Bud Daniel Conger was convicted of the offenses of murder, escape and motor vehicle theft. He was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder. 1
The trial court also imposed consecutive sentences of five years imprisonment for the offense of escape and seven years imprisonment for motor vehicle theft.
At the time of the murder the defendant, who was known by the nickname "Country," was lawfully confined to the Mitchell County Correctional Institute where the victim, Hubert Lodge, was employed as a correctional officer. By agreement between the Warden and Deputy Warden, the defendant was given the authority to run the "inmate store" where inmates were permitted to purchase snacks and personal items. The defendant was not required to sleep in the dormitory with the other inmates but was allowed to sleep on a cot in the inmate store, and according to the trial testimony of the Deputy Warden, had the "general run" of the institution's grounds. The defendant's other responsibilities included maintaining the institution's two vehicles.
The victim typically reported for work at 4:30 p.m. supervising the inmates until he was relieved by another correctional officer at 4:30 a.m. the following day. On May 13, 1980 the Deputy Warden arrived at the institution at 4:00 a.m. to arrange the transfer of several inmates to another correctional institution. The Deputy Warden found the steel doors to the institution, normally secured at all times, wide open. Investigating further, he discovered that the defendant and one of the institution's vehicles were missing. He immediately notified the Warden and the Mitchell County Sheriff's Department. Hearing an inmate call out for the victim, 2
the Deputy Warden learned that the victim had not responded to the inmate's repeated calls during the last hour.
Finding the inmate store locked from the inside, the Warden and Deputy Warden forced the door open with a crowbar. According to the testimony of both men, blood covered the walls, floor and much of the merchandise in the store; broken bottles were strewn about the premises. The victim's body was discovered on the floor of the bathroom adjoining the inmate store. A blood-stained butcher knife was found outside the store. Shortly thereafter it was noted that three hundred dollars from the inmate store and the victim's gun were missing. The institution's policy required that the correctional officers punch a time clock every fifteen minutes while on duty. Records for the May 12-13, 1980 period indicated that the victim had last punched the clock at 12:15 a.m.
Bloody prison garb with the word "Country" stenciled on it was found later that day beside a highway in Mitchell County. The sufficiency of the evidence to support the verdict. The defendant first argues that the evidence does not meet the test set out in Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U. S. 307 (99 SC 2781, 61 LE2d 560) (1979). We do not agree. Viewing the record in this case in the light most favorable to the prosecution, we conclude a rational trier of fact could have found the defendant guilty of the offenses with which he was charged.
Nor can we agree with the defendant that the trial court erred in failing to direct a verdict of acquittal. We cannot say that there was "no conflict in the evidence and the evidence . . . demand[ed] a verdict of acquittal." OCGA 17-9-1
(formerly Code Ann. 27-1802).
Alfred J. Powell, Jr., Jack G. Slover, Jr., Michael J. Bowers, Attorney General, Janice G. Hildenbrand, Staff Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.