Georgia man appeals against his conviction for killing a Kenyan man in 2008
Posted by Administrator on February 7, 2012
MARIETTA — The Georgia Supreme Court will hear two Cobb County murder cases today.
In the first, Kevin Martin is appealing his conviction in the 2008 New Year’s Eve death of Peter Mwangi. Martin was convicted of stabbing Mwangi to death in a fight stemming from a disagreement over an open door. In the trial, jurors were allowed to see portions of a videotaped interrogation in which he invoked his right to an attorney and said “Oh, God, have mercy upon my soul” upon learning of Mwangi’s death.
Martin was convicted of felony murder, aggravated assault and possession of a knife during the commission of a crime and sentenced to life plus five years in prison.
Martin will argue that his attorney, Jimmy Berry, provided ineffective defense in not preventing the interrogation video to be shown, thus hurting his defense.
In another case, Jesus Guerrero Manzano will be appealing his murder conviction in his wife’s death for a second time.
Police discovered Claudia Rodriguez, 25, dead of a gunshot wound to her head on Nov. 5, 2003, in the couple’s home. Manzano said he was cleaning his gun when he put it against her head and pulled the trigger, thinking it was unloaded. Prosecutors argued that he shot her while she was sleeping, basing their argument on contact wounds found during her autopsy.
In February 2005, a jury convicted him of felony murder, but acquitted him on a charge of malice murder. That conviction was overturned in 2007 because the judge did not tell the jury they could consider convicting him of involuntary manslaughter. In a second trial in 2009, a jury found Manzano guilty of felony murder with aggravated assault as the underlying felony. Manzano was sentenced to life in prison.
For a felony murder conviction, the victim must be killed as a result of a felony. Manzano’s attorney will be arguing that the evidence in the second trial does not support an aggravated assault conviction, eliminating the underlying felony and thus the felony murder charge.
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