Wilkins v. GeorgiaAnnotate this Case
Appellant Mathew Wilkins was found guilty of malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, and aggravated battery in connection with the death of Marlisa Wells. On appeal, he challenged the sufficiency of the evidence presented against him at trial, and the admission of certain items. Furthermore, Appellant contended that the State engaged in unconstitutional race-based discrimination by using three of its peremptory strikes during voir dire, and that the State's display of several nondescript boxes, paper evidence bags and a foam exhibit board tainted the venire and denied him a fair trial. Viewed in the light most favorable to the verdict, the Supreme Court concluded the evidence presented at trial was sufficient to authorize a rational jury to find appellant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of the crimes for which he was convicted. The record in this case supported the trial court's finding that the reasons offered for the State's strikes were race-neutral and not pre-textual. The Court found no abuse of the trial court's discretion when it determined the view of the State's boxes did not prejudice the venire. Accordingly, the Court affirmed Appellant's conviction and sentence.