State v. Hazel, 243 N.C. App. 741 (Nov. 3, 2015)

In this felony murder case, the trial court acted within its discretion by declining to answer a question from the deliberating jury. Robbery was the underlying felony for the felony murder charge. During deliberations, the jury sent a note with the following question: “Can this defendant be found guilty of the robbery charge and then found not guilty of the murder charge?” After hearing from the parties, the trial court declined to answer the question yes or no, instead telling the jury to read the written jury instructions that it had previously provided. The court noted that whether to give additional instructions to the jury is within the trial court’s discretion. Here, it was undisputed that the trial court correctly instructed the jury on all offenses and heard from the parties when the question was raised.