OF JUDGMENT: 09/26/2016
COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT HON. PRENTISS GREENE HARRELL JUDGE
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: ROBERT G. WHITACRE JR.
ATTORNEYFOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY: LISA
DISTRICT ATTORNEY: HALDON J. KITTRELL
GRIFFIS, P.J., BARNES AND GREENLEE, JJ.
Anthony Ray Abram appeals his convictions of being an
accessory after the fact to first-degree murder and
first-degree arson. We find Abram's assignments of error
are procedurally barred and affirm.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
On September 1, 2014, Ryan Cooper's burned body was found
in the back of his smoldering Ford Ranger on East Reservoir
Road in Marion County. Following an autopsy, a medical
examiner determined that Cooper died from a gunshot wound to
the head. A deputy-state fire marshal who examined
Cooper's truck determined that the fire that had severely
damaged Cooper's vehicle was not started accidentally and
was due to human involvement.
Jerry Page was subsequently indicted on the charges of
first-degree murder, first- degree arson, and simple assault
on a law enforcement officer. Abram, Page's brother, was
indicted on the charges of being an accessory after the fact
to first-degree murder, and first-degree arson.
At trial, the State relied on the testimony of three
witnesses: Alex Garner (Garner), Alex Abram (Alex), and David
Garner was the only witness that directly observed the
shooting. Garner testified that at the time of the shooting,
he was living in his mother's van parked near James
Kelly's house on Expose Road. On the night of August 31,
2014, Cooper picked up Garner, and they drove up the road to
Alex's house. When they arrived, Cooper jumped out of his
truck and "got into a confrontation" with Abram,
Page, Alex, and Holmes. Cooper then drove away without
Garner. Garner began to walk down the road back toward
Kelly's house, but Cooper picked him up and returned to
Alex's house. From his truck, Cooper screamed,
"[Y]'all must [not] know me. I'm a LK," and
"Y'all don't scare me[.]" Garner testified
that people began shooting at Cooper's truck, but he
could not see whom they were because he had his head down.
Garner further testified that he and Cooper drove to
Kelly's house, parked in the driveway, and got out of the
truck. Shortly thereafter, Abram, Page, Alex, and Holmes
drove up in a truck, parked nearby, and jumped out holding
guns. Garner testified that Abram ran up to Cooper and put a
gun to Cooper's head but then lowered the gun. Then, Page
approached Cooper and shot him in the middle of his forehead
at point-blank range. Cooper fell to the ground. Garner saw
Alex and Holmes start walking away. Abram picked up
Cooper's body from the driveway and put it in the back of
Cooper's truck. Garner testified that Page threatened to
kill him and his mother if Garner told anyone about the
shooting. Abram then drove off in Cooper's truck, with
Page following in his own truck.
According to Garner, about forty-five minutes later, Page
returned and again threatened Garner not to tell anyone about
the shooting. Garner said that he feared for his life, so he
helped Page cover up the shooting by giving Page gasoline to
burn Cooper's blood off Kelly's driveway. Garner said
he also shoveled dirt over Cooper's blood.
Garner testified that he was charged with being an accessory
after the fact to murder and hindering the prosecution. He
agreed to plead guilty to both charges and to testify at
trial in exchange for a twenty-year sentence, with sixteen
years suspended, and four years to serve.
Alex's and Holmes's testimonies slightly differed
from Garner's testimony. Both Alex and Holmes testified
that on the night of the shooting, they attended a barbeque
that Alex hosted at his trailer on Expose Road. When guests
began to leave the barbeque, Alex and Holmes walked down the
street to Kelly's house.
Alex testified that as he and Holmes approached Kelly's
house, he saw four men standing in the yard: Cooper, Garner,
Abram, and Page. Page's full-size white truck and a
smaller white truck were parked in the driveway. Cooper
appeared to be arguing with Page, who held a handgun. Alex
said he and Holmes began to run back to his trailer when they
heard a gun cock. As they ran, a gunshot rang out. Alex then
saw the two white trucks pass by, but he could not identify
the drivers. The State was allowed to refresh Alex's
memory by playing an audio recording of a pretrial statement
he gave to law enforcement. The jurors listened to the
recording and were each provided a transcript of the recorded
statement; however, neither the recording nor the transcript
were admitted into evidence, and the transcripts were
collected from the jurors immediately after the audio
recording was played. Alex subsequently testified that he
remembered who was ...