State v. Wilkinson, No. 465A94

Docket NºNo. 465A94
Citation474 S.E.2d 375, 344 N.C. 198
Case DateSeptember 06, 1996
CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of North Carolina

Page 375

474 S.E.2d 375
344 N.C. 198
STATE of North Carolina
v.
Philip Edward WILKINSON.
No. 465A94.
Supreme Court of North Carolina.
Sept. 6, 1996.

Michael F. Easley, Attorney General by Gail E. Weis, Associate Attorney General, for the State.

Malcolm Ray Hunter, Jr., Appellate Defender by Mark D. Montgomery, Assistant Appellate Defender, Durham, for defendant-appellant.

ORR, Justice.

On 9 January 1992, defendant turned himself in to the Fayetteville Police Department, waived his rights, and gave a tape-recorded confession to Sergeant Jeff Stafford. During this confession, defendant admitted to being a "peeping Tom"; to breaking and entering the apartment of Judy Hudson on 29 July 1991 in the middle of the night; to beating to death with a bowling pin Ms. Hudson, her nineteen-year-old daughter, Chrystal Hudson, and her eleven-year-old son, Larry Hudson; to attempting to rape Chrystal Hudson; to sexually assaulting and anally and vaginally penetrating Ms. Hudson and Chrystal Hudson; to stealing cigarettes, money, and a cigarette lighter from two pocketbooks in the apartment; and to breaking into the apartment a second time to retrieve the bowling pin and a lightbulb that he had used to sexually assault Ms. Hudson.

Defendant was subsequently indicted for three counts of first-degree murder, two counts of first-degree burglary, one count of attempted first-degree rape, four counts of first-degree sexual offense, and two counts of felonious larceny. On 22 August 1994, [344 N.C. 207] defendant pled guilty to all charges. After the presentation of evidence by the State regarding the basis for defendant's pleas, the court directed that with respect to one of the first-degree burglary counts, it would instead proceed on a charge of second-degree burglary based upon the evidence that at the time defendant entered the Hudsons' apartment, all victims were deceased.

The cases were joined for a capital sentencing hearing before a jury at the 22 August 1994 Criminal Session of Superior Court, Cumberland County. The jury recommended and the trial court imposed a sentence of death for each of the three first-degree murder convictions. Additionally, the trial court sentenced defendant to four consecutive terms of life imprisonment for the four counts of first-degree sexual offense, to a consecutive term of life imprisonment for the first-degree burglary conviction, to a consecutive term of forty years' imprisonment for the consolidated second-degree burglary and larceny convictions, and to a consecutive term of twenty years' imprisonment for the attempted first-degree rape conviction. The sentences of death were stayed on 23 September 1994, pending this appeal. Defendant's motion to bypass the Court of Appeals on all other convictions was allowed on 7 August 1995.

Defendant appeals to this Court, asserting seventeen assignments of error. For the reasons stated herein, we conclude that defendant's capital sentencing proceeding was free from prejudicial error and that defendant's sentences of death are not disproportionate.

During the capital sentencing proceeding, the State's evidence tended to show the following: Defendant, a soldier stationed at Fort Bragg, had a history of being a "peeping Tom." On the evening of 29 July 1991, defendant was "thinking along the lines of rape." After deciding not to rape a friend with whom he had eaten earlier in the evening, defendant drove past the Heather Ridge Apartments and decided to go there to "sneak a peek," to be a "Peeping Tom" and "watch when people take their clothes off[ ] or engage[ ] in sex." While walking around the complex, defendant saw light coming from a television in one of the apartments. He walked up to the sliding glass doors at the back of the apartment, looked inside, and saw Chrystal Hudson lying on the couch

Page 380

asleep. Defendant stated that as he was looking at her, he was "getting all worked up" because he "had already planned on doing that other chick and it was already in my mind." Defendant saw a bowling pin outside the apartment by the sliding glass door and picked it up. He stated that he just "wanted the [344 N.C. 208] sex" and "did not want to hurt anybody," but he had the bowling pin in his hand and "knew [he] was going to kill her."

Defendant walked into the apartment, went over to the young girl, and ran his hand across her thigh and buttocks. Chrystal Hudson woke up startled, and before she could yell, defendant "clubbed her on her head." She kept trying to scream, so defendant "just kept bopping her ... like 70 times." When Chrystal stopped trying to scream, defendant bit her breasts, performed oral sex on her, and attempted to penetrate her vaginally but was unable to get an erection.

Defendant stated that it suddenly occurred to him that "somebody else might have come in the apartment," that "there might be some other people in the house," that "maybe there was a boyfriend in the bedroom," that "maybe she was married." While looking around the apartment, defendant saw "another female and a boy" lying in bed sleeping. Defendant stated that he thought, "Oh, man, if they wake up and see me in here, I still haven't had my jocks off yet." He went back to the living room to get the bowling pin and walked back to the bedroom where he had noticed the two individuals who were sleeping. Defendant "slugged them" with the bowling pin, hitting Ms. Hudson about eight times and Larry four or five times. Defendant stated that neither of them ever made a sound.

After he had killed Ms. Hudson, defendant performed oral sex on her and then took a lightbulb out of a lamp in the bedroom and used it to vaginally penetrate her. Defendant stated that he "just went back and forth between the chicks," engaging in perverted sexual acts.

Knowing that he did not want "to pay the price" for what he had done and that he would need to go AWOL, defendant began looking for money. He saw two purses on the dining room table. Defendant dumped the purses on the table and took a one-dollar bill, a cigarette lighter, and some cigarettes.

After defendant left the apartment and went back to his car, he realized that he had left the lightbulb and the bowling pin in the apartment. He went back to the apartment and retrieved the lightbulb and bowling pin. Concerned about the presence of his fingerprints in the apartment, defendant wiped off the screen door and the faucet in the bathroom where he had washed his hands.

At approximately 4:00 a.m., defendant arrived at his barracks. On 30 July 1991, the day after the murders, defendant went AWOL. On 9 January 1992, defendant turned himself in to the Fayetteville Police [344 N.C. 209] Department and confessed to murdering the Hudsons. Defendant agreed to provide bite-mark, blood, saliva, and hair samples to the police. The results of the laboratory analyses of the samples confirmed that defendant had committed the crimes charged.

Defendant's evidence during the capital sentencing proceeding tended to show that defendant's childhood was marked by poverty, paternal abandonment, and maternal neglect. Defendant was obsessed with sin, heaven, and hell, having been raised by his mother, who was a member of the Pentecostal Church. Testimony by defendant's brother and sister tended to show that defendant was a caring, loving person; that he was an alcoholic; and that the murders were "grossly" out of character for him. Two expert witnesses, Dr. Janet Vogelsang, a psychotherapist, and Dr. Stephen Alexander, a forensic criminal psychologist, testified that defendant knew that what he had done was wrong, that defendant tends to exaggerate his childhood problems, that he relies on alcohol to cope, that he suffers from compulsive voyeurism, and that he has average or slightly above average intelligence. They also testified that although he is a "disturbed individual" and is at "high risk" to engage in criminal behavior because of his mother's extreme religious views, maternal neglect, his drinking, and his lack of coping skills, defendant has no diagnosed mental disease, mental illness, or defect.

Page 381

I.

In his first assignment of error, defendant contends that the trial court improperly required defense counsel to proceed with calling expert psychological witnesses, in contravention of defendant's wishes.

After accepting defendant's pleas of guilty, the trial court began a discussion with the State and defense counsel regarding which of defendant's pretrial motions needed to be heard prior to jury selection for the capital sentencing proceeding. During this discussion, the following exchange occurred:

MR. MCGLOTHLIN [defense counsel]: ... Mr. Wilkinson has certain desires on phase two which are inconsistent with what Mr. Carter and I feel [is] our responsibility as his lawyers.

... [H]e instructed us at one time this past weekend not to put on certain evidence we had, certain witnesses. We have expert witnesses.

[344 N.C. 210] And we would like some guidance from the Court as to what our responsibilities are when our client instructs us in this matter....

....

THE COURT: ... Your attorneys have indicated that you have certain desires in respect to a sentencing proceeding. What are those at this time?

THE DEFENDANT: Your Honor, first of all I would like to have these extra motions dismissed. I just don't see the need for it. I'm guilty of what I'm charged with. I've already said that.

... I just want to make it as simple as possible and as easy as possible and get this over with as quickly as possible. And I do want my lawyers to represent me. And I think they've done a good job. As far as the sentencing, I would just like to--

THE COURT: Well, at this time I'm going to enter a general directive to your attorneys to simply proceed to offer the evidence that they have developed in respect to any issues on mitigating circumstances that appear of record. They have a duty both as ... attorney[s] and as officers of...

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69 practice notes
  • State v. Gainey, No. 531A00.
    • United States
    • North Carolina United States State Supreme Court of North Carolina
    • February 1, 2002
    ...submission is directed at distinct aspects of the defendant's character or the crime for which he is to be punished. State v. Wilkinson, 344 N.C. 198, 230, 474 S.E.2d 375, 392 In the present case, the trial court instructed the jurors as to the (e)(5) and (e)(6) aggravating circumstances as......
  • State v. Smith, No. 279A99.
    • United States
    • North Carolina United States State Supreme Court of North Carolina
    • August 25, 2000
    ...not required to give the requested instruction verbatim, must charge the jury in substantial conformity therewith.'" State v. Wilkinson, 344 N.C. 198, 231, 474 S.E.2d 375, 393 (1996) (quoting State v. Holder, 331 N.C. 462, 474, 418 S.E.2d 197, 203 The record reveals that at the time it was ......
  • State v. Grooms, No. 39A99.
    • United States
    • North Carolina United States State Supreme Court of North Carolina
    • December 21, 2000
    ...and defense counsel had reached an absolute impasse as to the mitigating value of the evidence), with 540 S.E.2d 735 State v. Wilkinson, 344 N.C. 198, 212, 474 S.E.2d 375, 382 (1996) (holding that the trial court properly required defense counsel to present mitigating evidence where the def......
  • State v. Hardy, No. 169A99.
    • United States
    • North Carolina United States State Supreme Court of North Carolina
    • December 21, 2000
    ...of defendant's purposes for the killing was the desire to avoid subsequent detection and apprehension for a crime. See State v. Wilkinson, 344 N.C. 198, 224-25, 474 S.E.2d 375, 389 (1996); State v. Oliver, 309 N.C. 326, 350, 307 S.E.2d 304, 320 (1983); State v. Goodman, 298 N.C. 1, 27, 257 ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
69 cases
  • State v. Gainey, No. 531A00.
    • United States
    • North Carolina United States State Supreme Court of North Carolina
    • February 1, 2002
    ...submission is directed at distinct aspects of the defendant's character or the crime for which he is to be punished. State v. Wilkinson, 344 N.C. 198, 230, 474 S.E.2d 375, 392 In the present case, the trial court instructed the jurors as to the (e)(5) and (e)(6) aggravating circumstances as......
  • State v. Smith, No. 279A99.
    • United States
    • North Carolina United States State Supreme Court of North Carolina
    • August 25, 2000
    ...not required to give the requested instruction verbatim, must charge the jury in substantial conformity therewith.'" State v. Wilkinson, 344 N.C. 198, 231, 474 S.E.2d 375, 393 (1996) (quoting State v. Holder, 331 N.C. 462, 474, 418 S.E.2d 197, 203 The record reveals that at the time it was ......
  • State v. Grooms, No. 39A99.
    • United States
    • North Carolina United States State Supreme Court of North Carolina
    • December 21, 2000
    ...and defense counsel had reached an absolute impasse as to the mitigating value of the evidence), with 540 S.E.2d 735 State v. Wilkinson, 344 N.C. 198, 212, 474 S.E.2d 375, 382 (1996) (holding that the trial court properly required defense counsel to present mitigating evidence where the def......
  • State v. Hardy, No. 169A99.
    • United States
    • North Carolina United States State Supreme Court of North Carolina
    • December 21, 2000
    ...of defendant's purposes for the killing was the desire to avoid subsequent detection and apprehension for a crime. See State v. Wilkinson, 344 N.C. 198, 224-25, 474 S.E.2d 375, 389 (1996); State v. Oliver, 309 N.C. 326, 350, 307 S.E.2d 304, 320 (1983); State v. Goodman, 298 N.C. 1, 27, 257 ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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