An unpublished opinion of the North Carolina Court of Appeals does not constitute controlling legal authority.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. COA05-569


Filed: 17 January 2006


         v.                        Haywood County
                                Nos. 98 CRS 2255, 2674-75
SHANNON TAYLOR WILLIS                                  &nb sp;                       

     On writ of certiorari to review the judgment entered 29 October 1998 by Judge Marcus L. Johnson in Haywood County Superior Court. Heard in the Court of Appeals 9 January 2006.

     Attorney General Roy Cooper, by Assistant Attorney General Amanda P. Little, for the State.

    R. Edward Hensley, Jr., for defendant appellant.

    McCULLOUGH, Judge.

     On 29 October 1998, defendant pled guilty pursuant to a plea agreement to second-degree murder, first-degree kidnapping, and robbery with a dangerous weapon. In accordance with the terms of the plea agreement, defendant stipulated to the aggravating factor of an uncharged conspiracy. At sentencing, the trial judge found as a non-statutory aggravating factor that “the defendant conspired with a co-defendant to commit this crime.” The trial court found no factors in mitigation, and sentenced defendant from the aggravated range to consecutive terms of 237 to 294 months' imprisonment, 100 to 129 months' imprisonment, and 83 to 109 months' imprisonment. Defendant failed to perfect his appeal in a timely manner, but his appeal was allowed by an order of our Courtgranting defendant's petition for writ of certiorari on 6 December 2004.
     Defendant's sole argument on appeal is that the trial court erred in finding the uncharged offense of conspiracy as an aggravating factor because there was no finding that he joined with more than one person. We are not persuaded.
     We are bound by State v. Hurt, 359 N.C. 840, 842, 616 S.E.2d 910, 912 (2005). In Hurt, as in the case, sub judice, the trial court found as an aggravating factor that the defendant had joined with one other person in committing the offenses and was not charged with conspiracy. Id. Our Supreme Court found that the finding of the non-statutory aggravating factor was proper, stating that
        accomplishment of a robbery and murder by uniting with one other individual is a factor that may “increase the offender's culpability” and, therefore, is “reasonably related to the purposes of sentencing.” The perpetrator of such a crime is more culpable by reason of his method, in which two aggressors work violence against a single victim.

Id. at 844, 616 S.E.2d at 913; N.C. Gen. Stat. § 15A-1340.12 (2005) (emphasis in original). Accordingly, based on Hurt, we find no error.
    No error.    
    Judges TYSON and ELMORE concur.
    Report per Rule 30(e).

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