State v. Price, 26139.

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
Citation629 S.E.2d 363
Decision Date17 April 2006
Docket NumberNo. 26139.,26139.
PartiesThe STATE, Respondent, v. Jeroid John PRICE, Appellant.
629 S.E.2d 363
The STATE, Respondent,
Jeroid John PRICE, Appellant.
No. 26139.
Supreme Court of South Carolina.
Heard March 22, 2006.
Decided April 17, 2006.

Page 364

Chief Attorney Joseph L. Savitz, III, of South Carolina Office of Appellant Defense; and Amye L. Rushing, of Hammonds & Rushing, P.A., both of Columbia, for Appellant.

Attorney General Henry Dargan McMaster, Chief Deputy Attorney General John W. McIntosh, Assistant Deputy Attorney General Donald J. Zelenka, Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey A. Jacobs, all of Columbia; and Solicitor Warren Blair Giese, of Columbia, for Respondent.

Justice BURNETT:

Jeroid John Price (Appellant) was convicted of the murder of Carl Smalls and was sentenced to thirty-five years imprisonment. Appellant appeals and this Court certified the case for review from the Court of Appeals, pursuant to Rule 204(b), SCACR. We affirm.


On December 6, 2002, Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity hosted a party at Club Voodoo in Columbia, South Carolina. During the party, a confrontation between rival gangs, the Bloods and the Crips, occurred. Appellant, who conceded he was affiliated with the Bloods, and Smalls, a member of the Crips, confronted each other.

Around 2:00 a.m. on December 7, the party ended. Ryan Brooks retrieved a semi-automatic pistol from his car to protect himself and Appellant retrieved a pistol from his car for protection while his friends counted the money collected at the door that night. Derrick Watson testified around 2:00 a.m. Smalls asked him for a gun, but Watson did not have one.

Brooks saw Appellant and Smalls talking in the club. He testified Appellant reached towards his own waist and Smalls rushed Appellant; the two men struggled over Appellant's pistol. During the struggle, the pistol was pointed towards Brooks, who fired his own gun and shot Smalls. After firing his weapon, Brooks ran out of the club and heard more gunshots.1

Marcus Jones heard the first gunshot and saw the victim on the ground. He then saw two more shots and described the gunfire as "coming straight down." Jones testified the

Page 365

victim did not appear to have a gun and the gunman did not appear to be in danger. He later identified Appellant as the gunman.

Investigator James Richardson was qualified as an expert in gangs and gang activity. Richardson testified about the history of the Bloods and the Crips, gang activities in Columbia, gang clothing, and gang hand signals. During direct examination, Richardson testified Appellant was a member of the Bloods and was a supreme or officer within the gang.

The trial judge overruled defense counsel's objection to the hearsay testimony that Appellant was an officer in the Bloods. On cross-examination, Richardson conceded he did not know Appellant and that his testimony regarding Appellant was based on information from informants and not on his own personal knowledge.

The State presented the following evidence seized from Appellant's apartment as part of its theory that Appellant was a member of the Bloods: photographs of men, including Appellant, making Blood hand signals and wearing Blood colors; a gang code book; red clothing and hats; bullet-proof vests; and a document containing a pledge of allegiance to the United Blood Nation.

Appellant admitted shooting Smalls but asserted he acted in self-defense. Appellant testified he was not a Blood, but he was affiliated with that gang. He further testified Smalls was physically larger than him and, on the night of the shooting, Smalls attacked him without provocation. He testified they struggled over his gun and during this struggle the gun discharged, wounding Smalls.

The trial judge instructed the jury on murder and self-defense. Appellant was found guilty of murder, and this appeal follows.


Did the trial judge err in admitting testimony from an expert witness in the areas of gangs and gang activity that Appellant was an officer in a gang when the expert based his testimony on statements from informants?


The decision to admit or exclude testimony from an expert witness rests within the trial court's sound discretion. Mizell v. Glover, 351 S.C. 392, 570 S.E.2d 176 (2002); State v. Caldwell, 283...

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87 cases
  • State v. Rice, 4300.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • October 5, 2007
    ...testimony is improperly admitted, the error is reversible only when the admission causes prejudice. State v. Price, 368 S.C. 494, 499, 629 S.E.2d 363, 366 (2006). If Smith's testimony constituted inadmissible hearsay, the admission was harmless. The information he provided only served to sh......
  • State v. Heyward, Appellate Case No. 2017-001542
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • October 14, 2020
    ...admit or exclude testimony from an expert witness rests within the trial court's sound discretion." State v. Price , 368 S.C. 494, 498, 629 S.E.2d 363, 365 (2006). Thus, the trial court's admission of expert testimony will not be reversed unless there was an abuse of discretion, which occur......
  • State v. Washington, Appellate Case No. 2015-002668
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • August 8, 2018
    ...court statement to prove the truth of the matter asserted unless an exception to the rule applies." State v. Price , 368 S.C. 494, 499, 629 S.E.2d 363, 366 (2006). A statement that is admissible because it is "not hearsay" under Rule 801(d), SCRE, or because it falls within a Rule 803, SCRE......
  • State v. Bonilla, Appellate Case No. 2016-001725
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • December 31, 2019
    ...courts will not set aside convictions due to insubstantial errors not affecting the result." State v. Price , 368 S.C. 494, 499, 629 S.E.2d 363, 366 (2006). "Whether an error is harmless depends on the circumstances of the particular case." State v. Tapp , 398 S.C. 376, 389, 728 S.E.2d 468,......
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