Cherokee Superior Court found a defendant guilty of armed robbery, but the defendant felt that the evidence did not support his conviction and appealed.
Georgia’s Court of Appeals reviewed the evidence presented to the trial court and noted that the defendant visited a particular pharmacy on one occasion to ask an employee about the cost of cigarettes while wearing a surgical mask. On another occasion, the defendant simply entered the same pharmacy and then left. An officer responding to a call asked the defendant about his presence there and some paper covering part of his license plate. He permitted the officer to search his vehicle, where the officer then discovered a surgical mask, police scanner and checkbook, but no weapon. A note inside the checkbook read, “I have a gun and there is one outside listening to a police scanner so no alarm put $2000.00 in the check book and be fast.” The officer found another note that was similar to the first, but it did not reference the police scanner.
The Appeals Court applied O.C.G.A. § 16-4-1 to the evidence presented and determined that the defendant “took a substantial step” toward committing a crime, but because he did not possess a weapon and did not reveal the notes to anyone, his acts were in preparation rather than attempted. The Court reversed the trial court’s decision to convict the defendant of armed robbery.