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Criminal procedure — Jury instruction — Flight

The victim in this case, Shirley Walker, was beaten with a metal bat in the parking lot of Melwood Elementary School where she was attending church services on the morning of August 11, 2013. On April 1, 2014, her estranged husband, Tyrone Walker (“Appellant”), was convicted by a jury in the Circuit Court for Prince George’s County of first-degree assault, second-degree assault, theft of an item valued under $100, and malicious destruction of property. Appellant was found not guilty of the second-degree assault of Ms. Walker’s sister, Tonza Gilchrist, who witnessed the beating.

The trial court sentenced Appellant to twenty years of imprisonment, with all but ten years suspended. Appellant, who admits he assaulted Shirley Walker on the morning of August 11, 2013, conceded guilt as to second degree assault in the proceedings below, and disputed only whether his actions constituted aggravated, first degree assault.

On appeal he presents four questions for review, which we have reordered: I. Did the lower court err in permitting the State to offer e-mails into evidence where the state failed to adduce proof that the e-mails were actually authored by [Appellant]? II. Is the evidence sufficient to support [Appellant]’s conviction for first-degree assault? III. Did the lower court err in failing to declare a mistrial in the wake of a reference to [Appellant]’s status as a probationer? IV. Did the lower court err in propounding a flight instruction where the evidence showed, at most, unremarkable departure from the scene of a crime?

Read the opinion here: