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State v. Hinnant

Court of Appeals of North Carolina

December 31, 2014

STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA
v.
BURNICE ANTWON HINNANT, JR

Heard in the Court of Appeals October 21, 2014

Attorney General Roy A. Cooper, III, by Special Deputy Attorney General Brenda Menard, for the State.

Unti & Smith, PLLC, by Sharon L. Smith, for the Defendant.

DILLON, Judge. Judge HUNTER, Robert C. and Judge DAVIS concur.

OPINION

Page 318

Appeal by Defendant from judgments entered 17 October 2013 by Judge Quentin T. Sumner in Nash County Superior Court Nos. 12CRS054414, 12CRS054416-17.

DILLON, Judge.

Burnice Antwon Hinnant, Jr., (" Defendant" ) appeals from judgments entered upon a jury verdict finding him guilty of assault with a deadly weapon and second degree murder.

I. Background

The evidence tended to show the following: In the early morning hours of 2 September 2012, Defendant was involved in an altercation with his cousin C.J. Hinnant[1] at a party. During the altercation, Defendant shot Jayquan Tabron with a .38 caliber revolver. Defendant testified in his own defense, stating that C.J. was reaching for what he believed to be a gun and that he intended to fire warning shots in the direction of C.J. but did not intend to hit him. One of these warning shots, however, hit Mr. Tabron in the chest, killing him. Mr. Tabron had been standing in a crowd next to C.J.

One of the State's witnesses testified that C.J. reached for his waistband before Defendant drew his weapon, and further, that it was C.J., not Defendant, who started the fight.

On 29 October 2012, a Nash County grand jury indicted Defendant with carrying a concealed handgun, assault with a deadly

Page 319

weapon with intent to kill, and first degree murder.[2] Defendant pleaded guilty to carrying a concealed handgun. The remaining charges in the matter came on for trial in Nash County Superior Court.

The jury found Defendant guilty of assault with a deadly weapon and second degree murder. The trial court sentenced Defendant to prison for 180 to 228 months for second degree murder and 75 days for assault with a deadly weapon, consolidating the concealed weapon charge with the assault charge and ordering that the sentences run consecutively. Defendant filed notice of appeal in open court.

II. Analysis

Defendant makes three arguments on appeal, which we address in turn.

A. Self-Defense and Voluntary Manslaughter Instructions

Defendant first contends that the trial court erred in refusing to instruct the jury on self-defense and in omitting an instruction on ...


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