In the early morning hours of 24 Juneafter a heated confrontation with Ned Rader at Rader's mobile home near Morganton, defendant followed Rader after he left the mobile home. Rader stopped his truck, and defendant pulled his car alongside Rader. Words were exchanged between the occupants of the two parked vehicles; then defendant killed Rader with a single gunshot to the head from a nine-millimeter pistol. After killing Rader, defendant forcibly abducted the female passenger in Rader's truck.
She was taken to a wooded area near defendant's home and raped. After a sentencing proceeding, the jury recommended a sentence of death for the murder conviction. The trial court sentenced in accordance with the recommendation and, additionally, sentenced defendant to consecutive terms of life imprisonment for first-degree rape and for first-degree kidnapping as a habitual felon.
We find no error. On 23 JuneJudy Townsend moved away from the mobile home she had shared with her estranged husband. With Ned Rader's help, she moved her belongings into Rader's mobile home. At dusk, defendant, an acquaintance of Townsend, telephoned Townsend at Rader's and was given directions to Rader's home. Defendant and Lester Wyatt arrived an hour later with beer and white liquor. After the four drank for a few hours, Townsend told the men she was tired and was going to bed.
Defendant followed her into her bedroom, and Rader and Wyatt followed shortly thereafter. Townsend insisted that they all leave so she could go to bed. As defendant and Wyatt walked outside, Townsend heard defendant tell Wyatt, "I am going to kill Ned before the night's over with[;] I want you to take this rifle and watch him and don't let him get out Contact single women Roper North Carolina the trailer. Don't you let him get by.
In response to defendant's threat, Townsend told Rader to stay in the bedroom. She again asked defendant to leave, and he refused. Defendant reentered the mobile home. He sat on a stool in the living room, with a gun in his lap, and said, "I'm not going to go I'm going to rape you and pistol-whip you with this gun if I have to go through Ned Rader to do it.
At approximately a. Upset at Townsend for "call[ing] the law" on him, defendant detached the telephone receiver when the phone subsequently rang. Townsend reattached the receiver and managed to place another phone call, this time to Karen Snyder, who also notified the Sheriff. By this time, Ned Rader had armed himself with a shotgun and told defendant to leave.
As defendant and Wyatt drove away, Rader shot twice above the top of their car.
When members of the Sheriff's Department arrived with Karen Snyder, they advised Rader to take out a warrant against defendant and left. Rader drove with the shotgun across his lap with the barrel pointing out the driver's side window. As they neared the highway, defendant's car appeared from behind and began gaining on them. Townsend lowered her head, and Rader stopped the vehicle. When defendant's car stopped beside Rader's truck, words were exchanged, and defendant killed Rader with a single gunshot to the head from a nine-millimeter pistol belonging to Wyatt. Defendant then appeared at the passenger side door of Rader's truck and ordered Townsend to Contact single women Roper North Carolina out.
Upon her refusal, he broke the window with the stock of the pistol, unlocked the door, pulled her out of the truck, and struck her on the right side of the head with the gun. Defendant threatened to kill Townsend by morning because she "knew too much. Roy Ray Willis, who lived nearby, testified that at approximately a.
He telephoned the Sheriff's Department.
Upon returning to his wife, she related that she had heard a woman say, "Are you going to shoot me, too? Defendant, Wyatt, and Townsend drove to defendant's mobile home, where Wyatt was instructed to remain. Defendant took Townsend into the woods, where he continued to threaten her life, ordered her to disrobe at gunpoint, and then raped her.
When Lester Wyatt failed to appear to testify in response to a subpoena and an extensive search, Wyatt's testimony was admitted in the form of the reading of his pretrial statements made separately in tape-recorded interviews with a detective of the county Sheriff's Department and defendant's counsel. The jury returned verdicts finding the defendant guilty of first-degree murder, first-degree rape, and first-degree kidnapping as a habitual felon.
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Following a sentencing proceeding, the jury found two aggravating circumstances: 1 that defendant had been ly convicted of a felony involving the use or threat of violence to the person, N. The jury unanimously found all of the submitted mitigating circumstances to exist.
On finding that the mitigating circumstances were not sufficient to outweigh the aggravating circumstances and that the aggravating circumstances were sufficiently substantial to call for the death penalty, the jury recommended a sentence of death for the murder.
Defendant was also charged with being a habitual felon. At the hearing on this charge, the State offered into evidence defendant's Burke County criminal court record. Defendant had convictions in for voluntary manslaughter, in for felonious breaking or entering, and in for attempted second-degree rape. Defendant presented no evidence. The jury found defendant to be a habitual felon.
On 17 Junedefendant was sentenced to die for the murder of Ned Rader, in accordance with the jury's verdict. Defendant was also sentenced to life imprisonment for first-degree rape, that sentence to be served consecutive to the sentence imposed for the murder, and to life imprisonment for first-degree kidnapping as a habitual felon, that sentence to be served consecutive to the sentence imposed for rape. Since there is no dispute as to who fired the shot that killed Ned Rader, defendant notes that the central issue in this case is whether the fatal shot was fired in self-defense.
Besides defendant and the deceased, only two people were present and eyewitnesses to the shooting.
One eyewitness to the circumstances of Rader's death was Judy Townsend, who testified for the State. The other eyewitness was Lester Wyatt. Wyatt did not testify in person; consequently, the jury heard reading of the two unsworn statements that he had made prior to the trial. Defendant contends that the trial court's denial of his motions for a recess or continuance and for a mistrial after Lester Wyatt could not be located denied him his sixth amendment right to compulsory process and due process under the United States Constitution and his comparable state constitutional rights.
We conclude that these arguments have no merit. Generally, the granting of a continuance is within the sound discretion of the trial court.
Ungar v. Sarafite, U. Alabama, U. A ificant limitation on that discretion occurs where denial of a continuance in the violation of a defendant's right to due process or his sixth amendment right to compulsory process. The sixth amendment of the United States Constitution provides in pertinent part as follows:. Courts have discussed numerous factors which are weighed to determine whether the failure to grant a continuance rises to constitutional dimensions. Of particular importance are the reasons for the requested continuance presented to the trial judge at the time the request is denied.
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A continuance in a criminal trial essentially involves a question of procedural due process. Implicitly, the courts balance the private interest that will be affected and the risk of erroneous deprivation of that interest through the procedures used against the government interest in fiscal and administrative efficiency. See generally Mathews v. Eldridge, U. When the individual interest at stake is the defendant's life or liberty, the individual interest is especially compelling.
An interest such as, in this case, defendant's life is factored heavily into the analysis. See, e. Oklahoma, U. On the other side of the scale, the government has an interest in procuring testimony within a reasonable time. Hicks v. Wainwright, F. Owens, F. Minnesota, F. Rhay, F. Where highly relevant and noncumulative evidence is excluded by the denial of the continuance, courts have often held that the defendant's constitutional rights outweighed the Contact single women Roper North Carolina interest.
Scroggy, F. Alabama, F. Moreover, cases have further shifted the balance away from the government's interest where ificant culpability by the government is found. Virginia, F. Lefkowitz, F. Abrams v. Singleton, U. Barker, F. North Carolina, F. Lester Wyatt failed to appear in response to a timely and properly issued subpoena by the State.
Subsequent extensive efforts made in good faith by the State to locate him were unsuccessful. Testimony at trial indicated that Wyatt had ly been known to hide out from authorities "until things calmed down or [until authorities] weren't looking for him any more.
The full foliage in the mountains added to the difficulty in locating him. There was no culpability by the State in this case, because the authorities had made extensive efforts to locate him after diligently serving him with a subpoena.
In fact, there were warrants out for Wyatt's arrest on totally different charges in addition to the order for his arrest which the trial court issued in this case.