Murder conviction appeal; Beaty attorneys seek new trial
Attorneys for Michael Beaty, of Clinton, this week filed an appeal of his Feb. 2015 murder conviction in Laurens County General Sessions Court, with the SC Court of Appeals.
The document asks the Appeals Court to decide if a new trial is to be ordered, based on 8 questions. They are:
1) Did the State present substantial circumstantial evidence to prove that Michael Beaty committed the crime of murder with malice aforethought when the ligature
mark only on the front of Ms. Asbill’s neck was inconsistent with the State’s theory of strangulation by wrapping a USB cord completely around her neck, and the State could not prove Mr. Beaty’s DNA was on both ends of the USB cord as would be required by their theory of his holding both ends?
2)Did the trial court judge err by denying Michael Beaty’s request to charge involuntary manslaughter when Michael Beaty’s statement to law enforcement and expert
testimony supported giving the instruction, and prejudice resulted not only from omitting the instruction but also because the Solicitor equated recklessness with malice?
3)Did the trial court judge err by informing the jurors during the court’s opening instruction that a jury trial is “a search for the truth in an effort to make sure that
justice is done” because that instruction is fundamentally incorrect, shifts the burden of proof, decimates the proper burden of proof and jury inquiry of whether the State had proved Michael Beaty’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, calls upon the jurors to select between two competing versions of the correct truth, and diminishes defense counsel’s credibility?
4)Did the trial court err in failing to require the State to open fully on the law and the facts of the case and replying only to new arguments of defense counsel when the
defendant was deprived of a fair trial in violation of the due process clause of Article I § 3 of the Constitution of the State of South Carolina and the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America by his counsel not being able to respond to the new theory made by the State in its rebuttal closing argument?
5)Did the trial court err in failing to charge the law of circumstantial evidence as set forth in State vs. Edwards, 298 S.C. 272, 379 S.E.2d 888 (1989) instead of the
law as stated in State v. Logan, 405 S.C. 83, 747 S.E2d 444 (2013) when the Edwards charge properly stated how a jury should review circumstantial evidence?
6)Did the trial court err in excluding the testimony of Valerie Jones concerning a prior incident when Emily Anna Asbill threatened to jump from an automobile
when such testimony was relevant to establish the fact that Ms. Asbill was attempting to jump from the automobile when she was restrained by Michael Beaty resulting in her death?
7)Did the trial judge err by denying Michael Beaty’s request for the court to voir dire jurors to determine whether any of the potential jurors had a bias against
defense lawyers who represent someone charged with murder, and when the failure to do so prejudiced Mr. Beaty by the prosecution’s repeated attacks on the defense during his jury trial?
8)Should this Court order a new trial based on the cumulative error doctrine?
The State was represented by prosecutors of the 8th Judicial Circuit, and they have 30 days in which to file with the Appeals Court an answer to the appeal documents.
Beaty’s attorneys then will have 10 days to answer the State’s answer, then the matter could be rostered for a hearing before the SC Court of Appeals.