Patricia Allanson

Title: ALLANSON v. THE STATE

Court: Supreme Court of Georgia

Case Number: 30352.

Date: Oct 28, 1975

Facts:

  • Walter Thomas Allanson was indicted and convicted of the murders of his mother and father, receiving two life sentences to be served concurrently.
  • Before the murders, the victims’ automobile had been shot at with a. 22-caliber weapon, and there was evidence suggesting Allanson’s involvement.
  • The victims were shot at close range with a shotgun in their home, shortly after discovering the telephone lines to the house had been cut.
  • Allanson’s mother was shot while descending the stairs with a rifle after her husband called for it from the basement. She screamed “Tommy, Tommy, Tommy” before being shot.
  • The trial included evidence of Allanson’s demeanor upon hearing of his parent’s deaths, specifically his lack of tears.
  • During the trial, improper remarks were made between counsel for the defendant and counsel for the state.

Issue:

  • Admissibility of evidence regarding a prior incident involving the victims’ automobile being shot at, allegedly involving the defendant.
  • Jury instruction regarding the statement “Tommy, Tommy, Tommy” made by the victim.
  • The court’s charge regarding intent and presumption of malice in deadly weapons cases.
  • Admission of testimony about the defendant’s lack of tears upon hearing of his parents’ deaths.
  • Failure of the trial court to grant a mistrial due to improper remarks made between counsel.
  • Refusal of the trial court to give the requested jury instructions regarding eyewitness testimony.
  • Sufficiency of the evidence to support the verdict.

Decision:

  • The court found the evidence of the prior incident admissible to show a previous difficulty between the defendant and the deceased, which is relevant in a murder trial.
  • The court ruled that no specific cautionary instruction was necessary regarding the victim’s statement.
  • The court determined that the charge regarding intent and presumption of malice was appropriate given the circumstances of the case.
  • The court found the admission of testimony about the defendant’s demeanor permissible.
  • The court concluded that the failure to grant a mistrial was not a reversible error due to the lack of timely objection or request for specific instructions from the defendant’s counsel.
  • The court upheld the trial court’s decision not to give requested instructions on eyewitness testimony, finding that the given charge adequately emphasized the need for proof beyond a reasonable doubt.
  • The court affirmed the conviction, stating that the evidence, though circumstantial, was sufficient to support the verdict.

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