Local and State Headlines for Tuesday, March 5th, 2019

New Election Date for 9th District of North Carolina

(Raleigh, NC) -- Voters in North Carolina's 9th Congressional District know when they will be heading to the polls again. The Board of Elections unanimously voted on the dates of a new election yesterday after the results of November's midterms were deemed tainted by election fraud. A primary will be held on May 14th and the general election will be held on September 10th if there is no runoff. The general election will be held on November 5th in the case of a primary runoff.

Alleged Cemetery Vandal Caught

(Graham County, NC) -- A woman is now facing charges for vandalizing a Graham County cemetery. Deputies arrested 58-year-old Dawn Phillips on 61 counts of desecrating grave sites after headstones were overturned at the Lone Oak Cemetery last Saturday. Phillips is reportedly from Kentucky, but she was arrested before making it very far. The church neighboring the cemetery had surveillance cameras which allegedly captured Phillips walking around the property at the time of the vandalism.

Former Deputy Arrested For Breaking And Entering, Drug Charges

(Haywood County, NC) -- A former Haywood County deputy in being charged for breaking and entering, along with drug trafficking, stemming from an SBI investigation. The bureau began probing the actions of Kevin Smathers after he was fired last August for allegedly taking items from the evidence room. He worked with the Haywood County Sheriff's Office for more than a decade. Investigators said yesterday that Smathers was arrested for over a dozen felony counts of breaking and entering, in addition to trafficking opium or heroin.

Policy To Help Prevent Spread Of Chronic Wasting Disease Approved

(Undated) -- The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission is implementing policy changes to help stop the spread of chronic wasting disease to the deer population. It's a fatal neurological sickness that has hit deer in half the states in the U.S. A rule that goes into effect August 1st will prohibit the import of whole deer carcasses from outside the state. The change was one of more than 40 adopted by the commission last month.

Police Seek Vandal Who Targeted Community Center

(Waynesville, NC) -- Waynesville police are looking for information on vandalism at a local community center. Officers said more than 25-hundred-dollars-worth of food was destroyed at the Pigeon Community Multicultural Development Center around a week ago. The center is still repairing from 100-thousand-dollars in damages from a kitchen fire in January.

Hendersonville Considers Quarter-Cent Sales Tax For City Improvements

(Hendersonville, NC) -- Hendersonville officials will decide this week on the future of a possible quarter-cent sales tax. The city council is scheduled to vote Thursday on whether or not to ask the state to allow local voters to decide on the sales tax. It's expected to pull in two-million-dollars-a-year for maintenance projects and street construction. The idea is to generate sales tax dollars from out-of-town visitors who come in and spend money.

Teen Arrested For Rock Hill Double-Murder

(Rock Hill, SC) -- A teenager is being accused of murdering two people in Rock Hill. The pair was found shot to death a week ago after the car they were in crashed into a fence east of downtown. The CMPD helped Rock Hill Police in the arrest of 16-year-old Saadiq Robinson at a home in Charlotte yesterday. A drive-by shooting on the same street the night before hasn't been connected with this case.

Charlotte Mayor Sends Letter In Response To Unrest Over ICE

(Charlotte, NC) -- Mayor Vi Lyles is trying to assure the community that the city is working to help the immigrant community. A letter she sent out yesterday came in response to a city council meeting last week that was met with dozens of activists wanting her to take a stand against recent ICE raids in North Carolina. Lyles is asking people to spread the word about upcoming collaboration sessions being held by the new Immigrant Community Committee. She says problems are best solved when people come together to find ways to work together.

Prosecution Rests In Borum Murder Trial

(Charlotte, NC) -- A murder trial connected to the Charlotte riots in 2016 is continuing today. The state rested its case on Monday against Rayquan Borum, who is accused of shooting Justin Carr to death in uptown. Prosecutors argued that Borum was aiming to shoot police, but hit Carr instead. The defense is expected to present its case today. It's unclear if Borum will take the stand.

Basketball Player Suspended For Racial Slur

(Charlotte, NC) -- A basketball player for Ardrey Kell High School is suspended from tonight's state playoff game for allegedly using a racial slur on social media. Head coach Mike Craft told the Charlotte Observer last night that the player's comments are not representative of the program. The slur was reportedly made on the Snapchat app in reference to players from West Charlotte. Ardrey Kell and West Charlotte play tonight in the state quarterfinals at Vance High School.

Report: Coal Ash Contamination In Belmont Ranks High

(Belmont, NC) -- An environmental report is revealing an alarming discovery at Duke Energy's Allen Steam Station in Belmont. The Environmental Integrity Project and Earthjustice detailed instances of contaminants that have leaked into groundwater at many of the nation's coal-fired power plants. WSOC-TV reported that cobalt from coal ash dumps at the Belmont site is leaking into groundwater more than 500 times over the safe level. That makes the steam station the second worst in the U.S.

Wake County Man Convicted Of Two Murders Sent To Death Row

(Raleigh, NC) -- For the first time in more than a decade, a Wake County jury is recommending the death penalty. Last month, the jury found 30-year-old Seaga Gillard guilty of killing a pregnant prostitute and her boyfriend in a motel in 2016. Prosecutors said after the murder, Gillard used his phone to search what the penalties for double homicides in North Carolina are. The jury unanimously agreed that for him, it's the death penalty.

Police Search For Two Suspects In Siler City Walmart Stabbing

(Siler City, NC) -- Police in Siler City are looking for two men they say stabbed a Walmart employee. They say the two men attacked the 57-year-old woman in her car yesterday morning while she was enjoying her break. She's in the hospital in serious condition. Police released surveillance footage that shows the two men running away. This happened at the same Walmart where just a couple of weeks ago two men attached razor blades to shopping cart handles.

Confederate Statue Decorated With KKK Hoods

(Raleigh, NC) -- Police are investigating another incident involving Confederate statues in Central North Carolina. Police say they recently found what appears to be sheets made to look like KKK hoods on the monument to North Carolina Women of the Confederacy. The statue is of a woman holding a book and a young boy holding a sword. It has stood on Capitol Square since 1914.

Cold Snap Moving In Will Dust Cumberland County With Snow

(Raleigh, NC) -- Some areas south of the Triangle could be in for snow this morning. Forecasters say before the dawn parts of Fayetteville and Cumberland County could see a light dusting of snow as a cold front moves in. While Raleigh isn't in for snow today, temperatures will be in the mid-20s this morning. The high will only reach about 42 before dropping back down into the 20s tonight.

Bill Would Increase Penalties For Shooting An Officer

(Raleigh, NC) -- Lawmakers in North Carolina are considering a new bill that would increase penalties for anyone who shoots an officer. Currently, assault with a firearm is a class e felony and the shooter could get off with probation. Under the proposed bill, the minimum sentence would be three-years in prison. If approved, it would go into effect before the end of the year.

Missing Winston-Salem Woman Found Dead In Car

(Forsyth Co., NC) -- The Winston-Salem mother who vanished last month is dead. Thirty-year-old Kristen McNeal was last seen leaving her home on February 17th. Her vehicle was found in a stream along Watkins Ford Road yesterday afternoon, and she was found dead inside of it. Highway patrol troopers say McNeal crashed the car down an embankment and into the stream. They say it happened several days ago.

Greensboro Man Charged With Apartment Stabbing

(Greensboro, NC) -- A Greensboro man is accused of stabbing two people at a local apartment complex. Joshua Conner is charged with two counts of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill or seriously injure. The scene unfolded Saturday afternoon at an apartment on Cunningham Street. Both victims are expected to be okay.

Greensboro Native Ken Jeong To Deliver UNC Greensboro Commencement

(Greensboro, NC) -- Actor and Piedmont Triad native Ken Jeong [[ juh-ng ]] will deliver the commencement address at UNC Greensboro. Jeong graduated from Page Senior High School in Greensboro in 1986 and was a practicing physician until his breakout role in "Knocked Up." UNCG's commencement will be held at the Greensboro coliseum on May 10th.

South Carolinian Claims $1.5 Billion Mega Millions Jackpot

(Columbia, SC) -- A person in South Carolina is claiming the largest lottery jackpot for a single winner in history. The state's lottery association says the sole winner of October's one-point-five-billion-dollar Mega Millions jackpot will remain anonymous. The person has chosen to get paid out by the one-time cash option, meaning they're collecting over 877-million-dollars.

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