State v. Chapman, 244 N.C. App. 699 (Jan. 5, 2016)

In this armed robbery case, the trial court did not err by admitting a videotape showing a detective test firing the air pistol in question. The State was required to establish that the air pistol was a dangerous weapon for purposes of the armed robbery charge. The videotape showed a detective performing an experiment to test the air pistol’s shooting capabilities. Specifically, it showed him firing the air pistol four times into a plywood sheet from various distances. While experimental evidence requires substantial similarity, it does not require precise reproduction of the circumstances in question. Here, the detective use the weapon employed during the robbery and fired it at a target from several close-range positions comparable to the various distances from which the pistol had been pointed at the victim. The detective noted the possible dissimilarity between the amount of gas present in the air cartridge at the time of the robbery and the amount of gas contained within the new cartridge used for the experiment, acknowledging the effect the greater air pressure would have on the force of a projectile and its impact on a target.