The Supreme Court of Georgia has denied an appeal filed by a man convicted of murdering two cousins in Evans County in 2003.
Tomorris Geiger, 33, was found guilty after a four-day trial in November 2005 of two counts of malice murder, eight counts of felony murder and two counts each of armed robbery, aggravated assault, kidnapping and hijacking a motor vehicle.
He was sentenced to consecutive life sentences for the malice murders of cousins Dewayne and John Bacon and the armed robberies of both men. Geiger also received two concurrent 20-year sentences for each hijacking count.
He currently is serving that sentence in Calhoun State Prison, according to the Georgia Department of Corrections website.
Geiger filed a motion for a new trial in December 2005, which he amended to include new lawyers in August 2013, according to the state Supreme Court's opinion, issued Monday. The trial court, Evans County Superior Court, denied the appeal in October 2013.
According to the facts of the case as stated in the Supreme Court opinion, issued Monday, Dewayne Bacon agreed to give Geiger a ride on May 6, 2003. The next day, Geiger and co-defendant Charles Mattox held Bacon hostage and robbed him, then lured John Bacon to the scene by making Dewayne call and say he needed a ride.
When John Bacon encountered Geiger and Mattox, Geiger forced the Bacon cousins into a grave and shot both in the head, killing them.
Geiger was arrested May 23, 2003, at his sister's home on unrelated charges and was found with a 9 mm pistol. In August 2005, a shell casing matching that pistol was discovered at the scene of the Bacons' murders, the court said.
The cousins' bodies were found in a hidden grave in the woods behind an abandoned mobile home in July 2003. Weeks earlier, investigators had encountered debris along a Bryan County road, including John Bacon's tennis shoes, duct tape, shovels and old soda bottles. DNA obtained from the bottles matched that of Mattox.
Mattox and Geiger also had been linked to several previous crimes, including the carjacking and robbery of four victims. Evidence of these crimes was presented at the murder trial.
A third co-defendant, Terrance Smith, testified that he saw Geiger force the cousins into a grave and shoot repeatedly. Shakeya Brewton wrote in a letter to her boyfriend in prison that Geiger admitted to shooting the Bacon cousins, according to the court.
This evidence led to Geiger being found guilty of all crimes of which he had been accused.
In his appeal, Geiger said the trial court should not have allowed evidence of his previous crimes, but the Supreme Court disagreed in its opinion issued Monday. The high court found that the crimes were sufficiently similar to the shooting murders to be properly introduced as evidence.
Geiger also argued that the trial court should not have denied his second request for a continuance of the case to have the shell casing independently tested and to secure an additional witness.
The high court found that the trial court granted Geiger's first request for additional testing of the shell casing, but he failed to follow through with that testing. The justices also found that Geiger's lawyer chose not to call the additional witness to testify during trial, meaning he had decided this witness would not help his case.
Finally, Geiger contended that the trial court allowed him to enter the courtroom while wearing shackles and that the references to his prior incarceration and attempts to evade police custody were allowed to be made, prejudicing the jury.
But the high court disagreed with this, too, noting that Geiger was wearing civilian clothes when he was led into the courtroom, obscuring the view of his leg irons, and that the leg irons were removed outside the jurors' view. Also, the record of the case reflects that Geiger did not object to any testimony regarding his prior incarceration and attempts to evade police custody, the Supreme Court says.
Jason Wermers may be reached at (912) 489-9431.