State v. Smith, No. 23101

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
Writing for the CourtGREGORY; HARWELL, FINNEY and TOAL, JJ., and BRUCE LITTLEJOHN
Docket NumberNo. 23101
PartiesThe STATE, Respondent, v. Grover Lee SMITH, Appellant. . Heard
Decision Date02 October 1989

Page 245

387 S.E.2d 245
300 S.C. 216
The STATE, Respondent,
v.
Grover Lee SMITH, Appellant.
No. 23101.
Supreme Court of South Carolina.
Heard Oct. 2, 1989.
Decided Nov. 13, 1989.

Page 246

[300 S.C. 217] William N. Epps., Jr., Anderson, for appellant.

Attorney Gen. T. Travis Medlock, Asst. Attys. Gen. Harold M. Coombs, Jr. and William Edgar Salter, III, Columbia, and Sol. George M. Ducworth, Anderson, for respondent.

GREGORY, Chief Justice:

Appellant was convicted of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment. We reverse and remand for a new trial.

Appellant was indicted for the murder of Ricky Burdette whose body was found August 4, 1987. Before trial, appellant was also indicted for the murder of Mary Zou Pressley, who was discovered dead in her home on May 4, 1987. During appellant's trial for the Burdette murder, the State was allowed to introduce evidence regarding the murder of Mrs. Pressley in order to prove motive and common scheme or plan. Throughout trial, appellant objected to the admission of this evidence on the ground its prejudicial effect outweighed its probative value. He now appeals on this ground.

Ricky Burdette's body was found lying on a dirt road next to his white Ford Mustang with a shotgun lying at his feet. A handwritten note regarding the Pressley murder was found on the dashboard of the car.

The following evidence was admitted at trial concerning the Pressley murder. Mrs. Pressley was appellant's ex-wife's grandmother. Appellant's wife left him in April 1987 to live with a man named Howard Kirkland at 608 Edgemont Avenue in Greenville, South Carolina. On May 4, 1987, Mrs. Pressley was found dead. She had been struck twice in the head with an ax blade.

The next day, the sheriff's dispatcher received a telephone call from an anonymous male stating the man who killed Mrs. Pressley lived at 608 Edgemont Avenue and drove a black Buick with license tag number SKB-528. When detectives went to that address, they found Howard Kirkland's black [300 S.C. 218] Buick and obtained his consent to search it. Under the driver's seat was an ax which was later analyzed as having unidentified blood on it and hair consistent with that of Mrs. Pressley. The sheriff's dispatcher testified the voice of the anonymous male caller sounded like appellant's voice which she heard when he came to the sheriff's department the next day.

A neighbor of Howard Kirkland testified on May 5th she saw a man reaching into the black Buick through...

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20 practice notes
  • State v. Warren, No. 2827.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • April 13, 1998
    ...intent). If not the subject of a conviction, indictment, or arrest, proof of prior bad acts must be clear and convincing. State v. Smith, 300 S.C. 216, 387 S.E.2d 245 (1989); State v. Blanton, 316 S.C. 31, 446 S.E.2d 438 (Ct.App. 8. The majority opinion sets out the instances in which the q......
  • Smalls v. State, Appellate Case No. 2016-001079
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • February 7, 2018
    ...clear and convincing evidence Smalls committed the prior burglary; in fact, Mead admitted the case was unsolved. See State v. Smith , 300 S.C. 216, 218, 387 S.E.2d 245, 247 (1989) (holding "proof of prior bad acts must be clear and convincing"). The court of appeals correctly ruled trial co......
  • State v. Aaron L., No. 17089.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • February 15, 2005
    ...5 Neb.App. 125, 136, 556 N.W.2d 643 (1996) (same); State v. Hernandez, 170 N.J. 106, 120, 784 A.2d 1225 (2001) (same); State v. Smith, 300 S.C. 216, 218-19, 387 S.E.2d 245 (1989) (same); State v. Parton, 694 S.W.2d 299, 302-303 (Tenn.1985) (same); Harrell v. State, 884 S.W.2d 154, 159 (Tex.......
  • State v. Aaron L., (SC 17089).
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • February 15, 2005
    ...5 Neb. App. 125, 136, 556 N.W.2d 643 (1996) (same); State v. Hernandez, 170 N.J. 106, 120, 784 A.2d 1225 (2001) (same); State v. Smith, 300 S.C. 216, 218-19, 387 S.E.2d 245 (1989) (same); State v. Parton, 694 S.W.2d 299, 302-303 (Tenn. 1985) (same); Harrell v. State, 884 S.W.2d 154, 159 (Te......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
20 cases
  • State v. Warren, No. 2827.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • April 13, 1998
    ...intent). If not the subject of a conviction, indictment, or arrest, proof of prior bad acts must be clear and convincing. State v. Smith, 300 S.C. 216, 387 S.E.2d 245 (1989); State v. Blanton, 316 S.C. 31, 446 S.E.2d 438 (Ct.App. 8. The majority opinion sets out the instances in which the q......
  • Smalls v. State, Appellate Case No. 2016-001079
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • February 7, 2018
    ...clear and convincing evidence Smalls committed the prior burglary; in fact, Mead admitted the case was unsolved. See State v. Smith , 300 S.C. 216, 218, 387 S.E.2d 245, 247 (1989) (holding "proof of prior bad acts must be clear and convincing"). The court of appeals correctly ruled trial co......
  • State v. Aaron L., No. 17089.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • February 15, 2005
    ...5 Neb.App. 125, 136, 556 N.W.2d 643 (1996) (same); State v. Hernandez, 170 N.J. 106, 120, 784 A.2d 1225 (2001) (same); State v. Smith, 300 S.C. 216, 218-19, 387 S.E.2d 245 (1989) (same); State v. Parton, 694 S.W.2d 299, 302-303 (Tenn.1985) (same); Harrell v. State, 884 S.W.2d 154, 159 (Tex.......
  • State v. Aaron L., (SC 17089).
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • February 15, 2005
    ...5 Neb. App. 125, 136, 556 N.W.2d 643 (1996) (same); State v. Hernandez, 170 N.J. 106, 120, 784 A.2d 1225 (2001) (same); State v. Smith, 300 S.C. 216, 218-19, 387 S.E.2d 245 (1989) (same); State v. Parton, 694 S.W.2d 299, 302-303 (Tenn. 1985) (same); Harrell v. State, 884 S.W.2d 154, 159 (Te......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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