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State v. Rogers

Court of Appeals of North Carolina

September 5, 2017

STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA,
v.
MICAH PAUL ROGERS, Defendant.

          Heard in the Court of Appeals 19 April 2017.

         Appeal by defendant from judgment entered 29 June 2016 by Judge Jay D. Hockenbury in New Hanover County Superior Court No.15CRS56931.

          Attorney General Joshua H. Stein, by Assistant Attorney General Regina T. Cucurullo, for the State.

          William D. Spence for defendant-appellant.

          BERGER, JUDGE.

         A New Hanover County jury found Micah Paul Rogers ("Defendant") guilty of larceny of a firearm on June 29, 2016. Defendant appeals, asserting that the trial court erred in denying his motion to dismiss for insufficient evidence. We disagree.

         Factual & Procedural Background

         On August 19, 2015, Bianca Justafort ("Justafort") invited her boyfriend, Zachary Weber ("Weber"), and Defendant over to the home she resided in with Sue Marie Sachs ("Sachs"). Throughout the day, Justafort, Weber, and Defendant consumed alcohol, and Defendant made several remarks about the loaded pistol that he always carried with him. Around 9:00 p.m., Defendant passed out on Sachs' couch with the loaded pistol in his pants.

         Earlier in the day, Sachs repeatedly asked Justafort and Weber to ensure that Defendant did not keep a loaded pistol in her house. In response to Sachs' request, Weber took the loaded pistol from Defendant while he was passed out and placed it in a cabinet. Sachs subsequently took the pistol, removed the bullets, and placed the pistol in a camper she had parked in the yard.

         Defendant woke up at approximately midnight and began searching for his pistol. Sachs told Defendant that his pistol was not in her home and that he needed to leave. Instead of leaving, Defendant continued searching for his pistol in Sachs' home and in his vehicle. Defendant began arguing with Sachs near the front gate of her home, and the verbal confrontation became physical. Defendant shoved Sachs to the ground and began yelling that he knew she had taken his pistol.

         Fearing retaliation, Sachs went back into her home and retrieved her own pistol. She removed the clip before going back outside to confront Defendant and again demanded that he leave her property. Justafort and Weber did not know Sachs' pistol was unloaded and worried that Sachs would shoot Defendant. The two pushed Sachs, causing her to lose balance, at which time Defendant grabbed the unloaded pistol from Sachs' hands and fled the scene.

         That same night, Sachs called 911 to report her firearm stolen. Officers with the Wilmington Police Department apprehended Defendant a few blocks from Sachs' home during the early morning hours of August 20, 2015. Officers searched his vehicle and discovered Sachs' pistol inside a latched spare tire well, covered by Defendant's personal effects. Police arrested Defendant for larceny of a firearm. When informed that he was being arrested for stealing Sachs' pistol, Defendant responded, "Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, what firearm? What gun? What gun?"

         It was from this evidence that the jury convicted Defendant of larceny of a firearm. Defendant filed timely notice of appeal.

         Standard ...


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