Heard May 5, 2015.
Appeal From Horry County. Appellate Case No. 2013-000336. Steven H. John, Circuit Court Judge.
Meliah Bowers Jefferson, of Wyche Law Firm, of Greenville, and Chief Appellate Defender Robert Michael Dudek, of Columbia, for Appellant.
Attorney General Alan McCrory Wilson, Chief Deputy Attorney General John W. McIntosh, Senior Assistant Deputy Attorney General Donald J. Zelenka, and Assistant Attorney General J. Anthony Mabry, all of Columbia, and Solicitor Jimmy A. Richardson, II, of Conway, for Respondent.
KONDUROS, J. THOMAS and GEATHERS, JJ., concur.
Kareem Harry appeals his murder conviction under the hand of one is the hand of all theory of accomplice liability. He argues the circuit court erred in denying his motion for directed verdict, as the State failed to present any direct or substantial circumstantial evidence he acted in concert with Saire Castro, his associate and friend, who admitted shooting the victim and pled guilty to voluntary manslaughter. We affirm.
Harry was dating a woman, Ashley Bledsoe, with whom he had a tumultuous relationship. According to Bledsoe, she and Harry dated for about eight or nine months, and, for the two weeks prior to the shooting in this case, they lived together in the apartment Bledsoe shared with a roommate, Evelyn. Bledsoe testified Harry became abusive to her. On February 26, 2011, Harry and Bledsoe fought, and Bledsoe called the police. When police arrived, Harry fled. The following day, Bledsoe met the victim, Kevin Bowens, through her roommate. Bowens took Bledsoe and Evelyn to dinner, and they all went to a club together. Bowens spent that night at Bledsoe's apartment. A friend of Bledsoe and Harry, Sage McPhail, owned a truck and helped move Harry's things out of her apartment the next day. McPhail took everything except a large plasma television to the home where Harry was staying with the mother of his children. According to Bledsoe, she had given the television to Bowens, and Bowens said he would pay her for it.
Harry contacted Bledsoe indicating he wanted his television or the money for it. Bledsoe told Harry she had sold it to a female friend. She texted Bowens asking for the money saying the television had belonged to a female friend who was demanding the money. Bowens did not return the television or pay Bledsoe. Eventually, Bledsoe told Harry the truth about what happened with the television. According to Bledsoe, Harry needed the television or the money the following day to pay probation fees that were due. While Bledsoe and Harry were talking on the phone, he told her to stop where she was, and he would come get her. Bledsoe, riding with Evelyn at the time, stopped at Waccamaw Hospital, and Harry picked her up in McPhail's red truck. The two drove to Tommy Byrne's apartment, approximately 16.3 miles away, even though Bowens's house was in the Kings Grant subdivision only 2.9 miles away from the hospital. According to Byrne, Harry came into the apartment and asked to see Castro. Castro and Harry had a five to eight minute conversation in the living room that Byrne could not overhear because he was in the kitchen with his father, who was preparing dinner. Harry then left, and Castro followed, asking Byrne if he wanted to go for a ride. Byrne testified that as they were leaving, Castro went back to the kitchen, where he kept his gun on top of a cabinet. Although neither Harry nor Byrne saw Castro retrieve the gun, Byrne testified it was well-known Castro had a firearm.
Castro and Byrne, driving separately, followed Bledsoe and Harry to Bowens's neighborhood. Once there, Harry, Castro, and Byrne got out of their vehicles, and Bowens entered the yard area near his garage. According to Bowens's girlfriend, with whom he shared the home, the vehicles sped down the street in front of their house and pulled into the middle of the yard. Harry asked several times about getting the television back, but Bowens indicated he was not going to return the television. According to Bowens's girlfriend and neighbors, although it was unclear exactly what the parties were saying, the conversation was loud. Harry told Bledsoe to get out of the truck, and she stated Bowens had " stolen" the television. Harry instructed Bledsoe to get back in the truck, and Castro shot Bowens three times. Castro testified he saw Bowens reach for a gun he had in his waistband, the outline of ...