State v. Murrell, 370 N.C. 187 (Sept. 29, 2017)

Affirming an unpublished opinion of the Court of Appeals, the court held that a robbery indictment was fatally defective. The indictment alleged, in relevant part, that the defendant committed the bank robbery “by way of reasonably appearing to the [named] victim . . . that a dangerous weapon was in the defendant’s possession, being used and threatened to be used by communicating that he was armed to her in a note.” The Court of Appeals had held that the indictment was defective because it failed to name any dangerous weapon that the defendant allegedly employed. The Supreme Court noted that an essential element of armed robbery is that the defendant possessed, used, or threatened use of a firearm or other dangerous weapon. Here, the indictment does not adequately allege this element. The court instructed: an armed robbery indictment “must allege the presence of a firearm or dangerous weapon used to threaten or endanger the life of a person.”