Page v. State

Decision Date16 July 1986
Docket NumberNo. 42762,42762
CourtGeorgia Supreme Court
PartiesPAGE v. The STATE.

Jerry C. Gray, Jefferson, for Jerry Homer Page.

Timothy G. Madison, Dist. Atty., Winder, T. David Motes, Asst. Dist. Atty., Michael J. Bowers, Atty. Gen., Eddie Snelling, Jr., Asst. Atty. Gen., for the State.

SMITH, Justice.

Appellant, Jerry Homer Page, was convicted by a jury in Jackson County of two counts of murder and one count of aggravated battery. He was sentenced to death on one murder count. The case is here on direct appeal, for review under the Unified Appeal Procedure, as amended, 252 Ga. A-13 et seq., and for the review of the death sentence required by OCGA § 17-10-35. 1 For reasons which follow, we affirm the convictions, but set aside the death sentence.

Appellant and his wife were in the process of getting a divorce. After a temporary hearing in which Henrietta Page was awarded custody of their two children, she left in an automobile driven by her nephew Terry Howard, accompanied by the two children and her sister Dorothy Ann Howard.

Outside of town, Terry pulled into a driveway to turn around after missing a turn. Appellant, who had followed them out of town, pulled in behind them, blocking them in, and demanded that Henrietta return his children. When she refused, appellant shot her in the head. He also shot Dorothy and Terry Howard, and then fled the scene, leaving the two small children in the car with their fatally wounded mother.

Although his jaw was fractured, Terry managed to drive to a convenience store for help. The two women died.

The evidence, which is essentially undisputed, supports the conviction on two counts of murder and one count of aggravated battery. Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307, 99 S.Ct. 2781, 61 L.Ed.2d 560 (1979).

1. In his eighth enumeration, appellant argues that the trial court failed to instruct the jury that the state had the burden to prove criminal intent beyond a reasonable doubt. We find no error. Although the court did not charge the language of OCGA § 16-2-1 that "[a] 'crime' is a violation of a statute of this state in which there is a joint operation of an act or omission to act and intention or criminal negligence," the court instructed the jury that "[t]he burden of proof is on the state to prove each element of the crime ... beyond a reasonable doubt," and instructed the jury fully on the essential elements of the crimes charged. See Redd v. State, 141 Ga.App. 888(4), 234 S.E.2d 812 (1977).

2. Contrary to appellant's 9th enumeration, the court did not commit reversible error by charging the language of OCGA § 16-5-1(b). Lamb v. Jernigan, 683 F.2d 1332, 1340 (11th Cir.1982). However we note that the present Pattern Jury Instructions suggest charging that "malice may be implied ..." rather than the statutory language that "malice shall be implied ..." (Emphasis supplied.) See also Welch v. State, 254 Ga. 603(5), 331 S.E.2d 573 (1985).

3. Regarding enumeration 10, we find no error in the denial of appellant's motion to change venue, inasmuch as no juror was excused for bias, prejudice, or prior opinion. See Devier v. State, 253 Ga. 604(4), 323 S.E.2d 150 (1984).

4. In his 11th enumeration, appellant complains of the denial of sequestered voir dire. We find no abuse of discretion. Sanborn v. State, 251 Ga. 169(3), 304 S.E.2d 377 (1983).

5. In his 16th and 20th enumerations, appellant complains that attorney Wendy Glassbrenner erroneously was allowed to testify about statements made to her by appellant's wife, over appellant's objection.

Appellant first objected to Glassbrenner's testimony on hearsay grounds as she began to testify about her initial consultation with Mrs. Page. This objection was sustained, and the examination proceeded as follows:

"Q. Don't go into the hearsay that she gave you, but as a result of this initial interview and consultation with Mrs. Henrietta Page, what did you do then, Ms. Glassbrenner?

"A. As a result of my conversation with Mrs. Page, I determined that she needed some immediate relief in order to protect her physical safety as well as her children.

"[Appellant]: If Your Honor please, the witness is not being responsive to the question. The question was: 'What did she do?' Not what she thought.

"[The State]: All right, Your Honor, she was testifying as to her course of conduct, after obtaining the initial interview with Henrietta Page.

"The Court: Ladies and gentlemen, certain evidence is allowed to explain conduct of a witness, and for that purpose only; and I'm allowing this testimony to explain her conduct, and for that reason only."

Appellant's hearsay objection was sustained. Afterwards, the witness, in effect, testified that she had a conversation and that as a result of that conversation she made a determination regarding her future course of conduct. Since the contents of the conversation were not revealed, no hearsay was elicited.

The only other objection interposed to this line of questioning was that the answer was unresponsive. "The mere fact that the answer is unresponsive is not an objection available to the opponent. [Cits.] The objection is only available to the questioner, who may move to strike. [Cit.]" McCormick on Evidence, § 52, p. 113 (fn. 26) (2nd Ed.1972). The court did not err by allowing the testimony over the objection that the answer was unresponsive.

6. In his 14th, 17th, 18th and 19th enumerations, appellant complains of the state's failure to disclose certain matters.

(a) Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83, 83 S.Ct. 1194, 10 L.Ed.2d 215 (1963), was not violated by the state's failure to disclose the report of "Dr. Terry," since the record discloses no such person. If appellant is referring to a report by Dr. Satterfield concerning his examination and treatment of Terry Howard, appellant has not shown that there was such a report, or if there was, that it contained anything exculpatory. See Lariscey v. State, 254 Ga. 241(1), 328 S.E.2d 213 (1985).

(b) We find no merit to the contention that the state erred by refusing to disclose prior convictions of any state's witnesses, inasmuch as appellant has not shown that such convictions existed. See also Lariscey v. State, supra, 328 S.E.2d at 243.

(c) Nor do we find any error in the state's failure to disclose "all items seized from defendant at the time of his arrest." The state contends that it furnished the defense with "a copy of the GBI report ..., scientific reports and everything that was in the state's file that would be relevant at all." The trial court conducted an in-camera inspection of the state's file and found nothing exculpatory, and appellant, despite having been present at the scene of his arrest, has not suggested what items were seized from him or how they might have been exculpatory.

(d) Nor did the state violate Brady by refusing to disclose all statements made by appellant at the time of his arrest, since, apparently, appellant did not make any statements.

7. Prior to trial, the state filed a document entitled "Notice of Intent to Seek Death Penalty," stating that the district attorney "files this his notice" to seek a death sentence based upon the § (b)(2) aggravating circumstance. See OCGA § 17-10-30(b)(2).

Our Code provides that the "statutory instructions as determined by the trial judge to be warranted by the evidence shall be given in charge and in writing for [the jury's] deliberation." OCGA § 17-10-30(c). In this case, the trial judge provided the jury with a copy of the state's notice of intent to seek the death penalty, accompanied by oral instructions that the law requires the trial judge to "include in his instructions to the jury for it to consider ... any ... statutory aggravating circumstances which may be supported by the evidence."

The jury came back with a verdict quoting verbatim the state's notice of intent to seek the death penalty, so that the verdict reads as follows: "We find the following statutory aggravating circumstances: Notice of Intent to Seek Death Penalty Comes now the District Attorney and files this his notice to seek the death penalty pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 17-10-30 and will show the following circumstances: In that the murder...

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9 cases
  • Hall v. State
    • United States
    • Georgia Supreme Court
    • December 3, 1991 sustain a § 17-10-30(b)(7) finding. West v. State, supra. The jury's intent is shown with the requisite clarity. Page v. State, 256 Ga. 191, 194, 345 S.E.2d 600 (1986). The defendant further contends the evidence is not sufficient to support the jury's § 17-10-30(b)(7) finding. Again, we......
  • Perkinson v. State
    • United States
    • Georgia Supreme Court
    • March 14, 2005
    ...Perkinson's jury did not make this finding, and therefore, we vacate this statutory aggravating circumstance. See Page v. State, 256 Ga. 191, 194(7), 345 S.E.2d 600 (1986). Perkinson's death sentence is unaffected because it is supported by the jury's finding of three other statutory aggrav......
  • Lipham v. State, 44868
    • United States
    • Georgia Supreme Court
    • February 12, 1988
    ...disjunctive finding of "torture or depravity of mind." The finding should have been returned in the conjunctive. See Page v. State, 256 Ga. 191, 194, 345 S.E.2d 600 (1986); West v. State, 252 Ga. 156, 162, 313 S.E.2d 67 (1984); Patrick v. State, 247 Ga. 168, 274 S.E.2d 570 (1981). Neverthel......
  • Ward v. State
    • United States
    • Georgia Supreme Court
    • September 13, 1999
    ...charged, including the requisite intent. [Cits.]" Redd v. State, 141 Ga.App. 888(4), 234 S.E.2d 812 (1977). See also Page v. State, 256 Ga. 191(1), 345 S.E.2d 600 (1986). Judgment All the Justices concur. 1. The Butts County grand jury returned a true bill against appellant on March 5, 1998......
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