Waters v. State

Decision Date08 October 1981
Docket NumberNo. 37629,37629
Citation283 S.E.2d 238,248 Ga. 355
PartiesWATERS v. The STATE.
CourtGeorgia Supreme Court

Glenn Thomas, Jr., Dist. Atty., John B. Johnson III, Asst. Dist. Atty., Jesup, Arthur K. Bolton, Atty. Gen., Harrison Kohler, Asst., Atty. Gen., Atlanta, for the State.

GREGORY, Justice.

Appellant, Eurus Kelly Waters, was indicted May 13, 1980 for the murders of Anita Lynette Paseur and Kathryn Ann Culpepper. He was found guilty of both murders and sentenced to death. Waters' defense was insanity; the evidence is undisputed that Waters killed Ms. Paseur and Ms. Culpepper.

At 4:33 P. M. on Friday, April 25, 1980, EMT's (Emergency Medical Technicians) with the Jekyll Island Fire Department received a call reporting a shooting at a Phillips 66 station on Jekyll Island. When they arrived at the station, Kathryn Culpepper was sitting in a red AMC Gremlin automobile. She had a gunshot entry wound in her chest and an exit wound in the area of her left kidney. A pair of handcuffs was fastened to her left wrist. As she was being placed into the ambulance, she asked one of the EMT's to get her purse out of the car; however, he was unable to locate it.

A state trooper who had also responded to the call asked Ms. Culpepper what had happened. She told him that while she and a girlfriend had been fishing, a white male had pulled a gun on them, made them march into the woods, handcuffed them, sexually assaulted her, and then shot both of them. She thought the other woman was dead.

The body of the other woman, Anita Paseur, was found approximately two miles south of the Phillips 66 station in what is known as the New Marina area of Jekyll Island. She was lying on her back, clothed from the waist up, with her bathing suit bottom and shorts pulled down to her ankles. She had a bullet wound in the upper left part of her chest. A later autopsy showed that Ms. Paseur's death resulted from the gunshot wound. A .38 caliber bullet was removed from her during the autopsy. A GBI agent, using a metal detector at the crime scene, found another .38 caliber bullet under some leaves about 10 feet from where Ms. Paseur had been found.

GBI agent Scott Curley talked to Ms. Culpepper in the hospital. He obtained a description of the killer, his car, his gun and holster, and Ms. Culpepper's missing pocketbook. Agent Curley then posted a lookout for a white male in his late thirties, of average height, with light brown hair and light blue eyes, having a country accent, and wearing a light blue shirt, dark blue pants and black shoes; for an older model white, 4-door Pontiac or Buick automobile with a Georgia tag; for a .38 or .357 police-type revolver; for a black leather holster; and for a burgundy colored, John Romain shoulder bag containing personal items belonging to Kathryn Culpepper.

Kathryn Culpepper died April 30. The cause of her death was excessive fluid around the heart and the pericardium, caused by the trauma directly beneath her heart, in the liver and pancreas, which in turn was caused by the bullet wound.

Eurus Kelly Waters was a cab driver in Waycross. He worked half a day Wednesday, April 23 and Thursday, April 24. He did not work at all on Friday.

Dorothy Googe was lying by herself on the beach at Jekyll Island early Friday afternoon. A fully dressed man, wearing long, dark pants, a blue shirt, and black shoes, walked by her toward the picnic area. He returned twice during the next few minutes to show her some shells he had collected. The second time, Ms. Googe told him she didn't want any company. When he approached her a third time, she told him she had to go down to where her husband and son were and she left. The man spoke with a country accent. Ms. Googe later identified Waters, by means of a photographic lineup, as the man on the beach.

Between 4:30 and 5:00 P. M. Friday, Brantley County Deputy Sheriff Jerry Rowell was travelling west on Highway 84. As he came over the top of the Satilla River Bridge, he had to slow down to 20 miles per hour behind a white 4-door 1974 Chevrolet. After following the car for a while, Deputy Rowell, suspecting the driver was intoxicated, stopped the car. When the driver opened his door, Rowell saw a Motorola police-type radio on the transmission hump and asked the driver if he worked for a timber company. The driver told him no, he was a part-time cab driver in Waycross. Deputy Rowell decided the driver was not intoxicated and let him proceed. He later identified Waters, by means of a photographic lineup, as the driver of the car.

On the afternoon of Thursday, May 1, 1980, Ms. Culpepper's burgundy colored, John Romain shoulder bag, containing various Waters told his wife, Helen, when he got home the evening of the 25th that he was late because he had got stuck in the swamp. He went back to work Saturday. Next Tuesday, April 29, Helen Waters read an article in the paper about the murders on Jekyll Island. The article gave a description of the suspect. She turned to her husband and said, "Kelly, this murder, these things that's happened on Jekyll Island, this description fits you." Waters looked at her for a few seconds and then said, "call Judy." When Judy Petty, Waters' sister, arrived, Waters started crying and said, "Sister, I think I may have killed some people. If I have done this thing, I want to die." He continued crying for most of the rest of the evening. Ms. Waters got her husband's gun, which was fully loaded, out of the bedroom dresser and hid it under the sink. A few minutes later, another of Waters' sisters, Georgia Rainey, and her husband arrived. Mr. Rainey got the gun out and smelled it to see if it had been fired. He couldn't smell anything. He unloaded the gun and Ms. Waters hid the bullets under the television and put the gun back under the sink. After some discussion, the family decided not to call the police at that time; Ms. Petty would try to get in touch with a friend of hers, Ed Dixon, a Glynn County policeman, and ask him what to do.

                credit cards but no cash, was found on the west bank of the Satilla River just under the Satilla River Bridge. 1  The Satilla River Bridge is 33.2 miles from the New Marina area of Jekyll Island
                

Waters and his wife spent Tuesday night with Judy Petty in Brunswick. The next morning, the three of them went to the mental health clinic in Waycross that had been treating Waters since 1978. He was given a shot of Prolixin Decanoate, a long term major tranquilizer. 2 Waters told his family that he wasn't sure where he was Friday but he thought he had got stuck in the swamp and had broken a shovel trying to dig his car out. They went to see if they could find the place. Waters drove to a place showing signs that an automobile had been stuck. Nearby was a broken shovel handle. Waters spent Wednesday night at home.

Ms. Petty finally reached Ed Dixon Saturday, May 3. Sunday afternoon, Waters' pistol was given to Dixon, who turned it over to GBI agent Curley. 3 Monday afternoon Agent Curley and Detective Wofford went to the Waters' residence in Waycross and asked Waters to accompany them to the State Patrol station in Waycross, two or three miles from Waters' house. There, after advising Waters of his rights, Agent Curley interrogated him. Waters said he couldn't really remember what he had done Friday afternoon but thought he may have got stuck in a swamp. He remembered that he had been wearing a light blue shirt, dark blue trousers and black boots. He admitted owning the .38 caliber pistol that had been given to Agent Curley. 4 He admitted owning a black leather holster and a pair of handcuffs, but he couldn't remember where the cuffs were. He agreed to go back to the house to allow Agent Curley to look at the clothes, the holster and the ammunition for the gun.

They went back to Waters' house. Helen Waters got the ammunition and the holster and gave them to Agent Curley. Waters retrieved a light blue shirt and dark blue pants that he identified as being the ones worn by him on April 25th. At 4:15 P. M., Monday, May 5, 1980, Waters was placed under arrest.

On Wednesday, May 7, 1980, Agent Curley again questioned Waters. Curley told Waters he had been seen on Jekyll Island about 1:00 P. M. April 25th. Waters responded that he had been drinking that week. Agent Curley told Waters he thought Waters had done the killings. Waters looked down and then said, "All right. I'll tell you what I remember. I remember being on the beach that Friday. I remember shooting those two women. I saw them fishing, and I pulled my gun on them and sexually assaulted them. I remembered last night what happened." He went on to say that he saw the two women fishing and watched them awhile. As they were getting ready to leave, he walked up to them, pulled his gun out of his hip pocket and made them accompany him into the woods. 5 He gave the older woman (Ms. Culpepper) the handcuffs and ordered her to handcuff herself to the younger woman (Ms. Paseur). He admitted having oral sex with the older woman. 6 He said he shot the two women because after he got through with the oldest one, they flinched toward him. 7 He said he did not touch the younger woman except to tear her clothes off after he shot her. He said that as he left, he got a pocketbook out of their car, took seven dollars out of it, and threw the rest off the Satilla River bridge on the way home. He remembered being stopped by a deputy right after he threw the pocketbook away. When he got home he sprayed his gun with degreaser, reloaded it, and put it up.

Agent Curley showed Waters an aerial photograph of the New Marina area of Jekyll Island. Waters marked on the photograph where he had parked his car and where the women had been fishing. He drew a line indicating his path from the place of abduction to the place where the sex act and killings had taken place. 8...

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    ...jurors to decide the case on its merits, with objectivity and freedom from bias and prior inclination." Waters v. State, 248 Ga. 355, 363(3), 283 S.E.2d 238 (1981). See also, Henderson v. State, 251 Ga. 398, 306 S.E.2d 645 3. In his second enumeration, Devier complains of the trial court's ......
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