AP-NC Newswatch

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March 18, 2019
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March 18, 2019
AP-NC Newswatch





Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. EDT



East Carolina University chancellor announces resignation
GREENVILLE, N.C. (AP) – The chancellor of East Carolina University has announced plans to resign after about three years in the job.
The University of North Carolina system issued a news release Monday saying that Chancellor Cecil P. Staton will step down effective May 3. He’s slated to remain in an advisory capacity until the end of June.
The university system didn’t make his reason for leaving clear. Staton said in a statement released by the university system that he’s enjoyed his time at ECU and that there are “no limits” to what the university can achieve.
Staton was hired at ECU in April of 2016 after years of serving as a faculty member and administrator of universities in Georgia.
East Carolina University has an enrollment of nearly 29,000, including about 23,000 undergraduates.



Report: Pilot had no contact with air control before crash
(Information from: The News & Observer, http://www.newsobserver.com)
LOUISBURG, N.C. (AP) – A preliminary report by the National Transportation Safety Board says a pilot had no contact with air traffic control before his plane crashed near the Raleigh North Executive Airport, killing three people.
The News & Observer reports the board says former Raleigh police Officer Brian Sjostedt was piloting the 1998 four-seat Cessna aircraft that crashed March 1. The crash killed him, his girlfriend Jessica Kenny and her friend Allison Forsythe.
The report says the plane took off that night and crashed less than two minutes later. It says the plane was destroyed on impact. The agency has said it could take more than a year for investigators to determine the cause of the crash.
The three were headed to South Carolina. The report says witnesses noted inclement weather that night.



Pilot found dead after plane disappears from radar
GLENVILLE, N.C. (AP) – Officials in North Carolina say a pilot has been found dead after a single-engine plane disappeared from radar during a flight from Tennessee to South Carolina.
News outlets report the Glenville-Cashiers Rescue Squad said searchers found the plane south of Whiteside Mountain on Friday. Officials say the pilot, 59-year-old Gary Lee Huttleston of Aiken, South Carolina, was dead. He was the only person aboard the plane.
Officials say Huttleston left Island Home Airport in Knoxville for Aiken, South Carolina, on Thursday evening and was last seen on radar over Jackson County.
The Asheville Citizen-Times reports Federal Aviation Administration records state he had reported a loss of altitude. The Mooney M20C registered to Huttleston was manufactured in 1965.



‘Staircase’ documentary prosecutor died of natural causes
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) – An autopsy says natural causes claimed the life of a North Carolina prosecutor found dead at home last year amid attention over “The Staircase” documentary series.
Freda Black helped prosecute the 2001 killing examined by the documentary. An autopsy released Monday by the state medical examiner cited liver disease due to alcoholism as the cause of death.
Police have said Black was found dead last July and the 57-year-old’s death didn’t appear suspicious.
Black gave closing arguments at the 2003 trial that ended with novelist Michael Peterson convicted of murdering his wife. A judge later ordered a new trial, and Peterson entered a special plea in 2017 acknowledging that prosecutors had enough evidence to convict him of manslaughter.
The case received renewed attention after Netflix distributed new episodes of the “Staircase.”



North Carolina man wanted in wife’s death caught in Arizona
NASHVILLE, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina man on the run from accusations that he killed his wife has been arrested in Arizona.
Nash County, North Carolina, Sheriff Keith Stone said 57-year-old Rexford Lynn Keel Jr. was arrested Sunday in Tucson, Arizona, by state troopers as part of a coordinated investigation involving multiple agencies. Stone was planning an afternoon news conference with more details.
The Nash County Sheriff’s Office said it obtained an arrest warrant Friday accusing 57-year-old Rexford Lynn Keel Jr. of murder in his wife’s death. Investigators said he fled in a pickup truck, launching a multi-day manhunt.
His wife, 38-year old Diana Alejandra Keel, had gone missing on March 9. The body of the mother of two was found days later in Edgecombe County.



Several detainees admit having improvised ‘shanks’ in jail
GRAHAM, N.C. (AP) – Several detainees at a North Carolina jail have been sentenced for having improvised blades known as “shanks” in separate instances.
The Times-News reports that 23-year-old Khalil Le’Mon Starks pleaded guilty this month to three counts of possession of a weapon by a prisoner while in the Alamance County Detention Center. He was sentenced to between one and three years in prison for those offenses. He’s been held since 2017 on charges he killed a woman. Authorities say the three shanks were made of sharpened pieces of plastic.
At least two others pleaded guilty to similar charges after they were found to have shanks or improvised blades in the jail.



Two-month investigation nets 4 drug arrests in western NC
LENOIR, N.C. (AP) – Police in a western North Carolina city say that a two-month investigation has led to arrests of four people on charges related to methamphetamine.
The Lenoir Police Department said in a news release that it served a warrant Thursday night with help from deputies on a residence. The release says investigators found methamphetamine worth hundreds of dollars and a sawed-off shotgun.
Four men and women ranging in age from 26 to 50 were arrested at the scene. They face charges ranging from felony possession of methamphetamine to maintaining a dwelling for drug use. Police say more charges could be filed.



June groundbreaking scheduled for math and science school
MORGANTON, N.C. (AP) – A groundbreaking ceremony has been scheduled for the western branch of the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics.
The News Herald reports that the groundbreaking for the Morganton campus will be held June 21 at 2:30 p.m.
The new campus will include a mixture of renovated buildings and new construction. The school is scheduled to open in 2021.
The school plans to weave data science throughout its general curriculum to better prepare scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs to understand how to use it in business decisions.