THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA
In The Supreme Court
The State, Respondent,
Keith Dickman, Appellant.
Appeal From Beaufort County
Luke N. Brown, Jr., Circuit Court Judge
Opinion No. 25154
Heard May 24, 2000 - Filed June 19, 2000
Jared Sullivan Newman, of Daugs, Tedder &
Newman, of Port Royal, for appellant.
Attorney General Charles M. Condon, Chief Deputy
Attorney General John W. McIntosh, Assistant
Deputy Attorney General Donald J. Zelenka,
Assistant Attorney General G. Robert DeLoach, III,
all of Columbia; and Solicitor Randolph Murdaugh,
III, of Hampton, for appellant.
JUSTICE MOORE: Appellant was convicted of murder and
sentenced to thirty years. We affirm.
State v. Dickman
On October 19,1997, a badly decomposed body was found in a wooded
area of Beaufort County. The body was later identified as Richard
Mandeville (Victim) who lived with appellant and John Seals. Victim had
been shot in the back of the head. When questioned by police, appellant and
Seals both said Victim had gone to California. Eventually, however, Seals
told police that appellant had shot Victim.
Seals testified at trial that appellant shot Victim while the three of
them were in appellant's car. Seals was driving, Victim was in the passenger
seat, and appellant was in the backseat behind Victim. After shooting
Victim, appellant directed Seals to drive to a remote area where they
removed the body from the car and dragged it into the woods. Seals emptied
Victim's pockets and threw Victim's wallet into the river on the way home.
The next day, appellant cleaned the blood from the inside of the car. 1
Appellant gave a statement to police. After initially indicating Seals
was the shooter, appellant told police he had shot Victim. At trial, appellant
recanted this statement and testified that Seals was the shooter.
Does the evidence support an accomplice liability charge?
Over appellant's objection, the trial judge charged the jury that
appellant could be found guilty under a theory of accomplice liability based
on "the hand of one is the hand of all." See State v. Crowe, 258 S.C. 258, 188
S.E.2d 379 (1972) (if two or more combine together to commit an unlawful
act and a homicide is committed by one of the actors as a probable or natural
consequence of the acts done in pursuance of the common design, all present
participating in the unlawful undertaking are as guilty as the one who
committed the fatal act). Appellant contends this was error.
1 Seals was charged with misprison (or misprision) of a felony for his
involvement in these events.
State v. Dickman
At trial, appellant objected to a charge on accomplice liability because
the indictment charged him only as a principal. It is well-settled that a
defendant may be convicted on a theory of accomplice liability pursuant to an
indictment charging him only with the principal offense. State v. Leonard,
292 S.C.-133, 136, 355 S.E.2d 270 (1987); State v. Cox, 258 S.C. 114, 187
S.E.2d 525 (1972); State v. Hicks, 257 S.C. 279, 185 S.E.2d 746 (1971); State
v. Hunter, 79 S.C. 73, 60 S.E. 240 (1908). Accordingly, this argument is
without merit. 2
On appeal, appellant argues the evidence does not support an
accomplice liability charge. This argument is procedurally barred since it
was not raised below. State v. Tucker, 319 S.C. 425, 462 S.E.2d 263 (1995);
State v. Bailey, 298 S.C. 1, 377 S.E.2d 581 (1989) (a party cannot argue one
ground below and then argue another ground on appeal).
In any event, on the merits, we find the evidence supports the charge.
See State v. Burriss, 334 S.C. 256, 513 S.E.2d 104 (1999) (law to be charged
is determined from the evidence presented at trial and if any evidence exists
to support a charge, it should be given). The critical question is whether
there is any evidence appellant and Seals were acting together at the time of
the killing if Seals was the shooter as appellant claimed. Although on cross
examination appellant denied he and Seals planned to kill Victim that day,
his testimony on direct does provide some evidence of such a plan.
Appellant testified Seals asked him to kill Victim because Victim was
always behind on the rent. Appellant told another friend the murder would
be on a Sunday and the murder did in fact occur on a Sunday. On the day of
the murder, Seals tried to collect the rent from Victim without success.
When he subsequently saw appellant, Seals's first words to appellant were
"do it." Appellant testified, "I knew what he intended at that time."
Immediate thereafter, Seals called Victim on the telephone and arranged
to pick him up for the fatal car ride.
2 At oral argument, appellant relied on our recent opinion in State v.
Martin, Op. No. 25093 (S.C. Sup. Ct. filed March 27, 2000), as precedent to
the contrary. Martin, however, was withdrawn and refiled June 12, 2000.
In its revised version, Martin does not address this issue.
State v. Dickman
While they were driving, appellant found the gun wrapped in a towel
under the front seat where Seals had put it. He picked up the gun and held
it up for Seals to see in the rear view mirror. Appellant's nerve failed him
and he did not shoot. When Victim briefly left the car, appellant apologized
for not shooting and gave Seals the gun. The two had no further
communication between them before Seals allegedly shot Victim.
We find this testimony provides some evidence appellant and Seals
were acting pursuant to a plan to kill Victim at the time of the murder.
Accordingly, the charge on accomplice liability was properly submitted to the
Appellant's remaining issue is without merit and we dispose of it under
Rule 220(b), SCACR. See State v. Patterson, 324 S.C. 5, 482 S.E.2d 760
(1997) (any claim that jury was not impartial must focus on the jurors
TOAL, C.J., WALLER, BURNETT, and PLEICONES, JJ., concur.