State Carolina v. Waring

Decision Date05 November 2010
Docket NumberNo. 525A07.,525A07.
Citation701 S.E.2d 615
PartiesSTATE of North Carolina v. Byron Lamar WARING.
CourtNorth Carolina Supreme Court

Appeal as of right pursuant to N.C.G.S. § 7A-27(a) from a judgment imposing a sentence of death entered by Judge Paul G. Gessner on 9 July 2007 in Superior Court, Wake County, upon a jury verdict finding defendant guilty of first-degree murder. Heard in the Supreme Court 9 September 2009.

Roy Cooper, Attorney General, by Joan M. Cunningham and Derrick C. Mertz, Assistant Attorneys General, for the State.

James P. Cooney III and Mary S. Pollard for defendant-appellant.

EDMUNDS, Justice.

In the early morning hours of 8 November 2005, Raleigh police were dispatched to an apartment complex near Walnut Creek Parkway to investigate a report of rape and possible assault. Officer David Naumuk was the first to arrive at the scene, along with members of the Raleigh Fire Department. As Officer Naumuk sought to locate the correct building in the complex, he saw a white male, later identified as Andrew Bennett Pipkin (Pipkin), who was holding a telephone to his ear and running toward the firefighters while calling for help. Officer Naumuk asked Pipkin to direct him to the victim, then followed him through a breezeway and down a set of stairs.

When Officer Naumuk reached the bottom of the stairs, he found Pipkin kneeling beside the victim, who was later identified as Lauren Redman, a twenty-three-year-old white female. Pipkin's hand was on the victim's stomach, attempting to hold in her intestines. She was sitting up "Indian style" on the sidewalk, covered in blood, with her arms stretched out over her knees, her head slumped over, and her hair completely covering her face. As EMS and fire personnel began to attend to the victim, Officer Naumuk guarded the door to the victim's apartment.

When Police Sergeant Munn arrived at the scene, he and Officer Naumuk entered the apartment to conduct a preliminary search. No one was inside, but they observed a large quantity of blood on the floor in the center of the living room. All the windows in theapartment were closed with no signs of forced entry.

At defendant's trial, Pipkin testified that he had been in an apartment above the victim's apartment, preparing for bed at approximately 2:20 a.m. after watching Monday Night Football. He heard loud classical music coming from the other side of the breezeway, followed a few moments later by knocking on the walls and cries for help. He initially assumed that the noise might be from intoxicated college students in one of the nearby apartments. However, when the noise continued, he dressed and opened his apartment door. He heard a girl crying out for help from the floor below, asking him to come down. When Pipkin went downstairs, he found the victim kneeling in the breezeway in a pool of blood, wearing no panties and with her nightgown pulled up. She was knocking on the door of Apartment B, the apartment just beneath Pipkin's. Across the breezeway he could see "a lot of blood" in Apartment A. The victim appeared to be holding a towel to her stomach, but on closer examination, Pipkin realized she was cut open and what he first thought was a towel were her exposed intestines.

The victim told him she had just been attacked, so Pipkin immediately ran back to his apartment to call 911. While making that call, Pipkin returned to the victim and asked who had injured her. According to Pipkin, she responded either, "[T]wo black men," or "held up two fingers to indicate the number." Because loud classical music coming from the victim's apartment was interfering with the call, the 911 dispatcher directed Pipkin to turn off the sound. At the further direction of the 911 dispatcher, Pipkin pressed a towel against the victim's wound, then held up the victim's back to relieve her pain. He remained holding her for about ten minutes until Officer Naumuk arrived.

When the paramedics reached the scene, Pipkin was with Officer Naumuk, still holding the towel to the victim's stomach. A paramedic testified that "[t]here was quite a bit of blood on the ground" and that the victim "did not appear to have any signs of life." After unsuccessfully performing CPR, the paramedics placed her in an ambulance, where they noticed tape and other material wrapped around her neck like a scarf. They also observed what appeared to be at least ten life-threatening wounds. The victim was pronounced dead in the ambulance at 2:42 a.m.

A state medical examiner later determined the victim's death resulted from multiple injuries. Grouping those injuries, the examiner found five stab wounds, abrasions, and contusions to the victim's head and neck; hemorrhages in the whites of her eyes associated with lack of oxygen that could have resulted from her mouth and nose having been covered; twenty-three stab wounds to her torso, including seventeen superficial wounds or "flecks" that were consistent with having been pricked by the tip of a knife; hemorrhaging in her abdominal cavity; contusions and incised wounds on her upper extremities; contusions of the torso; abrasions of her knees; and an abrasion of the wall of her vagina.

As detailed below, police investigators identified Byron Lamar Waring (defendant), a nineteen-year-old African-American male, as a suspect. On 9 November 2005, detectives located defendant at his 5120-A Vann Street residence in West Raleigh. Defendant agreed to accompany detectives to the Raleigh Police Department for an interview, where he made a series of statements on 9 November and 10 November 2005. The last two of these statements, one narrated to jurors by investigators, the other tape-recorded and in defendant's own voice, were admitted at trial.

According to these statements, sometime during the late evening of Monday, 7 November and the early morning of Tuesday, 8 November 2005, defendant and Joseph Sanderlin (Sanderlin) walked from defendant's Vann Street apartment to the victim's apartment complex, taking with them duct tape they had purchased shortly before setting out. Defendant said that the two of them went to the victim's apartment "to do a favor for a friend of mine," which was "just to go get the money." When they arrived, defendant knocked on the door and told the victim that Brad Sasser had sent him over to retrieve a cord for Sasser's video game systemalong with some compact discs.1 The victim responded that she thought she had already given those things to Sasser, then started looking in the apartment's living room. As she turned her back, defendant grabbed her from behind, putting her in a bear hug or "lock-hold."

While still holding the victim, defendant unlocked the sliding-glass back door and let Sanderlin in. Defendant and Sanderlin seized the victim's arms and put them behind her back, and defendant secured them with the tape he and Sanderlin had purchased earlier that evening. However, when defendant used the tape to gag the victim, she freed her hands and pulled the tape off. Defendant grabbed her again, put a towel around her mouth, and rebound her hands.

As defendant held the victim down, Sanderlin began pricking the victim in the side with a pocket knife, asking her, "Are you going to give me what I want?" and "If you don't give me what I want, I will kill you." Sanderlin then began to rape the victim from behind. As defendant continued to restrain the victim, he noticed that the victim was turning blue and having difficulty breathing, so he removed the towel from her mouth. The rape lasted about five to eight minutes. After Sanderlin finished, stood, and pulled up his pants, the victim "flipped" defendant "off". Defendant "got mad" and "punched her in the face a couple of times," then "stomped her in the face like one or two times."

In the meantime, Sanderlin had gone to the kitchen and picked up a butcher knife. He slid that knife to defendant, then approached the victim from her blind side and started stabbing her in the neck "a couple of times" with his pocket knife. When that knife lodged in the victim's neck, she began rolling on the floor. Defendant used his sleeve to cover his hand as he picked up the butcher knife and "poked her like one or two times on her side." Defendant next stood over the victim and cut her across the throat, then handed the knife to Sanderlin, who "started working on her stomach." According to defendant, Sanderlin stabbed her to "the point that her intestines just fell out, it [sic] was just hanging out her stomach."

While Sanderlin was stabbing the victim, defendant "was already getting the wallet and stuff." Around this time, Sanderlin told defendant to "finish her" and left the apartment with the victim's keys to get her car. Defendant knelt and picked up the knife, again using his sleeve. The victim looked at him and said, "Please don't kill me," adding that she was about to die anyway. Defendant said, "I got to, Ma." She asked, "Can I please get some water?" but defendant told her, "No." The victim's "head tilt[ed] to the side a little bit, [and] her eyes done rolled back [in]to her head." Defendant walked out the back door of the apartment carrying the butcher knife.

Sanderlin drove defendant in the victim's car to Barringer Street, near defendant's Vann Street apartment. Defendant threw the knife into a street drain near the car, and then he and Sanderlin walked home. Defendant noticed blood on his clothes, so he took a shower. Defendant next removed between eighty and one hundred dollars from the victim's wallet, keeping twenty dollars while Sanderlin took the rest. Defendant put his bloody clothes in a bag and discarded them in a dumpster down the street and threw the victim's wallet into the woods behind his house. Finally, defendant drove the victim's car to a gas station to purchase cigarettes, then drove back to Barringer Street and, after using his shirt to wipe away any fingerprints on the car, walked home.

Defendant did not present evidence during the guilt-innocence...

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