Elements of First Degree Murder In North Carolina
The elements necessary to establish first-degree murder under the felony murder rule are:
(1) that the killing took place;
(2) while the accused was perpetrating or attempting to perpetrate;
(3) one of the enumerated felonies, which includes robbery. State v. Richardson, 341 N.C. 658, 666, 462 S.E.2d 492, 498 (1995); N.C. Gen. Stat. 14-17.
First-degree murder is the intentional and unlawful killing of a human being with malice and with premeditation and deliberation. State v. Taylor, 337 N.C. 597, 607, 447 S.E.2d 360, 367 (1994), cert. denied, 533 S.E.2d 475 (1999).
Premeditation means that the act was thought over beforehand for some length of time; however, no particular amount of time is necessary for the mental process of premeditation. State v. Warren, 348 N.C. 80, 102, 499 S.E.2d 431, 443, cert. denied, 525 U.S. 915, 119 S. Ct. 263, 142 L. Ed. 2d 216 (1998), cert. denied, 351 N.C. 369, 543 S.E.2d 145 (2000), cert. denied, 359 N.C. 286, 610 S.E.2d 714 (2005).
"Deliberation means an intent to kill, carried out in a cool state of blood, in furtherance of a fixed design for revenge or to accomplish an unlawful purpose and not under the influence of a violent passion, suddenly aroused by legal provocation or lawful or just cause." Id.
In Taylor, our Supreme Court held that want of provocation on the part of the deceased, the conduct of and statements of the defendant before and after the killing, the brutality of the murder, and attempts to cover up involvement in the crime are among other circumstances from which premeditation and deliberation can be inferred. Taylor, 337 N.C. at 607-08, 447 S.E.2d at 367.