Heard in the Court of Appeals April 22, 2015
Attorney General Roy Cooper, by Assistant Attorney General Shawn R. Evans, for the State.
Appellate Defender Staples Hughes, by Assistant Appellate Defender Jillian C. Katz, for Defendant.
STEPHENS, Judge. Judges STEELMAN and MCCULLOUGH concur.
Appeal by Defendant from judgment entered 20 March
2014 by Judge Richard T. Brown in Johnston County Superior Court, Johnston County, No. 13 CRS 51603.
Defendant Afis Arte Holt was convicted in Johnston County Superior Court on one count of robbery with a dangerous weapon and one count of felony conspiracy to commit first-degree burglary. Defendant appeals from the trial court's denial of his motion to dismiss the charge of robbery with a dangerous weapon. After diligent deliberation, we conclude that the trial court did not err in denying Defendant's motion to dismiss.
I. Facts and Procedural History
It was just before ten o'clock on the night of 4 April 2013 when the residents of 83 Hearth Lane in Smithfield heard a knock at their front door. Larry Dowd was in the master bedroom preparing for bed while his granddaughter, Jayahna Cook, age 14, watched television in the living room. Mr. Dowd's daughter Madina, age 15, was preparing to take a shower in the family bathroom down the hall, and his son Rahim, age 19, was in his own bedroom with the door closed.
When she heard someone knocking at the front door, Jayahna got up to answer it, saw Defendant and two other men wearing hooded sweatshirts and masks to cover their faces, screamed " [h]e got a gun. He got a gun," and then ran to hide in the private bathroom that adjoins Mr. Dowd's master bedroom. Two of the men followed her, one of whom kicked down the bathroom door while the other demanded money from Mr. Dowd. When Mr. Dowd said he could not remember where he put his wallet, the men took him and Jayahna down the hallway to the family bathroom, the door to which had also been kicked down. There, they were held at gunpoint by a third man who told them to stand in the bathtub next to Madina, who had overheard the commotion and, unbeknownst to the intruders, already called 911 on her cell phone. Shortly thereafter, one of the men brought Rahim into the bathroom as well.
After a few minutes passed, Mr. Dowd told the men that he remembered where he had put his wallet and was taken back to his bedroom to retrieve it from a drawer. Upon discovering that the wallet contained $145.00, a bank card, and the family's social security cards, one of the men told Mr. Dowd, " I know you've got more. Give me whatever else you have," and then struck Mr. Dowd in his face and side, resulting in minor injuries. The men then returned Mr. Dowd to the hallway bathroom where the children were still being held at gunpoint. Moments later, the men took Madina to look for more money in the living room, where they forced her down to her knees and held a gun to the back of her head.
Around that time, Officer Ashley McLamb of the Wilson Mills Police Department arrived at the residence in response to Madina's 911 call. Upon his arrival, Officer McLamb looked inside through a window in the front door, saw a silhouette in the living room, smelled a strong odor of marijuana, and heard a thumping noise, followed by a voice asking, " Where is it?" Officer McLamb started to call for backup, then saw Madina open the front door and run outside, followed by a man wearing a hooded sweatshirt and a mask over his face holding what appeared to be a sledgehammer. Officer McLamb pushed Madina to safety and drew his sidearm, but before he could engage the man, he heard the sound of breaking glass and saw two other men jump from one of the home's front windows and land in the bushes below. After ...