State v. Flaugher, 214 N.C. App. 370 (Aug. 16, 2011)

In a maiming case in which the defendant was accused of attacking the victim with a pickaxe and almost severing his finger, no plain error occurred when the trial judge admitted 404(b) evidence that the defendant had previously attacked the victim with a fork and stabbed his finger. The 404(b) evidence was admitted to show absence of accident or mistake. Although the defendant argued that she never intended to purposefully strike the victim’s finger with the pickaxe, the defendant knew from the fork incident that she could end up stabbing the victim’s hand or fingers if she swung at him with a weapon and he attempted to defend himself. The evidence was thus relevant to whether the defendant intended to disable the victim or whether she accidentally struck his finger and did not intend to maim it. The court also rejected the defendant’s argument that the 404(b) evidence was inadmissible because the State had previously dismissed charges arising from the fork incident, distinguishing cases in which the defendants had been tried and acquitted of the 404(b) conduct.