The appellant, Greg Ricketts, was convicted of the malice murder of Amy McCrackin and sentenced to life in prison. 1
He appeals, raising, among other issues, that the trial court erred in failing to excuse a juror for cause. We conclude, however, that the trial court did not err in refusing to exclude the juror, and that the other issues raised by Ricketts have no merit. Accordingly, we affirm his conviction.
At the time of the crime, Ricketts and McCrackin lived together in a trailer with McCrackin's two children. On the evening of April 22, 1995, Lisa Buchannon visited Ricketts and McCrackin at their trailer. Ricketts made a crude remark to Buchannon, which angered McCrackin. Because Ricketts and McCrackin continued to argue heatedly, Buchannon left the trailer. About 4:00 a.m., the Rabun County Sheriff's Office received a call requesting that they go to the McCrackin residence. When the responding officer arrived, Ricketts was there and identified himself as Greg Richards. He told the officer that he had left the trailer about 12:15 a.m. with a friend, and returned home around 4:00 a.m. to find Amy lying on the kitchen floor, not breathing. An investigator interviewed Ricketts at about 6:00 a.m. at the Sheriff's office. Ricketts again gave his name as Greg Richards, and related the same story that he had given at the crime scene. The officer, however, learned that Ricketts had given a fictitious name and thought that Ricketts was intoxicated. About 2:15 p.m. that same day, the investigator and a GBI agent interviewed Ricketts. Ricketts initially told officers the story he had previously told, but eventually admitted killing McCrackin. He stated that he and McCrackin kept arguing after Buchannon left and that McCrackin slapped him hard on the side of the face. He added that this reminded him of being slapped by his mother when he was young and that it "set him off." He remembered that he shoved McCrackin against a cabinet, that she came at him, and that he choked her. Ricketts related essentially the same story at trial, but he added that he had been drinking that night and had taken some pain pills that had him "feeling pretty good."
The medical examiner testified that McCrackin died from strangulation, with a loss of blood being a significant factor. In addition to testifying to injuries consistent with strangulation, the medical examiner testified that McCrackin had suffered a large laceration in the abdomen and had a significant amount of blood in the abdomen that was consistent with something striking the body.
1. We conclude that the evidence is sufficient to support Ricketts's conviction of malice murder. 2
2. In Ricketts's first enumeration of error, he contends that the trial court erred in failing to excuse a juror for cause. Having examined the issue closely, we cannot conclude that the trial court abused its discretion in refusing to strike the juror. 3
We have examined Ricketts's remaining enumerations of error and find them to be without merit. 4
Michael H. Crawford, District Attorney, Michael J. Bowers, Attorney General, Paula K. Smith, Senior Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.