Man Convicted in SCAD Student's Murder Appeals - Local news, weather, sports Savannah | WSAV On Your Side

UPDATE: State Supreme Court Issues Rulings in SCAD Murder Appeals

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John Andrew Adams John Andrew Adams
Sean Patrick Giroir, Courtesy: Legacy.com Sean Patrick Giroir, Courtesy: Legacy.com
Alex Cowart Alex Cowart
Daniel Izzo Daniel Izzo
SAVANNAH, GA -

 

UPDATE 11/18/13

The Georgia Supreme Court has upheld the murder conviction for Alex Cowart but ruled that he must be resentenced.

Cowart was improperly sentenced for two felony murder convictions when there was only one victim.

Meantime, his co-defendant, John Adams, was granted a new trial.

The State's highest court said he is entitled to a new trial due to the "erroneous and harmful admission" of certain evidence.

However, the Court states the evidence "presented at trial was sufficient to authorize a rational jury to find Adams guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of the crimes for which the jury returned guilty verdicts. Accordingly, the State may retry Adams if it so chooses."

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A man convicted in the murder of a SCAD student is appealing his conviction and life prison sentence to the Georgia Supreme Court.

During trial, prosecutors alleged that John Andrew Adams was the getaway driver in a robbery that led to the shooting death of Sean Giroir in October 2010 at Giroir's Barnard Street home.

On October 28th, Alex Cowart and Daniel Izzo robbed Giroir and his friends, who were watching a movie.

Giroir and one of his friends, Miles Antle, confronted Izzo who was having trouble getting away.

Giroir and Antle began fighting Izzo when Cowart got a gun and shot Giroir twice.

One of those shots struck Giroir in the chest, killing him.

The suspects then fled to Atlanta where they were arrested the next day by U.S. Marshals.

After the three co-defendants were indicted for multiple charges, including murder, Izzo cooperated with the state and in a negotiated plea arrangement, agreed to plead guilty to voluntary manslaughter, a less serious crime than murder, in exchange for a reduced sentence of 40 years with only 15 in prison.

He also agreed to act as a state's witness.

Adams and Cowart proceeded to trial and were jointly tried before a Chatham County jury in October 2011.

Both were subsequently convicted of felony murder, gun charges, and other crimes.

Adams, who was sentenced to life plus five years in prison, is now appealing his conviction and sentence.

Adams claims that he was deprived of a fair trial by the trial court's erroneous admission of the statement Izzo made during his plea negotiations, which conflicted with the earlier statement he made to police shortly after his arrest.

In his statement to police, Izzo said multiple times that Adams had no prior knowledge of the robbery and drug rip-off he and Cowart carried out, which culminated in Giroir's death.

Izzo told police Adams thought the three of them were merely going "to get some pot."

When asked if Adams knew "what you guys were going in there to do," Izzo replied, "No, because he would have never done that in his girlfriend's car."

Later, however, while negotiating a plea deal in February 2011, Izzo said the robbery was Adams' idea.

He said Adams told them Giroir and his friends sold marijuana from their house and they could easily rob them by showing their guns and demanding the drugs and money.

Izzo said he and Cowart agreed to take part in the robbery and Cowart then supplied the guns.

They agreed Adams would stay in the car because the victims knew him, but they didn't know Izzo and Cowart.

The court improperly allowed Izzo's fabricated statement as a "prior consistent statement" which is a statement a witness makes prior to trial that is consistent with what he later says at trial.

But Georgia law is clear that a "prior consistent statement" must have been made "prior to the time when the motive to fabricate existed," the attorneys argue.

The State's highest court will hear arguments on Monday, October 7th.

Check back for updates.

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