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State v. Sterling

Court of Appeals of North Carolina

May 6, 2014

STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA
v.
CHAUNCEY LAJARVIS STERLING, Defendant

Heard in the Court of Appeals February 20, 2014.

Counsel Amended May 15, 2014.

Mecklenburg County. No. 11CRS219268-69. Lisa C. Bell, Judge.

Mr. Daniel P. O'Brien, Assistant Attorney General, Primary Attorney, RALEIGH, NC, for Plaintiff-Appellee - State of North Carolina.

Ms. Marilyn G. Ozer, Primary Attorney, Attorney at Law, MASSENGALE & OZER, Chapel Hill, NC, for Defendant-Appellant - Sterling, Chauncey Lajarvis.

STROUD, Judge. Judges CALABRIA and DAVIS concur.

OPINION

Page 885

Appeal by defendant from judgments entered 13 June 2013 by Judge Lisa C. Bell in Superior Court, Mecklenburg County.

STROUD, Judge.

Defendant appeals his convictions of first degree murder and attempted robbery with a dangerous weapon. For the following reasons, we find no error.

I. Background

Defendant was indicted for murder and attempted robbery with a dangerous weapon. During defendant's trial he testified that on 22 April 2011, he " got the feeling" that he " need[ed] money." Defendant had spent the night in his sister's apartment and after she had left for work he went into her room and got her gun. Defendant left the apartment and saw Mr. Robert Barber leave a coffee shop. Defendant followed Mr. Barber thinking he could " try to take some money from him." Defendant then pulled out his gun. According to defendant, Mr. Barber attempted to take the gun away from him. Defendant then shot Mr. Barber twice. Mr. Barber died from a gunshot wound to the chest. The jury found defendant guilty of first degree murder based upon the felony murder rule and attempted robbery with a firearm. The trial court entered judgment sentencing defendant to life imprisonment without parole for the conviction of first degree murder and arrested judgment on the conviction for attempted robbery with a dangerous weapon. Defendant appeals.

II. Photographs

Defendant turned 18 years old on 22 March 2011, a month before the crimes committed in this case. During defendant's trial, the State admitted photos of defendant and/or his friends which defendant claims portray him as a juvenile " pretending to be [a] rapper[.]" Defendant argues the photos were irrelevant and used only to create an impression in the jury that defendant was a gang member. Defendant did not object to the photos at trial but now argues that " the trial court committed plain error by allowing the State to introduce and ...


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