Jury Instruction on Flight

In State v. Shelly, 181 N.C. App. 196, 638 S.E.2d 516, disc. review denied, 361 N.C. 367, 646 S.E.2d 768 (2007), the Court held that a jury instruction on flight was proper when the defendant left the scene of the crime and stayed overnight at his cousin's girlfriend's house, "an action that was not part of Defendant's normal pattern of behavior and could be viewed as a step to avoid apprehension." Id. at 209, 638 S.E.2d at 526. In contrast, our Supreme Court, in State v. Thompson, 328 N.C. 477, 490, 402 S.E.2d 386, 393 (1991), held that there was insufficient evidence to support an instruction on flight. The defendant, a military serviceman, left the scene of the crime and went to the military base where he was stationed, essentially "returning to a place where, if necessary, law enforcement officers could find him." Shelly, 181 N.C. App. at 209, 638 S.E.2d at 525. He "essentially . . . returned home." Id., 638 S.E.2d at 526. "A flight instruction is appropriate where 'there is some evidence in the record reasonably supporting the theory that defendant fled after commission of the crime.'" State v. Kornegay, 149 N.C. App. 390, 397, 562 S.E.2d 541, 546 (2002) (quoting State v. Irick, 291 N.C. 480, 494, 231 S.E.2d 833, 842 (1977)) (alteration in original). "The fact that there may be other reasonable explanations for defendant's conduct does not render the instruction improper." Irick, 291 N.C. at 494, 231 S.E.2d at 842. "The relevant inquiry is whether there is evidence that defendant left the scene of the crime and took steps to avoid apprehension." State v. Levan, 326 N.C. 155, 165, 388 S.E.2d 429, 434 (1990).