de la Hernandez v. GeorgiaAnnotate this Case
Christian de la Hernandez was convicted of malice murder, kidnapping, aggravated assault, kidnapping with bodily injury, and rape in connection with the shooting death of Jacqueline Ramon. On appeal, Hernandez contended only that venue did not properly lie in DeKalb County. The record reflected that although there was undisputed evidence establishing that the events leading up to Ramon’s murder occurred in DeKalb County, witness B.M. was not certain what county she and Ramon were being driven in when Hernandez shot Ramon. After the incident, B.M. returned to the area with an investigator from the DeKalb County District Attorney’s Office, who drove B.M. along the route she had been driven on the night of Ramon’s murder. At one point, B.M. pointed the investigator in the direction of Interstate 75 South where it splits from I-85 South and said that she thought she remembered passing Exit 227 near the time of the shooting. However, Exit 227 could only be accessed by cars traveling northbound on I-75, and when B.M. and the investigator drove to it, B.M. was unable to say if the shooting occurred there. She further stated that she “remembered some numbers 226 or 228, that’s all I remembered.” Then at trial, when asked where they were when Hernandez shot Ramon, B.M. testified that: “I only knew that we were in 85 South. I didn’t know where we were at all.” The Georgia Supreme Court concluded that because it was not readily determinable where Hernandez shot and killed Ramon, OCGA 17-2-2(c) applied, and the State properly established venue in DaKalb County, where Ramon's body was found. Therefore, venue was proper in DeKalb County.