A Fulton County jury found Hopton Hyde guilty of multiple crimes including malice murder, aggravated assault, felony murder in the commission of aggravated assault, and possession of a knife during the commission of a crime. Fulton Superior Court, using O.C.G.A. § 17-10-7 (c), sentenced him to life in prison without the possibility of parole for his malice murder charge. Mr. Hyde filed a motion to vacate his sentence, but the trial court denied it.
Mr. Hyde, who represented himself, opted to appeal to the Georgia Supreme Court, pointing out that he committed the crime in 1999. The subsection to the statute was amended in 2000 and did not previously permit punishment for repeat offenders, and therefore, his sentencing was invalid. The Supreme Court reviewed his case and agreed with him, reversing the denial of Mr. Hyde’s motion. The Court also remanded the case to the trial court so that the trial court could sentence him correctly.