An unpublished opinion of the North Carolina Court of Appeals does not constitute controlling legal authority. Citation is disfavored, but may be permitted in accordance with the provisions of Rule 30(e)(3) of the North Carolina Rules of Appellate Proced ure.

NO. COA03-1277


Filed: 15 June 2004


         v.                        Mecklenburg County
                                Nos.    98 CRS 40712-13
ALVIN VERNON HAYWOOD,                    98 CRS 152234-35
        Defendant.                    99 CRS 129012-15     

    Appeal by defendant from judgment entered 18 October 2000 by Judge Forrest D. Bridges in the Superior Court in Mecklenburg County. Heard in the Court of Appeals 7 June 2004.

    Attorney General Roy Cooper, by Assistant Attorney General Richard L. Harrison, for the State.

    Robert W. Ewing, for defendant-appellant.

    HUDSON, Judge.

    Defendant was found guilty of two counts each of felony breaking and entering and larceny, and was sentenced as an habitual felon to a single term of 120-153 months imprisonment. We issued a writ of certiorari on 13 June 2002, for the purpose of reviewing his convictions.
    Defendant first claims the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress inculpatory statements he made to police following his arrest on 31 August 1998. Since defendant concedes that the trial court's findings of fact were supported by competent evidence at the suppression hearing, we need only determine whether the court's findings of fact support its conclusions of law. SeeState v. Lane, 334 N.C. 148, 154-55, 431 S.E.2d 7, 10 (1993). The relevant findings and conclusions of the trial court follow:
        5. That these cases arose out of break-ins which occurred at approximately 5:30 a[.]m[.] on August 31, 1998. The first took place at 5940 General Commerce Drive and the second at 1715 Orr Industrial Court . . . in Charlotte, NC.

        6. That Officer J.F. Reeves, Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD) responded to a call at the Orr Industrial Court location and observed the defendant walking away from a car with a flowerpot in his hands.

        . . .

        8. That as Reeves approached, the defendant said that he was “with the cleaning crew.”

        . . .

        11. That the defendant dropped the flower pot and began running and that Reeves gave pursuit, radioing for assistance as he chased the defendant.

        12. That CMPD Officers D.R. Faulkenberry, S.W. Blackwell, and R.L. Baker quickly joined in the foot pursuit of the defendant . . . down some railroad tracks.

        13. That the defendant, either intentionally or as a result of stumbling on some gravel, slid under a steel guardrail . . . .

        14. That the defendant struck his head on the steel rail resulting in a cut.

        15. That Faulkenberry cuffed the defendant's hands behind his back as he lay facedown on the ground.

        16. That the defendant was under arrest at this point.

        . . .

        18. That Blackwell heard the defendant say, “[that] he did not break into the building,that he was a lookout for Keyo.”

        . . .

        20. That the defendant was transported to the University Medical Center Emergency Room for treatment of his head wound.

        . . .

        23. That while waiting for treatment in the emergency room the defendant asked Reeves if they caught the other two guys and stated that he wasn't alone that he had been with Keyo Cousart and Boobie Baker.

        . . .
        25. That the defendant was given a local anesthesia by injection and the cut was closed with twelve staples.
        26. That the defendant was released from the hospital after about two hours . . . .

        27. That at no time did the defendant lose consciousness.

        28. That the defendant was in pain from the head injury but never screamed, groaned or cried.

        29. That at all times the defendant appeared to be normal to the officers.

        30. That at all times the defendant's speech was clear and intelligible to the officers.

        32. That the defendant was not under the influence of any intoxicating substances.

        33. That the defendant was not groggy or disoriented.

        34. That [the officers] made no promises or threats to the defendant.

        . . .

        36. That none of the four officers advised the defendant of his Miranda rights.
        . . .

        1. That none of the defendant's constitutional rights, either Federal or State, was violated by his arrest.

        . . .

        4. That the statements of the defendant . . . were spontaneous utterances and not the result of any interrogation or questioning by any law enforcement officer.

        5. That the statements . . . were made freely and voluntarily by the defendant.
    Defendant argues that the trial court failed to consider whether the “pain from his injury to his head directly affected his mental condition as to 'destroy the voluntariness' of his confessions.” Absent a “specific finding by the court that Mr. Haywood's head injuries did not affect his mental condition[,]” defendant claims the court erred in concluding that his statements were voluntary.
    We find no error by the trial court. Inasmuch as defendant's statements were not the product of an interrogation or similar procedure by the police, his Fifth Amendment rights “were neither implicated nor violated.” State v. Taylor, 332 N.C. 372, 384, 420 S.E.2d 414, 421 (1992) (citing Edwards v. Arizona, 451 U.S. 477, 486, 68 L. Ed. 2d 378, 387 (1981)). Moreover, the court's detailed findings regarding the limited effects of defendant's head injury were sufficient to support its conclusion that his statements were voluntary and, therefore, admissible. See State v. Pleasant, 342 N.C. 366, 371-72, 464 S.E.2d 284, 287 (1995); State v. Biggs, 292 N.C. 328, 336-37, 233 S.E.2d 512, 516-17 (1977).     Defendant next challenges the admission of evidence that the composition of glass particles found inside his shoes were “consistent” with glass found at the two break-in sites. State's witness Timothy French, a glass analyst with the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department's crime laboratory, offered this opinion based upon his comparison of the density and refractive light index of the glass in defendant's shoes with glass samples taken from the crime scenes. French acknowledged that he could not quantify the likelihood that any two samples actually came from the same pane or batch of glass, explaining, “You can't put statistics on glass. It's like hair examination because you don't have a finite number of batches of glass or certain mixtures of glass.” After hearing evidence on voir dire, the trial court announced it had “weighed this matter under [N.C.R. Evid.] 403" and concluded that “the probative value of his testimony sufficiently outweighs the likely unfair prejudicial effect upon this defendant[.]”
    Evidence is relevant if it has “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.” N.C.R. Evid. 401. Relevant evidence is generally admissible at trial, N.C.R. Evid. 402, but “may be excluded if its probative value is substantially outweighed by the risk of unfair prejudice.” N.C.R. Evid. 403. The decision to admit or exclude evidence under Rule 403 lies “within the sound discretion of the trial court, and the trial court's ruling should not be overturned on appeal unless the ruling was 'manifestlyunsupported by reason or [was] so arbitrary that it could not have been the result of a reasoned decision.'” State v. Hyde, 352 N.C. 37, 55, 530 S.E.2d 281, 293 (2000), cert. denied, 531 U.S. 1114, 148 L. Ed. 2d 775 (2001), (quoting State v. Hennis, 323 N.C. 279, 285, 372 S.E.2d 523, 527 (1988)).
    The trial court did not abuse its discretion by allowing evidence of the glass comparisons performed by French. The similarity between the glass in defendant's shoes and the glass found at the break-ins tended, however slightly, to connect defendant to the crime scenes. See State v. Payne, 328 N.C. 377, 401-02, 402 S.E.2d 582, 595-96 (1991). The fact that the glass in defendant's shoes could also have come from other locations “goes to the weight, not the admissibility, of this evidence.” Id. We note defense counsel vigorously cross-examined French on this issue, effectively neutralizing any risk that the jury attached undue importance to his findings.
    The record on appeal contains additional assignments of error not addressed by defendant in his brief to this Court. By rule, we deem them abandoned. N.C.R. App. P. 28(b)(6).
    No error.
    Judges STEELMAN and THORNBURG concur.
    Report per Rule 30(e).

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