State v. Dail, 191 N.C. 231 (1926)

Feb. 17, 1926 · Supreme Court of North Carolina
191 N.C. 231


(Filed 17 February, 1926.)

Receiving Stolen Goods — Larceny—Evidence—Connected Crimes — Criminal Law.

Under an indictment charging defendant with stealing an automobile, and with receiving same with a felonious intent, knowing at the time it was feloniously stolen, evidence that he and his associates who were stopping at his home, and from whom he had received it, used it under a plan then formed to burglarize a store, is competent to disprove the defendant’s good faith in receiving the-automobile under the circumstances, and to show his guilty knowledge and intent in the matter.

Appeal by defendant from Calvert, J., at'November Term, 1925, of PbequimaNS.

Criminal prosecution tried upon an indictment charging the defendant with the larceny of an automobile, the property of one Cahoon, valued at $300, and with receiving same, with a felonious intent, knowing at the time that it had been feloniously stolen or taken.

From an adverse verdict and judgment pronounced thereon, the defendant appeals, assigning errors.

Attorney-General Brummitt and Assistant Attorney-General Boss for the State.

Herbert Leary and Ward & Grimes for defendant.

Stacy, C. J.

There was ample evidence offered on the hearing to warrant the jury in finding, as it did, that the defendant, with a felonious intent, received the automobile in question, the property of one *232Gaboon, -valued at $300, from Sam Lougee and Lewis Powell, knowing at the time tbat tbe same bad been feloniously stolen or taken and carried away by them. C. S., 4250; S. v. Caveness, 78 N. C., 484; S. v. Hayes, 187 N. C., 490.

There was evidence tbat tbe same persons who stole tbe automobile, used it in burglarizing tbe residence of Townsend Chappell, a blind merchant of Perquimans County. Tbe defendant herein was also under indictment, charged with being an-accessory to said burglary. Receipt of tbe automobile was admitted by tbe defendant, but according to bis contention, be bought the same in good faith and bad no reason to believe tbat it bad been stolen. Tbe State, on tbe other band, contended tbat tbe two men who stole tbe automobile were stopping at tbe home of tbe defendant, and while they were negotiating in regard to its sale, plans were then being made and perfected by the three to burglarize tbe Chappell home in order to get some money. Tbe two transactions or plots were thus inseparably connected, and evidence of tbe burglary was offered by tbe State to disprove tbe defendant’s claim of good faith or to show bis guilty knowledge and intent in buying and receiving the-automobile.

Tbe defendant stressfully contends tbat error was committed to bis prejudice in permitting tbe State to offer this evidence, over objection, of a separate offense, tending to show tbat a burglary bad been perpetrated in tbe community and in connection with which tbe defendant was then under indictment, but not on trial, as an accessory before tbe fact to such principal felony. C. S., 4175.

It is undoubtedly tbe general rule of law tbat evidence of a distinct substantive offense is inadmissible to prove another and independent crime, tbe two being wholly disconnected and in no way related to each other. S. v. Adams, 138 N. C., 688; S. v. McCall, 131 N. C., 798; S. v. Graham, 121 N. C., 623; S. v. Frazier, 118 N. C., 1257; S. v. Jeffries, 117 N. C., 727; S. v. Shuford, 69 N. C., 486. But to this, there is tbe exception as well established as tbe rule itself, tbat proof of tbe commission of other like offenses is competent to show tbe quo animo, intent, design, guilty knowledge or scienter, or to make out tbe res gestee, or to exhibit a chain of circumstantial evidence in respect to tbe matter on trial, when such crimes are so connected with tbe offense charged as to throw light upon one or more of these questions. S. v. Simons, 178 N. C., 679. Proof of other like offenses is also competent to show tbe identity of tbe person charged with tbe crime. 8. v. Weaver, 104 N. C., 758. Tbe exception to tbe rule has been fully discussed by Walker, J., in S. v. Stancill, 178 N. C., 683, and in a valuable note to tbe case of People v. Moleneux, 168 N. Y., 264, as reported in 62 L. R. A., 193-357.

*233We think the evidence, above mentioned, and which forms the basis of defendant’s main assignment of error, clearly falls within the exception to the rule and was properly admitted. S. v. Miller, 189 N. C., 695; S. v. Murphy, 84 N. C., 742.

The other .exceptions are without special merit. We have found no reversible error on the record, and hence the verdict and judgment will be upheld.

No error.