Williams v. State

Decision Date14 October 1953
Docket NumberNo. 18348,18348
Citation210 Ga. 207,78 S.E.2d 521
CourtGeorgia Supreme Court

Syllabus by the Court.

1. The charge on reasonable doubt here complained of is in all material respects identical with the charge approved in Connell v. State, 153 Ga. 151(2), 111 S.E. 545, and, accordingly, is not erroneous.

2. Whether the statement of the accused was an incriminating statement or a full confession there was no timely request to charge the law on confessions contained in Code, § 38-420, and the court did not err in failing so to charge.

3. The signed verified statement of the accused was shown to have been freely and voluntarily dictated, read and then signed by the accused, after being advised by the officer that he was free to talk or refuse to talk. The evidence shows that the statement was not induced by either hope of reward or fear of punishment, and it was not error to allow its introduction in evidence.

4. Where the evidence shows that a bullet was taken from the body of the deceased, it was not error to refuse to exclude it from evidence upon the objection that there was no evidence to show that it was fired from the revolver in evidence, shown to be the property of the accused. The bullet was proper evidence in proof of the corpus delicti.

5. It was not error to allow the employer to testify over objection that, by making described calculations from the cash-register tape, it appeared that there had been $858.73 sales on the day of the killing. This witness testified that he visited the place of business daily and checked on its operations, thus showing his familiarity with the register tape and what its contents meant.

6. The evidence showing the killing as alleged committed by the accused while in the act of robbing the deceased by force, the verdict of guilty is supported by the evidence.

Aubry Williams was indicted, tried, and convicted of murder without a recommendation. His motion for new trial as amended was overruled, and the exceptions here are to this judgment.

The brief of the evidence in the record discloses the following facts: The deceased, who was employed as a sales clerk in a liquor store, was shot and killed by a colored man who was in the act of robbing the store. A short time after the robbery, the defendant was seen at Shy's Grill on Decatur Street with 'a stack of money' where he got in a dice game and lost a large sum, one man testifying that he won over $500 from him. Several persons testified that he was seen after the shooting with a pistol, and a pawn shop operator testified that thereafter he had pawned a .32-caliber Colt revolver with him for $15 after presenting a social security card bearing the name of Irvin Washington as identification. A police officer testified that a social-security card bearing the name 'Irvin Washington' was removed from the person of the defendant when he was arrested. There was testimony that the projectile which caused the death of the deceased and which was removed from the body was of like caliber to the pistol above, and experts testified that, in their opinion, it was fired from a .32 Colt revolver and could have been fired from the pawned gun. The defendant made a free and voluntary statement to the officers, in which he stated that he went into the inquor store, held the pistol on the white man who was there, reached over to remove the money from the cash register, and the gun went off and shot the man. He detailed his route and movements after leaving the store, and said that he lost the money in a crap game on Decatur Street and then pawned the pistol for $15. This statement was corroborated in almost every particular by various witnesses who saw him at the various locations detailed in his statement. The defendant, in his unsworn statement, denied that he committed the crime, saying that he knew nothing about it or who committed it and that he signed the statement above through fear.

Carter Goode, Ellis M. Creel, Goode & Creel, Atlanta, for plaintiff in error.

Paul Webb, Sol. Gen., Carl B. Copeland, William E. Spence, Charlie O. Murphy, Atlanta, Eugene Cook, Atty. Gen., J. R. Parham, Asst. Atty. Gen., for defendant in error.

DUCKWORTH, Chief Justice.

1. In Connell v. State, 153 Ga. 151, 111 S.E. 545, this court held that it was not error to charge as follows: 'A reasonable doubt means exactly what it says--a doubt that is founded upon reason. A reasonable doubt may grow out of the evidence, or the want of evidence, or be engendered by the defendant's statement. While the law requires the state to demonstrate beyond a reasonable doubt, the law does not require the state to demonstrate the guilt of the defendant to a mathematical or an absolute certainty, and the reasonable doubt is not a vague, conjectural doubt; it is not a fanciful doubt. It is not an imaginative doubt, neither does it mean a possibility that the defendant may be innocent; but, as I said to you just now, it means a doubt that is founded upon reason.' The charge complained of here in special grounds one and two is in all material respects identical with the above quoted charge which was approved by this court. There is no merit in these grounds. Nothing was ruled in Wilson v. State, 8 Ga.App. 816, 70 S.E. 193; Wilson v. Harrell, 87 Ga.App. 793, 75 S.E.2d 436; Macon Ry. and Light Co. v. Vining, 123 Ga. 770, 51 S.E.2d 719, which are relied upon by movant, that would authorize a ruling sustaining either of these grounds. It is certainly not harmful to the accused for the trial judge to instruct a jury that doubts of guilt of the accused must be real and actual and not fanciful or imaginary and that is in substance what the charge complained of instructed the jury in this case.

2. The third special ground complains of the failure to...

To continue reading

Request your trial
11 cases
  • Williams v. State Georgia
    • United States
    • U.S. Supreme Court
    • June 6, 1955
    ...motion was overruled, and an appeal to the Georgia Supreme Court followed. On October 14, 1953, that court affirmed the judgment. 210 Ga. 207, 78 S.E.2d 521. On December 1, 1953, Williams' counsel filed in the trial court an extraordinary motion for new trial under Ga. Code Ann., § 70—303.1......
  • Ferguson v. State
    • United States
    • Georgia Supreme Court
    • May 8, 1959
    ...when the pistol was shown to the defendant, he stated that it was the pistol he used to shoot Luke Brown that morning. Williams v. State, 210 Ga. 207(4), 78 S.E.2d 521. 3. Special ground 2 shows, that when the defendant was called to the witness stand, his counsel propounded to him the foll......
  • Coleman v. State
    • United States
    • Georgia Supreme Court
    • November 1, 1999
    ...convictions. Accordingly, we disapprove the language in those cases upholding the giving of this charge. E.g., Williams v. State, 210 Ga. 207, 208(1), 78 S.E.2d 521 (1953); Connell v. State, 153 Ga. 151(2), 111 S.E. 545 (1922); Andrews v. State, 201 Ga.App. 329(2), 411 S.E.2d 52 (1991); Neb......
  • Sides v. State, 19756
    • United States
    • Georgia Supreme Court
    • September 12, 1957
    ...language as that excepted to here was approved in Connell v. State, 153 Ga. 151(2), 111 S.E. 545, and followed in Williams v. State, 210 Ga. 207(1), 78 S.E.2d 521. The exceptions to the charge given as being confusing and misleading to the jury and as failing to state some other principles ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT