THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA
In The Supreme Court
The State, Respondent,
Andre Kevin Rosemond, Appellant.
Appeal From Spartanburg County
J. Derham Cole, Judge
Opinion No. 24975
Heard January 8, 1998 - Filed July 26, 1999
Robert M. Pachak, Assistant Appellate Defender, South
Carolina Office of Appellant Defense, of Columbia, for
Charles M. Condon, Attorney General, John W. McIntosh,
.Deputy Attorney General, and Donald J. Zelenka,
Assistant Deputy Attorney General, all of Columbia; and
Holman C. Gossett, Solicitor, Seventh Judicial Circuit, of
Spartanburg, for respondent.
WALLER, A.J.: A jury convicted Appellant Andre Kevin
Rosemond of the murders of his girlfriend, Christine Norton,1 and Norton's
ten-year old daughter, Corrie Autumn Norton.2 Thereafter, upon the jury's
recommendation, the trial judge sentenced Appellant to death for both
2 Hereinafter "Daughter."
State v. Rosemond
convictions.3 This appeal consolidates Appellant's direct appeal with the
mandatory review provisions of S.C. Code Ann. § 16-3-25(C) (1985). We
On the afternoon of June 21, 1993, at Appellant's request, a
Spartanburg County Sheriffs Deputy met Appellant at Brown's Funeral
Home. Appellant told the deputy he and Mother had received a telephone
call (or calls) the previous evening threatening their lives. Because of this,
they had decided to move. Appellant requested that the deputy accompany
him back to the mobile home where he and Mother lived so he could retrieve
some clothing. The deputy complied. When they entered the mobile home,
Mother and Daughter were found dead in the living area. Daughter was
sitting slumped on the sofa and Mother was lying on the floor beside the
sofa. Both had been shot twice in the head.
While initially Appellant told police he thought whomever had been
threatening them had killed the victims, he eventually confessed to the
shootings. He told police he had thrown the murder weapon in a lake, and
led them to the exact spot where he threw it in. The gun was subsequently
found in close proximity to this spot.
The sole issue on appeal is whether the trial judge erred in admitting
color photographs of the victims during the sentencing phase.
During the sentencing phase, the State was allowed to introduce six
enlarged color photographs of the victims over Appellant's objection. Three
were pictures of the victims at the crime scene, and three were taken at
autopsy. Appellant argues these pictures were unduly prejudicial and
3 The jury found as statutory aggravating circumstances that two or
more persons were murdered by the defendant by one act or pursuant to one
scheme or course of conduct; and the murder of a child eleven years of age
or under. S.C. Code Ann. §16-3-20(9), -20(10) (Supp. 1996).
State v. Rosemond
deprived him of a fair trial. See U.S. Const. amend. VII; U.S. Const. amend.
XIV; S.C. Code Ann.§16-3-25(C)(1) (1985). We disagree.
The relevance, materiality and admissibility of photographs are matters
within the sound discretion of the trial court and a ruling will be disturbed
only upon a showing of an abuse of discretion. State v. Tucker, 324 S.C. 155,
478 S.E.2d 260 (1996), cert. denied, 117 S. Ct. 1561 (1997).
The purpose of the bifurcated proceeding in a capital case is to
permit the introduction of evidence in the sentencing proceeding
which ordinarily would be inadmissible in the guilt phase. In the
sentencing proceeding, the trial court may permit the introduction
of additional evidence in extenuation, mitigation or aggravation.
In determining whether to recommend a sentence of death, the
jury may be permitted to see photographs which depict the bodies
of the murder victims in substantially the same condition in
which the defendant left them. . . . The trial judge is still
required to balance the prejudicial effect of the photographs
against their probative value. However, in the sentencing phase,
the scope of the probative value is much broader.
State v. Kornahrens, 290 S.C. 281, 289, 350 S.E.2d 180, 185-86 (1986), cert.
denied, 480 U.S. 940 (1987) (internal citations omitted). To constitute unfair
prejudice, the photographs must create a "tendency to suggest a decision on
an improper basis, commonly, though not necessarily, an emotional one."
State v. Franklin, 318 S.C. 47, 55, 456 S.E.2d 357, 361, cert. denied, 116 S.
Ct. 160 (1995) (quoting State v. Alexander, 303 S.C. 377, 382, 401 S.E.2d 146,
We have reviewed the photographs and find the trial judge did not
abuse his discretion in admitting them. The photographs taken at the crime
scene showed the victims in substantially the same condition as Appellant
left them. All of the photographs served to corroborate the pathologist's
testimony describing the position of the victims as they were dying and the
wounds each received. He also used them to explain his belief that Mother
continued living for about ten minutes after she was shot, and that
Daughter's wounds were inflicted at close range. These photographs were
probative of both the circumstances of the crime and Appellant's character.
The autopsy photographs were not unnecessarily gruesome, as the bodies had
been cleaned of blood. See Franklin, 318 S.C. at 56-57, 456 S.E.2d 361-62
(affirming admission of autopsy slides, noting they showed victim's wounds
and*body had been cleaned of blood). Photographs of a victim's body are
State v. Rosemond
admissible in the sentencing phase of a death penalty trial to show the
circumstances of the crime and the character of the defendant. Tucker, 324
S.C. 155, 478 S.E.2d 260. If the photograph serves to corroborate testimony,
it is not an abuse of discretion to admit it. State v. Nance, 320 S.C. 501,
508, 466 S.E.2d 349, 353, cert. denied, 116 S. Ct. 2566 (1996). We find the
probative value of these photographs outweighed any potential prejudicial
Review under S.C. Code Ann. §16-3-25(C) (1985)
We find the sentence imposed proportionate to that in similar cases, is
not arbitrary, excessive or disproportionate to the crime in this case, and is
not the result of passion or prejudice. We also find the evidence supports the
finding of aggravating circumstances. See, e.g., State v. Tucker, 324 S.C.
155, 478 S.E.2d 260 (1996); State v. Williams, 321 S.C. 327, 468 S.E.2d 626
TOAL, MOORE, and BURNET, JJ. , concur. FINNEY, C. J. , dissenting in a
STATE v. ROSEMOND
FINNEY, C.J.: I respectfully dissent. The State elected to offer
enlarged photographs of both the mother and child victims taken at the
crime scene and at the autopsy. In my opinion, the prejudicial effect of the
oversized photos, which were not enlarged for any legitimate evidentiary
purpose, outweighed their probative value. State v. Livingston, 327 S.C. 17,
488 S.E.2d 313 (1997). 1 would reverse and remand for a new sentencing