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State v. Pender

Court of Appeals of North Carolina

June 18, 2019

STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA
v.
SHEKITA MONLEE PENDER, Defendant.

          Heard in the Court of Appeals 24 April 2019.

          Appeal by Defendant from judgment entered 8 February 2018 by Judge Jeffery B. Foster in Wilson County Superior Court, No. 16CRS051643

          Attorney General Joshua H. Stein, by Special Deputy Attorney General Jess D. Mekeel, for the State.

          Ward, Smith & Norris, P.A., by Kirby H. Smith, III, for the Defendant.

          DILLON, JUDGE.

         Defendant Shekita Monlee Pender appeals from a judgment entered upon a jury's verdict finding her guilty of assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury. We conclude that the trial court properly instructed the jury and that Defendant received a fair trial, free from reversible error.

         I. Background

         Defendant was in a physical altercation with another woman. At some point during the altercation, Defendant cut the other woman a number of times with a knife, requiring the woman to receive over one hundred (100) stitches. Defendant was indicted and tried for felony assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury based on this altercation.

         During the trial, the jury was instructed on the crime of assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury. The jury was given a generic self-defense, pattern jury instruction. However, the jury was not given the self-defense, pattern jury instruction for assaults where deadly force is used.

         The jury found Defendant guilty, and Defendant was sentenced in the presumptive range. Defendant gave notice of appeal in open court.

         II. Analysis

         Defendant argues that the trial court committed plain error by instructing the jury on the crime for which she was tried, assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury, and that "[a] knife is a deadly weapon[, ]" while only providing an instruction for self-defense specific to assaults not involving deadly force.

         As Defendant failed to object to the jury instructions at trial, we review for plain error. State v. Bagley, 321 N.C. 201, 211, 362 S.E.2d 244, 250 (1987). "Under the plain error rule, [the] defendant must convince this Court not only that there was error, but that absent the error, the jury probably would have reached a different result." State v. Jordan, 333 N.C. 431, 440, 426 S.E.2d 692, 697 (1993).

         In North Carolina, a defendant may be criminally excused from assaulting another if she acts in self-defense, so long as the ...


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