State v. Sistler, 218 N.C. App. 60 (Jan. 17, 2012)

The trial court did not abuse its discretion in this murder case by denying the defendant’s motion for a mistrial made in response to a statement by the prosecutor during the State’s direct examination of a witness that “[t]here was testimony in this case that a shot was fired from a shotgun in the hallway of the residence.” The court agreed with the defendant that the statement was misleading given that no witness had testified that the shotgun was fired in the hallway. However, trial court took steps to mitigate the impact of the statement by sustaining the defendant’s objection to it and instructing the jury to disregard the statement. The court also rejected the defendant’s argument that his mistrial motion should have been granted because the prosecutor’s statement violated an earlier suppression order. The suppression order prohibited the State from introducing testimony relating to SBI ballistics testing regarding the shotgun. The prosecutor’s statement did not refer to the SBI testing and thus did not violate the prior order.