State v. English, 241 N.C. App. 98 (May. 19, 2015)

The trial court did not err by denying the defendant’s motion to dismiss a voluntary manslaughter charge. The court rejected the defendant’s argument that there was insufficient evidence that she killed the victim by an intentional and unlawful act, noting that although there was no direct evidence that the defendant was aware that she hit the victim with her car until after it occurred, there was circumstantial evidence that she intentionally struck him. Specifically, the victim had a history, while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol (as he was on the day in question), of acting emotionally and physically abusive towards the defendant; when the victim was angry, he would tell the defendant to “[g]et her stuff and get out,” so the defendant felt “trapped”; on the day in question the victim drank alcohol and allegedly smoked crack before hitting the defendant in the face, knocking her from the porch to the yard; the defendant felt scared and went “to a different state of mind” after being hit; before driving forward in her vehicle, the defendant observed the victim standing in the yard, near the patio stairs; and the defendant struck the stairs because she “wanted to be evil too.” The court concluded: “From this evidence, a jury could find Defendant felt trapped in a cycle of emotional and physical abuse, and after a particularly violent physical assault, she decided it was time to break free.”