Court OK’s Use of Evidence from Similar Murder Case

     ATLANTA (CN) – In a murder trial, the trial court properly used evidence from a similar crime to secure the defendant’s conviction, the Georgia Supreme Court ruled.

     Garey Bernard Kinder was sentenced to life in prison without parole for the murder of his estranged girlfriend, Felicia Lucas.
     Kinder drove his car to Lucas’ home and ran her over with his car, breaking her leg. Kinder walked up and shot her twice in the head, killing in front of their children and several other witnesses.
     Kinder argued on appeal that evidence from a previous crime should not have been admitted and should have caused a mistrial. In the other case, Kinder rammed his car into his former girlfriend’s car and smashed the window with a pistol.
     Justice Thompson ruled that evidence of the first crime was admissible.
     “A sufficient connection existed between the independent act and the act for which Kinder was on trial so that proof of the former tends to prove the latter,” Thompson wrote.
     Also, some jury members improperly discussed the case outside of court, but those discussions were not prejudicial, Thompson ruled.

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