in the Court of Appeals 23 August 2017.
by defendant from judgment entered on or about 1 August 2016
by Judge Ola M. Lewis in Superior Court, Brunswick County,
No. 15 CRS 055648
Attorney General Joshua H Stein, by Assistant Attorney
General Jeremy D. Lindsley, for the State.
Hanover County Public Defender Jennifer Harjo, by Assistant
Public Defender Brendan O'Donnell, for defendant.
Edward Earl Jones ("defendant") appeals from his
conviction of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to
kill inflicting serious injury. On appeal, defendant contends
that he was denied his fundamental right to effective
assistance of counsel and contends that his defense counsel
failed to argue self-defense on his behalf. But the record
indicates that counsel did stipulate to the State's
admission of evidence of self-defense and argued self-defense
in the closing argument. We therefore hold that defendant did
not receive ineffective assistance of counsel and find no
error with the trial court's judgment.
November 2015, Brunswick County 911 operators received three
phone calls from a male, later identified as defendant, who
stated that he had stabbed his wife, she was bleeding badly,
and he had left their home in Southport, North Carolina.
Defendant's wife, Mary,  also called 911 and reported that
she had been stabbed in her chest and arm by her husband.
Mary told the 911 operator that defendant had left their home
and may be driving a black Chrysler 200 vehicle. An officer
received a radio call describing the vehicle and realized
that he had just passed a vehicle fitting that description,
so he turned around and stopped the vehicle. Defendant, the
driver of the vehicle, put his hands up and told the officer
he was on his way to the Brunswick County Sheriff's
Office to turn himself in after stabbing his wife during an
argument that morning.
was arrested and charged with felony assault with a deadly
weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury. He
voluntarily submitted to an interview with police. Defendant
explained his version of events during that interview with
police, stating that just prior to the incident, he received
a call from his daughter claiming that Mary had just told her
not bring her daughter -- defendant's granddaughter -- to
the house that day for defendant to watch because he was
going to be arrested. Defendant said that when he confronted
Mary in the bedroom about the phone call, she threatened him
and produced a kitchen knife, so he removed his pocketknife
from his pocket and stabbed Mary at least once to get her to
drop the knife.
was indicted on or about 7 December 2015. Defendant waived
his right to a jury trial, and the matter proceeded to a
bench trial on 28 and 29 July 2016 and concluded on 1 August
2016. Mary testified at defendant's trial that defendant
entered the bedroom and said " 'Bitch, . . . I'm
going to kill you. You turned against me for everybody
else.' " He stabbed her with the kitchen knife, said
" 'You're going to die[, ]' " and then
stabbed her again with his pocketknife. She could not
remember the third stabbing, but afterward he stabbed her in
the chest, she started hollering " 'I'm
dying.' " The trial court found defendant guilty as
charged and entered a judgment on or about 1 August 2016.
Defendant timely filed notice of appeal to this Court.
contemporaneously filed a Motion for Appropriate Relief
("MAR") with his direct appeal. Defendant's MAR
includes an attachment of an affidavit from his trial
attorney. We would only consider granting defendant's MAR
if we could not address his claims on the face of the record
on direct appeal; and if that were the case, we would have to
remand the matter to the trial court for an evidentiary
hearing. See, e.g., State v. Fair, 354 N.C. 131,
166, 557 S.E.2d 500, 524-25 (2001) ("IAC claims brought
on direct review will be decided on the merits when the cold
record reveals that no further investigation is required,
i.e., claims that may be developed and argued without such
ancillary procedures as the appointment of investigators or
an evidentiary hearing. This rule is consistent with the
general principle that, on direct appeal, the reviewing court
ordinarily limits its review to material included in the
record on appeal and the verbatim transcript of proceedings,
if one is designated." (Citations and quotation marks
omitted)). Because we can resolve this issue on direct
appeal, remanding for a hearing on defendant's MAR is
unnecessary. We deny defendant's MAR.
Appeal: IAC Claim
sole argument on appeal is that he was denied his fundamental
right to effective assistance of counsel because his trial
counsel "inexplicably" failed ...