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Last week, the Georgia Supreme Court ruled to uphold the 2019 conviction of Walter "Rusty" Wright, who was found guilty of murdering his girlfriend, Oletha Brady, in 2017.
On May 13, 2017, local deputies responded to a home on Highway 32 West in reference to a woman being unresponsive. When they arrived at the location, they discovered 58-year-old Brady deceased with an apparent gunshot wound. Wright was inside the home when deputies arrived, and also was the person who called 911 to report Brady's death. After being interviewed by detectives, he was charged with malice and felony murder and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime.
In 2019, a jury found Wright guilty of felony murder and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime. A Superior Court judge later sentenced him to life without the possibility of parole. Wright filed a motion for a new trial in February 2019, with the trial court holding an evidentiary hearing in March 2022. That motion was denied the following month, with Wright then appealing the ruling to the Georgia Supreme Court.
In the appeal, Wright challenged the conviction, claiming that the evidence was "legally insufficient to support his conviction, that the trial court committed plain error in instructing the jury on good character evidence, and that he was denied the effective assistance of counsel when counsel failed to object to that instruction."
However, the court disagreed, citing evidence presented at the trial. The document states, "We conclude that the evidence was sufficient; that the instruction on good character evidence, which tracked the pattern jury instruction in effect both then and now, was not erroneous; and that Appellant's counsel did not perform deficiently in failing to make a meritless objection to the instruction."
Wright is currently serving his life sentence without parole in Smith State Prison.
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