Local and State Headlines for Thursday, February 21st, 2019

NC Republican Harris Testifies At Voter Fraud Hearing Today

(Raleigh, NC) -- North Carolina Republican Mark Harris is testifying today at an election's board hearing over ballot fraud allegations in the ninth district congressional race. Harris' son told the board yesterday that he warned his father that political operative McRae Dowless was illegally collecting ballots two years ago. He called Dowless a shady character. The results of the race between Harris and Democrat Dan McCready haven't been certified.

Body Found In Jackson County Ditch

(Jackson County, NC) -- The SBI and local detectives are investigating the discovery of a body in Jackson County. WLOS-TV is reporting that a man was found in a ditch just inside the Haywood County line yesterday. Jackson County Sheriff Chip Hall said the man was reported missing last weekend. There's no word on a cause of death.

State Leaders To Consider Asheville Bus Connection To Amtrak

(Asheville, NC) -- State leaders could soon consider funding money to bring a bus system to Asheville that would connect to passenger rail. The proposal is to spend close to 900-thousand-dollars for a two-year service connection to the station in Salisbury, north of Charlotte. North Carolina's House Transportation Chairman told the Citizen-Times this week that the funding discussions for the project will most likely come up next month when the proposed state budget comes out. Success with the bus service would leave the door open for a rail connection in Asheville.

Gas Prices Rising In NC

(Asheville, NC) -- Gas prices in North Carolina are expected to continue an upward climb. Triple-A says the state average has gone up 12-cents in the past week due to rising oil and wholesale gas prices. The average pump prices in Buncombe, Henderson and Haywood counties all remained about the North Carolina average of two-27 yesterday. Prices should remain higher for at least the next week.

Pedestrian Critically Injured After Being Hit By Truck

(Nebo, NC) -- The state highway patrol says a Nebo man was hit by a truck in McDowell County yesterday. He was allegedly walking on the side of U.S. 70 near Tranquility Lane in the rain when it happened. The driver of the truck that hit him stayed at the scene, but it's unclear if any charges will be filed. The pedestrian was rushed to the hospital in critical condition.

Panthers Announce New Practice Field

(Charlotte, NC) -- The Panthers are putting in a new practice facility. Team president Tom Glick told season ticket holders in an email yesterday that a facility called the Bubble with a climate-controlled environment will be in place for this upcoming preseason. There's no word yet on where that practice field will be. Carolina is also raising ticket prices for many seats in the Bank of America Stadium.

Suspect Arrested For West Charlotte Murder

(Charlotte, NC) -- A suspect is facing murder charges for an early Wednesday morning shooting in west Charlotte. The CMPD says a man was killed during a fight at a home on Freedom Drive. Jamarkus Crawford was later arrested for the murder. WBTV is reporting the case is Charlotte's 17th homicide this year, which is up from six through the same time in 2018.

Charlotte Bishop Apologizes To Sex Abuse Victims

(Charlotte, NC) -- The bishop of the Diocese of Charlotte is apologizing to sex abuse victims. Bishop Peter Jugis [[ JOO-ghis ]] said in a video yesterday that he looked forward to getting results from a Vatican summit on clergy sex abuse that begins today. The Charlotte Diocese hasn't released its own list of credibly accused priests. Belmont Abbey College said earlier this week that two former monks were credibly accused of abuse dating back to the 70s.

SouthPark Susan Gives The Middle Finger

(Charlotte, NC) -- A woman known as SouthPark Susan wants to be left alone. Susan Westwood was accused of harassing two African-American women in Charlotte last fall, which was captured on a video that went viral. She gave reporters the middle finger yesterday after leaving her first hearing at the Mecklenburg County courthouse. WBTV says the defense asked for more time to look at evidence, so the hearing was continued.

Mall Evacuated After Small Fire

(Concord, NC) -- Concord fire officials are investigating a small blaze at the Concord Mills mall. The fire started a little after four yesterday afternoon in a corridor at the back of the mall. Everyone was forced to evacuate as the mall closed for the rest of the day for clean-up. The flames were put out quickly, but there's no word yet on exact damage.

Obama Attends UNC-Duke Game

(Durham, NC) -- It's no secret Former President Barack Obama is a basketball fan. He was in the crowd last night at Cameron Indoor Stadium to watch the number-eight ranked North Carolina Tar Heels beat the number one-ranked Duke Blue Devils in Durham in one of sports' biggest rivalries. Security was heightened for the former President, who had a front row seat. He later went on Twitter to wish Duke star freshman Zion Williams well after he sprained a knee when his Nike shoe blew apart. Obama called him an outstanding young man and player. Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski [[ Sha-chef-ski ]] said before the game that he wasn't sure if Obama was going to come, but he wouldn't be surprised.

Wake County Deputy Injured In A Downtown Raleigh Crash

(Wake Co., NC) -- A Wake County deputy is recovering after a crash in downtown Raleigh. The sheriff's department says yesterday afternoon an SUV ran a red light at the intersection of South Dawson Street and West South Street and hit a marked cruiser. The deputy was taken to the hospital, but she's expected to survive. Two other people were injured, but their conditions aren't known. No charges have been announced, but the investigation is ongoing.

Mark Harris' Son Says 'Mistakes Were Made'

(Raleigh, NC) -- The son of Republican congressional candidate Mark Harris is testifying that mistakes were made. John Harris said he could see the man at the center of voter fraud allegations in North Carolina's 9th Congressional District election was shady. John Harris said he warned his father that McCrae Dowless was illegally collecting ballots in April of 2017. He said he reached that conclusion because of the number of absentee ballots being delivered in Bladen County.

Wake County Man Convicted Of Two Murders Could Face Death Penalty

(Raleigh, NC) -- A Wake County man could face the death penalty for double-murder. Yesterday in Raleigh, 30-year-old Seaga Gillard was found guilty of killing a pregnant prostitute just after Brandon Hill shot her boyfriend in 2016 at a hotel. Prosecutors say while Gillard didn't shoot the man, he and Hill were partners in crime. Two women testified that Gillard arranged to pay them for sex, but he and Hill tied them up, raped them and robbed them. He was convicted on two counts of first-degree murder and could be sentenced to death on Monday.

Harnett Deputy Who Was Shot Returning To Work

(Harnett Co., NC) -- The Harnett County deputy shot in the face last year is coming back to work. Last April, James Cook was shot in the face and chest while trying to arrest 16-year-old Mario Garza the Third on stolen weapon charges. Deputies say a bulletproof vest saved Cook's life. The sheriff's office says Deputy Cook is returning to work on Monday.

Wake County Inmate Accused Of Burger King Rape Won't Face Charges

(Wake Co., NC) -- A Wake County inmate accused of raping a woman at a Raleigh Burger King on work release isn't facing new charges. The inmate was arrested last month after he ran away from the Burger King and didn't report back to prison after the alleged attack. ABC-Eleven reports that Wake County prosecutors said yesterday they couldn't find evidence to corroborate the accuser's story. The inmate is now disqualified from the work release program and was moved to Central Prison.

School Bus Involved In Single-Car Wreck In Davidson Co.

(Davidson Co., NC) -- No one is seriously hurt after a school bus crashed in Davidson County. It happened yesterday morning on Front Street in Lexington. State troopers say Krisit Parks swerved off the roadway and got stuck in the mud. About 12 students from Tyro Elementary School were on board at the time. Several students were taken to the hospital as a precaution. Parks was cited for failure to maintain control.

Thomasville Man Facing Child Sexual Assault Charges

(Davidson Co., NC) -- A Thomasville man is accused of sexually abusing at least three children. Fifty-two-year-old Delano Shrewsbury was arrested following a lengthy investigation. The first victim came forward last April, and that's when investigators were able to confirm all three cases of abuse. Shrewsbury is facing several charges, including statutory rape and sex offense of a child. He's behind bars at the Davidson County Jail on a 100-thousand-dollar bond.

Tobacco Barn In Winston-Salem Catches Fire

(Winston-Salem, NC) -- An investigation is underway after a tobacco barn caught fire in Winston-Salem. It broke out yesterday afternoon on Union Cross Road, just north of High Point Road. Heavy flames could be seen coming from the structure. There's no word yet on what caused the fire, and there are no reports of injuries.

Lexington Homeowner Not Facing Charges In Robber's Death

(Lexington, NC) -- The homeowner who shot and killed a suspected burglar in Lexington will not face charges. Davidson County deputies say 21-year-old Silvestre Begley was trying to break into a home on Upton Street last December when the homeowner opened fire. The D.A.'s office ruled the shooting a justifiable homicide.

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