in the Court of Appeals 8 May 2019.
by defendant from judgment entered 16 February 2018 by Judge
J. Carlton Cole in Pitt County Superior Court. No. 17 CRS
Attorney General Joshua H. Stein, by Assistant Attorney
General Alexandra M. Hightower, for the State.
Michael Spivey for defendant-appellant.
James Edward Smith appeals from a judgment entered upon a
jury's verdict finding him guilty of solicitation to
commit first-degree murder. Upon careful review, we conclude
Defendant received a fair trial, free from error.
July 2017, Defendant revealed to Clayton Edwards-an
individual who Defendant had recently met through a mutual
connection-that he wanted his wife to be killed, and he
offered to pay Edwards to kill her. Defendant told Edwards to
"basically kill her in cold blood, walk up and shoot
her," and provided him with details of where the killing
should take place. These requests continued over the next
contacted Pitt County Crime Stoppers and informed them that
he "had information on someone who wanted someone
killed." In conjunction with the Greenville Police
Department, Edwards scheduled a meeting with Defendant for 23
July 2017, during which Edwards would wear audio and video
recording devices. At the meeting, the two men spoke
"more in depth about what [Defendant] wanted [Edwards]
that day, a Greenville police officer served Defendant with
an arrest warrant for solicitation to commit first-degree
murder. Two weeks later, the Pitt County grand jury returned
an indictment formally charging him with the same offense.
Defendant's case came on for trial before the Honorable
J. Carlton Cole in Pitt County Superior Court on 12 February
2018. After a four-day trial, the jury found Defendant guilty
of solicitation to commit first-degree murder, a Class C
felony. The trial court sentenced defendant, a prior record
level I offender, to a presumptive term of 73 to 100 months
in the custody of the North Carolina Division of Adult
Correction. Defendant gave notice of appeal in open court.
brief states the issue presented as follows: "The trial
court erred by sentencing [Defendant] for a Class C felony
where the jury convicted [him] for solicitation to commit
second-degree murder but did not determine the nature of the
element of malice." To properly analyze Defendant's
appeal, we first review the crimes of solicitation and
Supreme Court has "defined the crime of solicitation as
counseling, enticing or inducing another to commit a
crime." State v. Kemmerlin, 356 N.C. 446, 475,
573 S.E.2d 870, 890 (2002) (citation and quotation marks
omitted). Solicitation is a specific-intent crime, State
v. Davis, 110 N.C.App. 272, 275, 429 S.E.2d 403, 404,
disc. review denied, 334 N.C. 436, 433 S.E.2d 180
(1993), and the offense is complete upon the request. See
generally 2 Wayne R. LaFave, Substantive Criminal Law
§ 11.1, at 264 (3d ed. 2018) ("For the crime of
solicitation to be completed, it is only necessary that the
actor, with intent that another person commit a crime, have
enticed, advised, incited, ordered or otherwise encouraged
that person to commit a crime."). Thus, the crime is
committed "even ...