Heard in the Court of Appeals 8 April 2015
This Decision is not final until expiration of the twenty-one day rehearing period. [North Carolina Rules of Appellate Procedure 32(b)]
Attorney General Roy Cooper, by Special Deputy Attorney General M. Lynne Weaver, for the State.
Adrian M. Lapas for defendant-appellant.
McCULLOUGH, Judge. Judges STEELMAN and STEPHENS concur.
Appeal by defendant from judgments entered 17 April 2014 by Judge Henry W. Hight, Jr., in Wake County Superior Court,
Nos. 13 CRS 211271, 211273.
Purcell Orlando Jones, Jr., (" defendant" ) appeals from judgments entered upon his convictions for two counts of robbery with a dangerous weapon and one count of common-law robbery. For the following reasons, we find no error.
On 9 July 2013, a Wake County Grand Jury indicted defendant on one count of first-degree burglary, three counts of robbery with a dangerous weapon, and three counts of first-degree kidnapping in connection with the robbery of a mobile home in Knightdale during the early morning hours of 13 May 2013. The case came on for jury trial in Wake County Superior Court before the Honorable Henry W. Hight, Jr., on 14 April 2014.
The evidence at trial tended to show that the mobile home was the home of Brian Jones (" Brian" ), his wife Adrienne Jones (" Adrienne" ), and his two young children. On the morning of 12 May 2013, Adrienne woke Brian up when two men came to the mobile home to borrow jumper cables. Brian knew one of the men as Millie, later identified by his real name Devaunte Lewis (" Devaunte" ), and allowed him to borrow jumper cables. Brian's friend Sloan Schmitt (" Sloan" ), who at the time was asleep on a couch in the mobile home, woke up and noticed the two men but did not recognize either of them.
That day Brian and Sloan hung around the mobile home all afternoon and then began drinking whiskey and beer later in the evening. Brian also smoked marijuana. After the children had gone to bed around seven or eight o'clock and after Adrienne had gone to bed around ten or eleven o'clock, Brian and Sloan stayed up watching a movie on Brian's computer. Sloan " passed out" during the movie and Brian went to bed once the movie had finished.
Shortly thereafter in the early morning hours of 13 May 2013, Sloan woke up to someone knocking on the door. Sloan testified he could see three figures outside the front door and he opened the door because someone said they had jumper cables for Brian. At that instant, the men rushed the mobile home, pushing their way in and pushing Sloan into the bathroom near the front door. Sloan thought three people rushed in, but he was not one hundred percent certain. Sloan testified he was tasered and forced to the bathroom floor, where one of the men held him down. Sloan indicated he fought back initially, but then stopped because he kept getting tasered. Sloan recalled that the men demanded money, but only took his cell phone from the couch where he was sleeping.
Brian testified the next thing he remembered after going to bed was being awakened by someone trying to drag him out of bed. Brian recalled he started to struggle with someone but was then tasered and hit the floor, where he was stomped and punched several times. Brian testified he could tell he was fighting one person and a totally different person came around behind him and tasered him. Brian testified that the men demanded money and took items belonging to him and Adrienne before fleeing the mobile home.
Brian identified defendant as the person punching and stomping him. Brian explained that he knew defendant and Devaunte through Brett Stewart (" Brett" ), a friend of Brian's who lived in the mobile home park. Brian indicated he had hung out with defendant on two occasions prior to this incident.
During the commotion, Adrienne was able to escape the mobile home and run to a neighbor's mobile home for help. Both law enforcement and EMS responded. Brian, Adrienne, and Sloan were all treated for injuries at the scene but refused to go to the hospital.
Detective Alfredo Hicks (" Detective Hicks" ) with the Wake County Sheriff's Office testified that they had been looking for defendant on May 13 and 14 before defendant turned himself in. Defendant initially told Detective Hicks he was turning himself in on a warrant for failure to appear for possession of marijuana and Ecstasy charges and repeatedly denied knowing anything about the robbery of the mobile home. Yet after defendant made a statement including facts about the robbery that the police had not disclosed to defendant, defendant changed his story and told police that he was present at the mobile home during the robbery.
At the close of the State's evidence, defendant moved to dismiss the charges. The trial court dismissed the two second degree kidnapping charges related to Adrienne and Brian, but allowed the remainder of the charges to go forward.
Defendant then took the stand in his own defense and admitted he was present, but denied knowing anything about the robbery before entering the mobile home. Defendant testified that he spent much of 12 May 2013 drinking and, after midnight, got in his mother's van with Terrence Williams (" Terrence" ) and Devaunte to go home. Terrence drove because defendant had been drinking. Defendant recalled that they stopped and picked up Brett before he dozed off in the front passenger seat. When defendant woke up, they were at Brian's mobile home. Defendant recalled that Terrence said he was returning jumper cables to Brian.
Defendant testified Terrence and Devaunte approached the mobile home and began knocking on the door. Defendant then turned away and when he looked back, Terrence and Devaunte were gone. At that point, defendant said he approached the mobile home, knocked on the door, and entered. Once inside, defendant heard yelling and saw Brian coming at him. Defendant testified that Brian struck him in the face with a fist and he retaliated. Defendant testified he struggled with Brian in the master bedroom, but was able to kick free of Brian and leave out of the front door. Defendant ...