State v. Miles, 366 N.C. 503 (Apr. 12, 2013)

The court per curiam affirmed the decision below, State v. Miles, 222 N.C. App. 593 (Aug. 21, 2012), a murder case in which the court of appeals held, over a dissent, that the trial court did not err by denying the defendant’s motion to dismiss. The court of appeals held that there was sufficient evidence that the defendant was the perpetrator of the offense and that the defendant possessed the motive, means, and opportunity to murder the victim. The victim owed the defendant approximately $40,000. The defendant persistently contacted the victim demanding his money; in the month immediately before the murder, he called the victim at least 94 times. A witness testified that the defendant, his business, and his family were experiencing financial troubles, thus creating a financial motive for the crime. On the morning of the murder the defendant left the victim an angry voicemail stating that he was going to retain a lawyer, but not to collect his money, and threatening that he would ultimately get “a hold of” the victim; a rational juror could reasonably infer from this that the defendant intentionally threatened the victim’s life. Another witness testified that on the day of the murder, the defendant confided that if he did not get his money soon, he would kill the victim, and that he was going to the victim to either collect his money or kill the victim; this was evidence of the defendant’s motive and intention to murder the victim. The victim’s wife and neighbor saw the defendant at the victim’s house on two separate occasions in the month prior to the crime. On the day of the murder, the victim’s wife and daughter observed a vehicle similar one owned by the defendant’s wife at their home. The defendant’s phone records pinpointed his location in the vicinity of the crime scene at the relevant time. Finally, the defendant’s false alibi was contradicted by evidence putting him at the crime scene.