State v. Massey, ___ N.C. App. ___, 826 S.E.2d 839 (May. 7, 2019)

The trial court did not err by denying the defendant’s motion to dismiss a charge of first-degree kidnapping which asserted that the State failed to present substantial evidence that the defendant did not release the victim in a safe place. The defendant held the victim at gunpoint and threatened to shoot him in the back if the victim did not repair his truck. While the victim was examining the truck, the defendant fired a shot into the asphalt near the victim’s feet. The defendant then turned his back and fired a second shot into the air. When the defendant turned away, the victim saw an opportunity to run away. The defendant never told or indicated to the victim that he was free to leave, nor gave any indication that he would not shoot the victim if he ran away. The mere act of an armed kidnapper turning his back does not constitute a conscious, willful act on the part of the kidnapper to assure his victim’s release in a place of safety.