in the Court of Appeals 13 November 2017.
by Defendant from judgments entered 25 January 2017 by Judge
Ebern T. Watson III in New Hanover County No. 15 CRS 60753
Attorney General Joshua H. Stein, by Assistant Attorney
General Kimberly Randolph, for the State.
Appellate Defender Glenn Gerding, by Assistant Appellate
Defender Anne M. Gomez, for defendant-appellant.
issue underlying Maurice Jason
Webb-Sholar's (Defendant) arguments on appeal is whether
the State put forth sufficient substantial evidence that he
personally committed the crimes appealed herein. For
the reasons that follow, we hold that this case is analogous
to State v. Ethridge, 168 N.C.App. 359, 607 S.E.2d
325 (2005), and, thus, there was sufficient evidence that
Defendant perpetrated the crimes to support a jury finding,
of each essential element of the offense charged, and of
Defendant being the perpetrator of each offense.
argues that: (1) there was insufficient evidence that
Defendant personally committed the offenses of felony
breaking or entering, felony larceny, and misdemeanor injury
to real property, and, thus, it was error for the trial court
to deny Defendant's motion to dismiss; and (2) as a
result of this error, the trial court plainly erred in its
jury instructions on felonious larceny. We disagree, and
analyze each argument in turn.
Fall 2015, Defendant introduced himself to Lasonia Melvin as
"Jason Young." The two dated "casually"
for about one month. Defendant visited her apartment several
times throughout the relationship, which was located on the
ground floor of an apartment complex in Wilmington.
asked Melvin about her plans for Thanksgiving. Melvin told
Defendant that she and her daughter were traveling out of
town. When Defendant asked to accompany Melvin on this trip,
she declined. Shortly thereafter, Melvin ended the
relationship because Defendant was always asking for money,
although Defendant told Melvin he had a job.
before Thanksgiving, Melvin and her daughter left her
apartment at approximately 5:00 p.m. for their trip out of
town. Melvin locked the apartment door when she left, and
asked a neighbor, Henrietta McKoy, to watch her apartment.
McKoy lived across the parking lot from Melvin. Between 10:00
p.m. and 11:00 p.m., McKoy saw a dark blue or black vehicle
backed into the parking space where Melvin parks. At the
time, McKoy thought the car belonged to Melvin. McKoy went
outside a second time, approximately 30 minutes after first
seeing the vehicle, and the vehicle was still parked in the
the same time, another neighbor, Matthew Lofty (Lofty), sat
outside on his porch, directly above Melvin's apartment.
Throughout the night, Lofty saw a four-door, dark blue
Hyundai parked and backed into Melvin's parking spot,
with the trunk facing Melvin's apartment. Lofty saw
Defendant and another unidentified male near Melvin's
apartment. Lofty observed Defendant twice that evening: first
standing in the parking lot, and second, standing directly in
front of Melvin's apartment door. Lofty also noted he saw
the unidentified male in the area each time he looked down
from the porch. Lofty told police that he saw the
unidentified male and Defendant going in and out of the
apartment. Lofty also stated that, sometime during
the night, he saw a flat screen television in the open trunk
of the dark blue Hyundai.
Wilson (Wilson), who lived with Lofty, exchanged brief
pleasantries with Defendant as she smoked on the upstairs
porch. Wilson thought Defendant seemed nervous during this
exchange. Wilson claimed the sunroof and trunk were open on
the vehicle, and that she saw "stuff" in the trunk
on at least one occasion.
the course of roughly three hours, Lofty observed Defendant
and the unidentified male went to and from Melvin's
residence four to five times in the dark blue Hyundai. During
one of these visits, as Lofty and Wilson watched, Defendant
noticed he was being observed, appeared "startled,
" slammed the trunk closed, entered the passenger side
of the vehicle, and slowly pulled out of the parking lot.
Both Lofty and Wilson heard a lot of noise throughout the
night and would look outside, but could not identify its
next day Wilson and Lofty noticed the door to Melvin's
apartment was open, and alerted McKoy, who called the police.
When Officer Carly Tate of the Wilmington Police Department
arrived on scene, she noticed Melvin's door frame was
broken and appeared to have been pried open. Officer Tate
entered the apartment and noticed several items were missing
or had been "disturbed." Melvin later determined
that three TVs (one of which was an older, 55-inch model), a
sapphire diamond bracelet, a microwave, two laptops
(including her work laptop), an Amazon Fire Stick, several
DVDs, and $900 dollars in cash were missing. Melvin's
insurance company valued her stolen items at approximately