State v. Williams, No. 278A99.

Docket NºNo. 278A99.
Citation565 S.E.2d 609
Case DateJune 28, 2002
CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of North Carolina

565 S.E.2d 609

STATE of North Carolina
v.
John WILLIAMS, Jr

No. 278A99.

Supreme Court of North Carolina.

June 28, 2002.


565 S.E.2d 620
Roy A. Cooper, Attorney General, by William P. Hart, Special Deputy Attorney General, and William B. Crumpler, Assistant Attorney General, for the State

William F.W. Massengale and Marilyn G. Ozer, Chapel Hill, for defendant-appellant.

ORR, Justice.

Defendant was indicted 24 February 1997 for assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill Shelly Jackson. On 31 March 1997, defendant was additionally indicted for the first-degree murders of Deborah Jean Elliot and Patricia Ann Ashe, the first-degree rapes of Jacqueline Crump and Audrey Marie Hall, first-degree sexual offense against Audrey Marie Hall, and two counts of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury on Jacqueline Crump and Audrey Marie Hall. On 4 August 1997, defendant was indicted in superseding indictments

565 S.E.2d 621
for the attempted first-degree rapes of Vicki LaVerne Whitaker and Kimberly Yvonne Warren, assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill Kimberly Yvonne Warren, and assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury on Vicki LaVerne Whitaker. Finally, on 20 October 1997, defendant was indicted in superseding indictments for an attempt to commit the first-degree rape of Shelly Jackson and for the first-degree rape of Patricia Ann Ashe

A jury found defendant guilty of first-degree murder of Patricia Ashe and Deborah Elliot on the basis of premeditation and deliberation and under the felony murder rule. The jury also found defendant guilty of two counts of first-degree rape of Jacqueline Crump and Audrey Hall, first-degree sexual offense of Audrey Hall, assault with a deadly weapon of Kimberly Warren, two counts of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury of Jacqueline Crump and Audrey Hall, attempted first-degree rape of Shelly Jackson, assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill Shelly Jackson, and first-degree rape of Patricia Ashe.

The jury found defendant not guilty of two counts of attempted first-degree rape of Vicki Whitaker and Kimberly Warren and assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury of Vicki Whitaker.

Following a capital sentencing proceeding, the jury recommended a sentence of death for each of the murders, and the trial court entered judgments accordingly. The trial court also sentenced defendant to the following additional sentences all of which are to be served concurrent to the sentences of death but consecutive to each other: 480 to 585 months' imprisonment for the first-degree rape of Audrey Hall; 480 to 585 months' imprisonment for the first-degree sexual offense of Audrey Hall; 168 to 211 months' imprisonment for assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury on Audrey Hall; 480 to 585 months' imprisonment for the first-degree rape of Jacqueline Crump; 145 to 183 months' imprisonment for assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury on Jacqueline Crump; 313 to 385 months' imprisonment for attempted first-degree rape of Shelly Jackson; 59 to 80 months' imprisonment for assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill Shelly Jackson; and 150 days' imprisonment for assault with a deadly weapon of Kimberly Warren.

After consideration of the assignments of error brought forward on appeal by defendant and a thorough review of the transcript of the proceedings, the record on appeal, the briefs, and oral arguments, we find no error meriting reversal of defendant's capital convictions or death sentences. We also find no error meriting reversal of defendant's noncapital convictions. However, we remand the case for resentencing on defendant's noncapital felony convictions at a prior record level V.

With regard to all of the offenses described below as to each victim, the evidence at trial tended to show the following.

Offenses Relating to Jacqueline Crump

As to Jacqueline Crump, defendant was charged with and convicted of first-degree rape and assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury.

Crump had been using cocaine off and on for about thirteen years. At times, Crump would exchange sex for crack or money. On 25 October 1995, Crump left her boyfriend's house to buy a pack of cigarettes. As to much of what happened that night Crump could not remember, but she did testify as to some occurrence she could recall. In her testimony, Crump remembered being at a concrete tunnel that goes under Martin Luther King Boulevard and connects Chavis Park on one side to an area of Old Garner Road on the other side. She could recall walking past the tunnel with two men. The two men were talking about sex when one of them suggested that they go into the tunnel. When Crump refused to go, she was then pushed into the tunnel. One man grabbed Crump by the throat and starting choking her while she was backed up against the wall of the tunnel. He got on top of her and started pushing down her pants while still keeping one hand on her throat. At this point, Crump blacked out.

565 S.E.2d 622
Raleigh Police Officer David German was dispatched to the scene and arrived at 9:13 a.m. on 26 October. Crump had no clothing on the bottom half of her body except for a white sock on her left foot. There was blood on the wall and on the floor of the tunnel

Crump suffered a fractured nose and facial bone fractures, and her eyes were swollen shut. She had a couple of gashes on the side of her head and cuts and bruises on her arms and legs. The evidence at the scene appeared to indicate that Crump was beaten with a beer bottle. DNA testing was subsequently conducted, and it was determined that a match was present between defendant and the vaginal swabs taken from Crump.

Offenses Relating to Patricia Ashe

As to Patricia Ashe, defendant was charged with and convicted of first-degree murder based on premeditation and deliberation and first-degree rape.

Ashe was a habitual crack cocaine user and possibly a prostitute. On Sunday, 7 January 1996, Officer G.M. Wright of the Raleigh Police Department was dispatched to the 1500 block of South Blount Street. A black male, Rodney Bass, was waving to get the officer's attention. Bass stated that he had seen a person around the back of the building with no clothes on. It had been snowing and sleeting off and on throughout the day. Officer Wright found Ashe's body covered with snow on a bench. The officer observed a set of footprints near the body. These footprints did not get close enough to the body to indicate that the person who left them could have touched the body.

Bass told another officer that he had been drinking in a nearby vehicle and decided to go for a walk. As he was walking behind the building, he saw Ashe's body. He got within twenty or thirty feet of the body and then decided to call the police.

Ashe's body was on the lower portion of the bench, with her feet and lower body hanging off the edge. Her legs were completely off the end of the bench, slightly spread, and her knees were bent. She had no clothes on except white socks. A thermal long-sleeve T-shirt was folded up under her buttocks, and a pair of jeans was folded under her head. A couple of crack pipes and a lighter were underneath or just to the side of the bench. There was snow and ice on Ashe's body, but no snow and ice was underneath her body.

Dr. John Butts performed an autopsy on Ashe's body, and he formed the opinion that Ashe died as a result of strangulation. She had scrapes and scratches on both sides of her neck as well as some on the front part of her neck. She also had some linear scrapes on her back, some scratches on her left arm, and a small tear in the skin on the right groin area. Some of the neck scratches were relatively deep with a bit of the skin torn off. The multiple scratches and scrapes on Ashe's neck indicate that she had struggled against the perpetrator.

DNA testing was conducted on the vaginal swabs that Dr. Butts took from Ashe, and a DNA match was found with defendant.

Offenses Relating to Audrey Marie Hall

As to Audrey Hall, defendant was charged with and convicted of first-degree rape, first-degree sexual offense, and assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury.

Audrey Hall had used crack cocaine off and on since 1985 and was actively involved in using crack in May 1996 while living in Raleigh. On various occasions, she exchanged sex for money.

Hall had a friend, Jerry Jones, who lived in southeast Raleigh. Occasionally, when Hall visited Jones at his home, she would use crack. On Saturday, 25 May 1996, Hall went to Jones' house about 5:00 p.m. Hall had been smoking crack that day and got high later that night from smoking crack at Jones' house, where she stayed overnight.

Defendant arrived at Jones' house around 10:00 or 11:00 on Sunday morning and asked if Hall was in the house. Jones woke Hall up to tell her defendant was looking for her. Defendant came into the house and sat down beside Hall. Defendant then asked Hall if she wanted to smoke some cocaine, to which Hall responded affirmatively and proceeded to do so. Eventually, defendant asked Hall if she knew where he could buy some cocaine. Hall agreed to take defendant to a crack

565 S.E.2d 623
house, so they left Jones' house about 3:00 p.m.

Hall intended to take defendant to a crack house that was about two blocks from Jones' house, but defendant said he still had some cocaine and asked if there was some place where they could smoke it. Hall took defendant to a wooded area that is adjacent to South Wilmington Street near some railroad tracks. When they got to the woods, Hall took a "hit" from defendant's cocaine. Defendant motioned for Hall to walk in front of him, and when she did, defendant grabbed her by the throat, squeezed tightly,...

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157 practice notes
  • State v. Morgan, No. 182A00.
    • United States
    • North Carolina United States State Supreme Court of North Carolina
    • December 3, 2004
    ...has not established that "he would have been better prepared had the continuance been granted." State v. Williams, 355 N.C. 501, 541, 565 S.E.2d 609, 632 (2002), cert. denied, 537 U.S. 1125, 123 S.Ct. 894, 154 L.Ed.2d 808 Defendant further claims that the trial court's denial of his motions......
  • State v. Hobbs, No. 263PA18
    • United States
    • North Carolina United States State Supreme Court of North Carolina
    • May 1, 2020
    ...147 (1991); see also State v. Bell, 359 N.C. 1, 12, 603 S.E.2d 93, 102 (2004); State v. Williams (J. Williams), 355 N.C. 501, 550-51, 565 S.E.2d 609, 638-39 (2002); Robinson, 330 N.C. at 17, 409 S.E.2d at 297. The Court of Appeals relied on cases stating a different rule, those holding that......
  • State v. Morgan, No. 182A00
    • United States
    • North Carolina United States State Supreme Court of North Carolina
    • December 3, 2004
    ...has not established that "he would have been better prepared had the continuance been granted." State v. Williams, 355 N.C. 501, 541, 565 S.E.2d 609, 632 (2002), cert. denied, 537 U.S. 1125, 154 L. Ed. 2d 808 (2003). Defendant further claims that the trial court's denial of his motions to c......
  • State v. Hobbs, No. 263PA18
    • United States
    • North Carolina United States State Supreme Court of North Carolina
    • May 1, 2020
    ...147 (1991) ; see also State v. Bell , 359 N.C. 1, 12, 603 S.E.2d 93, 102 (2004) ; State v. Williams (J. Williams ), 355 N.C. 501, 550–51, 565 S.E.2d 609, 638–39 (2002) ; Robinson , 330 N.C. at 17, 409 S.E.2d at 297.The Court of Appeals relied on cases stating a different rule, those holding......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
156 cases
  • State v. Morgan, No. 182A00.
    • United States
    • North Carolina United States State Supreme Court of North Carolina
    • December 3, 2004
    ...has not established that "he would have been better prepared had the continuance been granted." State v. Williams, 355 N.C. 501, 541, 565 S.E.2d 609, 632 (2002), cert. denied, 537 U.S. 1125, 123 S.Ct. 894, 154 L.Ed.2d 808 Defendant further claims that the trial court's denial of his motions......
  • State v. Hobbs, No. 263PA18
    • United States
    • North Carolina United States State Supreme Court of North Carolina
    • May 1, 2020
    ...147 (1991); see also State v. Bell, 359 N.C. 1, 12, 603 S.E.2d 93, 102 (2004); State v. Williams (J. Williams), 355 N.C. 501, 550-51, 565 S.E.2d 609, 638-39 (2002); Robinson, 330 N.C. at 17, 409 S.E.2d at 297. The Court of Appeals relied on cases stating a different rule, those holding that......
  • State v. Morgan, No. 182A00
    • United States
    • North Carolina United States State Supreme Court of North Carolina
    • December 3, 2004
    ...has not established that "he would have been better prepared had the continuance been granted." State v. Williams, 355 N.C. 501, 541, 565 S.E.2d 609, 632 (2002), cert. denied, 537 U.S. 1125, 154 L. Ed. 2d 808 (2003). Defendant further claims that the trial court's denial of his motions to c......
  • State v. Hobbs, No. 263PA18
    • United States
    • North Carolina United States State Supreme Court of North Carolina
    • May 1, 2020
    ...147 (1991) ; see also State v. Bell , 359 N.C. 1, 12, 603 S.E.2d 93, 102 (2004) ; State v. Williams (J. Williams ), 355 N.C. 501, 550–51, 565 S.E.2d 609, 638–39 (2002) ; Robinson , 330 N.C. at 17, 409 S.E.2d at 297.The Court of Appeals relied on cases stating a different rule, those holding......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
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