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North Carolina v. Yarborough

Filed: December 1, 1981.

STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA
v.
WILLIAM HOWARD YARBOROUGH; STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA V. ROBERT FLEMING; STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA V. DAVID HUFF



Appeal by defendants from McKinnon, Judge. Judgments entered 17 October 1980, in Superior Court, Vance County. Heard in the Court of Appeals 19 October 1981.

Becton, Judge. Chief Judge Morris and Judge Arnold concur.

Becton

In this case, we must determine (1) if the evidence was sufficient to support the convictions of rioting and breaking or entering

and (2) if a sufficient foundation was laid for the introduction of photographs showing extensive damage to the prosecuting witness' house.

I

The evidence concerning the rioting and breaking or entering charges follows. On the evening of 6 June 1980, the prosecuting witness, Pamela Neal, was in her yard with her two children and two friends. The defendants came into Ms. Neal's yard carrying sticks which were three feet long and two to four inches thick. Additionally, the defendant Huff was holding a long snake in his hand. When Huff said to one of Ms. Neal's friends, "Nigger, do you want this snake?", Ms. Neal, her children and her friends retreated into the house. The defendants followed. When they reached the porch, Huff reached through a tear in the screen door and threw the snake into the house. The snake landed at the feet of Ms. Neal's children. At that time, Ms. Neal noticed that a crowd of about twelve people had gathered nearby and had begun to call her names. Ms. Neal specifically testified:

After this I shut the back door and locked it. I then walked through the house to the front door, and looked out and recognized William Yarborough, Robert Fleming and David Huff. William Yarborough had a knife in his hand and said "I'm going to kill you, you nigger loving bitch." He swung the knife and cut through the screen. I jumped back and his arm came through the door. Mr. Huff and Mr. Fleming were on the front porch at this time. The knife which Yarborough had is what is known as a hawk-billed knife. After this I stepped back and slammed the door and locked it.

At the time the only persons I saw on my front porch were David Huff, William Yarborough and Robert Fleming. As soon as I slammed the door, the front windows of my house were broken out. The window in the front door was broken and there were two other windows on the front of the house. Danny Newton went out and got in my car to try to get some help. I head [sic] glass breaking and I looked out of the window and observed David Huff and Robert Fleming. They were breaking the windows in my 1971 Dodge. They had big sticks.

Danny jumped out of the car and William Yarborough chased him across the street with his knife and said "Well I reckon you're a God damn nigger lover too."

In response to telephone calls, Deputy Sheriff Cordell and Cora Champion (Ms. Neal's mother) went to Ms. Neal's house. Deputy Cordell testified that when he arrived he saw Huff and Fleming in a crowd of approximately fifty people, holding "sticks or iron pipes approximately two to four feet long." Deputy Cordell stayed at the scene for about twenty minutes and left. Cora Champion testified that when she arrived at the scene, Yarborough approached her with an open knife and threatened to kill her daughter, Ms. Neal.

Later, and after Ms. Neal and Mrs. Champion had gone by the magistrate's office, Deputy Cordell returned to Ms. Neal's residence. He testified: "When I came back at this time, I saw that more windows had been broken out at the house. Items of furniture were thrown about the yard. Stuff in the kitchen and stuff out of the refrigerator had been thrown across the floor." The crowd had grown to approximately 150. According to Deputy Cordell, Huff and Fleming made statements "to the effect that they were going to get rid of that nigger loving whore." The crowd was unruly, and Deputy Cordell radioed for assistance. It took thirty-five to forty-five minutes to disperse the crowd. Deputy Cordell then left the scene to go to talk with the Sheriff. When Deputy Cordell returned to the scene for the third time, he found another large crowd in the street in front of the Neal residence. On this occasion, it took at least an hour to get the crowd to disperse. By this ...


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