State v. Hayden (Lawyers Weekly No. 11-07-0568, 20 pp.) (Rick Elmore, J.) Appealed from Onslow County Superior Court. (Kenneth F. Crow, J.) N.C. App. Click here for the full text opinion.
Holding: The state’s evidence of ill will between defendant and the victim was sufficient to prove that defendant had motive to kill the victim, but the state’s only evidence of opportunity was that defendant made a statement 26 years after the murder that he was briefly in a spot two miles away from the murder scene, and the state’s only evidence of means was that defendant bragged that he had an M-16 and did have M-16 ammunition, M-16 shell casings were found at the murder scene, and some type of high-powered rifle was used in the shooting. The state’s evidence of means and opportunity were insufficient to take the case to the jury.
We reverse defendant’s conviction of first-degree murder.