State v. Epps, 231 N.C. App. 584 (Jan. 7, 2014)

aff’d, 368 N.C. 1 (Apr. 10, 2015)

(per curiam). In a first-degree murder case, the court held, over a dissent, that the trial court did not err by declining to instruct the jury on involuntary manslaughter. The evidence showed that the defendant fought with the victim in the yard. Sometime later the defendant returned to the house and the victim followed him. As the victim approached the screen door, the defendant stabbed and killed the victim through the screen door. The knife had a 10-12 inch blade, the defendant’s arm went through the screen door up to the elbow, and the stab wound pierced the victim’s lung, nearly pierced his heart and was approximately 4 1/2 inches deep. The court rejected the defendant’s argument that his case was similar to those that required an involuntary manslaughter instruction where the “defendant instinctively or reflexively lashed out, involuntarily resulting in the victim’s death.” Here, the court held, the “defendant’s conduct was entirely voluntary.”

There was dissenting opinion in this case.