North Carolina

North Carolina does not allow felony murder when a co-perpetrator is killed

NORTH CAROLINA — Not allowing a felony murder charge when a co-perpetrator is killed is established in case law.

§ 14-17.  Murder in the first and second degree defined; punishment.

(a)        A murder which shall be perpetrated by means of a nuclear, biological, or chemical weapon of mass destruction as defined in G.S. 14-288.21, poison, lying in wait, imprisonment, starving, torture, or by any other kind of willful, deliberate, and premeditated killing, or which shall be committed in the perpetration or attempted perpetration of any arson, rape or a sex offense, robbery, kidnapping, burglary, or other felony committed or attempted with the use of a deadly weapon shall be deemed to be murder in the first degree, a Class A felony, and any person who commits such murder shall be punished with death or imprisonment in the State’s prison for life without parole as the court shall determine pursuant to G.S. 15A-2000, except that any such person who was under 18 years of age at the time of the murder shall be punished with imprisonment in the State’s prison for life without parole.

CASE LAW — State v. Bonner

The issue is not whether these defendants may escape altogether criminal liability for their participation in the events of 29 May 1990; instead, the narrow issue is whether the common law theory of felony murder, as preserved in N.C.G.S. § 14-17, *599 will be extended to cover situations such as this, so that cofelons may be charged with first-degree murder as a result of the deaths of their accomplices at the hands of an adversary to the crimes. Based on longstanding precedent from this Court, and in accordance with the overwhelming majority of jurisdictions that have addressed this issue, we hold that there is no felony murder liability on the facts of this case.

Link to the Law — HERE

Link to the Case Law — HERE

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