Shawn Harlacher was involved in a bar brawl that left him with a broken nose. As his assailant retreated, Harlacher drew a weapon, aimed for his opponent, but refrained from firing.
Mr. Harlacher was subsequently indicted on an aggravated assault with a deadly weapon charge; however, the indictment, it seemed, did not meet the criminal offense elements under Georgia laws. He filed a general demurrer with the Superior Court of Coweta County, which supported his claim based on “lack of apprehension” as defined in O.C.G.A. §16-5-20 (a) (2). The Georgia statute requires that the victim must be cognizant of his or her impending danger.
The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s decision by relying upon Rhodes v. State, 257 Ga. 368 (1987), which claims that “only the misdemeanor of pointing a firearm…has been committed” when the victim is unaware of a weapon being aimed at him. In Shawn Harlacher’s situation, the person who broke his nose retreated from the scene without looking back at him, thus meeting this standard.