NORTH CAROLINA COURT OF APPEALS
Filed: 2 January 2007
v. Pitt County
Nos. 03 CRS 58462
MITCHELL GORDON RANDOLPH 04 CRS 18416
Appeal by Defendant from judgment entered 1 July 2005 by Judge Clifton W. Everett, Jr. in Pitt County Superior Court. Heard in the Court of Appeals 31 October 2006.
Attorney General Roy Cooper, by Assistant Attorney General J. Bruce McKinney, for the State.
Jeffrey Evan Noecker for Defendant-Appellant.
Defendant, Mitchell Gordon Randolph, appeals from convictions of felony breaking or entering, felony larceny and misdemeanor injury to real property. Defendant also appeals his sentencing based on habitual felon status. For the reasons stated herein, we find no error.
At trial, the State's evidence tended to show that Paradigm Facility for Adults, Inc. (PFA) is a therapeutic group home for mentally retarded and mentally ill adults in Greenville, North Carolina, located at 4001 Old Pactolus Road. On 20 June 2003, PFA was preparing to open as a group home and was fully furnished with televisions, DVD players, an office with a computer, fax machine,printer, filing cabinets and beds in the bedrooms. All of the furnishings belonged to PFA.
Between 10:00 and 11:00 that evening, Jason Barnett, a PFA director, was alerted by the Pitt County Sheriff's Department of a break-in at the home. Mr. Barnett went to PFA and noticed that the kitchen window had been broken, and the computer, printer, scanner and fax machine had been removed from the office desk and placed on the floor outside the office. Mr. Barnett took the computer and other items to his home for protection. He valued the items at approximately $2,200 to $2,500 all together.
Jennette Murphy testified that she is a co-owner and director of PFA and also serves as the program director. She testified further that, on 20 June 2003, the only people with access to the PFA facility were Jason Barnett, Wallace Council, Tony Randolph and herself. Everyone except Tony Randolph had a key to the PFA home. At the time of the break-in, Ms. Murphy was married to Wallace Council, but was not married to him at the time of the trial. Defendant is Mr. Council's cousin and Mr. Randolph's brother. Ms. Murphy stated that she did not give Defendant permission to break the window or move the items at issue.
Deputy Tim Jones of the Pitt County Sheriff's Department testified that on 20 June 2003 after 10:00 p.m., he responded to a call made by a neighbor of the group home that a break-in was inprogress there. While investigating the alleged crime, Deputy Jones observed a thin, black male lying underneath the back deck when he shined his flashlight on the area. Deputy Jones ordered the man out from underneath the deck. The man came out and took off running. Deputy Jones gave chase, but was unable to apprehend the man.
Deputy Stephen Sutton also responded to the call. As he approached the house, Deputy Sutton heard what sounded like a door slamming. Deputy Sutton went to the rear of the house and walked onto the deck. He also saw the man come out from underneath the deck and begin running. The man ran across the backyard of PFA, scaled a fence and ran into the woods. Deputy Sutton only saw the man from the back and was unable to catch him. Deputy Sutton observed the items that had been moved from the office to the floor near the doorway.
Sergeant Bennie Dobbs, a crime scene investigator for the Pitt County Sheriff's Department, testified that he collected a tag that he believed came off a pair of cotton gloves from the backyard at approximately 12:30 a.m. He noticed that there was heavy dew on the ground the night of the break-in, but the tag was dry. Sergeant Dobbs later processed the tag for latent fingerprints and concluded that the print found on the glove tag was left by the right middle finger of Defendant, who is a black male approximatelysix feet, three inches tall and weighing 165 pounds.
Defendant's evidence tended to show that two to three days before 20 June 2003, Defendant worked on renovating the PFA building and yard with Tony Randolph and Wallace Council. Tony Randolph testified that Defendant worked mostly outside removing trash and normally wore cotton gloves while working.
The trial court denied Defendant's motions to dismiss the charges at the close of the State's evidence and at the close of all the evidence. After deliberating, the jury returned four guilty verdicts of felonious breaking or entering, felonious larceny, possession of stolen goods, and willful and wanton damage to real property. The trial judge arrested judgment on the conviction of possession of stolen goods. Documentation from the Pitt, Johnston and Greene County Superior Courts revealed that Defendant had previously been convicted of (1) felonious breaking or entering on 26 October 1992, (2) felonious breaking and/or entering on 14 July 1994, and (3) felonious possession of a controlled substance on 16 December 1998. On this evidence, the jury also found Defendant guilty of being an habitual felon. Defendant was sentenced to two consecutive terms of 121 to 155 months in prison. From judgment entered on these convictions, he appeals.
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