Robbins v. State

Decision Date04 May 1998
Docket NumberNo. S98A0310.,S98A0310.
Citation269 Ga. 500,499 S.E.2d 323
PartiesROBBINS v. The STATE.
CourtGeorgia Supreme Court

OPINION TEXT STARTS HERE

Robert Lawrence Persse, Springfield, for Willie Robbins.

Rene Joseph Martin, III, Dist. Atty., Deborah Lynn Gale, Asst. Atty. Gen., Paula K. Smith, Senior Asst. Atty. Gen., Department of Law, Atlanta, for the State.

HINES, Justice.

Willie Robbins appeals his convictions for malice murder, burglary, and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.1 For the reasons which follow, we affirm.

Viewed in favor of the verdict, the evidence showed that Robbins and the victim, Raymond Brown, were both dating a woman named Herrington. On the afternoon of September 11, 1995, Robbins physically attacked Brown as Brown was leaving Herrington's home, and followed Brown after Herrington broke up the altercation. Herrington then went to her aunt's home where Robbins physically attacked Herrington. Robbins then followed Herrington to work, and physically attacked her there; that altercation ended before 3:30 p.m., the time at which Herrington was to report for work. At about 3:45 p.m., while Brown was trimming the hedges in his yard, Robbins was seen driving his car into Brown's driveway and "jumping" out of his car. At about 6:00 p.m., Robbins was seen at Herrington's house apparently looking for something in his car and placing something in Herrington's car. He was also observed looking at his clothes and hands.

Robbins was then seen at about midnight at Herrington's workplace, when her shift ended. He confronted Herrington's co-workers in an attempt to locate her and one of the coworkers noticed a silver .44 caliber pistol in Herrington's car, which Robbins was driving. Robbins later found Herrington at her aunt's home and persuaded Herrington to return to her home with him. He spent the night there despite being told to leave. At about 9:00 a.m. on the morning of September 12, the police removed Robbins from Herrington's home and forced him to return his keys to Herrington's house and car.

Later that morning, Brown was found dead in his home. He had been hit in the head with a blunt object, shot twice in the head from close range, and had been shot in the arm and the neck. There was a trail of blood leading from the yard into Brown's house and blood splatters in the hall. A hedge trimmer was found in the yard where Brown was last seen with Robbins. A .44 caliber magnum bullet unspent cartridge of CCI brand was found in the victim's yard, a.44 caliber magnum spent bullet that was of design used by the CCI brand was found in the victim's forearm, and another bullet fired from the same gun was lodged in the kitchen wall. CCI brand .44 caliber magnum cartridges were also discovered in two cars Robbins owned. Robbins had purchased a FIE brand .44 caliber magnum pistol from a pawn shop in May, 1989. The marks on the bullets recovered from the crime scene were consistent with the type of marks made by FIE brand .44 caliber magnum pistols, although no specific murder weapon was identified. A tee-shirt owned by Robbins had a blood stain matched to the victim's blood.

Robbins made a statement to investigators in which he admitted going to Brown's home and fighting with him, but he claimed that this was before he had confronted Herrington at her aunt's home and before he had followed her to work. A State's witness saw Robbins leave his car at Brown's home at approximately 3:45 p.m., fifteen or twenty minutes after Robbins had confronted Herrington at her workplace. Other witnesses testified Brown had been at their place of business from 2:30 p.m. to 3:15 p.m. and that he showed no evidence of having been in an altercation.

1. Robbins argues that the evidence was insufficient to support the convictions for murder and burglary, and therefore insufficient to support the conviction for possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony. He contends the evidence was entirely circumstantial and failed to exclude all reasonable hypotheses save that of his guilt. OCGA § 24-4-6. However, questions as to the reasonableness of hypotheses are generally to be decided by the jury which heard the evidence and where the jury is authorized to find that the evidence, though circumstantial, was sufficient to exclude every reasonable hypothesis save that of guilt, that finding will not be disturbed unless the verdict of guilty is insupportable as a matter of law. Roper v. State, 263 Ga. 201(1), 429 S.E.2d 668 (1993).

Robbins specifically argues that burglary cannot be shown because there is no evidence that he entered or remained in Brown's home with the intent to murder Brown, and that Brown could just as easily have been shot outside and crawled inside. However, the nature of the wounds, the position of the body, and the presence of a spent bullet lodged in an interior wall allowed the...

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54 cases
  • Lebis v. State
    • United States
    • Georgia Supreme Court
    • December 11, 2017
    ...and ... that finding will not be disturbed unless the verdict of guilty is unsupportable as a matter of law." Robbins v. State , 269 Ga. 500, 501 (1), 499 S.E.2d 323 (1998) ; see also Dixon v. State , 298 Ga. 200, 202 (1), 779 S.E.2d 290 (2015). In other words,whether the evidence shows som......
  • Givens v. State
    • United States
    • Georgia Supreme Court
    • May 7, 2001
    ...guilt, that finding will not be disturbed unless the verdict of guilty is insupportable as a matter of law. [Cit.] Robbins v. State, 269 Ga. 500, 501(1), 499 S.E.2d 323 (1998). Appellant also complains that Gardner, who was the key State's witness, had felony convictions and that there were......
  • London v. State
    • United States
    • Georgia Supreme Court
    • July 16, 2001
    ...that of guilt, that finding will not be disturbed unless the verdict of guilty is insupportable as a matter of law. Robbins v. State, 269 Ga. 500(1), 499 S.E.2d 323 (1998). We conclude that the evidence was sufficient to authorize a rational trier of fact to find appellant guilty of the cri......
  • Hightower v. The State.Johnson, S10A0383
    • United States
    • Georgia Supreme Court
    • July 14, 2010
    ...of guilt, that finding will not be disturbed unless the verdict of guilty is insupportable as a matter of law. [Cit.] Robbins v. State, 269 Ga. 500, 501(1), 499 S.E.2d 323 (1998). Although Hightower contends that he was tied to the crimes only by the clothing he wore, and that his knowledge......
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1 books & journal articles
  • Trial Practice and Procedure - C. Frederick Overby, Jason Crawford, and Teresa T. Abell
    • United States
    • Mercer University School of Law Mercer Law Reviews No. 50-1, September 1998
    • Invalid date
    ...11, 12, 497 S.E.2d 596, 598 (1998). 53. Id. at 13-14, 497 S.E.2d at 598-99. 54. 269 Ga. 400, 499 S.E.2d 321 (1998). 55. Id. at 401, 499 S.E.2d at 323. 56. O.C.G.A. Sec. 50-21-28 (1998). 57. 269 Ga. at 400-01, 499 S.E.2d at 321-22. 58. Id. at 400, 499 S.E.2d at 321. 59. Id. at 400-01, 499 S.......

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