The Georgia Supreme Court has upheld the murder conviction for a Putnam County man who fatally shot another man in 2011, claiming his actions were in self defense after the two fought about the care of a dog.
David Banks Brett shot Jose Garcia-Castro on June 10, 2011, after Brett accused Garcia of neglecting a dog that had died while in Garcia-Castros care.
Garcia-Castro called Brett on the phone, saying he had heard that Brett wanted to fight him and Garcia-Castro armed himself with a knife. Soon, Brett arrived at a trailer where Garcia-Castro was visiting and the two exchanged words before Brett fired a single gunshot, killing Garcia-Castro.
A jury found Brett guilty of murder and gun charges. He was sentenced to life plus five years.
In his appeal, Bretts lawyers argued Brett received ineffective assistance from his trial lawyer.
In Mondays court ruling, the Supreme Court found that Bretts case was not prejudiced by his trial lawyer not objecting to a witness testifying that he carried a gun and would threaten people with it. He admitted he carried a gun for protection, the judges reasoned.
The court also found that Bretts case was not prejudiced by his trial lawyer not switching strategy upon learning that the judge planned to instruct the jury that Brett wouldnt be justified in using deadly force if he was engaged in combat by agreement, or mutual combat, unless he withdrew from the fight. Evidence in the case didnt support a possible voluntary manslaughter verdict as Bretts appellate lawyers argued, according to the ruling.
The shooting in this case was more akin to an act of revenge for the dogs death than it was akin to an act of sudden, violent and irresistible passion resulting from a serious provocation, according to the ruling.
Brett is being held at Hays State Prison in Trion, located in northwest Georgia, according to state prison records.