State v. Workman

Decision Date13 July 2022
Docket Number5922,Appellate Case 2018-001769
PartiesThe State, Respondent, v. Olandio R. Workman, Appellant.
CourtSouth Carolina Court of Appeals

Heard October 14, 2021

Appeal From Greenville County Alex Kinlaw, Jr., Circuit Court Judge

Appellate Defender Kathrine Haggard Hudgins, of Columbia, for Appellant.

Attorney General Alan McCrory Wilson and Assistant Attorney General Joshua Abraham Edwards, of Columbia; and Solicitor William Walter Wilkins, III, of Greenville, for Respondent.


Olandio R. Workman appeals his conviction for criminal domestic violence of a high and aggravated nature (CDVHAN), arguing the trial court erred in refusing to instruct the jury on the definition of second-degree criminal domestic violence (CDV) and moderate bodily injury as part of its first-degree CDV jury instruction. We reverse and remand.


A Greenville County grand jury indicted Workman for CDVHAN kidnapping, and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime for events occurring between August 27 and 29, 2016.

At trial, the victim, Workman's wife, testified Workman returned home on a Saturday evening and accused her of cheating on him. She stated he demanded she turn over her cellphone, "repeatedly" slapped and punched her and was "constantly smacking [her] in the face, hitting [her] . . . head, [and] punching [her] . . . arms." According to the victim, when she tried to explain, Workman would "smack [her] again, or he'd punch [her] again or choke [her], and throw [her] to the floor." The victim asserted this continued through the next day and night and Workman did not allow her to sleep or eat. The couple's two young children, who were two and six years old at the time, were in the home during this time. The victim testified she owned two firearms, which were registered in her name and were inside the home during this incident. She stated that during these two days, Workman "was holding [and] carrying [one of the firearms] around the house" to intimidate and threaten her. The victim explained that at one point, Workman struck her hand with a firearm.

The victim testified that before Workman left the home for work on Monday morning, he "was doing something outside." She stated that before he left, he warned her that their home would explode if she opened any of the doors or windows while he was gone. The victim stated she was unable to call for help because Workman had broken her cellphone and she was unable to leave because Workman took the car keys with him. Additionally, the victim provided that when Workman returned home on Monday evening, he continued physically assaulting her and told her to "shower because [she] was disgusting." The victim explained that when she exited the shower, Workman informed her that law enforcement was outside their home. She asserted Workman instructed her to apply makeup to cover her bruises and then lie "down in the bedroom with the kids and not make a sound." The victim stated that while she was in the bedroom, law enforcement repeatedly knocked on the door to the home and called out for her and Workman.

The victim explained she did not answer the door because she believed Workman was still inside their home and she was afraid he would hurt her or their children. Eventually, law enforcement entered the house, discovered the victim and her children inside, and determined Workman had fled the house through the back door or a window. The victim claimed she initially lied to law enforcement about how she got her injuries to avoid "mak[ing] it worse" in case Workman returned home.

After the State rested, Workman waived his right to testify and declined to present any other testimony or evidence. During a discussion as to the charges on which the trial court would instruct the jury, the State agree with Workman's request for a jury instruction on the lesser included offense of first-degree CDV. However, the State initially opposed Workman's request that the trial court define second-degree CDV and moderate bodily injury as part of its first-degree CDV jury instruction. Workman argued both definitions were necessary because the first-degree CDV statute indicates a person is guilty of first-degree CDV if the State proves second-degree CDV along with at least one of several aggravating circumstances. The State did not object to the court "explain[ing] what [second-degree CDV] is," but it opposed charging the jury on the law of second-degree CDV as a lesser included offense. Workman agreed. The trial court ultimately denied Workman's request because the court believed such an instruction would confuse the jury. Workman expressed his concern that the jury would come back with a question "about what is" second-degree CDV. The State responded that it would be "appropriate . . . to maybe at that time explain to them." Workman replied that he did not "have a problem with doing it later." The court then indicated it would read the entire statute on first-degree CDV. The court further stated "it may come back and [the jury has] a question as to what second degree is. And we'll cross that bridge when we get to it." Workman later renewed his objection to the trial court's not defining second-degree CDV when instructing the jury on first-degree CDV.

During closing arguments, the State maintained the evidence demonstrated Workman had beaten the victim, threatened her with a firearm in the presence of their minor children, and prevented the victim and their children from leaving their home for more than twenty-four hours. The State asserted these circumstances- Workman's possession of a gun, the presence of minor children, and Workman's preventing the victim and their children from leaving the house-were sufficient for the jury to find Workman guilty of CDVHAN because they were "circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life" under the CDVHAN statute. Workman argued the State failed to prove the victim suffered a great bodily injury because the State did not present any evidence she went to a hospital or otherwise sought medical care. Workman also asserted the victim's decision to remain in the house when Workman left for work showed she did not believe Workman was going to kill her and she was not in fear of great bodily injury or death as required for CDVHAN.

The trial court instructed the jury on (1) the definition of "great bodily injury," (2) the CDVHAN statute, and (3) the entire first-degree CDV statute, without defining second-degree CDV. The court also instructed the jury on the kidnapping and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime statutes. Workman then renewed his request for an instruction on the definition of second-degree CDV and moderate bodily injury, which the trial court denied.

The order of the charges on the jury's verdict form listed CDVHAN first and first-degree CDV second. The trial court instructed the jury that if it found Workman guilty of the first charge, it did not need to make any decision for the second charge.

While deliberating, the jury submitted several questions to the trial court. Throughout the discussion of the trial court's responses to the jury's various questions, Workman continuously renewed his request for jury instructions on the definitions of second-degree CDV and moderate bodily injury. When the jury asked about the difference between CDVHAN and first-degree CDV, the trial court responded by reading both the CDVHAN and first-degree CDV statute and definition of "great bodily injury" to the jury.

During deliberations, the jury requested a hard copy of the relevant statutes. While the court was discussing the request with Workman and the State, the jury submitted additional requests for the trial court to "Explain kidnapping" and to "read what is bodily harm" and "state that fear of what." Over Workman's objection, the trial court responded to the jury's requests for clarification about the law by providing copies of the statutes that defined great bodily harm, CDVHAN, first-degree CDV, and kidnapping.

The jury then asked the court to identify "the difference between peril [and] fear of great bodily injury." After discussing with counsel that the relevant statutes did not define the terms, the trial court told the jurors they should rely on their own judgment and common sense to answer the question.

Finally, the jury submitted the following question to the court: "[CDVHAN], if one point is met, can you not look at [first-degree CDV]?" The State indicated it "interpret[ed] that as if [CDVHAN] has been met, can you, also, find him guilty of [first-degree CDV]?" Workman stated, "I'll take the opposite. I would say if one factor is met, can you still consider [first-degree CDV]? If they found one factor there, they could find [it] in both places." The court responded, "So the answer is 'yes' or 'no'?" The State and Workman each responded, "I think the answer is yes."

The court stated "the way [it] interpret[ted] this is since you've got [first-degree CDV] as a lesser included -- and that's what they're asking -- can they consider it? I think the answer is yes." After the court informed the jury the answer was "yes" and the jury returned to deliberations, Workman stated that after hearing the question again, he was concerned he may have misunderstood the jury's question. Workman stated he thought the jury meant "can we still look at it?"; the trial court agreed. The trial court did not give any further instructions.

The jury found Workman guilty of CDVHAN, kidnapping, and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime. The trial court sentenced him to concurrent terms of twelve years' imprisonment for the CDVHAN conviction,...

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