State v. McKeithan, 273.

Docket Nº273.
Citation166 S.E. 336, 203 N.C. 494
Case DateNovember 09, 1932
CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of North Carolina

166 S.E. 336

203 N.C. 494


No. 273.

Supreme Court of North Carolina

November 9, 1932

Appeal from Superior Court, Hoke County; Barnhill, Judge.

M. L. McKeithan was convicted under an indictment charging that he feloniously procured another to burn a dwelling house, and he appeals.

No error.

Criminal prosecution tried upon indictment charging, in the first count, that the defendant did on March 5, 1932, feloniously aid, counsel, and procure one Curtis Smith feloniously to burn a dwelling house, the property of said defendant and one Campbell as tenants in common, contrary to the provisions of C. S. § 4175; and, in the second count, that the defendant, being tenant in common with one Campbell of a dwelling house, then insured against loss, did on March 5, 1932, feloniously procure one Curtis Smith to burn said dwelling house in violation of C. S. § 4245, as amended by Pub. Laws 1927, c. 11, § 2.

The evidence tends to show that the defendant, M. L. McKeithan, and L. J. Campbell owned a farm near Raeford in Hoke county as tenants in common, known as the Watkins place as Jasper Watkins, a colored man, was tenant thereon. This farm had a house on it worth about $25, which was insured for $1,000. Curtis Smith, a young white man, testified that the defendant agreed to pay him $50 if he would burn the Jasper Watkins house. The evidence is plenary that, in consequence of this understanding and procurement, the defendant helping to arrange the details, Curtis Smith did, on the night of March 5, 1932, burn the house in question. Smith had taken several drinks before the burning, and immediately thereafter, due to this circumstance perhaps, he talked rather freely about the matter. He later confessed to the sheriff.

The statements of Smith, especially those made after the burning, were the subject of a number of objections and exceptions. They were admitted in corroboration of Smith's testimony.

It was also in evidence that the defendant and L. J. Campbell owned as tenants in common, in addition to the Watkins place, two other farms near Raeford, with a house on each, not in the same locality, but "on the other side of town." The defendant thereupon requested the court to direct a verdict of not guilty, as the property was not described in the indictment with sufficient definiteness. He also demurred to the bill, and moved to quash. Overruled; exception.

The defendant in apt time requested the [166 S.E. 337.] court to instruct the jury as follows: "The State relies upon the testimony of one Curtis Smith, together with such other facts and circumstances that you may find from the evidence that tend to corroborate the testimony of the said Curtis Smith. The Court charges you that the said Curtis Smith is what the law calls an accomplice, that is, one who admits and...

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