Chaz Stringer was convicted by a Hall County Superior Court jury in October 2007 for the June 2006 fatal shooting of restaurant worker Victor "Charlie" Manuel Gallegos-de la Rosa in an attempted armed robbery of Garcia’s Restaurant. Stringer was 15 at the time of the shooting but was tried as an adult.
In an appeal to the high court, Stringer’s attorney, Brian Steel, argued that Judge Kathlene Gosselin should not have allowed a jury to hear Stringer’s audio taped interview with Gainesville police, in which he broke down and confessed to the shooting.
Steel argued that Stringer was illegally detained by police, who had no knowledge of a juvenile detention order until after his arrest.
But justices with the state Supreme Court ruled this week that the "confession was voluntary and was not the product of illegal detention."
Steel also argued that a statement made by an investigator during the interview, "I’m trying to help you," could be construed as an offer to secure Stringer a more lenient sentence.
The supreme court ruled, however, that "the evidence shows no promises of lighter punishment were made to Stringer."
The high court also rejected appeals of the conviction on two other grounds.
Writing for the court, Justice George Carley said that "the evidence was sufficient for a rational trier of fact to find Stringer guilty of the crimes for which he was convicted."
The decision by the court was unanimous.