Local and State Headlines for Tuesday, March 19th, 2019

Madison County Man Sentenced For Second-Degree Murder

(Asheville, NC) -- A Madison County man is heading to prison for the stabbing death of an Asheville woman three years ago. James Norton was sentenced to serve at least 45 years after he pleaded guilty yesterday to second-degree murder. Prosecutors said Norton attacked Christina Kessinger with a screwdriver in a Trader Joe's parking lot and then left her body in a dumpster. A psychological expert for the defense believes Norton was insane at the time of the crime.

Lawsuit Against Conservative Activist Heard In Asheville Today

(Asheville, NC) -- A federal lawsuit against a conservative activist is being heard in Asheville court today. A disabled Asheville woman alleged that she was assaulted outside a rally for Donald Trump at the U.S. Cellular Center in 2016, but charges were later dropped. The lawsuit claims James O'Keefe and his organization Project Veritas later made a video that falsely accused her of being a Democratic operative. The video reportedly led to death threats against the woman.

Driver Charged In Deadly Polk County Wreck

(Polk County, NC) -- A Charlotte man is facing charges in a deadly wreck that happened in Polk County yesterday. Troopers say a Rutherfordton woman slammed her car into the back of a box truck on U.S. Highway 74. The truck driver was cited for stopping illegally in the roadway and charged with misdemeanor death by vehicle.

Woman Sentenced To Prison In Hickory Murder

(Hickory, NC) -- It's 18 years of prison for a woman who pleaded guilty in a Hickory murder yesterday. Investigators said Tina Swink tried covering up the murder of her aunt after her son stabbed the woman to death in November 2016. They allegedly intended to steal her medications. Swink's son is serving a life sentence.

Organizers Cancel Music Festival This Summer

(Asheville, NC) -- An annual summer music fest in Asheville is taking a break this year. The organizers for All Go West Music Festival said on Facebook yesterday that it's not in the cards due to the amount of time and finances it would take to put on the free event. The festival has specialized in bringing local talent to the stage for seven years. They said it may come back next year.

New Lane Restrictions For I-26 In Place

(Asheville, NC) -- Truckers need to be aware of new restrictions in place on I-26 in Asheville. The Department of Transportation says trucks over 26-thousand pounds are prohibited from using the far left lanes going both directions between Long Shoals Road and the French Broad River. A DOT engineer told WLOS-TV that it will hopefully improve mobility through a section of the interstate that sees low speeds at peak times. A project to widen the interstate is slated to start by this fall.

Former State Rep Indicted For Falsifying Campaign Finances

(Raleigh, NC) -- A former state representative is facing charges for lying about his campaign finances. A Mecklenburg County grand jury indicted Rodney Moore yesterday on nine counts, while his treasurer was indicted on one. The State Board of Elections found that Moore left out over 140-thousand-dollars in receipts and expenditures from his reports from 2010 to 2017. The Democrat lost in the primary last May.

Shooting Investigated Near UNC-Charlotte

(Charlotte, NC) -- The CMPD is investigating a shooting outside an apartment complex near UNC-Charlotte. A man was injured during an argument outside 901 Place Apartments last night. He was last listed in critical condition at CMC. Police haven't made any arrests yet.

Deadly Hit-And-Run Driver Faces New DWI Charge

(Charlotte, NC) -- A driver who killed a pedestrian two years ago is facing a DWI charge. Jeffrey Laforce, Junior was arrested last weekend with a reported blood alcohol level almost three times the legal limit. A woman died after she was hit by a car driven by Laforce at South Tryon and Bland streets in March 2017. He drove away from the scene and turned himself in the next day.

Suspect Arrested For Kidnapping, Indecent Liberties

(Charlotte, NC) -- One man is accused of kidnapping and sexually abusing a 12-year-old boy last weekend. The CMPD was called out close to a recreation center on Tuckaseegee Road in west Charlotte on Saturday, where officers arrested the suspect. He was charged with indecent liberties and kidnapping.

Fire Damages Cornelius Apartments

(Cornelius, NC) -- Mecklenburg County fire officials are investigating the cause of a blaze that damaged a Cornelius apartment complex early yesterday. Fire started in the attic at the Admiral Quarters on Nautical Drive. The roof was heavily damaged. Several families were displaced, but no injuries were reported.

Family Selling Farm For New Hospital

(Charlotte, NC) -- A family is close to selling their south Charlotte farm property to Novant Health. The Hall Family Farm started on Providence Road West more than a century ago. Novant Health now wants to buy the land for around a reported 20-million-dollars to make way for a 160-thousand-square-foot hospital. The Halls plan to pick back up where they left off just down the road on Highway 521.

Police Look For Deadly Hit-And-Run Driver

(Zebulon, NC) -- Police in Zebulon are looking for a driver they say drove away from a deadly car crash. They say on Sunday night, an SUV was trying to pass a car on Highway 97 when it hit a Honda head on. The SUV driver took off and the driver of the Honda, 38-year-old Jose Piedra-Valdez, died at the hospital. Police say they're looking for 39-year-old Corey Morgan for felony hit and run and driving with a revoked license.

Medical Examiner: Staircase Prosecutor Died Of Liver Disease

(Durham, NC) -- The autopsy report is in for the prosecutor in the Michael Peterson trial. The report released yesterday says 57-year-old Freda Black died last summer in her South Roxboro Street home from end stage liver disease. Officers who found her dead say her floor was littered with wine bottles, trash and food. The medical examiner said her death wasn't suspicious and was most likely the result of chronic alcoholism.

Daughter Of Nash County Murder Victim Raises Memorial Money

(Nash Co., NC) -- A GoFundMe is trying to raise money for the memorial of a murdered Nash County woman. Earlier this month, 38-year-old Diana Keel's body was found in a wooded area of Edgecombe County. Her husband, Lynn Keel was arrested this weekend in Arizona for allegedly stabbing her to death. Diana Keel's daughter Laura Keel is looking to raise ten-thousand-dollars to put up a memorial for her, and she's already about halfway there.

Raleigh Flasher Accused Of Exposing Himself To Toddler

(Raleigh, NC) -- A Raleigh man is accused of exposing himself to a toddler at a park. Police say late last week, 28-year-old Brandon Barbour exposed his penis to a three-year-old at Chavis Park. He was arrested for exposing himself to two women last summer and has two other similar convictions. Barbour is now facing felony indecent exposure charges because of the age of the victim and is behind bars on 12-thousand-dollars bond.

Young Apex Man Accused Of Exposing Himself To Students

(Apex, NC) -- An Apex man is facing more indecent exposure charges. Last month, 20-year-old Calven Gallimore was arrested for exposing himself at a TJ Maxx. This weekend, he was arrested for exposing himself to at least one child at the playground outside of the Saint Mary Magdalene Catholic School. Gallimore is facing a misdemeanor, but because of the victim's age, he could still be put on the sex offender registry.

East Carolina University's Chancellor Stepping Down

(Greenville, NC) -- The chancellor of East Carolina University is stepping down. Yesterday, Cecil Stanton announced that he would be stepping down after the school's commencement in May. He started at ECU three-years-ago and will serve until June as an advisor to UNC Interim President Bill Roper as he transitions. Stanton will get a nearly 600-thousand-dollar separation payment. He didn't say why he was leaving, but he said he didn't initiate it.

High Point Shooting Believed To Be Gang-Related

(High Point, NC) -- A deadly shooting in High Point is believed to be gang-related. Eighteen-year-old James Murray Junior was killed when someone fired shots at basketball players Sunday night at Washington Terrace Park. A 13-year-old girl was hurt, but she's expected to be okay. Police say the shooting appears to be a result of feuding gangs, but they're not sure if Murray was the intended target. The shooter is still at large.

Three People Plead Guilty In connection With NC Trooper's Death

(Yadkinville, NC) -- Three people are pleading guilty in connection to the death of state Trooper Samuel Bullard in Yadkin County. Dakota Whitt, Mona Mullins and Michaela Harrison entered pleas yesterday. Bullard was killed last May while he was in pursuit of Whitt, who fled a checkpoint. The other two women were passengers. Whitt could spend up to 15-and-a-half years in prison for second-degree murder.

"Operation Spring Cleaning" Leads To Nearly 20 Arrests

(Alamance Co., NC) -- More than a dozen people are arrested after a months-long drug trafficking crackdown in Alamance County. "Operation Spring Cleaning" led to the arrests of 19 "mid-level" drug dealers. It followed a similar operation back in December called the "12 Days of Christmas" where 22 drug dealers were taken into custody.

Home Prices Rise At Slower Rate

(Winston-Salem, NC) -- Home prices in the Piedmont Triad are still rising, but at a slower rate. National real estate company CoreLogic just released its numbers from January. Home prices in the five-county Winston-Salem region rose just under five percent year-over-year. Experts say prices, and overall sales, are expected to pick up due to lower interest rates.

Report: Americans To Wager $8.5 Billion On March Madness

(Washington, DC) -- About eight-and-a-half-billion dollars will be wagered on this year's NCAA men's basketball tournament. The American Gaming Association expects 47-million American adults to lay down bets during the tournament. Forty-million Americans are expected to fill out a bracket. The AGA says the bettors are favoring Duke to win it all.

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