State v. Whisenant, ___ N.C. App. ___, 791 S.E.2d 122 (Sept. 6, 2016)

In this armed robbery case, the evidence was sufficient to establish that the defendant used a dangerous weapon in a way that endangered the victim. A store loss prevention officer questioned the defendant about having taken some store jewelry in the store foyer. During the exchange, the victim saw a knife in the defendant’s pocket. The defendant attempted to force his way out of the store foyer and pulled the unopened knife out of his pocket. The victim grabbed the defendant’s hand and wrestled the closed knife away from the defendant while the defendant repeatedly said, “I will kill you.” Deciding an issue of first impression, the court cited cases from other jurisdictions and held that a closed knife can constitute a dangerous weapon for purposes of armed robbery. It stated: “Defendant’s brandishing and use of the knife satisfied the element of a dangerous weapon. The manner and circumstances in which Defendant displayed the knife alludes to its purpose: Defendant yelled ‘I will kill you,’ attempted to push past [the victim], removed the knife from his pocket and brandished it when [the victim] mentioned police involvement.” The court went on to hold that the State presented sufficient evidence tending to show that the victim’s life was endangered or threatened by the defendant’s actions and threats.