Iona v. State

Decision Date05 April 1990
Docket NumberNo. S90A0247,S90A0247
Citation389 S.E.2d 754,260 Ga. 83
PartiesIONA v. The STATE.
CourtGeorgia Supreme Court

John D. McCord, III, Decatur, for Iona.

Robert E. Wilson, Dist. Atty., Barbara B. Conroy, Asst. Dist. Atty., Stone Mountain Judicial Circuit, Decatur, Michael J. Bowers, Atty. Gen., Richard C. Litwin, Atlanta, for the State.

FLETCHER, Justice.

Appellant Elvis Iona appeals his felony murder conviction for the death of Angelique Ortiz. Iona was indicted with one count each of malice murder, burglary, and criminal trespass. Iona plead guilty to criminal trespass, not guilty to burglary, and tendered a plea of guilty of voluntary manslaughter. The trial court did not accept the latter plea. After the jury returned a verdict of guilty of felony murder, the trial court sentenced him to life imprisonment as to Count 1, murder, and to twelve months to serve as to Count 3, criminal trespass. The jury did not return a verdict as to Count 2, burglary. He enumerates five errors. We affirm. 1

1. Although not raised as error, we find that the facts were sufficient to authorize a rational trier of fact to find Iona guilty of felony murder. Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307, 99 S.Ct. 2781, 61 L.Ed.2d 560 (1979). The jury could have found the following facts:

Iona and the deceased had lived together for a period ending in early July 1987, during which time they had a child. After Iona moved out, he continued to pay some of the bills, and they maintained two joint banking accounts. They often argued over Iona's visitation rights with their son. On September 18, 1987, Iona discovered that there was no money in "his" joint account. He left the bank angry and threatened to kill Ortiz. He went to her day-time place of employment and conversed with her. Later that evening, Iona approached Ortiz at her night-time place of employment, a bar. He pushed her up against a wall and spoke angrily to her without provocation. The bar manager had Iona ejected from the premises. During the early morning hours of the next day, Iona went to Ortiz's apartment, beat on the door, and demanded admission. Ortiz told him to leave and told her roommate to call the police. Iona then kicked the door in, grabbed Ortiz, and dragged her out of the apartment by her hair. Ortiz's roommate saw Iona grab a kitchen knife on the way out. Once out in the court yard, another witness saw Ortiz being dragged from the apartment and watched as Iona began to stab Ortiz repeatedly. She received fourteen stab wounds with nine of them potentially life threatening. Neither the witness nor Ortiz's roommate saw a knife in Ortiz's hands. The witness yelled at Iona, and he fled. It was later discovered that the tires of Ortiz's and her roommate's cars had been slashed. Iona was admitted to the hospital for stab wounds to his abdomen shortly before his arrest. There was testimony that Iona's wounds could have been self-inflicted and that he sustained no defense wounds.

2. Iona's first enumeration of error is that the trial court erred in denying his demurrer to the burglary count of the indictment. He contends that his demurrer should have been granted because although the burglary count named the underlying felony, aggravated assault, it did not specify the manner of the assault.

As the demurrer was a special demurrer and as it was not filed until the day of trial, the trial court did not err in its denial. A special demurrer must be filed prior to arraignment, or it will be deemed to have been waived. See McArthur v. State, 169 Ga.App. 263(1), 312 S.E.2d 358 (1983).

3. Iona's next enumeration of error concerns testimony as to a scientific report the State had not furnished him prior to trial pursuant to his written demand. Iona argues that the testimony about the report should have been excluded pursuant to OCGA § 17-7-211(c). The one-sentence report concerned a scientific analysis of a knife found near the victim's body and stated that there was no blood found on the knife.

The trial court did not err. Not only did the trial court recess so as to give Iona's counsel time to review the report and to consult with the witness, but Iona's counsel already knew that the crime lab had found no blood on the knife. Furthermore, the trial court did not admit the written report into evidence. Under the particular facts of this case, the trial court fashioned a sufficient remedy for the State's failure to provide the written report within the time frame set forth in OCGA § 17-7-211. See Law v. State, 251 Ga. 525, 527-28, 307 S.E.2d 904 (1983).

4. Iona's next enumeration of error concerns the court's charge to the jury. As part of the charge, the trial court stated that

insofar as felony murder is concerned, if you find and believe beyond a reasonable doubt that the Defendant committed the homicide alleged in the Bill of Indictment at the time he was engaged in the commission of the felony of burglary or aggravated assault, as previously defined to you, then you would be authorized to convict him of felony murder.

Iona argues...

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9 cases
  • Elmore v. State, S98A0887.
    • United States
    • Georgia Supreme Court
    • June 8, 1998
    ...the trial court gave Elmore a reasonable opportunity to investigate and to interview the State's witnesses. See Iona v. State, 260 Ga. 83, 84(3), 389 S.E.2d 754 (1990); Wilburn v. State, 199 Ga.App. 667, 669(3), 405 S.E.2d 889 (1991). Compare Taylor v. State, 172 Ga.App. 408, 409(2), 323 S.......
  • Smith v. State, A90A2054
    • United States
    • Georgia Court of Appeals
    • February 4, 1991
    ...because they were filed after appellant's arraignment on the original indictment and on the first reindictment. Iona v. State, 260 Ga. 83, 84(2), 389 S.E.2d 754 (1990); Rule 31.1 of the Uniform Rules for the Superior Courts. Moreover, the denial of appellant's special demurrers is clearly a......
  • Palmer v. State
    • United States
    • Georgia Court of Appeals
    • November 9, 2006
    ...State, 277 Ga. 213, 214(2)(a), 586 S.E.2d 639 (2003); Martin v. State, 277 Ga. 227, 228(3), 587 S.E.2d 650 (2003); Iona v. State, 260 Ga. 83, 84(2), 389 S.E.2d 754 (1990). 4. See McIntyre v. Pope, 215 Ga.App. 600, 601, 451 S.E.2d 110 5. (Punctuation omitted.) Nat. Health Network v. Fulton C......
  • Hand v. State
    • United States
    • Georgia Court of Appeals
    • November 9, 1992
    ...test results as soon as they became available, and the report itself was not introduced into evidence. See generally Iona v. State, 260 Ga. 83, 84(3), 389 S.E.2d 754 (1990). Moreover, Hand did not request a continuance or recess and the record reveals that there was an opportunity for him t......
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