Appeal from Mobile Circuit Court. (CC-93-2341 and CC-93-2342). Herman Thomas, TRIAL JUDGE.
Rehearing Denied October 21, 1994. Certiorari Denied March 24, 1995. Released for Publication August 8, 1995.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Taylor
The appellant, Lee Andrew Armstead, was convicted of the murder of Raymond Williams and the attempted murder of Kenneth Wallace, violations of § 13A-6-2 and § 13A-4-2, Code of Alabama 1975. He was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole on each conviction, the sentences to be served consecutively.
The state's evidence tended to show that on May 31, 1993, the appellant was driving through the Dauphinwood Apartment complex in Mobile. Several witnesses testified that the appellant stopped his automobile and jumped out of the vehicle holding a pistol and that he then started shooting. After the appellant fatally wounded Raymond Williams and shot Kenneth Wallace, he jumped back into his car and drove away.
The appellant first contends that the trial court erred when it refused to allow him to present evidence that the shooting resulted from an ongoing series of altercations. Specifically, he contends that this evidence was relevant to show misidentification by witnesses and witness bias.
The appellant attempted to show that the shooting was only one of several altercations between two groups of young men. When this evidence was first brought to the court's attention, the court disallowed any reference to prior altercations but allowed the appellant to make an offer of proof. The court stated that unless there was something to connect the prior altercations with the charged offense, he was going to exclude any testimony relating to them. The court's ruling was correct.
"In Smith v. State, 393 So. 2d 529, 531-32 (Ala. Cr. App. 1981), we stated, the following:
"'While antecedent circumstances tending to shed light on the criminal transaction or elucidate the facts connected therewith are admissible in evidence against the accused, Pope v. State, 365 So. 2d 369 (Ala. Cr. App. 1978), "(a)ntecedent acts of third persons which apparently have no connection with the commission of the crime by the accused are not admissible, unless their connection and relevancy are made apparent by other facts introduced or offered to be introduced in evidence." 22A C.J.S. Criminal Law, Section 606 (1961).'
"As explained at 22A C.J.S. Criminal Law, § 602 (1961):
"'As a general rule, connection with accused must be shown to render evidence admissible against him.
"'The rule "res inter alios acta" forbids the introduction of collateral [acts] which by their nature are incapable of affording any reasonable presumption or inference as to the principal matter in dispute. Evidence as to acts, transactions, or occurrences to which accused is not a party, or as to other matters with which he is not shown to have any connection, being res inter alios acta, is inadmissible, unless it is so interwoven ...