in the Court of Appeals 23 February 2017.
by defendant from judgments entered 24 February 2016 by Judge
Alma L. Hinton in Edgecombe County, Nos. 14 CRS 51350, 52372
Attorney General Joshua H. Stein, by Assistant Attorney
General Jason R. Rosser, for the State.
McCullers Reece for defendant-appellant.
Deandre ("Defendant") appeals from his convictions
for two counts of possession of stolen goods in violation of
N.C. G.S. § 14-71.1 (2015). On appeal, he contends that
the trial court erred by denying his motions to dismiss the
charges on the ground that the State failed to offer
sufficient evidence that he constructively possessed two
stolen firearms that were found in a van he had rented. After
careful review, we reject Defendant's arguments and
conclude that he received a fair trial free from error.
State presented evidence at trial tending to establish the
following facts: On 26 April 2014, Ronald Bryant called the
Rocky Mount Police Department to report that his home had
been broken into and that various items of his personal
property, including his .9 millimeter Smith & Wesson
handgun ("the Smith & Wesson"), had been
stolen. Eleven days later on 7 May 2014, Christian
Boswell's home in Rocky Mount was broken into and, among
other items of personal property, Boswell's .380
millimeter Kel-Tec semi-automatic pistol ("the
Kel-Tec") was stolen.
same day Boswell's home was robbed, Terry Reeves
("Reeves") was driving by Brandy Braswell's
house in Rocky Mount and noticed that a van was parked in the
driveway. He returned and observed that the van's rear
doors were open and he saw two men walking around the house.
Upon seeing Reeves, the two men ran back to the van, pulled
onto Flood Store Road, and took off. Reeves was, however,
able to get the van's license plate number before he lost
sight of it.
Jack Sewell ("Detective Sewell") with the Edgecombe
County Sheriff's Office was assigned as the lead
investigator on the case. Upon looking into the license plate
number of the van, Detective Sewell determined that it was
owned by H & J Auto Sales Company ("H &
J"). Detective Sewell drove to H & J and spoke with
the owner who informed him that the van in question had been
rented to Shirelanda Clark ("Clark").
Detective Sewell reached out to Clark who informed him that
she, in turn, had rented the van to Defendant and Dezmon
Bullock ("Bullock"). She stated that Defendant had
paid her $35.00 to use the van and that he was going to
return it to her on 8 May 2014. Detective Sewell asked Clark
to call him if Bullock or Defendant contacted her again.
May 2014, Clark reached out to Detective Sewell and told him
that Defendant had called her and asked to rent the van for a
few more days and that he had arranged to meet her close to
the car lot shortly. Detective Sewell drove to the lot to
meet with Clark and called Officer Jill Tyson ("Officer
Tyson") to assist him as backup.
arrived and parked the van around the corner from the car lot
and walked over to Clark while Bullock, who had accompanied
Defendant, remained in the vehicle. Officer Tyson parked her
patrol vehicle behind the van while Detective Sewell
confronted Defendant in the parking lot.
Sewell, Clark, and Defendant walked over to the van, and
while they were approaching, Bullock exited the vehicle.
Defendant, Clark, and Bullock all gave Detective Sewell and
Officer Tyson permission to search the van. Detective Sewell
and Officer Tyson began searching the vehicle and discovered,
among other items, a new basketball goal still in its box
which Defendant claimed ownership of, for which he said he
had lost the receipt.
claiming ownership of the basketball goal, Defendant suddenly
and abruptly stated that he had an appointment and had to
leave. Defendant then left the area leaving his ...