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Home / Courts / Criminal Practice – B&E – Burning Personal Property – Evidence – Prior Bad Acts – Perpetrator’s Identity – Victim’s Ex-Husband

Criminal Practice – B&E – Burning Personal Property – Evidence – Prior Bad Acts – Perpetrator’s Identity – Victim’s Ex-Husband

State v. Adams (Lawyers Weekly No. 12-07-0481, 18 pp.) (Rick Elmore, J.) Appealed from Wake County Superior Court. (Michael J. O’Foghludha, J.) N.C. App. COA11-930 Full-text opinion.

Holding: While the state presented evidence that defendant’s cell phone was in Raleigh at the time of the January 2009 break-in and was back in Atlanta the same evening, the state presented no forensic or eyewitness evidence to show that it was defendant who broke into his ex-wife’s Raleigh apartment, destroyed and scattered personal property there (including burning photographs of the two of them), and stole jewelry he had given her. In order to prove the identity of the perpetrator, his motive, and a common plan or scheme, the state was properly permitted to present evidence of two prior incidents at the ex-wife’s Atlanta home: (1) In June 2008, defendant visited his then-estranged wife to try to convince her to reconcile; he grew angry and destroyed furniture in the wife’s home. (2) In November 2008, someone broke into the ex-wife’s Atlanta apartment, destroyed furniture, scattered items about, and stole a laptop and a car title, which was in both defendant’s and the ex-wife’s name. Atlanta police found no forensic or eyewitness evidence that defendant committed the November 2008 break-in. Evidence of these prior bad acts was relevant, similar to the January 2009 break-in, and more probative than prejudicial.

We find no error in defendant’s convictions for two counts of burning personal property and one count of felony breaking and entering.

 


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