State v. Collins, No. 24734

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
Writing for the CourtWALLER; FINNEY
Citation495 S.E.2d 202,329 S.C. 23
PartiesThe STATE, Respondent, v. Russell COLLINS, Appellant. . Heard
Docket NumberNo. 24734
Decision Date21 October 1997

Page 202

495 S.E.2d 202
329 S.C. 23
The STATE, Respondent,
v.
Russell COLLINS, Appellant.
No. 24734.
Supreme Court of South Carolina.
Heard Oct. 21, 1997.
Decided Jan. 5, 1998.

Page 203

[329 S.C. 24] M. Anne Pearce of the South Carolina Office of Appellate Defense, Columbia, for appellant.

Attorney General Charles Molony Condon, Deputy Attorney General John W. McIntosh, Assistant Deputy Attorney General Donald J. Zelenka, and Assistant Attorney General John P. Riordan, Columbia, and Solicitor Wade S. Kolb, Sumter, for respondent.

WALLER, Justice:

Appellant, Russell Collins, was convicted of accessory after the fact of murder. We reverse.

[329 S.C. 25] FACTS

On July 25, 1990, James "Buster" Osborne was shot and killed while working at his Greeleyville convenience store in Williamsburg County. Collins, who lived down the street from the store, gave two different versions of the shooting. In one version, he and his friend, Keith Houston, stopped at the store to buy snacks for work the next morning. As they drove up, they heard a gunshot and saw a man run out from the store putting what appeared to be a gun in his pocket. They went in and found Osborne had been shot; Collins ran to his uncle's house next door and advised Osborne had been shot.

In his second version, Collins told police he and Houston had gone into the store to buy snacks when, unbeknownst to Collins, Houston pulled out a gun, demanded money, and shot Osborne. Collins maintained he had not known the shooting was going to occur and had not participated in the crime. Nonetheless, and notwithstanding his claim that he was unaware Houston planned to rob and shoot Osborne, Collins "covered" for him.

Page 204

Collins told police he was scared and Houston had convinced him he needed to make up a story, "cause if you don't, then you gone go to jail too, cause you know they gone say you helped me do it. I'm a say you helped me do it."

Collins was indicted for attempted armed robbery, murder, possession of a weapon during a violent crime and accessory after the fact of murder. At the close of the State's case, the trial judge granted a directed verdict on all charges except accessory after the fact of murder. The jury convicted him of this charge, and he was sentenced to 15 years.

ISSUE

Was Collins entitled to a directed verdict since the only evidence of his guilt showed he was present at the time of the shooting and therefore, under existing South Carolina law, could not be guilty as an accessory after the fact?

DISCUSSION

Historically, the elements of accessory after the fact of a crime have been: (1) the felony has been completed; (2) the [329 S.C. 26] accused must have knowledge that the principal committed the felony; and (3) the accused must harbor or assist the principal felon. State v. Hodge, 278 S.C. 110, 292 S.E.2d 600 (1982),cert. denied, 459 U.S. 910, 103 S.Ct. 217, 74 L.Ed.2d 172 (1982); State v. Nicholson, 221 S.C. 399, 70 S.E.2d 632 (1952). However, in State v. Plath, 277 S.C. 126, 284 S.E.2d 221 (1981) cert. denied 467 U.S. 1265, 104 S.Ct. 3560, 82 L.Ed.2d 862 (1984), a defendant charged with capital murder asserted error in the trial court's refusal to charge the jury on accessory after the fact. Citing the elements of State v. Nicholson, supra, this Court stated, "[t]he accessory's absence at the time the crime was actually committed is necessarily implied from the above definition and is an essential element of the offense." 277 S.C. at 139, 284 S.E.2d at 228 (emphasis supplied).

Subsequent to Plath, in State v. Whitted, 279 S.C. 260, 262, 305 S.E.2d 245, 246 (1983), we reiterated that "one element of accessory after the fact is the absence of the accused at the scene of the crime--the accused's involvement begins after the crime is accomplished." 1 Most...

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18 practice notes
  • Flores v. Attorney Gen. U.S., No. 16-1979
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (3rd Circuit)
    • May 8, 2017
    ...have knowledge that the principal committed the felony; and (3) the accused must harbor or assist the principal felon." State v. Collins, 329 S.C. 23, 495 S.E.2d 202, 204 (1998). "The assistance or harboring rendered must be for the purpose of enabling the principal felon to escape detectio......
  • The State v. Dickerson, No. 27048.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • November 17, 2011
    ...on the lesser-related offense of accessory after the fact because such a charge was not supported by the evidence. See State v. Collins, 329 S.C. 23, 495 S.E.2d 202 (1998) (elements of accessory after the fact explained). [395 S.C. 127] I believe that when S.C.Code Ann. § 16–3–25(C)(3) (200......
  • State v. Cochran, No. 4116.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • May 30, 2006
    ...to exercise a peremptory challenge. In State v. Plath, 277 S.C. 126, 284 S.E.2d 221 (1981), overruled on other grounds, State v. Collins, 329 S.C. 23, 495 S.E.2d 202 (1998), we concluded the defendant failed to show prejudice from the denial of a peremptory challenge where there was ample o......
  • Green v. Maynard, No. 25460.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • May 6, 2002
    ...direct appeal was decided in 1990. In State v. Plath, 277 S.C. 126, 284 S.E.2d 221 (1981), overruled on other grounds, State v. Collins, 329 S.C. 23, 495 S.E.2d 202 (1998), we found the defendant had failed to show prejudice from the refusal to allow a belated peremptory strike because ther......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
18 cases
  • Flores v. Attorney Gen. U.S., No. 16-1979
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (3rd Circuit)
    • May 8, 2017
    ...have knowledge that the principal committed the felony; and (3) the accused must harbor or assist the principal felon." State v. Collins, 329 S.C. 23, 495 S.E.2d 202, 204 (1998). "The assistance or harboring rendered must be for the purpose of enabling the principal felon to escape detectio......
  • The State v. Dickerson, No. 27048.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • November 17, 2011
    ...on the lesser-related offense of accessory after the fact because such a charge was not supported by the evidence. See State v. Collins, 329 S.C. 23, 495 S.E.2d 202 (1998) (elements of accessory after the fact explained). [395 S.C. 127] I believe that when S.C.Code Ann. § 16–3–25(C)(3) (200......
  • State v. Cochran, No. 4116.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • May 30, 2006
    ...to exercise a peremptory challenge. In State v. Plath, 277 S.C. 126, 284 S.E.2d 221 (1981), overruled on other grounds, State v. Collins, 329 S.C. 23, 495 S.E.2d 202 (1998), we concluded the defendant failed to show prejudice from the denial of a peremptory challenge where there was ample o......
  • Green v. Maynard, No. 25460.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • May 6, 2002
    ...direct appeal was decided in 1990. In State v. Plath, 277 S.C. 126, 284 S.E.2d 221 (1981), overruled on other grounds, State v. Collins, 329 S.C. 23, 495 S.E.2d 202 (1998), we found the defendant had failed to show prejudice from the refusal to allow a belated peremptory strike because ther......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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