AP-NC Newswatch

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March 19, 2019
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March 19, 2019
AP-NC Newswatch





Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. EDT



Ex-N Carolina lawmaker indicted in campaign finance probe
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A former North Carolina state lawmaker and his ex-campaign treasurer have been indicted on charges related to a state investigation of his campaign finance reports.
The Mecklenburg County district attorney’s office says a grand jury on Monday indicted ex-Rep. Rodney Moore on nine felony counts of filing false campaign statements, while Tammy Neal was indicted on one felony count of obstruction of justice.
State Board of Elections investigators disclosed evidence in October they said showed Moore’s committee failed to report over $140,000 in campaign contributions and expenditures over several years. They also said it appeared the campaign provided altered bank records when the board requested them.
Moore represented Mecklenburg County in the General Assembly since 2011 but lost in a primary last year. He ran briefly for Congress in 2016.



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.



Legislators advance tougher penalties for pharmacy break-ins
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Some North Carolina lawmakers want more severe punishments for breaking into a building to steal drugs from a pharmacy.
The state Senate voted Monday evening to create a new crime of breaking or entering into a pharmacy with the intent to steal controlled substances. Supporters say it’s needed to deter opioid abuse by taking on criminal operations that steal pain medications.
The proposed crime in the legislation would result in potentially more time behind bars, although a floor amendment prevents active prison time from being automatic with a conviction.
The bill – now heading to the House following a 40-4 Senate vote – also creates another new felony for someone to possess controlled substances the person knows was stolen from a pharmacy.



Virus shuts down North Carolina county’s computer network
(Information from: The News & Observer, http://www.newsobserver.com)
HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. (AP) – Authorities in a North Carolina county say a ransomware virus has shut down its entire computer network.
The News & Observer of Raleigh reports officials in Orange County say the virus caused slowdowns and service problems at key public offices. The source of the attack is still unknown, but it was discovered around 6 a.m. Monday, leading to the entire computer network being shut down out of precaution.
The county’s register of deeds office could not process real estate closings or issue marriage licenses, the county’s housing department couldn’t process any vouchers and the Tax Office was unable to verify tax bills.
Jim Northrup, chief information officer for Orange County’s IT department, said the county wasn’t close to a total fix and it’s unclear when service might be restored.



‘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 prosecutors had enough evidence to convict him of manslaughter.
The case received renewed attention after Netflix distributed new episodes of “The Staircase.”



Man shot to death, teen wounded in shooting at park
HIGH POINT, N.C. (AP) – Police in North Carolina say one man was killed and a 13-year-old girl was wounded after a shooting at a park
High Point police tell news outlets say a park ranger found 18-year-old James B. Murray Jr. of Kernersville lying in the grass Sunday with a gunshot wound and started performing life-saving measures that weren’t successful.
Police said officers heard of a second victim. The girl was taken to the hospital in a private car and was treated for a gunshot wound to the leg and released.
Investigators say multiple shots were fired from an elevated position.
According to police, there were between 15 and 20 people in the park before the shooting, and when law enforcement arrived, multiple people ran away.



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.



AP-WF-03-19-19 1021GMT