Rice v. State
The Supreme Court affirmed Lawrence Rice's convictions arising from the murder of his former employer's wife and 14-year-old son holding that the evidence supported them. The court held that the trial court did not err in conducting Rice's competency trial, did not abuse its discretion in denying Rice's motion for continuance of the sentencing phase of the criminal trial, and did not err in its jury charge on mitigating circumstance. The court also held that Rice did not show that his counsel was ineffective during the pretrial and trial proceedings. Trial counsel performed reasonably in most respects and any deficiencies that arguably existed did not in reasonable probability change the outcome of Rice trial, even when considered collectively. Mexico were held that the trial court did not err in denying Rice's motion for new trial based on his claim that Georgias lethal injection method is unconstitutional. 5 The Court held that the trial court did not impose death in the influence of passion, prejudice, or any other arbitrary factor, the evidence supported the statutory aggravating and found as to both murders and death sentences imposed were not disproportionate punishment. A jury convicted Lawrence Rice murder and county nature and 14-year-old son in the nature and of burglary. The jury found multiple statutory aggravating circumstances related to each of the murders and recommended the death sentence for each of the murders, within which the trial court imposed. Viewed in the light most favorable to the State the evidence presented at trial showed the following, Lawrence Rice met driver nature in or around 1990 when Rice began working at a video production company under Mr. Mincher’ssupervision. Shortly afterward, another rental car company, and Rice resigned in anger after he found this other man was being paid more than he was. Rice's motive and plan for the crimes were mostly depicted in a manuscript that he had written titled culture shock. In this manuscript he stated that Mr. Mincher had been speaking ill of him within the video production industry and thus preventing him from finding employment, is evolving financial difficulties, and his plan to murder Mr. Mincher's family with a hatchet if the situation did not improve. Continued harassment take place between Mr. Rice and the Mincher family. In the days leading up to the murders, several witnesses observed Rice in the Mincher's neighborhood sitting in his damaged gold Mercedes and walking around. On the day of the murders April 17, 2003, several neighbors and a school bus driver described seeing Rice’s automobile parked in Mincher's driveway around the time of the murders. Rice getting something out of the trunk of his automobile and going into the Mincher's house. Ethan Mincher arrived from school and entered the house, and then Rice leaving hurriedly in his automobile. Mincher's daughter arrived shortly after Rice was seen leaving the scene. She observed an automobile size dry spot on the driveway, which, because there was drizzling writing that they show that Rice had only recently departed. Inside the house, Mincher was lying face down on the bed with the right over her head and was already dead. Ethan Mincher was lying face down in a large pool of blood in the kitchen but was still alive. Ethan Mincher died shortly afterward. When investigators told Mr. Mincher about the gold Mercedes had been seen at the Mincher's house, Mr. Mincher told them about Rice. Investigators met up with Rice, and he admitted that he had been at the Mincher's house around the time of the murders. However, Rice claimed that he advanced the Mincher spouse to receive money from Connie Mincher, and he got at the house and Ethan Mincher arrived, that a man named Jason had arrived later, and that he had left because Jason was not cordial to him. Contrary to Rice's account, a number of witnesses testified at trial that the Mincher is an never mentioned anything about when the money to Rice or anything about someone named Jason. A search of Rice's automobile revealed a map with the Mincher's neighborhood circled and a handgun containing one bullet. Mr. Mincher's video recorded deposition testimony which was seen by the jury, confirmed other evidence of Rice's motive, Rice's history of harassing and threatening Mr. Mincher and his wife. At the Mincher's did not know someone named Jason. A paramedic testified that Ethan Mincher had duct tape over his mouth and hair when unsuccessful medical treatment on him had begun. The medical examiner further testified as follows; Connie Mincher tainted and bound behind her back, Ethan Mincher had a set of handcuffs attached to one of his wrist. Connie Mincher had a black eye, a bruise on her upper back, fractured ribs, and rickettsial hemorrhages in her eyes indicative of her having been asphyxiated by the duct tape that was wrapped around her neck. She had suffered at least 5 and perhaps level more blows to her head with an instrument or instruments consistent with the sharp and blunt end of a hatchet, and her skull was fractured and oppressed into her brain. Keson Mincher's body showed signs of having been a struggle, including bruises to his eye she lives. Scalp and upper chest and abrasions to his arm and neck. Ethan Mincher's most serious wounds like Connie Mincher's wounds were consistent with the murder weapon having been a hatchet. He suffered at least 2 blunt force blows to his back, which broke his ribs and left a rectangular abrasion. He also suffered multiple blunt force blows to his skull, which was fractured and oppressed into his brain. Upon our review of the record we conclude that the evidence presented at trial was sufficient to authorize a rational trier of fact to find Rice guilty beyond a reasonable doubt on ALL counts. See Jackson v. Virginia 443 U.S. 307 99 SCT 781, providing that in all death penalty cases, this court will determine whether the verdicts are supported by the evidence. Contact a Paulding County Attorney if you are facing serious charges.