sole challenge is to the sufficiency of the evidence of this guilt of felony murder while in the commission of armed robbery. Finding the challenge to be without merit, we affirm.1

Curinton contends that there was insufficient evidence to support his conviction for felony murder based upon armed robbery, either as principal or as a party to the crime, because the evidence showed his mere presence at the crime scene, and that he was guilty only of aiding and abetting an attempted drug buy. But, that is far from the case.

The evidence construed in favor of the verdicts showed that on July 28, 2004, co-defendant Rico Lucky took Kevin Williams and a friend known as "Link" to an apartment complex in Clayton County. Curinton lived there and the men went to find him because "he knew the guy that had the weed"; Curinton joined Lucky, Williams, and Link. Lucky and Williams stayed behind while Curinton and Link went to the apartment of Edward Rivers, Jr., who was known to sell large quantities of drugs. Rivers was having a sexual relationship with Curinton's girlfriend, and Rivers had commented to Curinton about the relationship in front of a group of people.

Rivers's roommate, Gregory Yarns, was in the bathroom when he heard Curinton and Link knock on the door of the apartment. When Rivers answered the door, Yarns heard a gunshot and then heard the voices of two people, as they were "rumbling through the house." After the intruders left, Yarns found Rivers on the floor; he was breathing but unresponsive. Yarns also found both his and Rivers's wallets missing. After the shooting, Curinton and Link ran from the apartment to Lucky's waiting car and the men drove away.

Rivers received a gunshot wound to the upper left front of his chest. The wound was a "contact gunshot wound," meaning the barrel of the firearm was in contact with the skin or clothing over the skin at the time the trigger was pulled. The bullet pierced Rivers's left lung causing massive hemorrhaging in his chest, which resulted in his death.

Initially, Lucky told the police that while they were in the getaway car, Curinton stated that he shot Rivers. Williams likewise told police that Curinton said that he shot Rivers. Subsequently, Lucky and Williams changed their stories and indicated that Link had shot Rivers. However, Lucky also stated that he used Curinton and Link to do his "dirty work," that he set up the robbery, and that he created the situation by "egging on" the ill will between Curinton and Rivers.

It is true that the evidence that Curinton was the shooter is controverted; however, when reviewing the sufficiency of the evidence, this Court does not re-weigh the evidence or resolve conflicts in testimony, but instead defers to the jury's assessment of the weight and credibility of the evidence. Walker v. State, 282 Ga. 406, 651 S.E.2d 12 (2007). What is more, Curinton did not have to fire the fatal shot in order to be guilty as a principal for the felony murder while in the commission of armed robbery, because felony murder is accomplished when the defendant causes the death of another human being while in the commission of the underlying felony. OCGA § 16-5-1(c).2 And the evidence was that attendant to the shooting of Rivers, both Curinton and Link rummaged through Rivers's residence and took his wallet as well as that of his roommate. An armed robbery is committed even if the perpetrator kills the victim first and then takes the victim's property. Lyons v. State, 282 Ga. 588, 592(1)(n3), 652 S.E.2d 525 (2007); Cross v. State, 271 Ga. 427, 429(1), 520 S.E.2d 457 (1999).

Even assuming arguendo, that Curinton did not directly commit the armed robbery underlying the felony murder charge at issue or the other crimes for which he was convicted, there was...

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19 cases
  • Faulkner v. State
    • United States
    • Georgia Supreme Court
    • May 19, 2014
    ...inferred from his presence, companionship, and conduct before, during, and after the offense was committed. See Curinton v. State, 283 Ga. 226, 228–229, 657 S.E.2d 824 (2008). It therefore appears that “no legally improper statements were made and, accordingly, any objection advanced by tri......
  • Hyden v. State
    • United States
    • Georgia Supreme Court
    • February 28, 2020
    ...but instead defers to the jury’s assessment of the weight and credibility of the evidence." (Citation omitted.) Curinton v. State , 283 Ga. 226, 228, 657 S.E.2d 824 (2008).Viewed in the light most favorable to the verdict, the evidence presented at trial reveals that, on November 6, 2002, C......
  • Hyden v. State
    • United States
    • Georgia Supreme Court
    • February 28, 2020
    ...but instead defers to the jury's assessment of the weight and credibility of the evidence." (Citation omitted.) Curinton v. State , 283 Ga. 226, 228, 657 S.E.2d 824 (2008).Viewed in the light most favorable to the verdict, the evidence presented at trial reveals that, on November 6, 2002, C......
  • Doricien v. State
    • United States
    • Georgia Supreme Court
    • December 21, 2020
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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