November 15, 2017
from Marlboro County Edward B. Cottingham, Circuit Court
OF CERTIORARI TO THE COURT OF APPEALS
Attorney General Alan McCrory Wilson and Assistant Attorney
General Alphonso Simon Jr., both of Columbia and Solicitor
William B. Rogers, Jr., of Bennettsville, for Petitioner.
W. Anderson III, of Pendleton; and Chief Appellate Defender
Robert Michael Dudek, of Columbia, for Respondent.
J. King was convicted of murder, possession of a weapon
during the commission of a violent crime, third-degree
assault and battery, and pointing and presenting a firearm.
The trial court sentenced King to life imprisonment for
murder, a consecutive five year term for possession of a
firearm during the commission of a violent crime, and thirty
days for third-degree assault and battery. King appealed his
murder and possession of a firearm during the commission of a
violent crime convictions, and the court of appeals remanded
the case to the trial court to conduct a full Rule 404(b),
SCRE, analysis regarding the trial court's admission of
certain other bad act evidence. State v. King, 416
S.C. 92, 784 S.E.2d 252 (Ct. App. 2016). We granted the
State's petition for a writ of certiorari to review the
court of appeals' decision. We vacate the court of
appeals' decision to remand the case for a Rule 404(b)
analysis, we reverse King's convictions for murder and
possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent
crime, and we remand the matter to the trial court for a new
trial on those two charges. King's convictions for
pointing and presenting a firearm and third-degree assault
and battery are unaffected by our holding, as King does not
challenge those convictions.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
shot and killed his neighbor James Galloway (Victim) inside
Victim's home during the early morning hours of November
11, 2011. The State contends King then pistol-whipped Karen
Galloway (Wife) and pointed the gun at both Wife and Reggie
Cousar (Cousin). King fled the scene when a Marlboro County
Sheriff's Office (MCSO) deputy arrived. Following a foot
chase, King was found hiding under a truck. MCSO recovered
Victim's house phone at the scene where King was
apprehended and retrieved a bottle of liquor from King's
pocket. MCSO recovered a nine-millimeter handgun with an
extended magazine from the wooded area behind King's
home. MCSO also found a cartridge casing and a bullet hole in
Victim's master bedroom and recovered a cartridge casing
and a projectile from Victim's living room. The State
claims the shooting was murder. King claims the shooting was
MCSO Interviews of King
conducted two videotaped interviews of King after he was
arrested and charged. While King has never denied he was
present at the time Victim was shot, King's statements
explaining the sequence of events varied greatly. In his
first statement-given the morning of the shooting-King
claimed a man named Aloysius McLaughlin went with him to
Victim's home to purchase alcohol. King claimed
McLaughlin unexpectedly shot Victim. At the time, King was
facing charges that he had recently kidnapped and robbed
McLaughlin and McLaughlin's girlfriend Melissa Graham in
McColl, South Carolina (McColl charges). During this first
interview, King explained to MCSO that he and McLaughlin were
back on "good terms." King stated that after the
shooting, he took the gun from McLaughlin, tried to calm
Wife, and "waved" or "swung" the gun at
her. He claimed he then gave the gun back to McLaughlin and
ran from Victim's home in fear.
his second interview five days later, King informed MCSO he
went to Victim's home alone and purchased some liquor. He
explained he later went back to Victim's home alone to
sell a handgun he obtained from a man named
"Broom." King stated that while he was showing
Victim the handgun and attempting to remove the magazine from
the gun, the gun accidentally discharged, shooting Victim in
the face. King explained he panicked and eventually ran from
Victim's home in fear. Both recorded statements contain
scattered references (by both King and law enforcement) to
the McColl charges and to an unrelated murder charge against
King. Both sets of charges are potential "other bad
acts" under Rule 404(b), SCRE. Over King's objection,
the trial court permitted the jury to hear evidence of the
pendency of these charges.
was indicted for murder, possession of a weapon during the
commission of a violent crime, assault and battery of a high
and aggravated nature, and pointing and presenting a firearm.
During a pretrial hearing, King moved to exclude several
portions of his first recorded interview. Throughout
King's objections, the State and the trial court
commented on the apparent technological impossibility of
redacting certain statements from the recorded interview.
the State contends King did not preserve the evidentiary
issues for appellate review, we will summarize King's
objections to the trial court. During the entire pretrial
review of King's first recorded interview, King made
numerous objections. King moved to have a reference to the
McColl charges redacted:
KING: Your Honor, at this point he just mentioned the McColl
charge again. I will move to redact that part.
THE STATE: Your Honor, he only mentioned the McColl charge
because [King] is saying [McLaughlin] is the one [who]
murdered [Victim]. He's saying, "You mean the same
guy you just robbed two weeks ago."
TRIAL COURT: I'm going to leave -- let that stand.
KING: Your Honor, for the record my objection was 404(b).
TRIAL COURT: I understand.
KING: 403 and 401, Your Honor.
TRIAL COURT: I think it's appropriate based on the
totality of what he's saying. Go ahead. King next
objected to a statement he made regarding an unrelated murder
for which he was charged:
KING: Your Honor, at approximately 4:08 -- I mean 5:08:25 he
said he already has murders on his record, and I move to
redact that, 404(b).
TRIAL COURT: What was that specific remark?
KING: He said, "I've already got murders on my