State v. Carver, 366 N.C. 372 (Jan. 25, 2013)

The court per curiam affirmed State v. Carver, 221 N.C. App. 120 (June 5, 2012), in which the court of appeals held, over a dissent, that there was sufficient evidence that the defendant perpetrated the murder. The State’s case was entirely circumstantial. Evidence showed that at the time the victim’s body was discovered, the defendant was fishing not far from the crime scene and had been there for several hours. Although the defendant repeatedly denied ever touching the victim’s vehicle, DNA found on the victim’s vehicle was, with an extremely high probability, matched to him. The court of appeals found State v. Miller, 289 N.C. 1 (1975), persuasive, which it described as holding “that the existence of physical evidence establishing a defendant’s presence at the crime scene, combined with the defendant’s statement that he was never present at the crime scene and the absence of any evidence that defendant was ever lawfully present at the crime scene, permits the inference that the defendant committed the crime and left the physical evidence during the crime’s commission.” The court of appeals rejected the defendant’s argument that the evidence was insufficient given that lack of evidence regarding motive.