Georgia Supreme Court upholds three murder sentences
The Georgia Supreme Court announced Wednesday that they have upheld murder sentences for three men convicted of murder in Southwest Georgia.
Maurilio Martinez was convicted for the 2002 rape and murder of Joy Morris in Lowndes County back in 2010.
Martinez argued for a reversal of his conviction due to insufficient evidence, that his counsel was ineffective when he failed to move for a directed verdict on the rape charge, and the trial court erred when it overruled his objection to certain comments the prosecutor made during closing argument.
After hearing the case,Justices did not agree and upheld his sentence.
In another case before the court, Demetrius Daniels and Tobias Thomas appealed their murder convictions tied to murders committed in Colquitt County.
Daniels was convicted for the July 2010 death of Alvin Hunt while Thomas was convicted for the April 2009 death of Bernardino Perez.
According to court documents, the evidence showed that men were part of a local street gang known as the "Forrest Hill Boyz." They, along with four other defendants, were tried for various crimes around Moultrie.
Daniels argued that his council was deficient and that was prejudicial to his defense as well as ineffective. The court did not agree with the arguments and upheld sentencing.
Thomas, however, argued that:
- the evidence presented by the state was insufficient for the jury to find him guilty and that testimony from an accomplice was uncorroborated.
- the trial court erred in denying his general demurrer, which challenges the sufficiency of the substance of the indictment according to court documents.
- not being tried separately from other defendants and not having the charges split into separate trials.
- that the trial court expressed or intimating an opinion as to what has or has not been proved as to the guilt of the accused in connection to witnesses and sounds made by the judge.
- issues regarding the charges given to the court and jury.
- deprivation of due process due to the above errors.
However, Justices still ruled against both men and upheld their sentencing.