State v. Mosher, 235 N.C. App. 513 (Aug. 5, 2014)

The jury did not return mutually exclusive verdicts when it found the defendant guilty of felony child abuse in violation of G.S. 14-318.4(a3) (the intentional injury version of this offense) and felony child abuse resulting in violation of G.S. 14-318.4(a4) (the willful act or grossly negligent omission version of this offense). The charges arose out of an incident where the victim was severely burned in a bathtub while under the defendant’s care. Citing State v. Mumford, 364 N.C. 394, 400 (2010), the court noted that criminal offenses are mutually exclusive if “guilt of one necessarily excludes guilt of the other.” The defendant argued that the mens rea component of the two offenses makes them mutually exclusive. The court concluded, however, that substantial evidence permitted the jury to find that two separate offenses occurred in succession such that the two charges were not mutually exclusive. Specifically, that the defendant acted in reckless disregard for human life by initially leaving the victim and her brother unattended in a tub of scalding hot water and that after a period of time, the defendant returned to the tub and intentionally held the victim in that water.