Peacock v. State

NOTICE: This opinion is subject to modification resulting from motions for reconsideration under Supreme Court Rule 27, the Court’s reconsideration, and editorial revisions by the Reporter of Decisions. The version of the opinion published in the Advance Sheets for the Georgia Reports, designated as the “Final Copy,” will replace any prior version on the Court’s website and docket. A bound volume of the Georgia Reports will contain the final and official text of the opinion. In the Supreme Court of Georgia Decided: September 7, 2022 S22A0578. PEACOCK v. THE STATE. PINSON, Justice. Jeffrey Peacock was convicted of five counts of malice murder and other crimes related to the shooting deaths of Jonathan Edwards, Jr., Alecia Norman, Reid Williams, Jones Pidcock, and Jordan Croft; the burning of their home; and the killing of three dogs. On appeal, he contends that (1) the evidence presented at trial was insufficient to sustain his convictions for malice murder and the associated possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony; (2) the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress evidence found during the search of his truck; (3) his trial counsel provided ineffective assistance by failing to seek to suppress his statements to a GBI agent who allegedly provided him a hope of benefit in violation of OCGA § 24-8-824; and (4) his cruelty-to-animals convictions and sentences should have been for misdemeanors rather than felonies based on the rule of lenity.1 We affirm. First, the evidence presented at trial was sufficient to support Peacock’s convictions under OCGA § 24-14-6 and as a matter of constitutional due process. Second, the trial court did not abuse its discretion by denying Peacock’s motion to suppress evidence obtained from his truck under a search warrant for the home because the truck was parked in the home’s curtilage. Third, Peacock’s trial counsel did not provide ineffective assistance by 1 The crimes occurred on May 15, 2016. In March 2017, a Colquitt County grand jury indicted Peacock for five counts of malice murder, five counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, arson, and three counts of aggravated cruelty to animals. The State filed a notice of intent to seek the death penalty, which the State later withdrew after Peacock waived his right to a jury trial. At a bench trial from June 17 to 20, 2019, the court found Peacock guilty of all charges. The court sentenced him to serve life in prison without parole for each murder conviction, five years in prison for one firearm conviction, 20 years in prison for arson, and five years in prison for each animal-cruelty conviction. The court merged the remaining firearm counts; the State has not challenged those mergers, and we will not raise sua sponte any error that benefitted Peacock. See Dixon v. State, 302 Ga. 691, 696- 698 (808 SE2d 696) (2017). Peacock timely moved for a new trial, which he later amended twice with new counsel. In November 2021, after an evidentiary …

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