STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA v. RAYMOND WIGGINS
STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA v. RAYMOND LEE WIGGINS
Filed: 16 December 2003
1. Rape; Sexual Offenses--statutory rape--statutory sexual offense_amendment of
The trial court did not err in a multiple statutory rape and statutory sexual offense case by
amending the indictments over defendant father's objection to state that defendant was more
than six years older than the victim instead of more than four years older, because: (1) the
amendment related to defendant's age and not the manner and means by which the crime was
perpetrated; (2) defendant knew his age and was therefore aware that N.C.G.S. § 14-27.7A(b),
which was neither referenced in the indictments by its statute number nor quoted, did not apply
to him; and (3) it would be biologically impossible for defendant to father the victim and fall
within the age requirements of subsection (b), and therefore defendant could not have been
misled or surprised as to the nature of the charges and the respective punishment.
2. Jury--request for removal of juror--plain error analysis improper
The trial court did not commit plain error in a multiple statutory rape and statutory sexual
offense case by failing to remove a juror even though neither the State nor defendant requested
her removal, because: (1) plain error analysis applies only to jury instructions and evidentiary
matters; and (2) in the absence of an objection during jury selection, defendant's argument is
waived and cannot be resurrected through plain error analysis.
3. Rape--statutory--motion to dismiss--sufficiency of evidence
The trial court did not err by denying defendant's motion to dismiss the multiple statutory
rape charges, because: (1) a child's uncertainty as to the time or particular day the offense
charged was committed goes to the weight of the testimony rather than its admissibility; (2) the
evidence established that the victim was between thirteen and fifteen years old, an essential
element of statutory rape under N.C.G.S. § 14-27.7A(a), during the pertinent time she lived with
defendant and that defendant engaged in almost daily sexual intercourse with her; and (3) the
victim testified that defendant was her biological father, and it was biologically impossible for
defendant to be less than six years older than the victim to be her father.
4. Evidence--testimony--incest--sexual abuse
The trial court did not commit plain error in a multiple statutory rape and statutory sexual
offense case by failing to exclude as irrelevant and/or unduly prejudicial the testimony of a pastor
and a doctor, because: (1) in regard to the pastor's testimony that her sermon on the sins of incest
had been directed by God through her to defendant, the testimony was not prejudicial in light of
the victim's extensive testimony as to the sexual acts defendant imposed on her and the fact that
defendant told the victim's aunt that he was teaching his daughter how to have sex; and (2) in
regard to the doctor's testimony on female development and the effect of sexual abuse depending
on the level of estrogen present in an adolescent body, the testimony was relevant since it served
to explain to the jury why there would be no physical findings in someone like the victim even
after years of sexual abuse.
5. Constitutional Law--right to unanimous verdict--failing to differentiate each
individual charge in jury instructions and verdict sheet
The trial court did not violate defendant's right to a unanimous verdict in a multiple
statutory rape and statutory sexual offense case by failing to specifically differentiate each
individual charge in its jury instructions and on the verdict sheet, because: (1) verdict sheets do
not need to match the specificity of indictments; (2) the indictments in this case which
distinguished the offenses charged by their names and case numbers without pointing to any
specific encounter between defendant and the victim were proper since they could be understood
by the jury based on the evidence presented at trial; and (3) the trial court differentiated each
instruction on two courts of statutory sexual offense and five counts of statutory rape by the
applicable case number found on the indictments
6. Sentencing--aggravating factors--taking advantage of position of trust and
The trial court did not err in a multiple statutory rape and statutory sexual offense case by
finding the aggravating factor that defendant violated a position of trust and confidence even
though defendant could have been also been charged with incest between near relatives under
N.C.G.S. § 14-178.
7. Sentencing--proportionality--parole past normal life expectancy
The trial court did not err in a multiple statutory rape and statutory sexual offense case by
imposing a sentence that was allegedly excessive and disproportionate even though defendant
would not be eligible for parole until past his normal life expectancy, because: (1) defendant
received two concurrent sentences of 810 to 999 months, which was about half the prison term
for which he could have been sentenced; and (2) in light of the acts committed by defendant to
the victim over the course of several years, there was no abuse of discretion.
8. Constitutional Law--effective assistance of counsel--failure to show prejudice
Defendant did not receive ineffective assistance of counsel in a multiple statutory rape
and statutory sexual offense case, because: (1) defendant cannot show any prejudice in light of
testimony by the victim and her aunt concerning defendant's acts and admissions; and (2) there
was no reasonable probability that the result of the trial would have been different absent the
alleged errors committed by counsel.
Appeal by defendant from judgments dated 26 June 2002 by Judge
Thomas D. Haigwood in Pasquotank County Superior Court. Heard in
the Court of Appeals 15 October 2003.
Attorney General Roy Cooper, by Assistant Attorney General
Jennie Wilhelm Mau, for the State.
McCotter, Ashton & Smith, P.A., by Rudolph A. Ashton, III, and
Kirby H. Smith, III, for defendant-appellant.
Raymond Lee Wiggins
(See footnote 1)
(defendant) appeals judgments dated 26
June 2002 entered consistent with a jury verdict finding him guilty
of five counts of statutory rape and two counts of statutory sexual
The indictments for statutory sexual offense, issued on 1
October 2001, referred to N.C. Gen. Stat. §§ 14-27.4(a)(2) and 14-
27.5(a)(1) and stated that between 1 May 1998 and 30 September 1998
defendant unlawfully, willfully and feloniously did engage in a
sex offense with [R.B.], a child who is 13, 14 or 15 years old,
. . . defendant being more than 4 years older than [R.B.] The
indictments for statutory rape, issued the same day, designated
N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-27.7A(a) as the statutory basis and stated
that between 1 May 1998 and 30 September 1998 defendant . . .
unlawfully, willfully and feloniously did carnally know and abuse
[R.B.], a child who is 13, 14 or 15 years old, . . . defendant
being more than 4 years older than [R.B.] Both the statutory
sexual offense and statutory rape indictments were amended during
the trial to change (1) all the statutory references to N.C. Gen.
Stat. § 14-27.7A(a) and (2) the language defendant being more
than 4 years older to more than 6 years older to comply with
section 14-27.7A(a). Defendant objected to the amendments.
At trial, seventeen-year-old R.B. testified that when she was
nine years old and in the third grade, her menstrual cycle had
begun and she was placed in a sex education class for sixth
graders. Having been too shy in class to ask questions, R.B. askeddefendant, her biological father, to explain sex to her. Defendant
did so and, a couple of days later, told R.B. now that [she] knew
what [sex] was that [she] should see how it felt and proceeded to
have sexual intercourse with her. Thereafter, defendant had sexual
intercourse with R.B. once or twice a month. When R.B. was
thirteen years old, her parents separated, and R.B. lived with
defendant on Meadowlands Street while her brother and sister lived
with her mother. R.B. testified that after the separation things
began to get worse in that defendant would have sexual
intercourse with her [f]ive times or more a week. R.B. described
in detail four occasions on which defendant forced her to have
sexual intercourse with him while she lived on Meadowlands Street.
R.B. also testified to one time defendant performed oral sex on her
and another time she had to perform oral sex on him. Once R.B.
took a knife out of the kitchen drawer and told defendant to stop,
but this did not deter him. Finally, when R.B. was fifteen years
old, she put a knife to her wrist and again told defendant to stop
because she couldn't take it anymore. Defendant then agreed that
it was over.
One day, when R.B. was home sick, defendant got jumpy and
told R.B. to go for a walk with him. As they were walking, R.B.'s
aunt drove by, stopped, and asked if they wanted a ride. During
the conversation that developed, defendant told the aunt that he
had been teaching his daughter how to have sex. The aunt
subsequently took R.B. to the home of R.B.'s mother. That same
day, defendant came by the mother's house and insisted that the
family see Pastor Randi Bryant. The Department of Social Servicesbegan its investigation soon thereafter based on an anonymous
telephone call alleging incest.
Pastor Bryant testified, without objection, that R.B.'s family
had requested to meet with her one afternoon in April. Pastor
Bryant did not recall the year the meeting took place. During this
meeting, Pastor Bryant, who did not know why defendant, R.B., and
her mother had wanted to see her, began talking about love and
forgiveness. R.B. began crying. The mother also became upset and
started asking defendant what was going on. Defendant did not
reply. Earlier that day Pastor Bryant had held a sermon preaching
on incest, at which R.B.'s family had been present. With respect
to her sermon, Pastor Bryant noted that she was not looking at
anyone in particular when speaking and did not know who God was
directing the message to, but she knew that when God directs a
message, it's to someone in the building.
Dr. Suzanne Starling testified as an expert in forensic
pediatrics. To aid and illustrate Dr. Starling's testimony, a
diagram of the genital area of the female body was introduced into
evidence. Defendant did not object to the admission of the
diagram. Dr. Starling explained how a female child's hymen changes
as the level of estrogen in the body increases when the child
develops and begins to experience menstrual cycles. Because
estrogen allows the hymen to stretch and move, a doctor may not
see any changes [due to penile penetration] at all in a hymen of a
child who has already estrogenized. Dr. Starling further
testified that she had examined R.B. on 12 September 2001, almost
two years after the last alleged incident between defendant andR.B. The examination was normal, revealing nothing unusual.
According to Dr. Starling, this finding was not inconsistent with
penile penetration over a period of years in a child like R.B.
Defendant did not present any evidence. His motions to
dismiss the charges based on insufficiency of the evidence were
denied by the trial court.
The issues are whether: (I) amendment of the indictments was
improper; (II) the trial court's failure to excuse juror #10 was
plain error; (III) there was insufficient evidence to overcome
defendant's motions to dismiss the statutory rape charges; (IV) the
testimony of Pastor Bryant and Dr. Starling should have been
excluded as irrelevant and/or unduly prejudicial; (V) the trial
court's failure to differentiate with more specificity each
individual charge in its jury instructions and on the verdict sheet
deprived defendant of a unanimous verdict; (VI) defendant's
sentence was based on an improper aggravating factor and was
excessive and disproportionate; and (VII) defendant received
ineffective assistance of counsel.
 Defendant first argues the trial court erred in amending
the indictments over his objection because defendant's age was an
essential element of the offenses charged and the statute
referenced in the amended indictments substantially increased the
punishment he was facing.
A bill of indictment is legally sufficient if it charges the
substance of the offense and puts the defendant on notice that hewill be called upon to defend against proof of the manner and means
by which the crime was perpetrated. State v. Ingram
, 160 N.C.
App. 224, 225, 585 S.E.2d 253, 255 (2003); State v. Rankin
, 55 N.C.
App. 478, 480, 286 S.E.2d 119, 120 (1982). While N.C. Gen. Stat.
§ 15A-923(e) provides that [a] bill of indictment may not be
amended, N.C.G.S. § 15A-923(e) (2001), our Supreme Court has
interpreted this provision to only prohibit amendments that
substantially alter the charge set forth in the indictment, Ingram
160 N.C. App. at 226, 585 S.E.2d at 255; see also State v.
, 155 N.C. App. 120, 126, 573 S.E.2d 682, 687 (2002)
([t]he change in an indictment is scrutinized because it is
important that the defendant understand the charge in an indictment
in order to defend himself against the allegation). Furthermore,
'[a] change in an indictment does not constitute an amendment
where the variance was inadvertent and [the] defendant was neither
misled nor surprised as to the nature of the charges.' State v.
, 146 N.C. App. 674, 676-77, 554 S.E.2d 665, 668 (2001)
(quoting State v. Campbell
, 133 N.C. App. 531, 535-36, 515 S.E.2d
732, 735 (1999)).
In this case, the amendment of the indictments relates to
defendant's age, not the manner and means by which the crime was
perpetrated. At trial, the language of defendant being more than
four years older than [R.B.], found in all seven indictments, was
amended to more than six years older. The two statutory sexual
offense indictments were also amended to reflect the proper
statute, N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-27.7A(a), already found on the five
statutory rape indictments. Section 14-27.7A(a) provides: A defendant is guilty of a Class B1
felony if the defendant engages in vaginal
intercourse or a sexual act with another
person who is 13, 14, or 15 years old and the
defendant is at least six years older than the
person . . . .
N.C.G.S. § 14-27.7A(a) (2001). Defendant contends that because the
previous language of more than four years older would have led
defendant to believe he was subject to the lower punishment under
N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-27.7A(b), which applies to defendants who are
more than four but less than six years older than the victim, the
trial court erred in amending the indictments. N.C.G.S. § 14-
27.7A(b) (2001). We disagree. Defendant knew his age and was
therefore aware that section 14-27.7A(b), which was neither
referenced in the indictments by its statute number nor quoted, did
not apply to him. As the trial court's observations indicate,
defendant was in his lower thirties if not older at the time of
trial. In addition, it would be biologically impossible for
defendant to father R.B. and fall within the age requirements of
subsection (b). Accordingly, defendant could not have been misled
or surprised as to the nature of the charges and the respective
punishment. Because of this holding, we do not address defendant's
additional argument that the original
indictments were invalid.
(See footnote 2)
 Defendant next contends the trial court committed plain
error in failing to excuse juror #10 even though neither the State
nor defendant requested her removal. Our Supreme Court has heldthat plain error analysis applies only to jury instructions and
evidentiary matters. State v. Wiley
, 355 N.C. 592, 615, 565
S.E.2d 22, 39-40 (2002), cert. denied
, 537 U.S. 1117, 154 L. Ed. 2d
795 (2003). Accordingly, in the absence of an objection during
jury selection, defendant's argument is waived and cannot be
resurrected through plain error analysis. See id
. at 616, 565
S.E.2d at 40.
 Defendant also assigns error to the trial court's denial
of his motions to dismiss the statutory rape charges.
When a defendant moves for dismissal, the
trial court is to determine only whether there
is substantial evidence of each essential
element of the offense charged and of the
defendant being the perpetrator of the
offense. . . . Substantial evidence is such
relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might
accept as adequate to support a conclusion.
State v. Vause
, 328 N.C. 231, 236, 400 S.E.2d 57, 61 (1991)
(citations omitted). The trial court must consider the evidence in
the light most favorable to the State, giving the State the benefit
of every reasonable inference. State v. Patterson
, 335 N.C. 437,
450, 439 S.E.2d 578, 585 (1994).
Defendant argues the evidence was insufficient to establish
the statutory rape offenses charged because R.B. did not testify to
the specific dates when the alleged acts occurred. In his brief to
this Court, defendant does not provide any authority to support
this position. See
N.C.R. App. P. 28(b)(6) (assignments of error
in support of which there is no . . . authority cited, will be
taken as abandoned). Moreover, established case law providesthat:
[A] child's uncertainty as to the time or
particular day the offense charged was
committed goes to the weight of the testimony
rather than its admissibility, and nonsuit may
not be allowed on the ground that the State's
evidence fails to fix any definite time when
the offense was committed where there is
sufficient evidence that the defendant
committed each essential act of the offense.
State v. Brothers
, 151 N.C. App. 71, 81, 564 S.E.2d 603, 609 (2002)
(quoting State v. Effler
, 309 N.C. 742, 749, 309 S.E.2d 203, 207
(1983)), appeal dismissed and disc. review denied
, 356 N.C. 681,
577 S.E.2d 895 (2003).
In this case, the evidence established that
R.B. was between thirteen and fifteen years old, an essential
element of statutory rape under section 14-27.7A(a), during the
time she lived with defendant on Meadowlands Street and defendant
engaged in almost daily sexual intercourse with her. Accordingly,
there was substantial evidence to withstand defendant's motions to
In addition, defendant asserts the motion to dismiss should
have been granted because absent proof of his age, the State failed
to establish an essential element of the offenses charged. See
N.C.G.S. § 14-27.7A(a) (requiring the defendant to be more than six
years older than the victim). We note that R.B. testified
defendant was her biological father. As it was biologically
impossible for defendant to be less than six years older than R.B.
and to be her father, we conclude that there was sufficient
evidence of defendant's age to overcome the motions to dismiss.
 Defendant further contends testimony by Pastor Bryant and
Dr. Starling should have been excluded as irrelevant and/or unduly
Defendant assigns as plain error the admission of Pastor
Bryant's testi[mony] that her sermon on the sins of incest had
been directed by God, through her, to . . . [d]efendant. To the
extent defendant raised arguments in his brief beyond the scope of
this assignment of error, they are not properly before this Court.
See N.C.R. App. P. 10(a) (the scope of review on appeal is
confined to a consideration of those assignments of error set out
in the record on appeal). Defendant argues the pastor's comment
was irrelevant and unduly prejudicial. Assuming the testimony was
indeed irrelevant, we nevertheless conclude that it was not
prejudicial. R.B. testified extensively as to the sexual acts
defendant had imposed on her; defendant had told R.B.'s aunt that
he was teaching his daughter how to have sex; and that same day,
defendant took his family to see Pastor Bryant. In light of this
evidence establishing incest, defendant has not met the burden
required to show plain error. See State v. Parker, 350 N.C. 411,
427, 516 S.E.2d 106, 118 (1999) (plain error is error 'so
fundamental as to amount to a miscarriage of justice or which
probably resulted in the jury reaching a different verdict than it
otherwise would have reached') (citation omitted).
Next, defendant argues the trial court committed plain error
by allowing irrelevant testimony of Dr. Starling on femaledevelopment and the effect of sexual abuse depending on the level
of estrogen present in an adolescent body. As Dr. Starling's
examination of R.B. revealed no unusual findings, defendant argues
the testimony neither proved nor disproved sexual abuse. Although
this may be so, we nevertheless hold that Dr. Starling's testimony
was relevant because it served to explain to the jury why there
would be no physical findings in someone like R.B. even after years
of sexual abuse. See N.C.G.S. § 8C-1, Rule 401 (2001)
('[r]elevant evidence' means evidence having any tendency to make
the existence of any fact that is of consequence to the
determination of the action more probable or less probable than it
would be without the evidence). Accordingly, this assignment of
error is overruled.
 Defendant also asserts the trial court's failure to
specifically differentiate each individual charge in its jury
instructions and on the verdict sheet deprived him of a unanimous
verdict. 'Where there is a fatal defect in the indictment,
verdict or judgment which appears on the face of the record, a
judgment which is entered notwithstanding said defect is subject to
a motion in arrest of judgment.' State v. Tucker, 156 N.C. App.
53, 59, 575 S.E.2d 770, 774 (2003) (citation omitted). Our
statutes do not specify what constitutes a proper verdict sheet[,]
. . . [n]or have our Courts required the verdict forms to match the
specificity expected of the indictment. State v. Floyd, 148 N.C.
App. 290, 295, 558 S.E.2d 237, 240-41 (2002). A verdict is deemed
sufficient if it can be properly understood by reference to theindictment, evidence and jury instructions. State v. Connard, 81
N.C. App. 327, 336, 344 S.E.2d 568, 574 (1986), aff'd, 319 N.C.
392, 354 S.E.2d 238 (1987) (per curiam); see also State v. Holden,
--- N.C. App. ---, ---, 586 S.E.2d 513, 516-17 (2003) (analyzing
the defendant's contention that he was deprived of a unanimous
verdict by reviewing the record, transcript, indictments, jury
instructions, and verdict sheets). Normally, where the defendant
appeals based on the content of the verdict sheet but failed to
object when the verdict sheet was submitted to the jury, any error
will not be considered prejudicial unless the error is fundamental.
State v. Gilbert, 139 N.C. App. 657, 672-74, 535 S.E.2d 94, 103
(2000) (applying plain error analysis to verdict sheet issue
because the defendant did not object to the verdict sheet).
Violations of constitutional rights, such as the right to a
unanimous verdict, however, are not waived by the failure to object
at trial and may be raised for the first time on appeal. Holden,
--- N.C. App. at ---, 586 S.E.2d at 516; see N.C. Const. art. I, §
24 ([n]o person shall be convicted of any crime but by the
unanimous verdict of a jury in open court).
In this case, the trial court instructed the jury on two
counts of statutory sexual offense and five counts of statutory
rape, differentiating each instruction by the applicable case
number found on the indictments. Likewise, the verdict sheets
submitted to the jury identified the seven offenses only by the
felony charged (statutory sexual offense or statutory rape) and
their respective case numbers. Since verdict sheets do not need to
match the specificity of indictments, Floyd, 148 N.C. App. at 295,558 S.E.2d at 240-41, and the indictments in this case, which
distinguished the offenses charged by their names and case numbers
without pointing to any specific encounter between defendant and
R.B., were proper, see N.C.G.S. §§ 15-144.1, -144.2 (2001)
(requirements for short-form sexual offense indictments and
statutory rape indictments), the verdict sheets did not lack the
required degree of specificity needed for a unanimous verdict if
they could be properly understood by the jury based on the evidence
presented at trial, see Connard, 81 N.C. App. at 336, 344 S.E.2d at
574. Since R.B. testified to only two incidents qualifying as
statutory sexual offenses under section 14-27.7A(a), there was no
possibility the jury could not have been unanimous in its vote on
these two offenses. Cf. Holden, --- N.C. App. at ---, 586 S.E.2d
at 516-17 (awarding new trial for violation of the defendant's
right to a unanimous jury where the trial court did not
differentiate between the ten counts of rape submitted to the jury
and the jury returned guilty verdicts on only two counts). As to
the charges of statutory rape, R.B. testified to four specific
occasions she could describe in detail during which defendant had
sexual intercourse with her when she was between the ages of
thirteen and fifteen. R.B. also testified that defendant had
sexual intercourse with her five or more times a week during this
two-year period. Thus, where seven offenses (two statutory sexual
offense and five statutory rape) were charged in the indictments,
and based on the evidence presented at trial, the jury returned
seven guilty verdicts, there was no danger of a lack of unanimity
between the jurors with respect to the verdict. See Connard, 81N.C. App. at 336, 344 S.E.2d at 574.
Defendant next assigns error with respect to his sentencing.
 Defendant argues, because he could also have been charged
with incest between near relatives under N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-178,
the trial court erred in finding the aggravating factor of
violating a position of trust and confidence. In support of this
argument, defendant relies on the holding in State v. McGuire that
it is error to use as an aggravating factor evidence of an element
of a joinable offense with which [the] defendant has not been
charged. State v. McGuire, 78 N.C. App. 285, 292, 337 S.E.2d 620,
625 (1985). Not only has McGuire since been called into question
and determined to be unsupported by the weight of the authority,
see State v. Jewell, 104 N.C. App. 350, 354, 409 S.E.2d 757, 760
(1991), aff'd, 331 N.C. 379, 416 S.E.2d 3 (1992) (per curiam), but
the statute underlying McGuire, N.C. Gen. Stat. § 15A-1340.4, has
been repealed and replaced with N.C. Gen. Stat. § 15A-1340.16
omitting any reference to joinable offenses. We further note that
the McGuire requirement only applied to the aggravating factor
relating to prior convictions, N.C.G.S. § 15A-1340.4(a)(1)(o)
(1993) (repealed effective January 1, 1995), and not to any of the
other enumerated aggravating factors such as taking advantage of a
position of trust or confidence, N.C.G.S. § 15A-1340.4(a)(1)(n)
(1993). As such, this argument is without merit.
 Defendant also contends the trial court imposed a sentencethat was excessive and disproportionate because defendant would not
be eligible for parole until past his normal life expectancy.
Specifically, defendant argues that the General Assembly, not the
trial court, decides the extent of the punishment. See State v.
Shane, 309 N.C. 438, 445, 306 S.E.2d 765, 770 (1983). Defendant,
however, concedes that our legislature has vested the trial judge
with broad discretion in deciding whether multiple sentences should
be served consecutively or concurrently. State v. Thompson, 139
N.C. App. 299, 310, 533 S.E.2d 834, 842 (2000) (citing N.C.G.S. §
In the case sub judice, the trial court had the statutory
authority to enter consecutive sentences of up to 270 to 333 months
for each of the seven offenses of which defendant was found guilty,
yielding a combined maximum sentence of 1,890 to 2,331 months. The
trial court applied the aggravated sentence of 270 to 333 months
but consolidated two convictions for judgment and sentencing and
allowed three sentences to run concurrently with the remaining
three sentences. As a result, defendant received two concurrent
sentences of 810 to 999 months, about half the prison term for
which he could have been sentenced. In light of the acts committed
by defendant to R.B. over the course of several years, we do not
find any abuse of discretion with respect to this sentence.
 Finally, defendant assigns as error the ineffective
assistance received from his counsel.
An ineffective assistance of counsel claim is subject to a
two-part test: the defendant must show (1) his counsel'sperformance fell below an objective standard of reasonableness in
that his counsel was not functioning as the 'counsel' guaranteed
the defendant by the Sixth Amendment, Strickland v. Washington,
466 U.S. 668, 687-88, 80 L. Ed. 2d 674, 693 (1984); State v. Lee,
348 N.C. 474, 491, 501 S.E.2d 334, 345 (1998), and (2) he was
prejudiced by the error such that a reasonable probability exists
that the trial result would have been different absent the error,
Lee, 348 N.C. at 491, 501 S.E.2d at 345. [I]f a reviewing court
can determine at the outset that there is no reasonable probability
that in the absence of counsel's alleged errors the result of the
proceeding would have been different, then the court need not
determine whether counsel's performance was actually deficient.
State v. Braswell, 312 N.C. 553, 563, 324 S.E.2d 241, 249 (1985).
Under the facts of this case, defendant cannot show such
prejudice. In light of R.B.'s and her aunt's testimony concerning
defendant's acts and admissions, there was no reasonable
probability that the result of the trial would have been different
absent the alleged errors committed by counsel. Accordingly, this
assignment of error is overruled.
Judges McCULLOUGH and TYSON concur.