On Wednesday, the Court published one opinion. In State v. Wright, the jury convicted Marcus Wright of murder, trafficking in cocaine, possession with intent to distribute cocaine base, and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime. On appeal, Wright argued that the trial court erred in : 1) admitting evidence from the search of his residence, 2) admitting SCDMV records without proper foundation, 3) admitting evidence that was the fruit of an illegal search of his motel room, 4) excluding evidence of his co-defendant’s prior inconsistent statement, 5) denying his request to testify at trial, 6) sentencing him to a statutory sentence of life imprisonment without parole without making express factual findings and where the record did not clearly support a sentence of statutory life without parole, and 7) refusing to give his requested jury charges on voluntary manslaughter and self-defense.
The Court affirmed the trial court’s decision on first and third issue raised finding that the trial court did not err in admitting evidence from the search of the residence, and that the search of the motel was allowable due to the evidence showing exigent circumstances justified the warrantless entry into Wright’s motel room. On the issue raised of Defendant’s right to testify, the Court found that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in refusing to allow Wright to testify after the defense had rested. The court had a legitimate ground for refusing to reopen the record for Wright’s testimony out of concern that Wright would alter his testimony to fit within the lesser chargers after having the opportunity to hear the court’s rulings on the jury charges for voluntary manslaughter and self-defense.
Additionally, the Court affirmed the trial court’s decision to not charge the jury on voluntary manslaughter or self defense finding that the evidence did not show he killed the Victim in a sudden heat of passion nor that the Victim verbally threatened Wright.
The Court did not address the following issues of admitting SCDMV records and excluding evidence of co-defendants statements.
For the foregoing reasons, the Court affirmed the decisions of the trial court.
Judge Geathers concurred in a separate opinion.