Appeal from Madison Circuit Court. (CC-93-1003). Joseph Battle, TRIAL JUDGE.
Rule 39(k) Motion Denied November 10, 1994. Application for Rehearing Overruled November 10, 1994. Certiorari Denied January 13, 1995. Released for Publication April 22, 1995.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Taylor
The appellant, Anthony R. Williams, was convicted of murder, a violation of § 13A-6-2, Code of Alabama 1975. He was sentenced to life imprisonment in the penitentiary.
The state's evidence tended to show that on April 10, 1992, the appellant left Birmingham with Allen Williams, Steven Wayne Dancy, and Preston Sims to go to Huntsville. Although the evidence was conflicting, testimony showed that the group was going to Huntsville to look for Cornelius Lacey because he allegedly owed Allen Williams money. At some point during the evening, the group encountered Lacey in a car with some other people at a convenience store in Huntsville. The appellant and Preston Sims got out of their car and approached Lacey's car. The appellant was armed with a revolver and Preston Sims was armed with a semi-automatic pistol. The appellant approached the driver's side of the car and Sims approached the passenger's side. Sims pointed his gun inside the car but it jammed and would not fire. The appellant fired several shots into the car, killing Cornelius Lacey. The four men returned to Birmingham.
The appellant first contends that the trial court erred in denying his motion for a judgment of acquittal. More specifically, the appellant contends that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction for murder because, he says, the only evidence connecting him with the crime was the uncorroborated testimony at trial of Preston Sims and Steven Wayne Dancy, who the appellant contends were his accomplices.
Section 12-21-222, Code of Alabama 1975, provides:
"A conviction of felony cannot be had on the testimony of an accomplice unless corroborated by other evidence tending to connect the defendant with the commission of the offense, and such corroborative evidence, if it merely shows the commission of the offense or the circumstances thereof, is not sufficient."
"Corroborate" is defined as "to strengthen; to add weight or credibility to a thing by additional and confirming facts or evidence." Black's Law Dictionary 344 (6th ed. 1990).
"'"Corroborative evidence need not refer to any statement or fact testified to by the accomplice. Neither must it be strong nor sufficient of itself to support a conviction. The probative value of the evidence need only legitimately tend to connect the accused with the crime and need not directly do so. Further, corroborative evidence need not directly confirm any particular fact nor affirm each and every material fact testified to by the accomplice. Corroboration may be proven by circumstantial evidence alone."'
Mills v. State, 408 So.2d 187, 191 (Ala. Cr. App. 1981)."
Chevere v. State, 607 So.2d 361, 365 (Ala. Cr. App. 1992). Preston Sims had already pleaded guilty to manslaughter in connection with this case. Therefore, he is an accomplice as a matter of law and § 12-21-222, Code of ...