State v. McNair, ___ N.C. App. ___, 799 S.E.2d 631 (Apr. 18, 2017)

(1) There was no fatal defect in an indictment charging the defendant with injury to personal property. The defendant asserted that the indictment was invalid because it failed to allege that the owner, a church, as an entity capable of owning property. In State v. Campbell, 368 N.C. 83 (2015), the Supreme Court held that alleging ownership of property in an entity identified as a church or other place of religious worship is sufficient to allege an entity capable of owning property. Here, count one of the indictment alleged breaking or entering a place of religious worship and identified the church expressly as “a place of religious worship.” The count alleging injury to personal property simply referred to the church by name. The court found that identifying the church as a place of religious worship in the first count and subsequently listing the church as the owner of the personal property in a later count was sufficient. A contrary ruling, requiring the church to be identified as a place of worship in each portion of the indictment, “would constitute a hypertechnical interpretation of the requirements for indictments.” (2) By failing to assert a claim of fatal variance between the indictment and the evidence with respect to a charge of injury to personal property, the defendant failed to preserve the issue for appellate review. Nevertheless, the court considered the issue and rejected the defendant’s claim. The indictment alleged that the defendant injured the personal property of the church, specifically a lock on a door. The defendant asserted that the evidence showed that the damaged device was owned not by the church but rather by the lessor of the property. The court concluded however that the evidence was sufficient to allow the jury to find that the church owned the lock and that it was damaged.