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    Ward Anthony Brockman - Georgia Death Row




    Summary of Offense:

    Was sentenced to death on March 12, 1994. He and three others killed a service station attendant during an attempted robbery on June 27, 1990. Brockman, who was the triggerman, and his accomplices had pulled a number of armed robberies, and he was arrested after a chase in Phenix City, Alabama.

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    Judge denies aging appeal in 1994 death penalty case

    A local judge declined this week to grant a new trial to a Columbus man condemned to death in 1994, turning down an initial appeal that had been pending for nearly 18 years.

    The case of Ward Anthony Brockman is one of three local death penalty cases that have been stalled at the earliest appellate stage more than a decade after conviction. Brockman’s appeal now will be sent to the Georgia Supreme Court for an automatic review, a step often completed within the first few years of a capital conviction.

    A 47-page order signed Monday by Superior Court Judge Gil McBride attributed the sluggish pace of Brockman’s appeal to the death of a court reporter, a change in appellate counsel and a dormancy of some eight years in which “no hearings were held until its subsequent resurrection in 2009.”

    The inordinate delay was among dozens of issues Brockman’s defense raised in an amended motion for a new trial. The defense claimed Brockman’s right to due process and a meaningful appeal was violated due to the state’s failure to have the transcript completed in a timely fashion.

    But McBride’s order, which was prepared by Assistant District Attorney David R. Helmick, rejected that assertion and many others.

    “Defendant’s argument that he should be granted a new trial because his appeal was delayed is disingenuous as a very large part of the delay was caused by defendant’s own inaction,” the order says.

    Brockman’s defense attorney, Richard C. Hagler, said he wasn’t “tremendously surprised” by McBride’s order, adding he expected the case to end up before the state Supreme Court.

    Brockman, 40, admitted to fatally shooting gas station attendant Billy Lynn in June 1990 during a botched armed robbery. A co-defendant who pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter said Brockman killed the man “to keep him from bragging to his friends that he stood up to armed robbers.”

    Brockman, meanwhile, claimed the gun discharged accidentally after Lynn failed to hand over his cash. McBride held, however, that jurors were free to “disbelieve” Brockman’s testimony, adding the evidence at trial was enough to support the felony murder and attempted armed robbery convictions.

    The motion for new trial also argued that Brockman’s death sentence was invalid because he wasn’t convicted of the underlying capital felony of armed robbery. Testimony at trial showed Brockman fled the scene of the shooting without getting any money.

    But McBride sided with prosecutors, who said the law only requires a defendant to be “engaged in the commission” of a capital felony for it to qualify as an aggravating circumstance in a death penalty case.

    http://www.ledger-enquirer.com/2012/...#storylink=cpy

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    State Supreme Court to rule later this year in Brockman's sentencing appeal

    An attorney for convicted murderer Ward Brockman, on death row for a 1990 killing in Columbus, called his client “stupid” several times Tuesday before the Georgia Supreme Court, but argued that he was improperly sentenced to death.

    During an appeal to court, attorney Steven Sparger of Savannah, said Brockman, then 18, was “stupid” for attempting to rob the Premium Oil Co. service station on Forrest Road, which led to him shooting station manager Billy Lynn once in the abdomen, killing him.

    Speaking for the state, Muscogee County Assistant District Attorney Donald Kelly countered that rather than describing Brockman as stupid, he would say he was “mean and selfish.”

    “And I think the jury saw that,” Kelly said.

    Tuesday’s hearing lasted a little less than an hour, with each attorney granted a maximum of 30 minutes to present a case.

    Sparger said he expects the court will hand down a ruling on the Brockman appeal by the end of the year.

    Brockman and three accomplices were on an armed robbery binge in Columbus and Phenix City in late June of 1990 when they decided to rob the gas station on Forrest Road. During the failed robbery, Lynn was shot and killed, then Brockman and the rest fled in a Chevrolet Camaro Iroc they’d stolen earlier.

    Witnesses described the distinctive car to police and it was spotted later in the day. A chase ensued that ended in Phenix City with the suspects abandoning the car and fleeing on foot. They were later caught and arrested at Brockman’s girlfriend’s apartment.

    Brockman was convicted of felony murder and attempted armed robbery in March of 1994. The latter conviction served as an aggravating circumstance that allowed prosecutors to seek the death penalty, which they did successfully.

    Attorneys for Brockman included 36 alleged trial errors as basis for a new trial. Attorneys for the state responded in their filing that none of the alleged errors are legitimate grounds for granting a new trial.

    One of the principal grounds for Brockman’s appeal was that attempted armed robbery is not of sufficient gravity to serve as grounds for the death penalty.

    “In this situation we don’t have a conviction on a second capital offense,” Sparger said, arguing that the death penalty was thus applied improperly.

    Sparger, who is teamed with Columbus attorney Richard Hagler to appeal Brockman’s conviction, said he did not want to downplay the gravity of the crime committed and the lasting effects it has had on the victim’s family.

    “Nothing I am going to say is meant to detract from the tragedy that Billy Lynn died and what his family went through because of that,” Sparger told the justices. “But in this case, we have an 18-year-old. It’s stupid, stupid, stupid what 18-year-olds, 17-year-olds and 16-year-olds will do sometimes. They’re out doing this to get money to bond somebody out of jail? Stupid.”

    Assistant District Attorney Kelly countered that the fact that Lynn apparently wasn’t actually robbed during the attempted robbery shouldn’t vacate the death sentence.

    “It doesn’t affect his culpability that he wasn’t able to complete the robbery,” Kelly argued. “In fact, he killed Mr. Lynn to take the money. That was the whole purpose.”

    Kelly also took issue with Sparger’s assessment of the offense as “stupid.”

    “Mr. Sparger argues that he was 18 years old and stupid,” Kelly said.

    “I would argue that he was mean and selfish, and the jury saw that.”

    http://www.ledger-enquirer.com/2012/...#storylink=cpy
    An uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.

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    Georgia Supreme Court upholds death penalty for man convicted in death of Columbus gas station owner

    The Georgia Supreme Court on Monday unanimously upheld the death sentence of Ward Anthony Brockman, convicted in the 1990 slaying of a Columbus gas station manager.

    In March 1994 a Superior Court jury convicted Brockman of felony murder and attempt to commit armed robbery in connection with the June 27, 1990 shooting death of Billy Lynn, 22 at the time of his death.

    “We find that the evidence, construed most favorably to the jury’s verdicts, was sufficient to authorize a rational trier of fact to find Brockman guilty of the crimes charged beyond a reasonable doubt,” Justice Harold Melton wrote in the 67-page opinion. “Reviewing similar cases, considering both the crime and the defendant, we find that Brockman’s death sentence is not disproportionate under Georgia law.”

    Brockman filed a motion for a new trial which was denied in February 2012. Brockman then appealed to the state Supreme Court, leading to Monday's decision.

    In a 244-page brief, Brockman's attorneys argued that the trial court and state prosecutors committed more than 30 errors, according to a news release from the high court. Among them, they argued Brockman should not have been sentenced to death as the state failed to prove the existence of at least one aggravating circumstance because Brockman was only convicted of criminal attempt to commit armed robbery, not armed robbery.

    “The crux of Brockman’s argument is that the death penalty is not appropriate punishment in his case because he did not complete the armed robbery,” the opinion says. “However, it is not uncommon for an armed robber’s priorities to shift from completing the robbery to escaping from the scene once he has murdered the victim. The jury was authorized to conclude from the evidence presented at trial that Brockman acted accordingly.”

    At the time of the crime, Lynn was the afternoon manager of the Premium Oil gas station on Forrest Road, according to facts presented to the Supreme Court. The owner of the service station was in his office preparing sales reports when he heard a gunshot, followed by squealing tires. He went outside and found Lynn on his back by the gas pumps with a single fatal gunshot wound to the abdomen. Lynn had $70 in his front pocket. Witnesses told police they had seen a black Camaro Iroc in the vicinity with four men in it. One witness subsequently identified Brockman, 18 at the time, as the driver.

    A description of the vehicle was broadcast over the police radio, and soon after, an officer spotted the car. A high-speed chase ensued, crossing into Alabama where Brockman and the three other men abandoned the car in Phenix City. The four eventually returned to Brockman’s apartment where Brockman hid in the attic. He told his girlfriend to tell police no one was there and the others to keep quiet, while he buried himself in the attic insulation. Police found one of the men, Quentin Lewis, hiding in a downstairs closet.

    http://www.ledger-enquirer.com/2013/...#storylink=cpy
    An uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.

    "Y'all be makin shit up" ~ Markeith Loyd

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    In today's United States Supreme Court orders, Brockman's petition for writ of certiorari was DENIED.

    Lower Ct: Supreme Court of Georgia
    Case Nos.: (S12P1490)
    Decision Date: March 4, 2013
    Rehearing Denied: March 28, 2013
    An uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.

    "Y'all be makin shit up" ~ Markeith Loyd

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