State v. Boykins, 110519 NCCA, COA 18-949

Docket Nº:COA 18-949
Opinion Judge:BRYANT, JUDGE.
Attorney:Attorney General Joshua H. Stein, by Special Deputy Attorney General Jasmine S. McGhee, for the State. Mark Montgomery for defendant-appellant.
Judge Panel:Judges DILLON and ARROWOOD concur.
Case Date:November 05, 2019
Court:Court of Appeals of North Carolina




No. COA 18-949

Court of Appeals of North Carolina

November 5, 2019

An unpublished opinion of the North Carolina Court of Appeals does not constitute controlling legal authority.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

Heard in the Court of Appeals 27 March 2019.

Appeal by defendant from order entered 8 September 2017 by Judge John E. Nobles, Jr., and judgment entered 13 March 2018 by Judge Joshua W. Willey Jr. in New Hanover County Nos. 15 CRS 4145, 4147, 51301; 17 CRS 791, 792 Superior Court.

Attorney General Joshua H. Stein, by Special Deputy Attorney General Jasmine S. McGhee, for the State.

Mark Montgomery for defendant-appellant.


Where the averments stated in the application for a search warrant and accompanying affidavit substantially support the findings of fact and conclusions of law made by the trial court in its order denying defendant's motion to suppress, we hold no error in the trial court's order.

On 27 February 2015, a grand jury in New Hanover County indicted defendant Roderick Boykins on five counts of human trafficking, one count of sexual servitude, five counts of promotion of prostitution, and one count of advancing prostitution. On 15 June 2015, defendant was also indicted for attaining habitual felon status. Superseding indictments were issued on 15 March 2015.

On 17 August 2017, defendant filed a pretrial motion to suppress any evidence seized as a result of a search of his vehicle performed on 6 February 2015. Defendant contended that law enforcement officers lacked probable cause to conduct a search, and the search violated the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution, Article I, sections 19 and 20 of the North Carolina Constitution, and General Statutes, section 15A-972. Defendant further argued that the evidence seized during the 6 February 2015 search directly resulted in search warrant applications being granted for searches performed 9 and 20 February 2015 and 16 March 2015, which should be suppressed. On 5 September 2017, a hearing was conducted in New Hanover County Superior Court before the Honorable John E. Nobles, Jr., Judge presiding.

The evidence presented during the suppression hearing tended to show that on 5 February 2015, New Hanover County Sheriff's Office Detective Evan Luther, who was assigned to the U.S. Marshals Violent Fugitive Taskforce, received information from a confidential informant, "Mary."1 According to Mary, defendant had been transporting Mary "up and down the east coast [to] prostitute[e] for him"- Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, New Jersey, and New York. Mary informed Detective Luther that she had gotten away from defendant once before but he had located her. When she contacted Detective Luther, Mary had gotten away from defendant again. She was in New York and wanted to come home to New Hanover County, but she was afraid defendant would find her. Defendant was from North Carolina and had ties to the New Hanover County area. Also, defendant knew where Mary's mother lived in New Hanover County. Mary described defendant as a very tall black male who wore a long gold necklace or "chain" and drove a gold Cadillac with thirty-day tags.

While speaking with Mary, Detective Luther searched the "police to police" database for information about defendant. Detective Luther obtained a picture of defendant and learned that a human trafficking alert had been issued for him. Detective Luther contacted Detective Will Campbell, also with the New Hanover County Sheriff's Office and assigned to the FBI Human Trafficking Taskforce, as well as Assistant District Attorney (ADA) Lindsey Roberson. Both ADA Roberson and Detective Campbell recognized defendant's name as a person involved in human trafficking.

Detective Campbell testified that Detective Luther provided defendant's cell phone number, as provided by a confidential informant. Detective Campbell testified that almost every case he had ever worked of human trafficking and prostitution involved some sort of electronic device used to access the internet and specifically, a website called, a website known to carry advertisements for prostitutes. Detective Campbell searched and discovered two advertisements associated with the phone number Detective Luther had provided. The ads depicted Mary and indicated a location in Huntington, New York.

On 6 February 2015, Detective Luther observed a man standing on a sidewalk near the corner of 4th Street and Davis Street who matched the description Mary had given and the picture of defendant Detective Luther had seen. Detective Luther also observed a gold Cadillac with thirty-day tags parked nearby. Detective Luther parked, requested assistance from other law enforcement officers, and observed defendant while he walked down the sidewalk talking on his cell phone. Defendant ended his phone call, entered the gold Cadillac, and drove away. Ultimately, he pulled over and parked on Red Cross Street, where he conducted another phone call. Law enforcement officers set up a perimeter of surveillance.

Detective Luther "ran" defendant's name and learned that defendant's driver's license had been revoked. When defendant entered his vehicle again and drove away, a deputy sheriff with the traffic unit conducted a traffic stop. Defendant was arrested for driving with a revoked driver's license and taken into custody. Defendant's vehicle was also seized and a law enforcement officer applied for a search warrant for the vehicle. The search warrant was granted by a magistrate and the search was executed on 9 February 2015.

During the suppression hearing, the State introduced exhibits taken from defendant's vehicle, including: a receipt from a North Carolina Jiffy Lube reflecting defendant's name and service "for a 2003 Cadillac DeVille"; identification cards reflecting Mary's name as well as other women; a Red Roof Inn key; several prepaid Visa cards; a cell phone; and several car chargers.

Following the arguments of counsel, the trial court denied defendant's motion to suppress the items seized from his vehicle. For the record, defendant immediately sought to preserve his right to appeal, and during the trial, defendant renewed his objection to the admission of the items seized from his vehicle.

On 5 March 2018, the matter proceeded to a jury trial before the Honorable Joshua W. Willey, Judge presiding. The jury heard testimony from Mary, as well as three other women who worked for defendant as prostitutes. The jury returned guilty verdicts against defendant on five counts of human trafficking, one count of sexual servitude, five counts of promotion of prostitution, and one count of advancing prostitution. The jury also returned a verdict finding defendant guilty of attaining habitual felon status.

In accordance with the jury verdicts, the trial court entered a consolidated judgment on one count of human trafficking adult victim and one count of advancing prostitution and sentenced defendant to a term of 117 to 153 months. The court entered a second...

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