321 N.C. 186
PROCEDURAL POSTURE: Defendant appealed as a matter of right from a judgment of the Special Criminal Session of Superior Court, Moore County (North Carolina), convicting defendant of first-degree murder and imposing a sentence of life imprisonment.
OVERVIEW: Defendant was convicted of the first-degree murder of his father. Defendant admitted to shooting his critically ill father after admitting him to a hospital but contended that the facts negated the element of malice.
The court affirmed the conviction and sentence of life imprisonment. The court found that the trial court correctly instructed the jury on the element of malice and did not instruct the jury that malice could be presumed.
-The court found that the trial court properly instructed the jury that it should consider defendant's belief that his father was terminally ill or in danger of immediate death in deciding whether the state had proven malice beyond a reasonable doubt.
-The court held that a heat of passion jury instruction was not warranted.
-The court held that the trial court did not err in denying defendant's motion for a directed verdict on the murder charge because there was substantial evidence that the killing was premeditated and deliberate.
-The court also found, upon consideration of the totality of the circumstances, that the trial court's inquiry and instructions about deliberating toward a verdict were not coercive and did not deny defendant a fair trial.
OUTCOME: The court affirmed defendant's conviction for first-degree murder and his sentence of life imprisonment.
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