Elvine v. State, 16697.

CourtSupreme Court of Georgia
Writing for the CourtWYATT, Justice
Citation205 Ga. 523,54 S.E.2d 626
PartiesELVINE. v. STATE.
Docket NumberNo. 16697.,16697.
Decision Date11 July 1949

205 Ga. 523
54 S.E.2d 626


No. 16697.

Supreme Court of Georgia.

July 11, 1949.

[54 S.E.2d 627]

Error from Superior Court, Laurens County; J. Roy Rowland, Judge.

Nettie Elvine was convicted of murder, her motion for new trial was overruled, and she brings error.

Judgment affirmed.

Nettie Elvine was indicted for the murder of Mrs. B. K. Smith, the indictment charging that the defendant killed the deceased by choking her with her hands. The jury trying the case returned a verdict of guilty with a recommendation of mercy. The defendant's motion for new trial, as amended, was overruled; and to this judgment the defendant excepted.

On the trial, the State's evidence, briefly, disclosed the following. facts: At about 6 p. m. on August 14, 1948, the body of Mrs. B. K. Smith was found lying in her kitchen. There was evidence of a struggle having occurred in the kitchen. A screen door, opening from the kitchen, was damaged. One hinge and a brace on the door had been pulled loose, and the wire had apparently been pulled loose by a heavy pressure applied from inside the kitchen; and on the dust of the screen wire there was a print shaped like a body. Inside the room, a stick of wood was found lying between the sink and the stove, and on the wood there were gray hairs, similar to the hair of the deceased, a 70 year-old woman. Under the sink there was a smear of blood. The deceased was lying, face downward, between a chair and a stove. A cloth was wrapped around her hands, and a blood-stained dishcloth was underneath her mouth. There were bruises and scratches on her hands, and bruises all about her body. On her throat there were deep bruises, the size of fingerprints.

A doctor, who examined the deceased, testified: "I examined the remains of Mrs. B. K. Smith. I considered strangulation to be the cause of her death. She was strangled by choking. There were some marks on her throat. They indicated they had been caused by human hands. * * * I made a thorough examination. When I was through examining her, I gave as my opinion that she was killed by strangulation. * * * The woman was bruised all over her body. * * * There was a bruise on her head. On the forehead. The bruise that I found on her head could have been caused by that lightwood splinter there. I don't believe that it contributed to her death. I found other bruises on her body. Both hands--posterior surface of both hands--was bloodshot. There was evidence of a struggle someway. I said that it could have been a criminal attack based on the bruises I found on the body. That is all, but it was not my opinion then and it is not my opinion now that she was criminally assaulted [referring to the fact that he did not think anyone had had carnal knowledge of the deceased]. I positively swear that she died as a result of being choked by human hands."

On the morning of August 14, 1948, at about 8:15, a daughter of the deceased left the deceased alone at the house. The daughter drove by the home of the defendant, who was living in a tenant house on Mrs. Smith's farm. The defendant was a servant in Mrs. Smith's home. The daughter requested the defendant to go to the home of the deceased to wash some clothing.

The time of death was fixed at approximately 11 a. m. When questioned, the defendant admitted that she had gone to the

[54 S.E.2d 628]

Smith residence and had washed seme clothing there. She stated that she had left the Smith residence at about 11 a. m., and maintained that Mrs. Smith was alive at that time, peeling some apples. She gave the investigating officer a detailed statement as to her activities, the activities of Mrs. Smith, and the activities of the defendant's children on the morning of August 14. Further investigation revealed discrepancies in the defendant's statement, and on further questioning, she admitted that some of her statements had been untrue. The defendant and the members of her family were arrested. They were later released, and about ten days after the homicide the defendant was again arrested, questioned by the sheriff of the county, and then confessed the crime. The sheriff testified: "Nettie made a statement to me at a later date, and at that time she admitted killing Mrs. Smith. I...

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