But because the jury chose the lesser included charge of voluntary manslaughter, each felony murder count, which carried its own mandatory life sentence, was nullified, Simmons pointed out.
Only if there were a felony independent of the violence committed against Marble could a felony murder charge, and the accompanying mandatory life sentence, stand, he said.
“I realize that my sentence may be appealed, and I’m going to state the legal basis for my sentence so the state can appeal,” Simmons said. “If someone can tell me how I have inappropriately applied the law, then this sentence can be overturned.”
Simmons also put on the record a message for the state parole board that might consider lessening Grovner’s sentence.
“It is this court’s recommendation that he be denied parole,” Simmons said.
Grovner claimed to investigators during the interview that followed his arrest for the June 3, 2011 beating that he and Harvey, his girlfriend and Marble’s daughter, spoke at length about getting Marble “out of the picture” because she didn’t approve of their relationship.
This might not be the end of the case.
According to Georgia’s statute, there is an exception that may lead to Grovnor being convicted of murder on appeal. It states in part: “…If there should have been an interval between the provocation and the killing sufficient for the voice of reason and humanity to be heard, of which the jury in all cases shall be the judge, the killing shall be attributed to deliberate revenge and be punished as murder.”
Harvey will be tried next month for her possible role in her mother’s death.
Read more at the AJC.