Heatherly v. GeorgiaAnnotate this Case
The Georgia Supreme Court granted certiorari to the Court of Appeals in this matter to determine whether the Court of Appeals erred in affirming Robert Heatherly’s misdemeanor conviction. Heatherly and Donald Lewis Malone worked at a Dalton Paper Products, Inc. industrial plant. Officials discovered that certain materials were missing from a secured area of the plant, and the plant manager received an anonymous telephone call informing him that Malone was stealing from the plant. Law enforcement interviewed Malone who confessed to selling the stolen materials, and that Heatherly provided the materials. Both men were charged with theft by taking, and as part of a plea agreement, Malone testified at Heatherly’s trial. Heatherly appealed, and argued in his sole enumeration of error to the Court of Appeals was that because he had originally been charged with theft by taking property with a value of more than $500.00, regardless of the eventual proof of the value of the stolen property, and regardless of his eventual sentence, his case should have been considered a “felony case” for purposes of OCGA 24-14-8, which provides that the “testimony of a single witness is generally sufficient to establish a fact [but in]felony cases where the only witness is an accomplice, the testimony of a single witness shall not be sufficient.” He contended that under the State’s evidence and the trial court’s judgment, Malone had to be considered an accomplice of Heatherly’s, and that there was no evidence corroborating Malone’s testimony that Heatherly was involved in the theft of the materials from the plant. Finding that the Court of Appeals was correct in rejecting Heatherly’s assertion that, in this case, the testimony of a single witness accomplice had to be corroborated, the Supreme Court affirmed.