Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. EDT
North Carolina man gets life for triple murder of neighbors
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina man has been sentenced to life in prison for the triple murder of his neighbors who had accused him of child molestation.
News outlets report Jonathan Sander was sentenced Monday for the 2016 deaths of Sal Mazzella’s wife, adult son and daughter-in-law.
Before the sentence was handed down, Mazzella said he has forgiven Sander. Sander sarcastically applauded that announcement and launched into a nearly 30-minute rant that blamed and insulted other people.
He began to threaten jurors and was cut off by Judge Graham Shirley, who said Sander would die in obscurity despite his crimes.
Sander was friends with Mazzella’s son Sandy, and the family accused him of child molestation in 2016. Evidence says he burst into their home with a shotgun while screaming, “Child molester? Really, Sandy?”
4 remain hospitalized after North Carolina gas explosion
(Information from: The News & Observer, http://www.newsobserver.com)
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) – Four people remain hospitalized after last week’s fatal gas explosion in North Carolina.
The blast in Durham killed one person and injured 25 others. The Raleigh News & Observer reported Monday that those who remain hospitalized include the chief executive officer of a fiber company.
PS Splicing Vice President Rodney Fields told the newspaper that CEO Don Smith is being treated at a local hospital’s burn center. He said Smith is in stable condition, but “has a long way to go.”
Fields said Smith lost an eye and part of his ear. He also has burns on 45 percent of his body and broken ribs.
Fields said Smith was on site to see how the installation of fiber lines was going, but he was not doing the work.
House vote on abortion-related bill could mean veto showdown
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina Republican lawmakers could soon reach their first legislative showdown with Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper since his party increased House and Senate seat totals during the last elections.
The House scheduled a floor vote Tuesday on a Senate measure that would direct how doctors and nurses must treat an infant born alive during an attempted abortion. Those who fail to provide the same degree of care as any other newborn could face a felony with active prison time and monetary penalties. The Senate already voted Monday for the bill.
A spokeswoman for Cooper already has signaled his displeasure with the bill, agreeing with abortion-rights activists that it’s unnecessary. If Cooper vetoed the bill, Democrats in each chamber would have to join Republicans for a successful override.
POLICE SHOOT ARMED MAN-THE LATEST
The Latest: Activists urge nonviolence after video release
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – Civil rights activists in North Carolina are urging a nonviolent response after the release of video footage showing a police officer fatally shooting a man.
A Charlotte-Mecklenburg officer and a colleague were heard on a body-cam video yelling multiple commands for 27-year-old Danquirs Napoleon Franklin to drop his gun before he was shot and killed in the parking lot of a Burger King restaurant in March.
Robert Dawkins of Safe Coalition NC said violence and taking to the streets won’t solve anything, and he doesn’t anticipate it happening.
Corine Mack, president of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg chapter of the NAACP, said she was “asking the citizens of Charlotte and the people of Charlotte to have peaceful demonstrations if that’s what they choose,” but to keep the city safe.
North Carolina ‘born-alive’ abortion bill clears Senate
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Abortion legislation in North Carolina focusing on what happens if a child is born during a failed late-term abortion has cleared the state Senate.
The Republican-backed measure approved Monday evening would require doctors and nurses to medically treat a child born alive after the procedure like any person. They could face a felony with active prison time and monetary penalties if they don’t.
Abortion-rights activists argue the “born-alive” proposal now heading to the House is unnecessary for a nonexistent problem and is designed to intimidate physicians and women. Social conservatives say the bill only addresses caring for newborns and describe situations where infants have been left to die.
Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper has criticized the measure through a spokeswoman, raising expectations he’d veto any final bill sent to his desk.
Starbucks expanding solar, enough to power 360 Texas stores
HOUSTON (AP) – Starbucks Corp. has announced plans to expand its investment in solar farms and use the energy to power hundreds of its coffee-serving stores in Texas.
Seattle-based Starbucks on Monday announced the deal with Cypress Creek Renewables and U.S. Bank.
A statement says the companies are combining forces on solar farm operations throughout Texas. Terms weren’t released.
Two solar farms built and operated by Cypress Creek currently provide enough energy for the equivalent of 360 Starbucks in Texas, including sites in Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, Plano and Arlington. Company officials say Starbucks is separately investing in six Cypress Creek-owned solar farms in Texas.
Starbucks and U.S. bank earlier worked to develop and finance a solar farm in Maxton, North Carolina.
Woodhouse to leave as NC GOP executive director in June
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The North Carolina Republican Party’s executive director says he won’t seek the job again when a new chairman is elected by party activists in June.
Dallas Woodhouse announced Monday he’ll move on after 3 1/2 years at the post, which often made him the party’s public face.
The state GOP has faced significant challenges over the last several months, most recently with a federal criminal indictment of outgoing Chairman Robin Hayes, an insurance magnate and two others on bribery, conspiracy and other charges.
Woodhouse isn’t mentioned in the indictment. He confirmed Monday he testified before a grand jury in December but is not a target of any probe. He says it’s not connected to his departure when his contract ends at the end of the state GOP convention in early June.
COURT OF APPEALS
Cooper picks ACLU lawyer, prisons chief for appeals court
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Gov. Roy Cooper has chosen the top lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union in North Carolina and the governor’s chief prison administrator to fill two vacancies on the state Court of Appeals.
Cooper announced on Monday he appointed state ACLU legal director Chris Brook and Reuben Young – chief deputy secretary for adult corrections and juvenile justice – to the intermediate-level appeals court.
Brook has been involved in litigation successfully challenging North Carolina’s constitutional amendment prohibition on gay marriage and seeking to overturn the state’s “bathroom bill.”
Young joined Cooper’s administration in late 2017 to take over the state’s troubled prison system following the deaths of five workers in prison attacks earlier that year.
The two fill seats that will be on the November 2020 ballot.