Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

State v. Bradford

Court of Appeals of North Carolina

March 21, 2017

STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA
v.
BREYON BRADFORD, Defendant.

          Heard in the Court of Appeals 23 February 2017.

         Appeal by defendant from judgments entered 14 March 2016 by Judge Kendra D. Hill in Wake County Nos. 15 CRS 215729, 215731-33 Superior Court.

          Attorney General Joshua H. Stein, by Special Deputy Attorney General David P. Brenskelle, for the State.

          Leslie Rawls for defendant-appellant.

          MURPHY, Judge.

         Breyon Bradford ("Defendant") appeals from his convictions for (1) two counts of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury; (2) two counts of discharging a firearm into occupied property; and (3) assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill. On appeal, he contends that the trial court erred by providing an instruction to the jury on flight. Specifically, he asserts that because he was a passenger - not the driver - of the vehicle that fled the scene while he shot at a crowded car, the State failed to present sufficient evidence at trial to merit such an instruction.

         Defendant also contends that several clerical errors were made by the trial court necessitating remand. Specifically, he asserts that the incorrect file numbers were recorded on the verdict sheets, final judgment forms, and appellate entries. After careful review, we conclude that Defendant received a fair trial free from error, however, we remand for the limited purpose of correcting the clerical errors present on the face of the final judgment forms and related documents.

         Factual Background

         At approximately 5:00 p.m. on 14 July 2015, Najee Cunningham ("Najee") and his brother, James Cunningham ("James"), drove in Najee's silver Buick to the Exxon station at the intersection of New Bern Avenue and Trawick Road in Raleigh, North Carolina after picking up Najee's one year old son, N.D., [1] from daycare. After pulling into the station and parking at one of the gas pumps, Najee went inside to buy gas leaving N.D. in the backseat of the car. While Najee was paying, James began fueling the Buick.

         As James was pumping gas, he noticed a burgundy Volkswagen Passat parked in front of Najee's car at another pump. The front passenger-side window of the Passat was open and James saw Defendant staring out of it at him with a "crazy look." James asked Defendant, "[w]hat the F were you looking at?" Defendant responded by pointing a black handgun out of the car window at James.

         Shortly thereafter, Najee returned to his car. James told Najee that Defendant had pointed a gun at him, and Najee proceeded to get out of the Buick and yell at Defendant and the driver of the Passat, William Holden ("Holden"), that his son was in the backseat of the car. He then returned to the Buick at which point both James and Holden began driving their respective vehicles toward the station exit.

         As they reached the station exit, Holden's Passat was positioned directly in front of Najee's Buick. Suddenly, the Passat accelerated causing its tires to "squall" as it pulled out of the gas station and onto New Bern Avenue. As the Passat was turning, Defendant leaned out of the open passenger-side window, and fired his gun multiple times back towards the Buick and the station. One of the bullets went through Najee's front passenger door, hitting Najee - who was seated in the front passenger seat just feet from one year old N.D. - in his buttocks. Another bullet went through the wall of the nearby Microtel Inn and Suites hotel hitting Wylie Mendicino ("Mendicino") - who was staying at the hotel and laying in bed at the time with his girlfriend Logan Ardrey - in his right thigh. The Passat continued down New Bern Avenue at a high rate of speed. Both Mendicino and Najee were taken to WakeMed and treated for their gunshot wounds shortly thereafter.

         After speeding away from the Exxon station, Defendant told Holden to stop the Passat at Rodgers Lane. He then abandoned Holden and the vehicle and left the area on foot. Shortly thereafter, he disposed of his handgun in an unknown location.

         After examining surveillance video footage from the Exxon station, detectives with the Raleigh Police Department determined Holden's identity based on the Passats' license plate number. Detectives contacted Holden's father who was the registered owner of the Passat. Holden's mother then called Holden, who came to his parent's house where he was interviewed about the shooting. During the interview, Holden identified Defendant as the shooter. Defendant was subsequently located and arrested.

         On 17 August 2015, Defendant was indicted on charges of (1) assaulting Najee with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury; (2) conspiracy to commit assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury[2]; (3) assaulting N.D. with a deadly weapon with intent to kill; (4) assaulting James with a deadly weapon with intent to kill; (5) two counts of discharging a firearm into occupied property; and (6) assaulting Wylie Mendicino with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury. A jury trial was held in Wake County Superior Court beginning on 7 March 2016 before the Honorable Kendra D. Hill.

         At trial, the State proffered the testimony of James, who stated that neither he nor Najee were armed with a gun during the gas station incident. He further testified that he did not provoke Defendant into shooting at them in any way. The State additionally introduced the testimony of Najee who also stated that he and James were unarmed that day.

         In addition, the State introduced the testimony of the driver, Holden, who stated the following during direct examination:

Q. Did you at any point see the [D]efendant shooting or hear him shooting from your vehicle back towards the gas station?
A. As I started to leave.
Q. Okay. So how soon after you get onto New Bern Avenue do you hear or see gunfire?
A. Maybe five seconds. I'm not sure. About five seconds.
Q. Could you tell where the gray Buick was when the shots were fired?
A. In my mirror.
Q. In your mirror? In your mirror back at the exit or actually out on New Bern Avenue?
A. Out on New Bern.
Q. Out on New Bern. Okay. About how much distance between the two of you? Between the two cars, I should say.
A. I'm not exactly sure.
Q. Do you recall hearing or seeing any gunfire come from that car, ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.