Local and State Headlines for Friday, March 22nd, 2019

Suspect Guilty In Rape, Murder Of WNC Artist

(Washington, DC) -- A man is guilty in the rape and murder of a Western North Carolina woman two years ago in Washington, DC. Corrina Mehiel of Burnsville was in DC as part of an art work-study program at George Washington University when she was attacked. Co-workers found her tied up and stabbed inside her apartment. WTOP-FM says El Hadj Toure was convicted yesterday and awaits sentencing in June.

Hurricane Florence, Michael Retired From Name List

(Undated) -- The names of two hurricanes that impacted North Carolina last year are being retired. The World Meteorological Organization said yesterday that Florence and Michael will no longer be used to name future hurricanes due to the devastation they caused in the southeast. The storms killed nearly 100 people and caused 50-billion-dollars in damage in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Virginia and Florida.

Governor Visits Asheville Brewery To Declare Beer Month

(Asheville, NC) -- April is beer month in North Carolina. Governor Roy Cooper stopped off at Highland Brewery in Asheville yesterday to sign the official proclamation. He noted that Asheville has more breweries per capita than anywhere else in the U.S. There are roughly 300 breweries across the state.

Driver Who Hit Fire Truck Accused Of Texting

(Swannanoa, NC) -- A man who slammed his car into a fire truck in Swannanoa is being accused of texting and driving. His car crossed the center line on Riceville Road Wednesday night and hit the truck head-on. The driver and a few firefighters were injured. WLOS-TV says he's been charged with texting while driving and failure to maintain his lane.

Convicted Rapist Granted Parole

(Buncombe County, NC) -- A man convicted of a Buncombe County rape 35 years ago is being granted parole. Shannone McClintick was sentenced to life for the rape and robbery of an 18-year-old at a Fairview mobile home in late 1983. Officials told WLOS-TV that he wouldn't be paroled under today's guidelines, but his crime pre-dated the ruling.

McDowell County Man Wins Millions In Scratch-Off

(McDowell County, NC) -- A McDowell County man is the winner of a North Carolina lottery scratch-off that he calls life-changing. Larry Fitzgerald bought a winning four-million-dollar 100X [[ 100 times ]] The Cash ticket at a Nebo convenience store Monday. He'll take home just under one-point-seven-million-dollars after choosing the lump sum with taxes taken out. Fitzgerald said he figured he'd win sooner or later.

CMS Goes To Social Media To Fight Guns

(Charlotte, NC) -- Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools is using social media to fight guns. The district launched the hashtag GunsCant this week amid its efforts to keep weapons out of schools through safety screenings. The purpose of the hashtag is to encourage students to focus on things they can do and what guns can't do. Administrators are encouraging students, staff and the community to take part on social media.

CMPD Looking For Missing Woman

(Charlotte, NC) -- The CMPD is looking for a missing Charlotte woman. Vatsla Watkins was last seen when she left home on Monday in a 2004 silver Mercedes-Benz with a Carolina Panthers plate. NBC Charlotte is reporting that she is the wife of former Mecklenburg County GOP chairman Curtis Watkins.

Hip-Hop Group Leader Sentenced For Fraud

(Charlotte, NC) -- The leader of a Charlotte hip-hop group is heading to prison for bank and wire fraud conspiracy. U.S. Attorneys said yesterday that Damonte Withers was sentenced to nine years and must pay back over one-million-dollars in restitution. Court documents revealed that Withers and co-conspirators recruited victims to hand over their bank information before depositing fake or stolen checks into their accounts, all while withdrawing the cash before the banks caught on. Withers fronts the group Freebandz Gang.

State Rep. Beasley Running For Lt. Governor

(Charlotte, NC) -- A state representative from Charlotte is running for lieutenant governor. Democrat Chaz Beasley announced his campaign yesterday. He is in the midst of his second term serving District 92 in the state House. Five other Democratic candidates have announced they're also seeking to fill the seat left open by Republican Dan Forest.

Charlotte Man Gets Probation For Deadly Wreck

(Charlotte, NC) -- A Charlotte man will serve three years probation for a wreck that killed two people in February last year. Prosecutors said the car driven by Ray Mewborn crashed into a vehicle that was sitting in the center lane of I-77 near LaSalle Street. He allegedly admitted to drinking alcohol not long before it happened. The judge sentenced him yesterday up to two years, which was suspended.

Runway Construction Coming Up At Charlotte-Douglas

(Charlotte, NC) -- Neighborhoods around Charlotte-Douglas Airport are expected to hear the effects of an upcoming runway closure. Aircraft will be re-routed to alternate runways between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. beginning April 1st so crews can work on taxiway construction. Some homes could experience more overhead noise than usual.

Husband Arrested For Wife's Murder In AZ Is Being Extradited Today

(Nash Co., NC) -- The Nash County man accused of killing his wife is expected to be extradited back to North Carolina today. Last week, Diana Keel was found dead in the woods of Edgecomb County. Her husband, Rexford Lynn Keel was charged with her murder and arrested days later in Arizona. Yesterday, Keel waived extradition in an Arizona court, meaning he should be on his way back today for his murder trial.

Prosecutors Say A Silver Alert Was Issued By A Murderer As A Diversion

(Brunswick Co., NC) -- Prosecutors think a Brunswick County man issued a Silver Alert to cover his tracks after a murder. Yesterday, 71-year-old Phillip Brock appeared in court for the death of his wife Judy Brock. Her body was found in a wooded area of Sampson County this week. Prosecutors think Brock called in the Silver Alert last Friday to send police on a wild goose chase.

Settlement Reached For Family Of A Teen Who Killed Herself In Jail

(Durham, NC) -- A settlement has been reached for the family of a Durham teen who killed herself in jail. In 2017, 17-year-old Uniece Fennell was found hanging in her Durham County Detention Center cell by a bed sheet. The family's lawsuit says she was regularly bullied or harassed by inmates and jail staffers. An investigation showed that jail employees didn't follow protocol in checking on her regularly, even after learning she was a threat to herself. Yesterday, a 650-thousand-dollar agreement was made with Fennell's family to settle the wrongful death lawsuit.

Man Accused Of Shooting A Virginia Deputy Is Arrested In NC

(Wake Co., NC) -- The man accused of shooting a sheriff's deputy in the Richmond, Virginia area is behind bars in Wake County. Police say on Tuesday a deputy with the Henrico County Sheriff's Department was visiting a female deputy at her home when her ex-boyfriend showed up, shot the male deputy and shot at the female. The shooter was identified as 33-year-old Theron Shackleford. U.S. Marshals tracked Shackleford to Cary, North Carolina and arrested him late Wednesday night. The injured deputy was shot in the chest and ankle, he remains in critical condition.

North Carolina Schools Gets A Failing Grade For Lead In The Water

(Raleigh, NC) -- Twenty-two schools in North Carolina failed the water quality test because of traces of lead. Lead is extremely dangerous for anyone, but children are much more vulnerable to it, which is why water taps in 86 Wake, Durham and Orange County schools were tested. The results found that 16-percent of schools have at least one tap with unsafe levels of lead. The entire state received a failing grade for school water quality, 21 other states also got a failing grade. A bill has been introduced to spend eight million-dollars for water testing.

Clayton Student Killed In The Road

(Clayton, NC) -- Clayton police are identifying a high school student who was hit and killed trying to cross the street this week. They say 18-year-old Clayton High School senior Gustavo Valadez darted across the Lombard Street section of North Carolina 42 yesterday morning. Police say they don't think he was distracted when he stepped in front of the vehicle. No arrests have been announced yet, but police continue to investigate.

Lawmakers Ask Trump To Release Greensboro Pastor Imprisoned In China

(Washington, DC) -- Several lawmakers are reaching out to President Trump to help release a Greensboro pastor imprisoned in China. Pastor John Cao [[ tsao ]] was taken into custody by Chinese security guards two years ago during a return trip to the country. He was serving as a missionary and providing humanitarian aid at the time. More than a dozen lawmakers, including several from North Carolina, wrote a letter to the president asking him to use available resources to make sure Cao receives proper medical care and is released.

Moment Of Silence Held For Teen Killed In Rockingham Co. Crash

(Rockingham Co., NC) -- A moment of silence will be held at Rockingham Early College High School this morning in honor of a student who was killed in a crash. The accident happened yesterday evening on Dibrell Road, near N.C. 700. Troopers say 17-year-old Trevor Wall lost control of his car, went down an embankment and hit a tree. He died at the scene. Grief counselors will also be on hand today to help students cope with Wall's death.

Construction Worker Killed At Job Site In High Point

(High Point, NC) -- An investigation is underway after a construction worker was killed on a job site in High Point. It happened this past Wednesday on Penny Road, between N.C. 68 and Willard Dairy Road. Officials with the state Department of Labor say an off-road vehicle rolled over the worker. Triangle Grading and Paving was his employer and reported the incident.

Ex Randolph Co. Sheriff's Deputy Facing New Child Sex Offense Charges

(Randolph Co., NC) -- An ex-Randolph County sheriff's deputy is facing new child sex charges. Thirty-three-year-old Wayne Garner was arrested late last week on three counts of indecent liberties with a minor. The new charges come after Garner's arrest in mid-January on suspicion of sexual exploitation of a minor. He posted bond and is due to appear in court on March 25th.

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