State v. Mumma, ___ N.C. App. ___, 811 S.E.2d 215 (Feb. 6, 2018)

modified and affirmed on other grounds, ___ N.C. ___, ___ S.E.2d ___ (May. 10, 2018)

In this murder case, the trial court did not err by failing to intervene ex mero motu during the State’s closing argument. The defendant argued that the prosecutor’s closing arguments injected the prosecutor’s personal beliefs, appealed to the jury’s passion, and led the jury away from the evidence. The court determined that the challenged portions of the argument, when taken in context, draw reasonable inferences based on the defendant’s inconsistent statements and point out inconsistencies in his testimony. The court determined that statements like “give me a break” and “come on” do not reflect the prosecutor’s personal opinion but rather point out inconsistencies in the defendant’s testimony. With respect to the prosecutor’s statement that he would “respectfully disagree” with the jury if they decided to find that the defendant killed the victim in self-defense, even if this argument was improper, it was not grossly so as to warrant the trial court’s intervention ex mero motu.