State v. Grullon, 240 N.C. App. 55 (Mar. 17, 2015)

In this first-degree murder case, the trial court did not err by instructing the jury on a theory of lying in wait. The court rejected the defendant’s argument that this theory required the State to prove a “deadly purpose” to kill, noting that the state Supreme Court has held that "lying in wait is a physical act and does not require a finding of any specific intent." (quotation omitted). The court continued:

As the Supreme Court has previously held, [h]omicide by lying in wait is committed when: the defendant lies in wait for the victim, that is, waits and watches for the victim in ambush for a private attack on him, intentionally assaults the victim, proximately causing the victim's death. In other words, a defendant need not intend, have a purpose, or even expect that the victim would die. The only requirement is that the assault committed through lying in wait be a proximate cause of the victim's death.

(quotation and citation omitted). The court went on to find that the evidence was sufficient to support a lying in wait instruction where the defendant waited underneath a darkened staircase for the opportunity to rob the victim.