State v. Wilkie, COA22-94, ___ N.C. App. ___ (May. 16, 2023)

In this Randolph County case, defendant appealed his conviction for second-degree murder, arguing error in denying his motion to dismiss due to no direct evidence he shot the victim. The Court of Appeals found no error.

Defendant was indicted for first-degree murder for the killing of another dump truck driver from the dump site where defendant worked. The jury ultimately convicted defendant of second-degree murder. On appeal, defendant argued that no direct evidence supported the conviction, and the circumstantial evidence was not sufficient to support his conviction. The Court of Appeals disagreed, noting extensive circumstantial evidence that defendant knew and worked with the victim, was seen with the victim shortly before the killing, and defendant was found next to the truck containing the victim with a gun. The court explained “[t]he State was not required to produce an eyewitness to the shooting or physical evidence linking Defendant to the gun as Defendant implies, considering the other substantial evidence.” Slip Op. at 5.