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1. Homicide_short-form murder indictment_aggravating factors not required
Aggravating factors were not required to be alleged in a short-form murder indictment.
2. Sentencing_jury finding needed for increased sentence_rule not retroactively
The rule of Blakely v. Washington, 542 U.S. 296, concerning increased sentences without a jury finding or a stipulation, did not apply here because defendant's case was final at the time Blakely was issued. Defendant later moved for a writ of certiorari from the Court of Appeals.
Attorney General Roy A. Cooper, III, by Assistant Attorney
General John C. Evans, for the State.
McAfee Law, P.A., by Robert J. McAfee, for defendant- appellant.
Christopher A. Hasty (defendant) appeals from a judgment entered 10 August 1998 pursuant to a guilty plea to second degree murder. For the reasons stated herein, we affirm the judgment and conviction of the trial court.
Defendant was indicted for the first degree murder of Pernisia L. Parker (Parker) on 9 September 1997. Defendant pled guilty to second degree murder, along with other drug related charges unrelated to this appeal. The factual basis for the guilty plea showed that defendant strangled Parker, who was eight monthspregnant at the time of her death. Defendant then drove Parker's body to the edge of a remote wooded lot. Defendant returned on several occasions, attempting unsuccessfully to bury the body.
At the hearing on 10 August 1998, defendant introduced evidence of two mitigating factors: Early acknowledgment of wrongdoing and mental condition not constituting a defense. The State introduced, without objection, evidence of one aggravating factor: Parker was eight months pregnant at the time of her murder. The trial court found that the aggravating factor outweighed the mitigating factors and sentenced defendant in the aggravated range to 276 to 341 months for the second degree murder charge.
On 9 January 2002, defendant filed a writ of certiorari with this Court, which was granted on 29 January 2002, but limited review to those issues which could have been raised on direct appeal pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. § 15A-1444(a1) and (a2). This Court also ordered the New Hanover County Superior Court to hold a hearing to determine whether defendant was entitled to appointment of counsel.
No further action was taken. On 18 November 2005, defendant filed a petition for a writ of mandamus to require the New Hanover County Superior Court to comply with the 29 January 2002 order. This Court granted the writ of mandamus on 12 December 2005. Defendant was appointed counsel thereafter and proceeded with the appeal now before us.
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