in the Court of Appeals 23 August 2017.
by defendant from judgments entered 28 April 2016 by Judge
Susan E. Bray in Guilford County Superior Court Nos. 14 CRS
71535-36, 71540-42, 71544, 71555-57, 71559-64.
Attorney General Joshua H. Stein, by Special Deputy Attorney
General David P. Brenskelle, for the State.
Epstein Law Firm PLLC, by Drew Nelson, for
Lamar Stimpson ("Defendant") appeals from judgments
entered after a jury convicted him of discharging a firearm
into an occupied property, discharging a firearm into an
occupied vehicle, five counts of conspiracy to commit robbery
with a firearm, six counts of robbery with a firearm, and two
counts of attempted robbery with a firearm. Defendant has
abandoned his appeal on all convictions and judgments, except
for four of the five conspiracy convictions. We find no error
in any of Defendant's convictions and judgments.
early morning hours of 22 March 2014, Debra Smith left a hair
salon on Summit Avenue in Greensboro and entered her vehicle.
A dark colored Jeep Cherokee vehicle swiftly pulled up and
blocked her from leaving. Ms. Smith testified she saw two men
exit the Jeep, with one man carrying a pump shotgun. The men
wore masks and dark clothing. Ms. Smith was ordered to exit
her vehicle and instructed to "give us your money."
Smith testified she was "scared for her life" when
a gunshot was fired near her head. She fell onto the pavement
as she exited from her vehicle. Ms. Smith told the men she
did not have any money. One of the men with a shotgun began
to taunt her. The other man stated, "Come on, man, take
the vehicle" and the men got into Ms. Smith's car
and drove it away.
Eban and Nie
same morning at about 5:45 a.m., Kler Eban was watching from
the front door of his home on Sunrise Valley Road in
Greensboro, as his wife walked to her car to leave for work.
He saw three men walk past his house. Mr. Eban testified the
men returned and two went behind his wife's car and one
came toward the door of his house and shouted at him to open
the door. Mr. Eban testified the men's faces were
covered. One of the men pointed a gun wrapped in cloth at Mr.
Eban heard a gunshot and attempted to get out of the door to
assist his wife. Mr. Eban's wife, Lieu Nie, testified a
red Jeep was parked behind her car. The men had shot at her
through the driver's side window while she was sitting in
the driver's seat.
shots were also fired in Mr. Eban's direction. Ms. Nie
crawled over the front seat and escaped through the rear
door. The robbers entered Ms. Nie's car and stole a
shopping bag of new cooking utensils. Mr. Eban testified one
of the men got into the Jeep and two of them got into his
wife's car and drove it away.
6:30 a.m., John Nareau drove his car into a parking space at
his workplace on Norwalk Street in Greensboro. As he exited
his vehicle, a male got in front of him and raised what
appeared to be a sawed-off shot gun. Mr. Nareau was told
"don't try anything. There's two in the
back." Mr. Nareau testified the man wore a mask and
demanded his wallet and cellphone. After handing over his
wallet and phone, Mr. Nareau ran away and watched the men get
into a dark colored Jeep and drive away.
Tomlin, White, Wilkerson, and Mork
little before 7:00 a.m. on the same date, four friends,
Elizabeth Tomlin, Brinson White, Clair Wilkerson and Wesley
Mork, were loading luggage in the trunk of their rental car,
when three men yelled at them "to turn around, mother
f-ker;" and "get down mother f-ker." Ms.
Tomlin saw the men exit from a red Jeep parked 30-40 feet
away. The men wore masks and dark clothing and carried guns.
One of the guns appeared to be a sawed-off shotgun. The two
women were chased by one man, while Mr. Carter and Mr. Mork
were detained on the ground by the other two men from the
Jeep. Mr. Mork's wallet and cash were stolen and cash was
stolen from Mr. Carter.
the pursuit, Ms. Tomlin's and Ms. Wilkerson's bags
were taken. One of the attackers yelled "get in the car
and take the car." The keys to the rental car were not
in the vehicle, so all three men ran back to the Jeep and
Holland was the final victim of the related crimes that
occurred that morning. As Mr. Holland left his residence on
Tremont Street in Greensboro, he noticed two males walk past
the house. Mr. Holland observed a Jeep vehicle quickly pull
up in front of his house. A masked male with a handgun
demanded, "Give me what you have." Mr. Holland
offered his brief case and car keys and attempted to run
away. One of the men chased him until the same Jeep pulled up
and the man climbed inside. The Jeep sped away.
response to the robberies, Greensboro Police Detective Devin
Allis received a dispatch with a description of the dark
colored Jeep Cherokee being involved. Detective Allis pursued
the Jeep and apprehended the driver, Aaron Spivey, after a
chase. Mr. Spivey was arrested with Mr. Mork's wallet in
Spivey's arrest, officers located Defendant and LeMarcus
McKinnon walking in a nearby area. Defendant and McKinnon ran
as the officers approached and had identified themselves.
Defendant was apprehended by Lieutenant Larry Patterson. When
arrested, Defendant was wearing a dark colored T-shirt, dark
blue jeans and grey sneakers. He had cash, Mr. Nareau's
cellphone and the keys to Ms. Nie's car in his
interviewed by police, Defendant initially denied any
involvement in the robberies. Eventually Defendant admitted
he had been present in the dark Jeep Cherokee with Spivey and
McKinnon. Defendant stated he and McKinnon were cousins and
were "tight." Defendant acknowledged he had met
Spivey the previous week. Defendant also told police he had
handled one of the guns a few days before the robberies.
told police officers he had been a passenger in the Jeep and
witnessed the robberies perpetrated by the others. Defendant
admitted driving the Jeep from the scene of the robbery of
Ms. Nie and to later meeting Spivey and McKinnon for the
recovered three pair of gloves, a blue toboggan, a black and
grey bandana and a black headband or neckwarmer from inside
the passenger area of the Jeep Cherokee. The handbags and
briefcase belonging to the various victims were also
recovered from inside the Jeep.
lies in this Court pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. §
7A-27(b) (2015) and N.C. Gen. Stat. § 15A-1444(a)
asserts the trial court erred by failing to dismiss four of
the conspiracy charges and argues the State's evidence
supported only a single charge.
Standard of Review
review the trial court's denial of a motion to dismiss
de novo." State v. Sanders, 208
N.C.App. 142, 144, 701 S.E.2d 380, 382 (2010). Under a de
novo standard of review, this Court "considers the
matter anew and freely substitutes its own judgment for that
of the trial court." Id.
ruling on a motion to dismiss for insufficiency of the
the trial court must consider the evidence in the light
most favorable to the State, drawing all reasonable
inferences in the State's favor. All evidence,
competent or incompetent, must be considered. Any
contradictions or conflicts in the evidence are resolved in
favor of the State, and evidence unfavorable to the State is
not considered. . . . [S]o long as the evidence supports a
reasonable inference of the defendant's guilt, a motion
to dismiss is properly denied even though the evidence also
permits a reasonable inference of the defendant's
innocence. The test for sufficiency of the evidence is the
same whether the evidence is direct, circumstantial or both.
State v. Bradshaw, 366 N.C. 90, 92-93, 728 S.E.2d
345, 347 (2012) (emphasis supplied) (internal citations and
quotation marks omitted).
criminal conspiracy is an agreement between two or more
persons to do an unlawful act . . . ." State v.
Massey, 76 N.C.App. 660, 661, 334 S.E.2d 71, 72 (1985).
The agreement to commit the unlawful act may be established
by circumstantial evidence. State ...