Evidence to Support Second Degree Murder In North Carolina

In State v. Johnson, 182 N.C. App. 63, 641 S.E.2d 364, disc. review denied, 361 N.C. 433, 649 S.E.2d 395 (2007), the defendant argued that there was insufficient evidence to support a charge of second degree murder because the State failed to prove that the defendant did not act imperfectly in the defense of others. the Court pointed out that the defendant intentionally shot the victim after the victim tackled the defendant's brother. Applying the presumption of malice, the Court concluded: "This evidence alone is sufficient to overcome the required threshold to submit the charge of second-degree murder to the jury." Id. at 71, 641 S.E.2d at 369. With respect to the evidence of imperfect self-defense, the Court held: "Any evidence of imperfect self-defense goes to the jury determination of whether defendant's actions actually rose to the level of self-defense. The jury was instructed on imperfect defense of others and defendant's attorney was permitted to argue such a theory to the jury. Where there was sufficient evidence to instruct the jury on the charge of second-degree murder, we find no error in the court's submission of the charge of second-degree murder." Id. at 71, 641 S.E.2d at 369-70.