State v. Yarborough, ___ N.C. App. ___, ___ S.E.2d ___ (Apr. 21, 2020)

The defendant was convicted after a jury trial of first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, and other serious felony charges after he shot and killed his former girlfriend and then pistol-whipped and fired a gun at another woman, a registered nurse. The defendant argued that the trial court erred by allowing lay testimony on the defendant’s mental capacity from his second victim, a registered nurse. She answered questions from the State on how the defendant compared to “psych patients” she had dealt with, on whether the defendant was able to process his thoughts, and on whether he was in touch with reality. Though a lay witness may not offer a specific psychiatric diagnosis, the Court of Appeals—reviewing the issue for abuse of discretion—concluded in light of the evidence against the defendant that there was no reasonable possibility that the result of his trial would have been different if the trial court had excluded the testimony.

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