in the Court of Appeals 30 January 2019.
by defendant from judgment entered 18 July 2016 by Judge V.
Bradford Long in Randolph County, No. 11CRS52510 Superior
Attorney General Joshua H. Stein, by Special Deputy Attorney
General Amy Kunstling Irene, for the State.
Appellate Defender Glenn Gerding, by Assistant Appellate
Defender Kathryn L. VandenBerg, for defendant-appellant.
18, 2016, Randy Steven Cagle ("Defendant") was
found guilty for the murder of both Tyrone Marshall
("Marshall") and Davida Stancil
("Stancil"). Defendant appeals, arguing that the
trial court erred when it did not: (1) include the specific
intent jury instruction in the final mandate; (2) instruct
the jury with Defendant's requested instruction on
deliberation; and (3) intervene ex mero motu to
strike statements made by the prosecutor during closing
arguments. We find no error.
and Procedural Background
afternoon of May 7, 2011, Defendant purchased approximately
$20.00 of cocaine from Marshall. Defendant called Marshall to
complain about the product, and Marshall went to see
Defendant at his home. Once Marshall was inside
Defendant's home, a fight ensued and Marshall was fatally
beaten and stabbed. Defendant then went outside to
Marshall's car. Stancil was waiting in the passenger seat
with her seat belt still buckled. Defendant broke the
passenger window of the vehicle with a baseball bat and
fatally stabbed Stancil.
attempted to dispose of the evidence of his crime by driving
Marshall's car about three-tenths of a mile away from his
home and abandoning it. Defendant also attempted to clean the
crime scene with bleach, and hid two knives under the sink,
burned some of Stancil's belongings, and washed his
following day, Marshall's abandoned car was found. His
body was in the car's backseat and Stancil's body was
in the front passenger seat with her seat belt still buckled.
Stancil had twenty puncture wounds to her head, jaw, neck,
chest and abdomen; defensive wounds on her hands and
forearms; and her seatbelt had puncture damage as well. There
was broken glass from the passenger window on the
driver's seat, and shards of tinted glass were found at
Defendant's home. Marshall had puncture wounds to the
back of his head, and a very large, gaping wound on the front
of his neck.
was arrested, and on June 6, 2011, he was indicted on two
counts of first degree murder. Prior to his arrest, a
detective conducted a pat down search and noticed one of
Defendant's fingers "had a small cut," but
otherwise he had no wounds or bruising.
State held a Rule 24 hearing on June 28 and announced that it
would seek the death penalty. Prior to trial, Defendant filed
notice of his intent to introduce evidence of self-defense,
mental infirmity, diminished capacity, involuntary
intoxication, and/or voluntary intoxication. Defendant also
requested before trial that the jury be instructed with
additional language on premeditation and deliberation and on
specific intent. Defendant's requests were denied.
trial, Defendant's mental state at the time of the
murders was at issue. Multiple medical experts testified and
provided their opinions.
the jury charge conference, the trial court denied
Defendant's renewed request for the special instruction
concerning Defendant's mental capacity, but did include
Defendant's requested instruction on voluntary
intoxication. The trial court also denied Defendant's
renewed request for a special instruction on premeditation
and deliberation, but did not prevent Defendant from arguing
Defendant's requested instruction to the jury.
closing arguments had concluded, Defendant was convicted of
two counts of first degree murder. Following the
guilt/innocence phase, a capital sentencing hearing was held,
and the jury returned recommendations of life imprisonment
for both counts. The trial court imposed two consecutive
sentences of life without parole.
timely appeals, arguing that the trial court erred when it:
(1) did not give the requested instruction on specific intent
in the final mandate; (2) did not give the requested
instruction on premeditation and deliberation; and (3) did
not intervene ex mero motu during the
prosecutor's closing argument. We find no error.
first contends that the trial court erred when it did not
include the specific intent instruction in its final mandate
to the jury, and when it did not give his requested
instruction on premeditation and deliberation. We disagree.
the trial court instructs using the exact language requested
by counsel is a matter within its discretion and will not be
overturned absent a showing of abuse of discretion."
State v. Lewis, 346 N.C. 141, 145, 484 S.E.2d 379,
381 (1997) (citations, quotation marks, and brackets
omitted). "[W]hen a request is made for a specific
instruction that is supported by the evidence and is a
correct statement of the law, the court, although not
required to give the requested instruction verbatim, must
charge the jury in substantial conformity therewith."
State v. Daughtry, 340 N.C. 488, 516, 459 S.E.2d
747, 761 (1995) (citation and quotation marks omitted).
[a] party may not make any portion of the jury charge or
omission therefrom the basis of an issue presented on appeal
unless the party objects thereto before the jury retires to
consider its verdict, stating distinctly that to which
objection is made and the grounds of the objection; provided
that opportunity was given to the party to make the objection
out of the hearing of the jury, and, on request of any party,
out of the presence of the jury.
N.C. R. App. P. 10(a)(2).
instructional error is not preserved below, it nevertheless
may be reviewed for plain error "when the judicial
action questioned is specifically and distinctly contended to
amount to plain error." N.C. R. App. P. 10(a)(4).
For error to constitute plain error, a defendant must
demonstrate that a fundamental error occurred at trial. To
show that an error was fundamental, a defendant must
establish prejudice-that, after examination of the entire
record, the error "had a probable impact on the
jury's finding that the defendant was guilty."
Moreover, because plain error is to be "applied
cautiously and only in the exceptional case," the error
will often be one that "seriously affect[s] the
fairness, integrity or public reputation of judicial
State v. Lawrence, 365 N.C. 506, 518, 723 S.E.2d
326, 334 (2012) (quoting State v. Odom, 307 N.C.
655, 661, 300 S.E.2d 375, 378-79 (1983) (citations and