Prejudicial Error Death Sentence
Prejudicial error is shown "'when there is a reasonable possibility that, had the error in question not been committed, a different result would have been reached at the trial.'" State v. Wiggins, 334 N.C. 18, 27, 431 S.E.2d 755, 760 (1993) (quoting N.C. Gen. Stat. 15A-1443(a) (1988)).
Errors affecting a defendant's constitutional rights are presumed to be prejudicial. See State v. Brown, 306 N.C. 151, 164, 293 S.E.2d 569, 578 (1982).
Therefore, the defendant will be entitled to a new trial unless the State demonstrates that the error was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt. See Chapman v. California, 386 U.S. 18, 17 L. Ed. 2d 705, 87 S. Ct. 824 (1967); Brown, 306 N.C. 151, 293 S.E.2d 569; see also N.C. Gen. Stat. 15A-1443(b).
For defendant to have received the death sentence, the State was required to prove either that defendant actually pulled the trigger or that he shared in the triggerman's intent to kill.
See Enmund v. Florida, 458 U.S. 782, 73 L. Ed. 2d 1140, 102 S. Ct. 3368 (1982) (holding that before a defendant may be sentenced to death, he must have killed or attempted to kill or intended or contemplated that life would be taken).