Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. EST
SANCTUARY SEEKER DETAINED
Immigrant deported after seeking refuge in N Carolina church
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) – Federal authorities say a Mexican immigrant who sought refuge in a North Carolina church for nearly a year has been deported.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman Bryan Cox said that Samuel Oliver-Bruno was removed from the U.S. to Mexico at 8:45 p.m. Thursday.
Oliver-Bruno had spent 11 months in a Durham, North Carolina, church before leaving last week to have his fingerprints taken as part of an application to remain in the U.S. to support his son and ailing wife. He was arrested at an immigration office where he went for the screening as part of his application.
More than two-dozen people were arrested after demonstrators blocked a law enforcement van driving Oliver-Bruno away. ICE has said he had no legal basis to be in the U.S. and had run out of appeals.
ELECTION 2018-9TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT
North Carolina elections board back to weigh Congress race
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina congressional race result still hasn’t been finalized as elections officials examine potential absentee ballot irregularities.
The state elections board meets Friday and is likely to again consider the certification in the 9th Congressional District. Board members delayed that certification earlier this week, citing an investigation.
Totals show Republican Mark Harris leading Democrat Dan McCready by 900 votes. McCready conceded the race weeks ago, but the outcome isn’t official.
The board confirmed it took away absentee ballot request paperwork in Bladen County, partially locally in the 9th District. Republicans want Harris declared the winner and have suggested a court fight if not done soon. The board has authority in some cases to order new elections.
A Republican has represented the 9th District since the early 1960s.
Police: DNA leads to arrest of sex offender in cold case
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – Police in North Carolina say rape kit retesting made possible by a federal grant has led to the arrest of a convicted sex offender in a decades-old rape case.
News outlets report 52-year-old Christopher Lynn McNear was arrested Wednesday on charges of first-degree rape and kidnapping. He’s accused in the 1995 rape of a 17-year-old girl, who was held at knifepoint and attacked while walking home from work.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg police Sgt. Darrell Price says the teen was treated at a hospital and a rape kit was collected, but the kit was analyzed before DNA testing existed. He says a federal grant allowed police to run additional tests this year.
It’s unclear if McNear has a lawyer. Court records say he was convicted in 1998 of indecent liberties with a child.
Honeywell expected to announce HQ move to North Carolina
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Industrial conglomerate Honeywell International Inc. is expected to announce that it is moving its headquarters from New Jersey to Charlotte, North Carolina.
An economic development official familiar with discussions between state officials and the company told The Associated Press Thursday that the move is expected to result in 700 to 800 jobs.
A second person present during discussions over the incentives needed to lure Honeywell to North Carolina said expanded tax breaks approved by the state legislature Thursday were designed to attract the company.
They spoke on condition of anonymity, citing the confidentiality of business recruitment.
Honeywell spokeswoman Victoria Ann Streitfeld declined to comment.
Morris Plains, New Jersey-based Honeywell produces core systems for military aircraft, space satellites and automated office buildings as well as fishing line and chemicals.
Associated Press writer Gary D. Robertson contributed to this story.
Legislature finalizes how to spend $300M in hurricane relief
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Nearly $300 million in additional state spending to address North Carolina’s recovery from Hurricane Florence has received quick and unanimous approval from the legislature.
The House voted Thursday to send the relief measure to Gov. Roy Cooper, who is expected to sign it into law. The Senate approved the bill Wednesday, also with no votes in opposition.
The package takes money lawmakers already set aside last month for hurricane recovery and distributes it. The bill gives $240 million to the Agriculture Department to run a program making payments to farmers with destroyed crops and livestock from Florence and Hurricane Michael. Another $10 million helps commercial fishermen.
There’s also $25 million for public school repairs and lunch program damages and $18.5 million for beach renourishment and other coastal projects.
Lawmaker: Incentives change could soon mean HQ in N Carolina
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A lawmaker says making taxpayer-funded payouts more generous to corporations that move high-paying jobs to North Carolina could soon result in a big business relocation.
The General Assembly gave final approval Thursday to a measure more than doubling the per-job payment the state can make to companies that meet job creation and investment levels. The per-job annual cap will rise to $16,000 after Gov. Roy Cooper signs the legislation.
Bill supporters say it will help attract companies with high-salaried executives, and legislators shepherding the bill say one corporate headquarters they didn’t identify by name could soon move to the state because of it.
Mecklenburg County Rep. Bill Brawley said in a committee that he’s been involved in bringing a headquarters and 750 jobs to Charlotte, with $85,000 median salaries.
MISSING BOY-NORTH CAROLINA
Autopsy: Missing North Carolina boy drowned accidentally
GASTONIA, N.C. (AP) – Authorities say a 6-year-old boy who disappeared after running off in a North Carolina park died of accidental drowning.
The Gastonia Police Department said Thursday that a state medical examiner’s report found the cause of death for Maddox Ritch was consistent with drowning. It found no indication the death was anything other than accidental.
Police Chief Robert Helton said his office doesn’t expect to file criminal charges.
Maddox went missing while at a Gaston County park with his father Sept. 22. His body was found days later in a nearby creek.
The boy’s father has said he lost sight of Maddox after the autistic boy broke into a sprint and ran off. The father has said diabetic neuropathy made it hard for him to run after the boy.
Man accused of trying to help militants to stay in prison
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina man who the government sought to prosecute as an example to others considering joining Muslim militant fighters in Syria will stay in federal prison for two more years.
News outlets report a federal judge on Thursday sentenced Basit Sheikh to the maximum under a guilty plea agreement he struck with prosecutors in August. Sheikh has spent five years in federal custody since his 2013 arrest at Raleigh’s airport on his way to the Middle East.
The Cary man pleaded guilty to providing material support to a terrorist group for planning to join al-Qaida-linked fighters.
Sheikh was among the first Americans arrested as part of FBI effort to find eager fighters before they could join terrorist groups in Syria and perhaps later return home full of anti-American ideology.