Macon killer’s conviction upheld in 2009 case

lfabian@macon.comMarch 3, 2014 

Robert Lee Reeves Jr.

The state Supreme Court unanimously upheld the murder conviction and life sentence in the 2009 murder and sexual assault of 23-year-old Crystal Morgan.

Robert Lee Reeves Jr. was linked to the killing through a statewide DNA database, but his attorney argued that his conviction for attempted rape in 1998 should not have been allowed as evidence in Reeves’ murder trial.

Morgan’s body was found July 29, 2009, in a path in the Unionville neighborhood that runs between Pio Nono and Marigold avenues.

The autopsy showed she was strangled to death.

No other male DNA but Reeves’ was recovered from her body, according to the summary opinion released Monday.

Reeves pleaded guilty to the attempted rape of a woman who took the stand during his murder trial.

The victim said she was 20 years old when Reeves followed her one night as she walked to a Unionville store, not far from where Morgan was killed.

The woman testified that Reeves grabbed her around the neck, pushed her face down into the grass and assaulted her before she got away.

The trial court allowed the victim’s testimony to show Reeves’ “conduct and bent of mind,” the summary opinion stated.

Reeves appealed to the state’s high court, arguing that the cases were not sufficiently similar.

The justices ruled that both victims were black women, close in age, who were choked or strangled after being pushed to the ground and sexually assaulted.

Both women were attacked on a summer night while walking in a wooded area within blocks of each other.

“We find the trial court did not abuse its discretion in admitting the challenged evidence,” Justice Robert Benham wrote in the opinion.

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