Separate Convictions and Sentences Authorized for Aggravated Assault In Georgia
Are Separate Convictions and Sentences Authorized for Aggravated Assault Committed Independently of the Act Which Caused Victim's Death ?
In Lowe v. State, 267 Ga. 410, 478 S.E.2d 762, the defendant was charged with various crimes including malice murder and aggravated assault.
The evidence showed that Lowe fired one shot which struck the victim in the arm and caused him to fall. Lowe then walked over to the victim and stood above him while he pled for his life.
He then fired a second shot which struck the victim in the abdomen and killed him. Id. at 411 (1).
Lowe argued that the aggravated assault merged into malice murder as a matter of fact.
Our Supreme Court rejected his argument, concluding that the separate convictions and sentences were authorized because Lowe committed the aggravated assault independently of the act which caused the victim's death.
Because the aggravated assault was proven by evidence that was not used to prove the murder itself and because the aggravated assault was completed before the murder was committed, the court concluded that the crimes did not merge. Lowe v. State, 267 Ga. at 412 (1) (b).
"If, however, the murder itself resulted from the single act of firing a series of shots in quick succession at the victim, no aggravated assault independent of the murder would be shown." Id.