State v. Cousin, 233 N.C. App. 523 (Apr. 15, 2014)

(1) The trial court did not err by denying the defendant’s motion to dismiss a charge of accessory after the fact to murder where the defendant gave eight different written statements to authorities providing a wide array of scenarios surrounding the victim’s death. In his statements the defendant identified four different individuals as being the perpetrator. He also admitted that he had not been truthful to investigators. The court concluded: “The jury could rationally have concluded that his false statements were made in an effort to shield the identity of the actual shooter.” The court noted that competent evidence suggested that the defendant knew the identity of the shooter and was protecting that person, including knowledge of the scene that could only have been obtained by someone who had been there and statements made by the defendant to his former girlfriend. Additionally, the defendant admitted to officers that he named one person “as a block” and acknowledged that his false statement made the police waste time. (2) No double jeopardy violation occurred when the trial court sentenced the defendant for obstruction of justice and accessory after the fact arising out of the same conduct. Comparing the elements of the offenses, the court noted that each contains an element not in the other and thus no double jeopardy violation occurred.