State v. Hurst

The Facts

The victim approached her automobile which was parked at a shopping center.  She put her pocketbook and grocery bags containing personal property in the trunk of her automobile.  As she was entering her automobile the defendant appeared and pointed a gun at her. He took her car keys and drove the automobile away.

Procedural History

The Supreme Court of the State of North Carolina reversed the decision of the appellate court which disapproved the judgment convicting defendant of felonious larceny. The court remanded the proceeding and ordered to affirm the judgment convicting defendant of two separate crimes, i.e. felonious larceny and armed robbery.


An offense is a lesser included offense when all its essential elements are included in the greater offense and proof of all elements in the latter will prove all elements of the former. If a defendant is convicted of two distinct crimes based on the crime episode where neither crime can be a lesser included offense of the other, the perpetrator must bear liability for both crimes.


As per N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-87 “armed robbery” belongs to a class D felony is committed by any person who, having in possession or with the use or threatened use of any firearms or other dangerous weapon unlawfully takes or attempts to take personal property from another or from any place of business or residence at any time. The statute specifically indicates the condition of committing the crime whereby the life of a person is endangered or threatened. Persons who aid or abet any such person or persons in the commission of such crime, shall bear the same criminal liability.

N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-72 prescribes criminal liability for larceny but does not formulate its definition. “The elements of larceny, as defined by case law, are that the defendant: (1) took the property of another; (2) carried it away; (3) without the owner’s consent; and (4) with the intent to deprive the owner of the property permanently.”

The Issue

Whether two offenses of the same nature were carved out of the same transaction and were properly the subject of a single investigation.

The Holding/Reasoning

The Supreme Court of the State of North Carolina argued that “proof of the elements of armed robbery did not have to include proof that the goods taken were worth more than $ 400, which was an element of felonious larceny.” In view of the facts the court concluded that felonious larceny should not have to be regarded as a lesser included offense of armed robbery and therefore, defendant was properly convicted of both crimes.

Comments are closed.