In The Court of Appeals

The State,        Respondent,


Robert Geter,        Appellant.

Appeal From Richland County
Henry F. Floyd, Circuit Court Judge

Unpublished Opinion No. 2003-UP-704
Submitted September 17, 2003 – Filed December 3, 2003


Assistant Appellate Defender Tara S. Taggart, of Columbia, for Appellant.

Attorney General Henry Dargan McMaster, Chief Deputy Attorney General John W. McIntosh, Assistant Deputy Attorney General Charles H. Richardson, Assistant Attorney General Deborah R. J. Shupe, and Warren Blair Giese, all of Columbia, for Respondent.

PER CURIAM:  Robert Geter was convicted in a jury trial of first degree burglary, armed robbery, and assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature.  He appeals his convictions and sentences, and we affirm. [1]


Travis Anderson had recently received proceeds from a car insurance claim when Robert Geter, with whom he had recently attended high school, called him.  Anderson commented that he had not heard from Geter in a long time and told Geter his Dodge Neon had been totaled and he was now driving a Lincoln.  Geter asked Anderson if he knew anyone who had or could get marijuana.   Anderson said he did not. 

 About an hour later Geter, “Poke,” and Arthur Lyles came to Anderson’s home uninvited.  Lyles stayed in the car while Geter and Poke came to the door and asked for water.  Anderson believes the pair briefly entered the house but because he did not want them inside, he told them they could get water from a water hose on the carport.  He then closed the door with them outside.  Anderson retrieved a cup and when he turned around Poke and Geter had re-entered the house.  They pulled out pistols, Geter a black nine millimeter, and Poke a .380 caliber, and demanded money.  Anderson had some of the settlement money in his shirt pocket.  Anderson fought the men.  Anderson’s younger brother, who entered the kitchen after hearing a noise, witnessed the struggle.  At one point, Poke fired his gun at Anderson, but the bullet missed and shattered a glass door.  Geter and Poke took $1700, some from Anderson’s person and some from his dresser, and left the home in the Burgundy Mercury in which they had arrived. 

Anderson was hit in the mouth and on the chin during the attack and required five stitches.  During an investigation of the crime scene, a photograph of the back door was taken bearing what appeared to be a fresh bloodstain.  Also, an officer who stopped a Burgundy Mercury Cougar driven by Lyles shortly after the crimes found what appeared to be a magazine from a nine millimeter pistol in the backseat and what appeared to be a fresh bloodstain on the front passenger seat.  

Following the jury verdict, Geter was sentenced to concurrent terms of twenty years, twenty years, and ten years on the three charges. 


Geter argues the trial court abused its discretion in allowing the magazine and “red stains” into evidence.  He contends there was no connection between these items and the charges against him.  We disagree.

The admission or exclusion of evidence is left to the trial court’s sound discretion and will not be reversed absent an abuse of that discretion.  State v. Saltz, 346 S.C. 114, 121. 551 S.E.2d 240, 244 (2001).  Irrelevant evidence is not admissible.  Rule 402, SCRE.  Evidence is relevant when it has “any tendency to make the existence of any fact that is of consequence to the determination of the action more probable or less probable than it would be without the evidence.”  Rule, 401,  SCRE.  “Evidence that assists in getting to the truth of an issue is deemed to be relevant and is admissible, unless excluded by some legal rule.”  State v. Pace, 337 S.C. 407, 415, 523 S.E.2d 466, 469 (Ct. App. 1999).  The stains on the door of Anderson’s home and Lyle’s car seat corroborated Anderson’s testimony about his injuries and also helped to link Geter to the car and the crime.  The pistol magazine, identified by an officer as apparently belonging to a nine millimeter, also tended to support Anderson’s claim that Geter used a nine millimeter and further linked Geter to the car and the crime.  In short, the challenged evidence assisted in getting to the truth of the case. 

Geter correctly points out that these items did not undergo forensic, DNA, or ballistics testing.  However, the State’s decision not to submit these items for testing goes to the evidence’s weight, rather than its admissibility.  See State v. Beckham, 334 S.C. 302, 310, 513 S.E.2d 606, 610 (1999) (holding photographs showing scratches on defendant’s back and arms relevant where a witness testified defendant ran through the woods from the crime scene to his home); State v. Asbury, 328 S.C. 187, 193-94, 493 S.E.2d 349, 352 (1997) (holding evidence regarding appliances and severed electrical cords found at defendant’s home were relevant in prosecution where victim’s hands and feet were bound with cut electrical cords).

Although we believe the trial court did not abuse its discretion in admitting this evidence, the evidence of guilt is overwhelming.  The victim, as well as two other eyewitnesses to the crime, all knew Geter before the crime and identified him as one of the two perpetrators.  Furthermore, the State’s evidence was sufficient to establish each element of the crimes charged.


STILWELL and BEATTY, JJ., and CURETON, A.J., concur.

[1]        We decide this case without oral argument pursuant to Rule 215, SCACR.