Filed 6 May 2003 This case not for publication
Appeal by defendant from judgment entered 6 November 2001 by Judge Thomas D. Haigwood in Edgecombe County Superior Court. Heard in the Court of Appeals 14 April 2003.
Attorney General Roy Cooper, by Assistant Attorney General K.D. Sturgis, for the State. Glover Petersen, P.A., by Ann B. Petersen for defendant-appellant.
Edgecombe County No. 00 CRS 7410.
Defendant was charged with murder pursuant to G.S. § 14-17 by an indictment alleging defendant "unlawfully, willfully and feloniously of malice aforethought did kill and murder Charmain Manning Wooten." The evidence tended to show that defendant shot and killed his wife on 23 April 2000. The trial court submitted possible verdicts of guilty of first-degree murder, guilty of second-degree murder, and not guilty. A jury found defendant guilty of first-degree murder and the trial court sentenced him to life imprisonment without parole. Defendant appeals.
In his sole assignment of error, defendant contends the "short-form" indictment for murder did not allege the elements of first-degree murder and was, therefore, inadequate to charge him with first-degree murder under the United States Constitution and the Constitution of North Carolina. Defendant concedes our Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld the short-form indictments, authorized under G.S. § 15-144. Nevertheless, defendant argues our Supreme Court's decisions on the propriety of the use of the short-form indictment have been undercut by recent federal cases. We disagree.
We are bound by our Supreme Court decisions rejecting the constitutional challenges to the short-form indictment. See State v. Wallace, 351 N.C. 481, 528 S.E.2d 326, cert. denied, 531 U.S. 1018, 148 L.Ed.2d 498 (2000) (holding short-form indictments based on G.S. § 15-144 are in compliance with both the North Carolina and United States Constitutions); State v. Braxton, 352 N.C. 158, 531 S.E.2d 428 (2000), cert. denied, 531 U.S. 1130, 148 L.Ed.2d 797 (2001) (holding that the short-form indictment is sufficient to allege first-degree murder under the United States Constitution in light of Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466, 147 L.Ed.2d 435 (2000)). Furthermore, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit recently held that North Carolina's "short-form indictment that alleges the elements of common law murder is sufficient to satisfy the demands of the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments." Hartman v. Lee, 283 F.3d 190, 199 (2002), cert. denied, ___ U.S. ___, 154 L.Ed.2d 789 (2003). Accordingly, we reject defendant's argument that the short-form murder indictment violates his constitutional rights and overrule his assignment of error.
Judges McCULLOUGH and CALABRIA concur.
Report per Rule 30(e).