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March 26, 2019
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March 26, 2019
AP-NC Newswatch






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



Supreme Court hears arguments over partisan redistricting
WASHINGTON (AP) – The Supreme Court is returning to arguments over whether the political task of redistricting can be overly partisan.
The cases at the high court Tuesday mark the second time in consecutive terms the justices will see if they can set limits on drawing districts for partisan gain. Or the court could rule that federal judges should not referee disputes over districts designed to benefit one political party.
Democrats and Republicans eagerly await the outcome of cases from Maryland and North Carolina because a new round of redistricting will follow the 2020 census, and the decision could help shape the makeup of Congress and state legislatures over the next decade.
Last year, the court essentially punted on cases from Wisconsin and the same Maryland congressional district that’s up for consideration Tuesday.



5 inmates escape N. Carolina jail, 2 taken into custody
NASHVILLE, N.C. (AP) – Two of the five inmates who escaped from the Nash County Detention center in North Carolina have been taken into custody.
WRAL-TV reports that Sheriff Keith Stone says the inmates forced through a whole in a fence in the exercise yard at 3:30 p.m. on Monday and escaped. He said it was possible the inmates knew they were in a camera’s blind spot.
The inmates are identified as 28-year-old David Marshal Viverette, 30-year-old David Ruffin Jr., 23-year-old Keonte Daemoan Murphy, 25-year-old Raheem D-Carlos Horne and 22-year-old Laquaris Rashad Battle. It was not immediately clear which of the two had been captured.
Their charges range from possession of a stolen vehicle to assault by strangulation and drug possession.
Stone says the FBI and other area law enforcement departments are assisting in the search. He urged residents to lock their homes and cars while the hunt continues.

This story has been corrected to show the inmates escaped on Monday, not Tuesday.



2 sentenced to prison in fatal shooting of N. Carolina man
(Information from: The Asheville Citizen-Times, http://www.citizen-times.com)
ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) – Two North Carolina men have been sentenced to up to seven years in prison for fatally shooting a man at an Asheville apartment complex in 2016.
The Asheville Citizen-Times reports that 28-year-old Travoscia Herbrell Brown and 25-year-old Frederick Nathaniel Simpson pleaded guilty Monday to voluntary manslaughter as part of a plea deal.
Brown and Simpson were initially charged with first-degree murder in the slaying of Travis Dominick Mayfield, who authorities say was shot to death after an argument escalated to violence.
County Assistant District Attorney Justin Steen attributed the plea deal to a gun that was found near the victim and a lack of witness cooperation. He says several witnesses provided conflicting reports about whether Mayfield was armed.
Brown and Simpson will be given credit for time served.



Duke University pays $112M to settle faked research lawsuit
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Duke University will pay $112 million to settle a whistleblower lawsuit after federal prosecutors said the school used a research technician’s fake data to land federal grants.
The Justice Department claimed in its lawsuit that the private university in Durham knowingly submitted claims for dozens of research grants that contained falsified or fabricated information. Prosecutors said Monday that the faked data involved mouse studies.
Duke said it discovered the problem in 2013 after the technician was fired for embezzling university money. The school says in a statement that it’s repaying grant money and related penalties. The statement says the technician pleaded guilty to two counts of forgery and paid restitution to the university.
A former Duke employee who alerted the government will get nearly $34 million.



Judges work through pretrial challenges in remapping suit
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A judicial panel has ruled North Carolina Republican legislators can avoid testifying for an upcoming redistricting trial over state legislative maps.
But the three judges also ruled on Monday that the GOP lawmakers sued by Democrats and election reform advocates still must respond further to written questions from the plaintiffs about how boundaries were drawn and by whom.
The judges issued a protective order that would keep a dozen current or former legislators and staff from being deposed heading toward a July 15 trial. GOP defendants had cited legislative privilege and immunity in their refusal. The panel did direct the lawmakers to respond in full in six areas where the plaintiffs want information.
Those who sued contend House and Senate maps violate the state constitution due to excessive pro-Republican bias.



The Latest: Police identify officer, victim in shooting
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – Authorities have released the identities of a North Carolina police officer and the man she shot and killed in the parking lot of a fast-food restaurant.
In a news release, Charlotte-Mecklenburg police identified the slain man as 27-year-old Danquirs Napoleon Franklin. Officer Wende Kerl was identified as the officer involved in the shooting on Monday.
According to the news release, Kerl will mark 22 years with the department next month. She is assigned to the Metro Division.
Kerl has been placed on paid administrative leave, which is standard procedure in such instances.
Chief Kerr Putney told reporters that employees at a Burger King called police after the man acted suspiciously. Putney said the man walked outside, where officers ordered him multiple times to drop the gun. Putney says the officer perceived a “lethal threat” and shot the man.



Genital mutilation ban bill passes in North Carolina Senate
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina law would make it a severe felony for someone to perform female genital mutilation on a child under a measure advancing at the General Assembly.
The Senate voted unanimously on Monday evening for the prohibition, which has surfaced after a federal ban was struck down in November. A federal judge did say that states can regulate it.
A foundation says nearly 30 states already have legislation that specifically addresses female genital mutilation. The World Health Organization says there is no health benefit to female genital mutilation and it can cause numerous health problems.
The legislation now heading to the North Carolina House also punishes a parent who allows the child’s genital mutilation or removal to occur. A first-offense conviction is punishable by at least 3 1/2 years in prison.



Unoccupied car rolls through parking lot, kills woman
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) – Police in North Carolina say a woman was killed when an unoccupied car rolled through an apartment complex parking lot and hit her.
Winston-Salem police say in a news release the car was parked and unoccupied when it began to roll backward Monday morning and hit 66-year-old Linda Whitaker Idol.
Authorities say Idol was pronounced dead at the scene.
The Winston-Salem Journal reports the driver of the car was at the scene of the accident. Police Lt. J.S. Doss said it was too early to speculate on possible charges.