A jury convicted Caleb Blair of malice murder in the stabbing death of David Ansley. 1
Blair appeals contending the trial court erred in sustaining the state's challenge to Blair's exercise of his peremptory strikes. Because Blair failed to provide a race and gender neutral, case-related, specific explanation for the exercise of his strikes, we affirm.
1. The evidence showed that Blair and Ansley had both been drinking heavily when they got into an argument over Ansley's girl friend. Witnesses testified that the two exchanged words and Ansley, who was unarmed, began to push Blair. In response to Ansley's pushing, Blair stabbed him three times and fled the scene. After reviewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the jury's determination of guilt, we conclude that a rational trier of fact could have found Blair guilty of the crime charged beyond a reasonable doubt. 2
2. After Blair used peremptory challenges to remove six of seven white female jurors, the state challenged the strikes, contending that they were racially and gender motivated in violation of Georgia v. McCollum 3
and J. E. B. v. Alabama. 4
After a careful review of the record, we conclude that Blair failed to offer race and gender neutral, case-related, specific explanations for three of the strikes. 5
As to the fourth strike, the state met its burden of showing that Blair's proffered reason was a pretext for discrimination by showing that he had failed to strike similarly situated jurors of a different race.6
Therefore, the trial court did not err in sustaining the state's challenge and in returning the jurors to the jury panel.
Donald E. Strickland, for appellant.