Local and State Headlines for Wednesday, March 27th, 2019

Federal Judge Rules Against North Carolina Abortion Ban

(Greensboro, NC) -- A federal judge says an abortion law in North Carolina is unconstitutional. The law has been on the books since 1973, and banned a woman from having an abortion after the 20th week of pregnancy. U.S. District Judge William Osteen overturned the law and noted that other courts have ruled against similar measures that banned abortions after a certain amount of time. Under the judge's ruling, abortions would be allowed up to any time at which a doctor determined whether a fetus could live outside the womb. The ruling is due to take effect in 60 days, which allows time for the state of North Carolina to file an appeal.

State Representative Won't Seek Re-Election

(Transylvania County, NC) -- A western North Carolina lawmaker who's been accused of harassing his wife isn't seeking another term in office. State Representative Cody Henson said he is choosing not to run in 2020 in order to spend more time with his children. Henson's wife was granted a protective order against him in February. The Republican represents Transylvania, Polk and parts of Henderson County.

Asheville Man Sentenced For Double-Shooting

(Asheville, NC) -- An Asheville man is heading to prison for shooting two men at an apartment complex last summer. Buncombe County's DA said yesterday that Shamar Powell was found guilty of two counts of assault with a deadly weapon. One victim was shot five times and the other was hit once while they were in a car at Livingston Heights. The judge sentenced Powell to around 14 years in prison.

Transylvania County Democrat Joining Congressional Race

(Transylvania County, NC) -- A Transylvania Democrat is joining the race for a western North Carolina congressional seat. Air Force veteran Steve Woodsmall announced this week that he's running for the 11th district seat currently held by Republican Mark Meadows. He claims that Meadows has betrayed the trust of the people in the district. Meadows has held the seat since 2013.

City Council Approves Hotel

(Asheville, NC) -- A new hotel is coming to Asheville's South Slope. The city council narrowly approved a 56-room hotel on Biltmore Avenue last night. Developer Al Sneeden plans to construct four buildings that the city's planning staff says meets the standards of downtown design guidelines. Council member Brian Haynes says it will cause affordability to live in the city to rise.

Asheville Native Wins Country Music's New Male Artist Award

(Asheville, NC) -- An Asheville native is adding more hardware to his growing list of awards in country music this year. Luke Combs was named New Male Artist of the Year by the Academy of Country Music on Monday. He was also recently named best new country artist at the iHeartRadio Music Awards and the Country Music Association Awards. The A.C. Reynolds High School grad has a song and album at the top of Billboard's country charts this week.

Teacher Facing 70 Counts In Sexual Assault Of Student

(Statesville, NC) -- A Statesville teacher is facing more than 70 counts related to the sexual assault of a student. Investigators say Derone McNeill is accused of sexually assaulting a student multiple times between 2012 and 2014 while he worked at Statesville Christian School. The school district has suspended him with pay from his current job as teaching assistant and bus driver at Pressly Alternative School. McNeill was arrested yesterday on 26 counts each of rape, forcible sex offense and sexual activity with a student.

Comey Calls For Transparency Of Mueller Report During Charlotte Appearance

(Charlotte, NC) -- A former FBI director says Americans need transparency from the Mueller report. James Comey spoke last night at an event hosted by the Learning Society of Queens University at the Belk Theater. NBC News says a Justice Department official expects it will take Attorney General Bill Barr "weeks not months" to prepare a public version of the confidential report. Comey blames President Trump for doing tremendous damage to core American values.

New Year's Day Murder Suspect Arrested

(Charlotte, NC) -- A suspect is now in jail for a January 1st murder in northeast Charlotte. The CMPD arrested the 19-year-old yesterday on charges of first-degree murder and assault with a deadly weapon. The victim was reportedly shot on Highlander court early on New Year's Day before he ran to his front porch and died.

Teen Dies From Bacterial Meningitis

(Stanly County, NC) -- A 15-year-old student from South Stanly High School is dead from bacterial meningitis. His family informed the Stanly County school district on Monday about the death. It is not considered to be contagious. NBC Charlotte says the boy had just transferred from a Charlotte school to Stanly County a couple of weeks before contracting the illness.

Man Arrested After Removing Neighborhood Median

(Union County, NC) -- An Indian Trail man is accused of illegally removing a median in his neighborhood. Ryan Kevin Smith was seeking permission from the town council to remove it because it blocked a direct turn into his driveway in the Brandon Oaks neighborhood, but they denied his request. He allegedly paid a foreman with his personal funds to remove part of the median with an excavator. The Union County sheriff's office said yesterday that Smith was charged with injury to real property and felony conversion.

Superintendent Releases Budget Proposal

(Charlotte, NC) -- CMS superintendent Clayton Wilcox is proposing a one-point-six-billion-dollar budget for next school year. The proposal includes a 15 percent hike in funds he'll request from Mecklenburg County. Much of that increase comes from a teacher and staff pay raise. Wilcox is also seeking additional money for social support programs and school security. The community can get a closer look at the breakdown at a workshop one week from today at Mallard Creek High School.

One Still At Large From The Nash County Jailbreak

(Nash Co., NC) -- There is still one Nash County inmate on the loose. On Monday, five inmates broke out of jail by breaking open an exercise yard fence and climbing two gates. Two of the inmates were caught at a Rocky Mount hotel room Monday night, and two others were caught yesterday morning at a Farmville home. Deputies say they're on the lookout for Laquaris Battle and think he may be in the Castalia area. Information leading to his capture could be worth 15-hundred-dollars.

Nash County Murder Suspect Not Granted Bond

(Nash Co., NC) -- The Nash County man arrested in Arizona for his wife's murder is back in town. Yesterday, Rexford Lynn Keel made his first North Carolina court appearance since his extradition. He's accused of stabbing Diana Keel to death, and dumping her body in the woods of Edgecomb County. The judge said Keel wasn't entitled to bond so he will remain behind bars until his next court date.

Arrest Made In A Deadly Hit And Run

(Raleigh, NC) -- A man has been arrested for a deadly hit and run that killed a Raleigh teen. Police say yesterday morning, 62-year-old John Leach hit 15-year-old Jaylyn Bryant on Rock Quarry Road. Bryant was taken to the hospital and pronounced dead. Police say they picked up Leach after he tried to report that he was the victim of another hit and run somewhere else. Leach is charged with felony hit and run causing serious injury or death and obstructing justice.

NC Woman Arrested For Having A Gun At A Girls Dance Competition

(Richmond, VA) -- Police are identifying a North Carolina woman they say pulled a gun at a Virginia dance competition. They say 36-year-old Falan Brown of High Point pulled a gun at a high school during a Richmond area dance competition this weekend. Officials say the gun came out when a fight started. That fight broke out as soon as the champion of the competition was announced. There were about 800-people there and luckily no one was seriously injured. Brown has been released on bond, able to return to North Carolina before she's due back in Richmond for her May court appearance.

Murder Charges For A Drug Overdose

(Orange Co., NC) -- Police say a drug dealer sold drugs in Orange County that killed someone. Yesterday, Hillsborough Police arrested and charged Nathan Windham with murder for the overdose death of a young man in November. They say he sold heroin and a counterfeit controlled substance to the 18-year-old man that led to his death. Windham is behind bars in Orange County on a 600-thousand-dollar secured bond.

Man Sentenced For A Crash That Killed A Jail Employee

(Durham, NC) -- A Durham man is going to prison for a crash that killed a jail worker. Yesterday, 34-year-old Tomaris Parker pleaded guilty to crashing a stolen car into a vehicle during rush hour traffic, killing 24-year-old Brooke Maynard while trying to flee the police last summer. Maynard was a recent graduate from the sheriff's training academy. Parker will have to spend between 20 and 25 years in prison as part of his plea deal.

Greensboro High School Senior Shot, Killed

(Greensboro, NC) -- An investigation is underway after a high school senior was gunned down in Greensboro. Seventeen-year-old James Currie was shot and killed Sunday night on Montcastle Drive. He was a senior at Dudley High and was on track to graduate this June, according to the principal there. Police have not said what sparked the shooting or who is responsible.

Three People Arrested On Suspicion Of Kidnapping, Robbery In Asheboro

(Asheboro, NC) -- Three people are under arrest in Randolph County, accused of kidnapping and robbing a woman. Deputies were called to the scene early Monday morning on Rising View Way in Asheboro. They say a woman was getting a ride from a couple when she was dropped off at a trailer, attacked and robbed. The three suspects, identified as Kelly Brower, Hank Smith and William Bennett, took off with the victim's money and cell phone and left her behind. They were later arrested.

Small Quake Shakes Randolph Co.

(Randolph Co., NC) -- There are no reports of extreme damage or injuries after an earthquake in southern Guilford County. A magnitude-2.6 quake hit just north of Archdale around 12:30 yesterday morning, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. It was felt in Randolph, Davidson, Forsyth and Alamance counties as well.

Two Teens In Custody After Police Chase, Crash In Randolph Co.

(Randolph Co., NC) -- A 14-year-old girl and a 15-year-old boy are accused of stealing an SUV in Randolph County, and then leading deputies on a chase before crashing it. Deputies tried to stop the Black Chevy Tahoe yesterday morning on I-73/74, near McDowell Road, for reckless driving. The driver took off and lost control of the SUV at New Hope Church Road, taking out a street sign. Both suspects were arrested and are due in court today.

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