Bridges v. State

NOTICE: This opinion is subject to modification resulting from motions for reconsideration under Supreme Court Rule 27, the Court’s reconsideration, and editorial revisions by the Reporter of Decisions. The version of the opinion published in the Advance Sheets for the Georgia Reports, designated as the “Final Copy,” will replace any prior version on the Court’s website and docket. A bound volume of the Georgia Reports will contain the final and official text of the opinion. In the Supreme Court of Georgia Decided: August 9, 2022 S22A0773. BRIDGES v. THE STATE. ELLINGTON, Justice. Appellant Arleshia Bridges appeals her convictions for malice murder and other crimes arising out of the shooting death of Anthony Rankins, Jr. 1 Bridges contends that the trial court erred by denying her motion for new trial based on the general grounds and The crimes occurred on March 1, 2010. Bridges was indicted by a Fulton 1 County grand jury on May 28, 2010, for malice murder (Count 1), felony murder (Count 2), aggravated assault with a deadly weapon (Count 3), and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony (Count 4). At a December 2012 jury trial, Bridges was found guilty on all counts. On December 14, 2012, Bridges was sentenced to life in prison for the malice murder of Rankins plus an additional five consecutive years to serve in prison for the firearm offense. Because the jury found Bridges guilty of malice murder, the felony murder count was vacated by operation of law, see Malcolm v. State, 263 Ga. 369, 371-372 (4) (434 SE2d 479) (1993), and the aggravated assault charge that formed the predicate for the felony murder count merged into the malice murder conviction as a matter of fact for sentencing purposes. Bridges filed a timely motion for new trial, which she amended on May 29, 2015, and October 30, 2018. The trial court conducted a hearing on the amended motion for new trial on November 2, 2018, and denied the motion on December 17, 2018. Bridges filed a timely notice of appeal. The case was docketed in this Court for the April 2022 term and submitted for a decision on the briefs. striking three prospective jurors for cause. For the reasons that follow, we affirm. Viewed in the light most favorable to the verdicts, the evidence presented at trial showed that on March 1, 2010, Bridges was arguing with Rankins, her husband of six days, as she followed him in her car as he walked down the sidewalk. When Rankins would not stop walking, Bridges drove her vehicle in front of him, exited her vehicle, and followed him on foot. As Rankins kept walking, Bridges stepped in front of Rankins and shot him twice. Bridges then shot Rankins three more times as he lay on the ground. Rankins died at the scene. An eyewitness testified at trial that he saw Bridges following Rankins in her car and although he could not hear what Bridges was saying, it seemed that they were …

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