Shine v. State, A21A1580

CourtUnited States Court of Appeals (Georgia)
Writing for the CourtDillard, Presiding Judge.
Citation868 S.E.2d 236,362 Ga.App. 269
Parties SHINE v. The STATE.
Decision Date14 January 2022
Docket NumberA21A1580

362 Ga.App. 269
868 S.E.2d 236



Court of Appeals of Georgia.

January 14, 2022

868 S.E.2d 237

Lawrence W. Daniel, for Appellant.

Elizabeth Dalia Racine, Aimee Fatemeh Sobhani, for Appellee.

Dillard, Presiding Judge.

362 Ga.App. 269

Following trial, a jury convicted Dejonquavius Shine on charges of theft by taking, felony fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer, theft by receiving, and misdemeanor obstruction of an officer. On appeal, Shine contends that the evidence was insufficient to support his three felony convictions. Nevertheless, for the reasons set forth infra, we affirm.

Viewed in the light most favorable to the jury's verdict,1 the record shows that in 2014, Yuri Rusev and his wife, Nataliya, who resided in Douglasville, owned a 2006 S500 black Mercedes, which they decided to sell and then listed on Craigslist and Autotrader for $19,500. A few weeks later, Yuri received a text message from a person with a Columbus, Georgia mobile number, who expressed interest in purchasing the vehicle. On May 2, 2014, the same prospective buyer again texted Yuri and asked if he could see the car that afternoon. Although Yuri was going to be at work, he agreed and told Nataliya that the prospective buyer was on the way.

Later that afternoon, a new, burgundy Dodge Charger parked on the street near the Rusevs’ house. And alerted by a text from Yuri that the prospective buyer had arrived, Nataliya went outside, saw the Charger, and could tell that it had several occupants. As Nataliya approached, a man later identified as Shine, wearing dark colored jeans, a dark colored shirt, and a hat with "New Orleans" written on it, approached her. The two talked about the Mercedes for several minutes, at which point Shine asked Nataliya if he could take it for a test drive. She agreed, handed him the keys, but told him she needed to lock her house first. But shortly after turning to walk toward her front door, Nataliya heard tires squealing and turned back to see both the Mercedes and Charger speeding away. Immediately, she called 911 to report the theft.

Meanwhile, the two vehicles—with Shine driving the Mercedes and his accomplices, Trequarious Hester, Javari Roberson, and two juveniles (A. H. and B. M.) in the Charger—left the Rusevs’ neighborhood and turned on to Chapel Hill Road, a busy state highway. Within minutes, a Douglasville police officer—who received a dispatch regarding the stolen vehicle and was already patrolling in the area—spotted both the Mercedes and Charger traveling in the opposite direction. Because traffic was heavy, the officer could not turn around quickly. And as he attempted to do so, he saw both vehicles accelerate and

362 Ga.App. 270

swerve into oncoming traffic, obviously attempting to flee. But even after turning around, the officer could not keep pace with the suspects due to the traffic and his unwillingness to drive on the wrong side of the road. Then, the officer heard on radio dispatch that both vehicles were spotted heading westbound on Interstate 20, and so he proceeded in that direction.

Meanwhile, two other Douglasville police officers spotted the fleeing vehicles entering I-20 and began pursuing them. After a few minutes, the Mercedes exited the interstate at Highway 5, but the Charger continued fleeing on I-20, and the two officers continued pursuing the latter. Moments later, one of the officers initiated a Precision Immobilization Technique ("PIT") maneuver, causing the Charger to crash into a guardrail. All four of the Charger's occupants then exited the vehicle, but officers immediately tased

868 S.E.2d 238

Roberson and arrested him. Hester and the two juveniles fled into some nearby woods, but not before an officer fired at A. H., who was armed, and wounded him. Not long after, Hester, A. H., and B. M. were apprehended in a neighborhood on the other side of the woods when their attempt to ask a resident if they could use a phone to call for a ride, instead resulted in the resident calling the police. Additionally, upon searching the Charger and examining its VIN number, officers determined the vehicle had been stolen from a Columbus dealership in a car-jacking five days earlier.

As the pursuit of the Charger was concluding, officers received a radio dispatch indicating that the Mercedes had been found abandoned in a Walmart parking lot located on Highway 5. Surveillance footage from the Walmart showed that a man with a hat exited the vehicle and fled into some nearby woods. Subsequently, officers began searching the area with the assistance of a K-9 unit. The search continued for several hours, and around 7:30 p.m., a detective with the Douglasville Police Department noticed a man matching Shine's description walking in the opposite direction on the side of the road near the Walmart. The detective turned his vehicle around and approached the man as he walked through the parking lot of a fast-food restaurant. But when he lowered his window and asked if he could speak with him, the man ran in to one side of the restaurant and exited the other. By that time, several other officers arrived in the area, and, thus, moments after the man—who was in fact Shine—exited the restaurant, a K-9 officer who spotted him released his dog, resulting in Shine's arrest.

The State charged Shine, via indictment, with one count each of theft by taking, fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer, theft by receiving, and misdemeanor obstruction of an officer. The case then proceeded to trial, during which the State presented the

362 Ga.App. 271

aforementioned evidence, including the fact that Nataliya identified Shine in a photographic lineup as the man who stole the Mercedes. The State also presented evidence linking the text messages sent to Yuri, inquiring about the Mercedes, to a pre-paid disposable cell phone in Shine's possession at the time of his arrest. Additionally, the State presented evidence that Shine had previously been convicted of theft by receiving of an automobile after leading police on a high-speed chase. Finally, both Hester and B. M. testified for the State and claimed it was Shine's plot to steal a car and split the proceeds with all of them. Both also testified that Shine drove the Charger from a house in Macon, where they all met, to Douglasville, and that after Shine got in the Mercedes, Hester drove the Charger. Hester further testified that Shine had been driving the Charger for several days before the trip to Douglasville.

After the State rested, Roberson—who had already pleaded guilty to several offenses arising out of the theft—testified for the defense and claimed that Shine was not involved in the plot to steal the Mercedes. Rather, Roberson testified that Torrell Pedroso—a local gang-leader who went by "TQ"—was the person who drove to Douglasville and stole the Mercedes. But on cross-examination, Roberson admitted that during his plea hearing, he implicated Shine. Next, Shine testified in his own defense and also claimed that he was not involved in stealing the Mercedes, explaining that he was arrested in Douglasville only because he had driven there after TQ and Roberson called him pleading for a ride. Nonetheless, at the conclusion of the trial, the jury found Shine guilty on all charges. Shine then filed a motion for new trial, which the trial court denied after conducting a hearing on the matter. This appeal follows.

In his sole enumeration of error, Shine challenges the sufficiency of the evidence identifying him as the perpetrator of the offenses. We disagree.

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