State v. Hobbs, COA17-1255

Citation260 N.C.App. 394, 817 S.E.2d 779
Case DateJuly 17, 2018
CourtCourt of Appeal of North Carolina (US)

260 N.C.App. 394
817 S.E.2d 779

STATE of North Carolina
Cedric Theodis HOBBS, Jr.

No. COA17-1255

Court of Appeals of North Carolina.

Filed: July 17, 2018

Attorney General Joshua H. Stein, by Special Deputy Attorney General Amy Kunstling Irene, for the State.

Appellate Defender Glenn Gerding, by Assistant Appellate Defender Sterling Rozear, for defendant-appellant.

TYSON, Judge.

260 N.C.App. 395

Cedric Theodis Hobbs, Jr. ("Defendant") appeals from a jury's guilty verdicts, convicting him of first-degree murder, robbery with a dangerous weapon, attempted robbery with a dangerous weapon, and conspiracy to commit robbery with a dangerous weapon. We find no error.

I. Background

Rondriako Burnett was murdered on 5 November 2010 in or around Thomson, Georgia. Keon, Burnett's brother, testified that the last time he had seen his brother alive was that afternoon when he had left with Defendant, who was riding in Burnett's red Suburban SUV. The next morning, Burnett's sister received a call informing her that a

817 S.E.2d 782

body, later confirmed to be Burnett, had been found. Burnett's red Suburban SUV was not found with his body. A .380-caliber bullet was recovered from Burnett's body during the autopsy.

On the morning of 6 November 2010, Kyle Harris and Demarshun Sanders, were working at Cumberland Pawn Shop, located in a small shopping center in Fayetteville, North Carolina. At approximately 8:45 a.m., Sanders observed Defendant and a woman sitting inside of a red SUV in the parking lot of the center. Shortly thereafter, around 9:00 a.m., Defendant entered the store to pawn a CD player. Harris told Defendant he would not accept the CD player because it was not working. Subsequently, Defendant returned to the store seeking to pawn car

260 N.C.App. 396

speakers. He told Harris that his SUV was broken down and he needed help. Upon hearing Defendant's reasoning, Harris agreed to accept the speakers and paid Defendant $45.00. The red SUV remained parked in the parking lot for the rest of the day and was observed there by several employees and customers.

Later that evening, Harris, Derrick Blackwell, and Sean Collins were working inside the pawn shop when Defendant re-entered, carrying a backpack. Defendant was accompanied by the woman previously seen inside the red SUV, later identified as Alexis Mattocks, who was carrying a suitcase. Defendant and his companion casually browsed the store, while the employees played video games on their laptops.

Defendant pulled a gun, identified as a silver-chromed Lorcin .380 caliber handgun, and pointed it at all three employees. Defendant told the employees to empty their pockets, demanded their phones, wallets, and keys, and for the cash register be emptied.

To fulfill Defendant's request, Harris began walking toward the cash register. Defendant pulled the trigger and shot Harris in the upper chest. Defendant then walked behind the counter, pointed the gun at Blackwell, and instructed him to empty the cash register. After taking the money inside the register, Defendant directed his attention to Collins, who was instructed to empty his pockets. Collins complied, and threw the contents of his pockets on the ground towards Defendant. Defendant took money off the floor and proceeded to grab the wounded Harris’ car keys from his belt loop.

Defendant exited the store and moved some items from the red SUV, later confirmed to be Burnett's stolen Suburban, and drove off in Harris’ silver colored Saturn Ion. When first responders arrived on the scene, Harris was unresponsive. Harris died from the injuries resulting from the gunshot wound.

On the night of 6 November 2010, Washington, D.C. Police Officer Jerry Reyes observed a Saturn Ion bearing a North Carolina license plate. Officer Reyes checked the plate, learned the vehicle was stolen, and began pursuit. When back-up officers arrived, Officer Reyes executed a traffic stop. There were three people inside the car: Defendant, who was driving, Mattox, and their young child. Officer Reyes pulled Defendant out of the car, handcuffed and arrested him.

The Washington, D.C. Police learned an occupant of the stolen Saturn was a "person of interest" in connection with a robbery/homicide in Fayetteville, North Carolina, and contacted the Fayetteville Police

260 N.C.App. 397

Department. After verifying Defendant was the "person of interest" and seeing blood located on Defendant's shoes, Washington D.C. Police obtained a search warrant for the Saturn. The subsequent search recovered a .380-caliber Lorcin handgun. The bullets removed from the bodies of Rondriako Burnett and Kyle Harris matched with a test shot later fired from the recovered Lorcin .380-caliber handgun.

The Fayetteville Police Department obtained North Carolina warrants, and Detective Sondergaard traveled to Washington D.C. to interview Defendant. Defendant stated his purpose for the robbery was to get "[m]oney and guns" and he had fired his weapon to "scare" the employees of the pawn shop, but he "wasn't trying to shoot" Harris.

On 4 August 2014, Defendant was indicted for first-degree murder, first-degree kidnapping, two counts of second-degree kidnapping, two counts of robbery with a dangerous weapon, two counts of attempted robbery

817 S.E.2d 783

with a dangerous weapon, and conspiracy to commit robbery with a dangerous weapon. Defendant gave notice to assert the defenses of mental infirmity, diminished capacity, and automatism.

A capital first-degree murder trial and for the other related charges commenced against Defendant. At the close of the State's evidence, Defendant moved to dismiss all charges. The court dismissed the three kidnapping charges, but denied Defendant's motion to dismiss any of the remaining charges.

Defendant did not testify at trial, but presented evidence of his background though the testimony of various family members, and evidence of his mental health through expert witnesses. The testimony of his family members stated Defendant had survived a troubled childhood. He had lived in bad neighborhoods where drive-by shootings were frequent, and drug use and violence were present. His father abused alcohol and drugs during Defendant's childhood and adolescence. His mother abused Defendant by spanking him repeatedly. Defendant's mother was described as "different" and "real strange" by Defendant's aunts.

Abandoned by his parents, Defendant went to live with his aunt and uncle, who suffered through many evictions and also lived in crime-ridden neighborhoods. Even though Defendant was described as a bright student, his behavior and performance began to change drastically in high school. In 1997, Defendant was arrested for armed robbery and was placed into a drug treatment program. Defendant lost interest in the marching band, his grades began to drop, and his absences from school increased. His probation was revoked and he served time in

260 N.C.App. 398

prison. After meeting Alexis Mattocks, and after the birth of their daughter, Defendant was described as beginning to turn his life around.

Defendant returned to Georgia in August 2010 after residing in Washington, D.C. for several years, when his family was evicted from their home. A couple of months after moving back to Georgia, Defendant relapsed into drug use and bought drugs from Rondriako Burnett.

Dr. Ginger Calloway, a psychologist, testified regarding Defendant's and his parents’ prior mental health diagnoses and Defendant's substance abuse. Dr. Calloway asserted Defendant's background and experiences were all influential on Defendant's actions at the time of the murders.

Defendant told Dr. Calloway he had routinely carried a gun when he lived in D.C. because of the violence, began committing robberies in 1997 to obtain money, and he had used and sold drugs. He also stated to Dr. Calloway he had not intended to kill Harris.

Dr. George Corvin, a psychiatrist, testified about his diagnoses of Defendant, which included persistent depressive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, multiple substance abuse disorder, and characteristics of borderline personality disorder and paranoid personality disorder. Dr. Corvin opined that Defendant's mental abilities were affected by mental illness at the time of the offenses.

Defendant told Dr. Corvin he had relapsed and began using cocaine again approximately two weeks before the offenses. Defendant also told Dr. Corvin that the day before he shot Burnett, he and Burnett had engaged in an altercation over money. Burnett had shot a gun into the air, which startled Defendant, upset Mattocks, and made their baby cry. Defendant shot Burnett the next day and stated he was mad at Burnett and wanted to kill him.

Dr. Corvin testified that he understood Defendant had taken Mattocks and their baby out of Georgia, because Defendant's family had been talking about taking the baby away from them. They hid Burnett's SUV until after dark, then drove to Fayetteville, North Carolina, to the Cumberland...

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5 cases
  • State v. Hobbs, 263PA18
    • United States
    • North Carolina United States State Supreme Court of North Carolina
    • May 1, 2020
    ...OF NORTH CAROLINAMay 1, 2020 On discretionary review pursuant to N.C.G.S. § 7A-31 of a unanimous decision of the Court of Appeals, 260 N.C. App. 394, 817 S.E.2d 779 (2018), finding no error after appeal from judgments entered on 18 December 2014 by Judge Robert F. Floyd in Superior Court, C......
  • State v. Hobbs, 263PA18
    • United States
    • North Carolina United States State Supreme Court of North Carolina
    • May 1, 2020
    ...Appeals rejected Mr. Hobbs’s arguments, concluding that Mr. Hobbs received a fair trial, free from prejudicial error. State v. Hobbs , 260 N.C. App. 394, 409, 817 S.E.2d 779, 790 (2018). Mr. Hobbs then sought discretionary review in this Court, arguing that the Court of Appeals erred in its......
  • State v. Cagle, COA18-720
    • United States
    • North Carolina Court of Appeal of North Carolina (US)
    • July 2, 2019
    ...instructions are based on language from opinions of the Supreme Court of North Carolina. State v. Hobbs , ––– N.C. App. ––––, ––––, 817 S.E.2d 779, 784-85 (2018) (citations and brackets omitted).In defining deliberation, this Court has held that deliberation means that defendant carried out......
  • State v. Hobbs, 263PA18-2
    • United States
    • North Carolina United States State Supreme Court of North Carolina
    • April 6, 2023
    ...v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79 (1986), the trial court denied those objections, and the Court of Appeals found no error. See State v. Hobbs, 260 N.C.App. 394, 409 (2018). This Court allowed Mr. Hobbs's petition for discretionary review and subsequently held that the Court of Appeals had erred as ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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