State v. Adams, No. 25A91

Docket NºNo. 25A91
Citation416 S.E.2d 380, 331 N.C. 317
Case DateMay 08, 1992
CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of North Carolina

Page 380

416 S.E.2d 380
331 N.C. 317
STATE of North Carolina
George William ADAMS.
No. 25A91.
Supreme Court of North Carolina.
May 8, 1992.

Page 381

[331 N.C. 320] Appeal as of right pursuant to N.C.G.S. § 7A-27(a) from a judgment imposing a life sentence upon defendant's conviction of first-degree murder entered by Currin, J., at the 7 May 1990 Special Criminal Session of Superior Court, Anson County. Defendant's motion to bypass the Court of Appeals, pursuant to N.C.G.S. § 7A-31, as to additional convictions and sentences was allowed by this Court on 29 October 1991. Heard in the Supreme Court 13 March 1992.

Lacy H. Thornburg, Atty. Gen., by Barry S. McNeill, Sp. Deputy Atty. Gen., Raleigh, for the State.

J. Kirk Osborn, Chapel Hill, for defendant-appellant.

MEYER, Justice.

On 20 March 1989, at approximately 4:00 p.m., the residence of George and Lina Hildreth was illegally entered, and television satellite equipment, a .38-caliber pistol, and several Eisenhower silver dollars and Indian head pennies were taken. Ms. Hildreth, who had left her home at 3:40 p.m. to run an errand, returned home to discover the glass window of her kitchen door broken and the house ransacked. Upon discovering the intrusion, she notified the police and awaited their arrival.

Later that afternoon, at approximately 5:00 p.m., the wife of Lee Wallace Parker discovered Mr. Parker lying on the ground of his yard with gunshot wounds to the chest. Ms. Parker discovered that her husband also had been robbed of his wallet and a distinctive pocketknife he customarily carried. Near the body, the police discovered

Page 382

a Newport cigarette butt, a case for a pair of glasses, and a button.

An autopsy revealed that the victim had been shot four times: twice in the chest, once in the right leg, and once in the right hand. Forensics results indicated that the bullets recovered from [331 N.C. 321] the murder scene were fired from the .38-caliber pistol stolen from the Hildreth residence. There was no evidence of gunpowder or residue in or around any of the wounds, and analyses of the victim's clothing produced similar results. No fingerprints were discovered on the murder weapon, which was ultimately recovered by the police. Two prints were identifiable on one piece of the satellite equipment and were determined to belong to defendant.

On the evening of 22 March 1989, Richard Adams was arrested for the breaking and entering of the Hildreth residence. He subsequently provided a written statement regarding the events of 20 March 1989. In the early morning hours of 23 March, the police located defendant, who consented to a search of his home. An officer searching the vanity drawer in defendant's bedroom found a blue sock containing silver dollars. Defendant immediately grabbed the sock and placed it in a closet behind some clothes. In yet another blue sock in the same vanity, police discovered bullet cartridges. Defendant seized this sock as well and placed it in the same location as the first sock. Both socks were later seized by the police and revealed, respectively, five Eisenhower silver dollars and four .38-caliber bullets. The officers also seized a wad of five two-dollar bills, a pack of Newport cigarettes, and some Newport cigarette butts found in an ashtray. Defendant denied any knowledge of the stolen satellite equipment or pistol and denied any involvement in the shooting of the victim. Police later arrested defendant and a search was conducted, which revealed a small pocketknife identified at trial as belonging to the victim. Defendant later directed police to a small pond where the murder weapon was discovered.

At trial, Richard Adams, defendant's older brother, testified for the State. He testified that in February and March of 1989, he and his girlfriend lived in Raleigh with their three small children. On 2 March 1989, the group traveled to Wadesboro and stayed at the home of the sister of defendant and Richard, Sara Garris. Defendant lived within walking distance of the Garris residence. Within a week, Richard ran out of money, and his girlfriend wanted to return to Raleigh. On 20 March 1989 at approximately 1:00 p.m., Richard Adams borrowed a car from Ms. Garris, and the Adams brothers drove toward Albemarle to look for work. While en route, they stopped at a store in Cedar Hill owned by Doris Galliher and saw Ms. Galliher and Gertrude Threadgill. They then proceeded to the Hildreth residence and knocked on the door to determine if anyone was at home. Finding no one at home, Richard [331 N.C. 322] gave defendant a small rock, and defendant cracked the window in the door leading from the carport into the house. When inside, they discovered and removed from the premises a sterling silver pistol with a wooden handle, with five of the six chambers loaded; some television satellite equipment; and some silver dollars. The two were interrupted by the entry of a car in the carport and fled.

After leaving the Hildreth residence, the two returned to their car and drove toward Burnsville, with Richard Adams driving. Defendant asked Richard to stop so that defendant could fire the pistol. Richard complied and defendant shot the pistol one time. The two once again proceeded until they came to another house. Richard recalled at trial that he had been to the house some twelve years before to help the resident, the murder victim, Lee Wallace Parker, with some pigs. The Adams brothers exited the car, and Richard spoke to the victim and asked him for a job. The victim responded that he had no work. Richard then turned to go back to the car, and the victim also walked in that direction. Defendant then shot the victim four times with the pistol stolen from the Hildreth residence. Defendant and his brother then approached the victim, who was lying on the ground, and removed a wallet from the bib part of the victim's overalls.

Page 383

Richard testified that he and his brother then left the murder scene and drove to defendant's residence in Wadesboro. While there, they removed the satellite equipment and placed it in defendant's home and split the $300.00 to $400.00 that was in the victim's wallet. They then tore up the wallet and burned it. Richard Adams retained possession of the pistol, and defendant kept the satellite equipment. Richard spent the night at the home of a friend, William Kadore Rivers. The next day, defendant brought the satellite equipment to the home of Sara Garris; after showing the equipment to Richard, defendant placed the items in a closet and left. On 22 March, defendant asked Richard for the pistol, and Richard gave it to him.

Richard Adams testified on cross-examination that his earlier written statement indicating that defendant shot the victim while the victim was on the ground was untrue, and insisted that the defendant shot the victim four times before the victim hit the ground. He also indicated that the cigarette butt at the scene belonged to defendant because he was the only one smoking at the time.

[331 N.C. 323] Annie McCollum, girlfriend of Richard Adams, testified for the State that on 20 March defendant and Richard Adams left together in Sara Garris' car. She also testified that on the morning of 21 March 1989, defendant brought the stolen satellite equipment to Sara Garris' home. Defendant showed the equipment to Sara Garris and Ms. McCollum and stated that it belonged to him. Defendant also said that "he was looking for Richard because he wanted his gun back." On cross-examination, Ms. McCollum related that she and Richard Adams on a previous occasion had fought over the lack of money for items for the children.

Doris Galliher, who operates a grocery store in the Cedar Hill community near Ansonville, testified that on 20 March 1989, at some time between 3:30 and 4:00 p.m., she saw the Adams brothers in her store. She also testified that she saw the two drive away in a car "just like" that belonging to Sara Garris, which the Adams brothers allegedly borrowed on the day of the murder. Upon exiting the store, the brothers drove in the direction of the Hildreth residence.

Gertrude Threadgill also testified that Richard and another black man, similar in size to Richard, were in the store owned by Ms. Galliher on 20 March 1989. She related that she saw the two drive away in a blue car heading toward the Hildreth residence.

Henry Lee, who was employed as a bill collector by the Heilig-Meyers Furniture Company, testified that approximately a week before the murder, he visited defendant at his home and inquired about late payments on a television and videocassette recorder that defendant had purchased. At the time, defendant promised that he would make payments within a week. On 23 March, Mr. Lee once again visited defendant and sought payment. At this time, defendant made a payment to Mr. Lee of a hundred-dollar bill, and stated that he would make another payment by the end of the month.

William Kadore Rivers testified that at about 1:00 a.m. on 21 March, he was awakened by Richard Adams, whom he had known since 1982. Once inside Rivers' home, Richard Adams talked about one or two robberies that he and his brother had carried out the night or afternoon before. Richard showed Rivers a wallet containing "some bills, maybe a couple hundred dollars, twenties, fives, maybe a ten or so, and he also flashed a gun." Richard also showed Rivers some coins that Rivers believed might have [331 N.C. 324] been Eisenhower silver dollars. Richard told Rivers that he and defendant had gone to Burnsville and that defendant had shot an old man "[t]wo or three" times while the old man was on the ground. Richard described having his knee across the victim's chest and neck area while the defendant shot the victim. Later, Richard asked Rivers if he had any .38-caliber bullets for the pistol, and Rivers provided Richard with approximately ten bullets. On cross-examination, Rivers stated that Richard...

To continue reading

Request your trial
45 cases
  • State v. Roy, 12281
    • United States
    • Appellate Court of Connecticut
    • June 21, 1994
    ...§ 53a-212. State v. Carpenter, 19 Conn.App. 48, 59, 562 A.2d 35, cert. denied, 213 Conn. 804, 567 A.2d 834 (1989); but see State v. Adams, 331 N.C. 317, 332, 416 S.E.2d 380 (1992), and State v. Boykin, 78 N.C.App. 572, 574, 337 S.E.2d 678 (1985). (North Carolina General Statutes § 14-72(b)(......
  • State v. Anthony
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of North Carolina
    • December 18, 2001
    ...contends is inadmissible when that party seeks to explain, impeach, or destroy its value on cross-examination, State v. Adams, 331 N.C. 317, 328, 416 S.E.2d 380, 386 (1992), and we interpret this testimony as defendant's explanation of the bumper sticker's meaning. Accordingly, defendant ha......
  • State v. Campbell, COA 13-1404-3
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of North Carolina (US)
    • February 6, 2018
    ...Courts have evaluated circumstances in which a special property interest has been established. See e.g. 257 N.C.App. 762 State v. Adams , 331 N.C. 317, 331, 416 S.E.2d 380, 388 (1992) (spouses have a special property interest in jointly possessed property, though not jointly owned); State v......
  • State v. Jaynes, 194A92
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of North Carolina
    • December 8, 1995 part of one continuous act or transaction, a perpetrator steals several items at the same time and place.' " State v. Adams, 331 N.C. 317, 333, 416 S.E.2d 380, 389 (1992) (quoting State v. Froneberger, 81 N.C.App. 398, 401, 344 S.E.2d 344, 347 (1986)). The opinion of the majority in Whit......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT