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Supreme Court denies appeal in 1995 murder

The Georgia Supreme Court recently affirmed the malice murder conviction of Melissa Nicole Norris, who was found guilty in McDuffie County of shooting and killing her father when she was 15 years old and in the ninth grade, according to a court press release.

Ms. Norris was convicted of killing her father, 39-year-old Charles Barry Norris, whose body was found Dec. 20, 1995, slumped on the living room couch with a single gunshot to his head, according to reports from The Augusta Chronicle. The family lived on Johns Road in Thomson. She was sentenced to life in prison plus five years.

According to the press release, at issue was whether, given her age, Ms. Norris understood what she was doing in waiving her constitutional rights prior to giving a statement to police. She confessed to her brother and police that following an argument with her father, she got a pistol and shot him at close range in the back of the head. Her mother, who was with her at all times she was being interviewed, encouraged police to continue with the questioning.

In writing the unanimous decision, Justice George Carley wrote, "Considering the totality of the circumstances, we conclude that the trial court did not err in finding that (Ms. Norris) knowingly and voluntarily waived her rights."

Web posted on Thursday, September 27, 2007

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