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State v. Maldonado

Court of Appeals of North Carolina

June 2, 2015

STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA
v.
ADOLFO REYES MALDONADO

Heard in the Court of Appeals 2 March 2015.

Editorial Note:

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 Sandra Wallace-Smith, for the State.

Mark Montgomery for Defendant.

McGEE, Chief Judge. Judges BRYANT and STEELMAN concur.

OPINION

Appeal by Defendant from judgment entered 19 December 2013 by Judge Thomas H. Lock in Superior Court, Johnston County, No. 10 CRS 54081.

McGEE, Chief Judge.

Adolfo Reyes Maldonado (" Defendant" ) appeals from his conviction of felony murder, with the predicate felony being discharging a firearm into occupied property. Defendant contends that the trial court erred (1) by not instructing the jury on diminished capacity on the charge of discharging a firearm into occupied property, (2) by instructing the jury that discharging a firearm into occupied property could serve as the predicate felony to Defendant's felony murder conviction, and (3) by not submitting voluntary manslaughter to the jury as a lesser-included offense of first-degree murder by premeditation and deliberation. We find no error as to Defendant's first two challenges and no prejudicial error as to the third.

I. Background

Defendant and his estranged wife, Elizabeth Reyes (" Ms. Reyes" ), had a tumultuous relationship. The police regularly were called to intervene in their personal disputes. Defendant sought medical treatment for serious knife wounds inflicted by Ms. Reyes on multiple occasions. Defendant maintains that Ms. Reyes -- who was approximately six feet tall and almost three hundred pounds, who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and who had a history of alcohol dependency, anger issues, and paranoid ideation -- was abusive throughout their relationship. Officer Steve Little (" Officer Little" ), who was " routinely involved in domestic calls" between Ms. Reyes and Defendant, testified that he never saw Ms. Reyes with anything more than superficial injuries and that she always appeared to be the aggressor in her altercations with Defendant.

However, the State also elicited testimony from Officer Little that, during a previous interview, he stated that both Ms. Reyes and Defendant drank to excess and Ms. Reyes " beat him as much as he beat her[.]" Additionally, Christy Metzger (" Ms. Metzger" ), an investigator for the Johnston County Department of Social Services, testified about an interview she had with Ms. Reyes on 10 May 2010, during which Ms. Reyes asserted that Defendant was controlling and would not let her have money, friends, a phone, a car, or a job when they were together.

The couple separated in May 2010, and Ms. Reyes moved in with her mother and stepfather, Sandra and John Benjamin Croft (" Ms. Croft" and " Mr. Croft" ), along with the eleven-month-old son (" the Child" ) of Ms. Reyes and Defendant. Thereafter, according to Ms. Metzger, Defendant began calling Ms. Reyes upwards of ten times a day while Ms. Reyes was at work, and sometimes at night. Ms. Reyes and Defendant were engaged in an ongoing child support dispute.

Defendant went to Mr. and Ms. Croft's house (" the house" ) on 1 July 2010. A child support hearing was scheduled for the following day. Defendant argued with Ms. Reyes and Mr. Croft in front of the house. Defendant then went to his truck, loaded his shotgun, and returned to the house. Ms. Reyes had gone inside the house. Mr. Croft testified he ran into the house, closed the front door, and said to Ms. ...


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