A Hall County man is appealing his life prison sentence and murder conviction to the Georgia Supreme Court, where his attorney will argue the victim’s dying words to his mother should have been excluded at trial.
Leshan Tremiele Tanner was convicted in September 2015 for the death of Cedric Huff, who was shot June 5, 2014. Huff died weeks later at the hospital.
Tanner was convicted on charges of felony murder, conspiracy to commit robbery and attempt to purchase marijuana, which resulted in a life prison sentence.
He was acquitted on two other felony murder charges and a count of robbery.
According to the court’s summary, Tanner and Rodnie Stokes went to Huff’s apartment, where Tanner intended to buy a half pound of marijuana.
“According to the state, in their attempt to rob Huff of his money and marijuana, Tanner and Stokes struggled with Cedric and during the struggle, Huff was shot in the abdomen.”
While in intensive care, Huff reportedly told his mother Mary Huff about Leshan Tanner and “Little Monster,” the latter being Stokes’ street name.
Stokes agreed to a plea deal in 2015 and received a 40-year sentence. He is expected to serve half in prison.
Tanner’s attorney argued before trial and at its onset to not allow these comments at trial.
In the arguments to be presented Monday, Tanner’s attorneys will argue the comments were “far less probative” than Stokes’ testimony, which the state chose not to present.
According to Tanner’s attorneys, the admission of the evidence violated Tanner’s right to confront all witnesses testifying against him. They will also argue that the evidence for the robbery and murder charges is circumstantial because it relies on Huff’s statements.
The state argued that “any alleged error was harmless,” according to the court’s summary. The state’s attorneys also contend Huff’s statements were “more probative than any other potentially available evidence” and would fit the exception in the “residual hearsay” rule.
The Georgia Supreme Court will hear the case Monday morning.