Goodrum v. State, S17A1748

Citation812 S.E.2d 220
Decision Date15 March 2018
Docket NumberS17A1748
Parties GOODRUM v. The STATE.
CourtSupreme Court of Georgia

812 S.E.2d 220



Supreme Court of Georgia.

Decided: March 15, 2018

812 S.E.2d 221

Matthew K. Winchester, Law Offices of Matthew K. Winchester, 1800 Peachtree Street, NW Suite 430, Atlanta, Georgia 30309, for Appellant.

Patricia B. Attaway Burton, Paula Khristian Smith, Christopher M. Carr, Meghan Hobbs Hill, Department of Law, 40 Capitol Square, S.W., Atlanta, Georgia 30334, Monique Lynn Kirby, Edward Andrew Case, Coweta Judicial Circuit District Attorney's Office, Troup County Courthouse Annex 118, Ridley Avenue, LaGrange, Georgia 30240, Peter J. Skandalakis, Prosecuting Attorneys Council of Georgia, 1590 Adamson Parkway 4th Floor, Morrow, Georgia 30260,

Grant, Justice.

Following a jury trial in the Superior Court of Troup County, Georgia, Demario Goodrum was found guilty of felony murder and related offenses in connection with the shooting death of Tarvanisha Boyd. In this appeal, Goodrum argues that the trial court violated his constitutional right to be present at all critical stages of his trial, and that he received ineffective assistance of trial counsel. We affirm.1

812 S.E.2d 222


Viewed in the light most favorable to the verdicts, the evidence showed that, in December 2014, Boyd and Kristal Sinkfield hosted a party at their home. Boyd, Sinkfield, Goodrum, and several others were in the kitchen playing cards when Goodrum and Boyd got into a heated argument. The two exchanged blows, and Sinkfield stepped between them and pushed Goodrum back. According to Goodrum's testimony at trial, the entire group of people then advanced toward him, backing him up against the stove. Goodrum also claimed that he saw someone hand Boyd a gun, but four eyewitnesses testified that neither Boyd nor anyone else in the room besides Goodrum had a gun that night. Goodrum pulled out a 9 millimeter handgun and shot Boyd in the chest; he then ran out of the house, got into his car, and drove away. Later that night, police investigators found several .40 caliber cartridges, a .380 bullet, and a .25 caliber casing in the front yard, and a possible bullet hole in Goodrum's car. Boyd was taken to the hospital, but later died from the gunshot wound to the chest.

Police officer William Jones was responding to Sinkfield's 911 call when he saw Goodrum run a stop sign and crash into an elementary school. Officer Jones stopped and questioned Goodrum, who said he had been at a party with his brother-in-law when "they" started shooting, so he left. When Officer Jones asked who was shooting, Goodrum said he didn't know. Goodrum smelled strongly of alcohol and his speech was slow and slurred.

Although Goodrum does not challenge the sufficiency of the evidence admitted at trial, it is our practice in murder cases to review the record and determine whether the evidence was legally sufficient under the standard set out in Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307, 99 S.Ct. 2781, 61 L.Ed.2d 560 (1979). Having done so, we conclude that the evidence introduced at trial and summarized above was legally sufficient to authorize a rational trier of fact to find beyond a reasonable doubt that Goodrum was guilty of the crimes for which he was convicted. See id. at 319, 99 S.Ct. 2781.


Goodrum contends that his state constitutional right to be present at all critical stages of the trial proceedings was violated when the trial court dismissed one of the trial jurors after a discussion in chambers at which he was not present. But Goodrum acquiesced to his absence from that proceeding.

After closing arguments, the judge told the jury that there would be a "short break" before they received their instructions. The jury and Goodrum then left the courtroom. When the jury and Goodrum returned to the courtroom some time later, the judge explained:

All right, ladies and gentlemen, I know that was a long few minutes that you were in the jury room, but an issue came up while you were out that we had to deal with. And as a result of that issue, it became necessary for me to excuse Mr. Tullis from the jury. So now we're down to 12 jurors. The 12 of you in the box will be the 12 jurors who will be deciding this case.

Goodrum did not express any concern about or objection to what had occurred to his counsel or the court, and the judge then charged the jury.

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