Michael Shawn Sapp was convicted of malice murder in the shooting death of Frank Grant. 1
In his sole enumeration on appeal, Sapp contends the evidence was insufficient to support the verdict and thus the trial court erred by denying his motion for new trial.
The jury was authorized to find that Sapp, Benton and Wiggins were chasing an innocent bystander Benton had been harassing. The victim stopped Benton and told him that the three young men needed to get out of the street. Benton replied with an obscenity. A witness heard Sapp, who was some distance behind Benton, state "oh, that motherfucker want some of this shit too." The witness saw Sapp pull out a revolver, run closer to the scene and shoot the unarmed victim. Sapp then ran away. Although he changed the shirt he was wearing to alter his appearance, he was arrested within a few blocks by a patrol officer who recovered from Sapp's pocket a .38 caliber pistol with one spent casing and one loaded round. Expert medical testimony established that the bullet which killed the victim entered his chest and traveled on a slight downward trajectory. At trial Sapp testified that when he saw Benton confront the victim, he ran to assist Benton. He testified that he was "just going to shoot [the weapon]. I wasn't trying to aim it at [the victim] or nothing."
Sapp contends there was insufficient evidence for the jury to find he killed the victim with malice, the mental intention necessary for malice murder. OCGA 16-5-1
Express malice is that deliberate intention unlawfully to take the life of another human being which is manifested by external circumstances capable of proof. Malice shall be implied where no considerable provocation appears and where the circumstances of the killing show an abandoned and malignant heart.
Id. at (b).
Daniel J. Craig, District Attorney, Thurbert E. Baker, Attorney General, Paula K. Smith, Senior Assistant Attorney General, Adam M. Hames, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.