State v. Hurt, 235 N.C. App. 174 (Jul. 15, 2014)

In this murder case, the trial court did not err by denying the defendant’s motion to dismiss for insufficient evidence as to the aggravating factor that the offense was especially heinous, atrocious, or cruel. Relying on prior N.C. Supreme Court case law, the court rejected the defendant’s argument that the State’s failure to submit any evidence showing that he played an active role in the murder precludes a finding by the jury beyond a reasonable doubt that the murder was especially heinous, atrocious, or cruel as to him. The court continued, finding that in this case, a reasonable inference can be drawn that the defendant did in fact actively participate in the murder.