State v. Golden, 224 N.C. App. 136 (Dec. 4, 2012)

In a case in which the defendant was convicted of perpetrating a hoax on law enforcement officers by use of a false bomb, the trial court did not err by admitting evidence of the defendant’s prior acts against his estranged wife. The defendant’s wife had a domestic violence protective order against him. When she saw the defendant at her house, she called 911. After arresting the defendant, officers found weapons on his person and the device and other weapons in his vehicle. At trial his wife testified to her prior interactions with the defendant, including those where he threatened her. The evidence of the prior incidents showed the defendant's intent to perpetrate a hoax by use of a false bomb in that they showed his ongoing objective of scaring his wife with suggestions that he would physically harm her and others around her. Also, the prior acts were part of the chain of events leading up to the crime and thus completed the story of the crime for the jury. The court rejected the defendant’s argument that the prior acts were not sufficiently similar to the act charged on grounds that similarity was not pertinent to the 404(b) purpose for which the evidence was admitted. The court also concluded that the trial court did not abuse its discretion by admitting the evidence under Rule 403.