Brief Fact Summary.
Young appealed a death sentence conviction after committing an armed robbery that ended up in the death of a victim.
Synopsis of Rule of Law.
A person can be sentenced to death because an accomplice committed murder during a felony.
In the process of robbing Cooke, Young told Cooke to get some liquor from his kitchen, and upon delivering the liquor, Young stabbed Cooke. Young then instructed an accomplice to stab Cooke until his death. Young and his accomplices searched Cooke’s home for valuables. Young was sentenced to death and appealed.
Whether a person can be sentenced to death because an accomplice committed murder during a felony?
No. Young is resentenced to life imprisonment. The death penalty is disproportionate to more heinous crimes committed in North Carolina that were not subject to the death penalty. In far worse cases where the death penalty was a possibility in North Carolina, the death penalty was not imposed.
The death penalty is appropriate in instances of capital murder where aggravating circumstances display the defendant’s disregard for human life. Aggravating circumstances are facts in the case that display the defendant’s disdain for the live surrounding his actions.