State v. China, 370 N.C. 627 (Apr. 6, 2018)

On appeal from the decision of a divided panel of the Court of Appeals, ___ N.C. App. ___, 797 S.E.2d 324 (2017), the court reversed, holding that because there was evidence of restraint beyond that inherent in the commission of the sex offense the defendant could be convicted of both the sex offense and kidnapping. The defendant was convicted of a number of several offenses, including first-degree sexual offense and second-degree kidnapping. The Court of Appeals concluded that there was insufficient evidence of restraint separate and apart from that inherent in the sex offense to support the kidnapping conviction. The Supreme Court disagreed. Here, the defendant exercised restraint over the victim during the sexual offense. However, after that offense was completed, the defendant pulled the victim off the bed, causing his head to hit the floor, and called to an accomplice who then, with the defendant, physically attacked the victim, kicking and stomping him. These additional actions increased the victim’s helplessness and vulnerability beyond the initial attack that enabled the defendant to commit the sex offense. The court concluded: these actions constituted an additional restraint, which exposed the victim to greater danger than that inherent in the sex offense. For example, the victim testified that as a result of the kicking and stomping on his knees and legs, which had not been targeted or harmed during the sex offense, he was unable to walk for 2 to 3 weeks after the attack.

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