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Prisoner Convicted of Self-Inflicted Gunshot Wound

Georgia's Fourth Division Court of Appeals has confirmed a conviction
against Deiante Walton for possession of a weapon and criminal use of a
firearm with an altered identification number.

While detained at Georgia's Wilkes County Jail, Walton conceived a plan he
hoped would result in dismissal of all of his unspecified criminal charges,
plus gain him a monetary judgment against Wilkes County. Instead, Walton
received more time for convictions resulting from shooting himself.

In the early morning hours of the undisclosed incident date, another
prisoner saw a flash from the muzzle of a gun in Walton's bunk area.
Walton was then heard going to the restroom area, which is where guards
found him. Shell casings were recovered from Walton's bunk and a bullet
fell out of his pants while he was being transported to the hospital.
Forensic tests proved a revolver had been fired into the pillow recovered
from Walton bunk. Moreover, the bullet recovered from Walton's leg matched
the revolver found in his bunk area.

Walton subsequently filed suit against Wilkes County. The disposition of
that suit is not disclosed in the opinion at issue here, but a criminal
conviction would legally negate a civil judgment in Walton's favor.
The evidence led Walton to be charged with possessing a weapon and
criminal use of a firearm with an altered identification number. The
matter proceeded to a jury trial, and Walton was found guilty on both counts.

Walton appealed, challenging the sufficiency of the evidence. The
Appellate Court found the evidence disclosed that Walton had explained to
another prisoner his plan to have his charges dismissed and to sue the
county for his injuries. Walton also sought the other prisoner's advice on
how to best self-inflict a gunshot wound.

The Appellate Court held the evidence was sufficient for a rational trier
of fact to find Walton guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Accordingly,
Walton's convictions were affirmed. See: Walton v. The State, 269 Ga.App.
812, 605 S.E.2d 622 (4th Div. Ga. 2004).

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Related legal case

Walton v. The State

Walton v. State, 605 S.E.2d 622, 269 Ga.App. 812 (Ga.App. 09/30/2004)


[2] No. A04A2083

[3] 605 S.E.2d 622, 269 Ga.App. 812, 4 FCDR 3238, 2004

[4] September 30, 2004


[6] Ruffin, P. J., Eldridge And Adams, JJ.

[7] The opinion of the court was delivered by: Eldridge, Judge.

[8] A Wilkes County jury found Deiante Walton guilty of possession of a weapon by a prison inmate and criminal use of a gun with an altered identification. He appeals, challenging the sufficiency of the evidence supporting his conviction and the timeliness of the State's notice of its intent to introduce prior convictions in aggravation of sentence. Finding no basis for reversal in the enumerated errors, we affirm.

[9] 1. Walton first challenges the sufficiency of the evidence. Viewed to support the jury's verdict, the evidence showed that, while an inmate at the Wilkes County jail, Walton was in possession of a small pearl- handled revolver with its serial numbers removed ; he shot himself with such revolver in an attempt to engender a law suit against Wilkes County in order to achieve a money judgment, as well as the dismissal of charges against him in exchange for settlement of the legal action. Walton argues that no one actually saw him shoot himself and that the revolver was not found on his person, thus rendering the evidence insufficient. However, the evidence at trial established that Walton disclosed his plan to a fellow prison inmate who testified about such plan at trial ; Walton showed the pearl-handled revolver to that inmate and asked him how he could self-inflict a gunshot wound with the weapon ; in the early morning hours of the incident date, another inmate saw the flash from a gun's muzzle coming from the direction of Walton's bunk ; shell casings were recovered next to Walton's bunk ; Walton was then heard making his way to the bathroom where he was found by law enforcement ; a bullet fell out of Walton's pants after his transport to the local hospital and was recovered by a nurse ; a pearl-handled revolver was recovered on the floor near Walton's bunk ; forensic testing showed that the bullet recovered from Walton's pants was fired from the recovered pearl-handled revolver ; forensics further showed that the revolver had been fired through Walton's pillow which was recovered from his bunk ; and, subsequently, Walton filed a law suit against Wilkes County. We find this evidence sufficient for a rational trier of fact to find Walton guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of the charged offenses.*fn1 Likewise, there was sufficient evidence to support the trial court's denial of Walton's motion for a directed verdict.*fn2 Walton's additional contention regarding the believability of the State's evidence goes to the weight to be given such evidence, which is solely within the province of the jury and thus does not provide a basis for appellate review.

[10] 2. Walton waived his claim that the State's failed to provide sufficient notice of its intent to introduce prior convictions in aggravation of sentence. While an initial objection was registered when Walton's attorney was served with the notice, the record shows that this objection was abandoned and no ruling was obtained. "A ruling must be obtained for this court to review an alleged error."*fn3 Further, Walton was not sentenced as a recidivist pursuant to the initial objection to the use of the aggravation evidence; accordingly, the instant claim is without merit.

[11] Judgment affirmed. Ruffin, P. J., and Adams, J., concur.


Opinion Footnotes


[12] *fn1 Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U. S. 307 (99 SC 2781, 61 LE2d 560) (1979).

[13] *fn2 Id.; Decker v. State, 217 Ga. App. 803 (1) (459 SE2d 586) (1995).

[14] *fn3 (Citation omitted.) Mason v. State, 262 Ga. App. 383, 384 (2) (585 SE2d 673) (2003).