Georgia Supreme Court Reverses Lawyer’s Murder Conviction in Road Rage Dispute

In a significant development, the Georgia Supreme Court has overturned the murder conviction of Bryan Keith Schmitt, a lawyer serving a life sentence for his role in a fatal altercation stemming from a dispute over a golf ball. The court’s decision was grounded in the argument that the presiding judge failed to adequately instruct the jury on the legal concept of an “accident.”

During the trial, Schmitt testified that he never intended to strike Hamid Jahangard with his Mercedes during their confrontation on a Sandy Springs roadside. Schmitt explained that while driving home from work, he heard a noise he believed was caused by something hitting his car. Investigating, he encountered Jahangard, leading to a verbal altercation.

The prosecution contended that Schmitt intentionally struck Jahangard in a fit of rage, resulting in fatal injuries. However, Schmitt maintained the collision was accidental, stating he attempted to maneuver his car to address the situation but misjudged the turning radius.

Despite Schmitt’s claims of an unintentional tragedy, he was convicted of malice murder, felony murder, and aggravated assault. The court’s reversal hinged on the judge’s failure to instruct the jury on the defense of accident, as warranted by Schmitt’s testimony.

The decision to overturn Schmitt’s conviction has prompted the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office to announce plans for a retrial. While Schmitt remains in custody pending further legal proceedings, his attorney remains hopeful for exoneration.

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The victim’s family, shocked by the court’s decision, remains optimistic that justice will prevail in any subsequent trial. As the case progresses, the community closely follows, acknowledging the complexity and gravity of the situation.

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