Georgia Supreme Court upholds Greeson murder conviction
by Brande Poulnot
Sep 21, 2010 | 2240 views | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
All Georgia Supreme Court justices concurred Monday to uphold the murder conviction of a local man sentenced to life in prison last year. A jury in October convicted Jimmy Roger Greeson, then 51, of the murder of 74-year-old Ray Ashby Carver of Cartersville.

Greeson appealed his conviction of malice murder, theft by taking and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon in connection with the death of his former girlfriend's father, challenging that the evidence was insufficient to support a conviction for murder. He contended the evidence supported only a conviction for voluntary manslaughter.

According to the evidence presented in the trial, at Carver's 147 Duncan Drive home in Cartersville, where his body was found by a neighbor, investigators collected several pieces of evidence, including a damaged motorcycle helmet and a dumbbell with blood and hair on its surface. Prosecutors said after Greeson caused severe blunt force injuries to Carver's head and torso, he took Carver's car and two handguns.

Greeson's motorcycle was found at the scene, and a fugitive task force arrested him two days later at a Chattanooga motel.

Prosecuting Attorney Joe Campbell, who had sought recidivist punishment, argued Greeson committed the "revenge killing" to get back at Carver's daughter, who had ended the relationship between the two, and to cancel the debt he owed Carver.

Although his attorney, Kirsten Gill, asked jurors to find Greeson guilty of voluntary manslaughter, jurors found Greeson guilty of malice murder, felony murder with an underlying charge of aggravated assault, and three counts of theft by taking -- one in connection with a vehicle and two related to firearms.

Greeson then pleaded guilty to two counts of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Superior Court Judge David Smith sentenced Greeson to life without parole on the murder charge, 10 consecutive years each on the three theft counts and two consecutive five-year terms on each of the two firearms violations.

In the opinion, Justice P. Harris Hines said the evidence viewed in favor of the verdicts showed in part that the girlfriend had severed ties with Greeson, and Carver asked Greeson to repay $6,000 he had borrowed from Carver over the course of the couple's relationship.

The day Carver was found lying in a pool of blood in his home -- Aug. 4, 2008 -- Greeson had visited the home under the guise that he was going to repay the debt.

"Greeson brutally and fatally beat the aged Carver with, [among other things], Greeson's motorcycle helmet and a barbell," the opinion states. "Greeson took two of Carver's handguns and fled in Carver's vehicle, driving it to Chattanooga, Tenn., where he was subsequently arrested. At the time he was apprehended, Greeson had with him Carver's fully-loaded, .38 caliber revolver and car keys. Greeson's clothing was covered with blood; DNA taken from a cutting of a blood stain on Greeson's blue jeans matched that of Carver, and Carver's vehicle was found in the parking lot of the motel at which Greeson was hiding."

Carver suffered at least 15 impacts to the head, 19 to his back and side, resulting in at least 21 fractures to 15 of his ribs, and died of blunt force trauma.

In statements to police after his arrest, Greeson said he "lost it" after Carver hit him with a walking cane and made negative comments, including a statement about Greeson's mother who had been stricken with cancer.

"Even accepting Greeson's version of events, words alone cannot amount to the serious provocation required to reduce a killing from murder to voluntary manslaughter," the opinion states. "... As for the elderly victim also initially striking Greeson with his cane, the jury was authorized to find that this fell well short of showing the provocation for the resulting vicious attack by Greeson; the evidence permitted the jury to find that Greeson acted with malice in killing Carver. ... Indeed, the evidence was sufficient to enable the jury to find Greeson guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of all the crimes for which he was convicted."

Greeson is currently housed at Macon State Prison, according to the Georgia Department of Corrections website. His prior convictions include first-degree forgery, theft by taking, simple battery and criminal trespass.