Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

State v. Williams

Supreme Court of South Carolina

June 12, 2019

The State, Respondent,
Gerald Rudell Williams, Petitioner. Appellate Case No. 2018-000994

          Heard March 26, 2019

          Appeal From Saluda County J. Michael Baxley, Circuit Court Judge.


          Appellate Defender David Alexander, of Columbia, for Petitioner.

          Attorney General Alan McCrory Wilson and Assistant Attorney General William F. Schumacher IV, both of Columbia, and Solicitor S.R. Hubbard III, of Lexington, all for Respondent.


         In this case, the Court is asked whether and to what extent the common law doctrine of transferred intent applies to the newly-codified crime of attempted murder. Petitioner Gerald Williams was convicted of three counts of attempted murder related to his alleged shooting into an occupied mobile home where he knew his intended victim was present, but did not realize two other individuals were also present.

         Under the common law, transferred intent makes a whole crime out of two halves by joining the intent to harm one victim with the actual harm caused to another. Normally, transferred intent applies to general-intent crimes. However, attempted murder is a specific-intent crime in South Carolina, and we have not yet addressed whether transferred intent may supply the requisite mens rea for such a crime.

         Because this case was tried without objection as a general-intent crime, we find the doctrine of transferred intent applies in this instance. We therefore decline to address the applicability of transferred intent to a specific-intent crime such as attempted murder and vacate the portion of the court of appeals' opinion dealing with this issue. Additionally, looking specifically at the facts of this case, we find no error in failing to charge the jury on the lesser-included offense of assault and battery in the first degree (AB-1st). We therefore affirm the court of appeals as modified.


         This case arose after one drug dealer, Al Young, stole $32, 000 from another drug dealer, O.J. Charley. The night of the shooting, police were tipped off that Charley and others planned to retaliate against Young that night and would be armed and dangerous. The Saluda County Sheriff's Office issued a "be on the lookout" (BOLO) alert for a teal-green Ford Windstar minivan registered to Charley's wife and coming from Barnwell County to Saluda County. It also informed local law enforcement officers of the address of Young's mobile home as the possible location of the retaliatory act.

         According to the State's witnesses, shortly after midnight, Young and two of his roommates-a married couple named Ycedra Williams[1] and Joseph Wrighton- saw two men walking down the driveway. Young told Williams to turn off the lights while Wrighton went to the door and tried to identify the men. The door contained a large glass panel through which at least the silhouette of an individual would be visible from the outside. As soon as Wrighton appeared in the door, the men began shooting, both directly at him and all along the side of the mobile home. Williams called 911, but before the police arrived, the shooters fled the scene, abandoning their firearms and two sets of latex gloves (a blue pair and a purple pair) nearby. The purple latex gloves were torn and missing the portions that would cover the thumb and index finger.

         Two sheriff's officers responded to the 911 call. On their way to the mobile home, the officers noticed a minivan matching the BOLO description parked on the side of the road approximately a block or two away from the mobile home. The officers stopped for around twenty seconds, during which they asked the dispatcher to check the license plate number of the van; checked the van for occupants, including pulling on the door handles to confirm they were locked; and verified the van did not have a flat tire or other obvious signs of being disabled. The dispatcher confirmed the van belonged to Charley's wife. Concerned the van would be used as "the get-away vehicle," the officers notified a nearby Saluda Police Department officer of the van's presence and requested the town officer watch the vehicle so the two sheriff's officers could continue responding to the 911 call.

         A minute or two later, upon arriving at the van, the town officer saw Charley lying in a ditch beside the van. When the officer turned on his blue lights and high beams, Charley stood up and got into the passenger side of the van, and the van immediately drove off. After a short chase, the officer was able to force the van to stop and arrested the driver (Petitioner) and Charley. After Petitioner and Charley were transported to the jail, two finger-pieces from a purple latex glove were pulled off of Petitioner's thumb and index fingers.

         At trial, the State presented testimony from various law enforcement officers about the events surrounding the night of the shooting and the investigation following the incident. Those officers testified there were additional pieces of a purple latex glove found in the van following Petitioner's arrest, and all of the pieces of purple latex glove-those lying next to the firearms, those found in the van, and those found on his fingers at jail-tested positive for Petitioner's DNA. The law enforcement officers also testified that after receiving Williams's 911 call, they organized a search using bloodhounds to ascertain whether there was a third, unidentified shooter that remained at large; however, the bloodhound search uncovered no trace of anyone besides Charley and Petitioner. The State presented no evidence Petitioner was aware Williams or Wrighton (or anyone else other than Young) was in the mobile home at the time of the shooting.

         During his own case-in-chief, Petitioner called Charley to testify. Charley's testimony varied wildly between direct and cross-examination, setting out three distinct stories.[2] In the first version of events, Charley testified he did not have a driver's license, so he paid Petitioner to drive him to Saluda in order to "see some girls." Charley stated Petitioner did not know anything about the shooting and did not participate in it.

         In the second version of events-after the State reminded Charley he had pled guilty to attempted murder for the shooting but had not been sentenced pending his cooperation with the investigation and Petitioner's trial-Charley testified Petitioner had driven Charley to Saluda and accompanied him to Young's mobile home. However, Charley claimed Petitioner was unarmed and did not participate in the ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.