Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. EDT
Jewel thieves rob North Carolina mine of $100K in rare gems
(Information from: The Charlotte Observer, http://www.charlotteobserver.com)
HIDDENITE, N.C. (AP) – A heist has wiped a North Carolina emerald mine out of an estimated $100,000 in rare precious gems and gold jewelry.
An Alexander County Sheriff’s Office release says thieves broke into, vandalized and robbed Emerald Hollow Mine on Saturday. Owner Jason Martin tells The Charlotte Observer the lapidary, where gems are cut and polished, was hit hardest.
Martin says rare examples of hiddenite, a green gem “found nowhere else in the world” were taken. The most expensive loss was a $26,000 emerald pendant set with diamonds.
Martin is worried the thieves might toss the rare gems, thinking only the gold settings are valuable.
About 60 miles (96 kilometers) northwest of Charlotte, Emerald Hollow bills itself as the only emerald mine in the world allowing public prospecting, attracting 38,000 people annually.
VOTER FRAUD VIDEO
North Carolina lieutenant governor in voter fraud video
(Information from: WRAL-TV, http://www.wral.com)
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina’s lieutenant governor appears in a video that offers instructions on how to commit voter fraud in the state.
The video , posted on Facebook, features Lt. Gov. Dan Forest telling how a group could collect the identifying information of infrequent voters before Election Day and then impersonate those voters at the polls, which is a crime under state law.
Forest says in the video, “Committing voter fraud is easy in our state.”
An amendment requiring a voter photo ID is on North Carolina’s November ballot.
Kareem Crayton heads a group that fought the state’s previous voter ID law. He said the plan Forest outlines is unworkable.
The state GOP director tells WRAL-TV the video is part of his party’s educational outreach supporting the photo ID amendment.
Ex-soldier with PTSD pleads guilty to wife’s 2016 slaying
(Information from: The Fayetteville Observer, http://www.fayobserver.com)
LINDEN, N.C. (AP) – A former soldier with post-traumatic stress disorder has pleaded guilty to killing his wife at their North Carolina home.
The Fayetteville Observer reports 40-year-old Jesus Guillermo Mora will spend between 36 and 49 years in prison after pleading guilty to second-degree murder and first-degree sex offense Monday.
Mary Louise Mora’s body was found in February 2016 by deputies responding to Jesus Mora’s call. An autopsy revealed she suffered bite marks and the partial detachment of her arms and neck, among other injuries.
Jesus Mora told deputies something bad had happened, but he wasn’t sure it was real. Court documents say was taking medication for PTSD after an Afghanistan deployment.
District Attorney Bill West says PTSD and other mental health issues factored into the case. He says Mary Mora’s family supported the sentence.
EARLY VOTING ERROR
Poll worker’s error means vote re-do for legislative races
BOLIVIA, N.C. (AP) – Nearly 150 North Carolina voters will be invited to cast their ballots a second time after a poll worker’s mistake meant they were given the wrong paperwork.
Brunswick County Elections Director Sarah Knotts said Tuesday the only difference between the two types of ballots that workers mixed up is a state House seat.
Knotts says the 147 affected voters will be notified by letter of the error and told they should come back and vote again. Knotts says voters who can’t redo their ballots will have their choices for sheriff, school board, county commissioner and other local races counted, but their state House selection will be dropped.
Those House races involve incumbent Reps. Frank Iler, a Republican in District 17, and Deb Butler, a Democrat in District 18.
Body found in soybean field IDed as man missing for weeks
MONROE, N.C. (AP) – The decomposed body found in a North Carolina soybean field has been identified as a man last seen more than two months ago.
News outlets report the Union County Sheriff’s Office issued a news release Tuesday identifying the body as that of 33-year-old Carl Dewayne Melton. The Mecklenburg County Medical Examiner’s Office used medical records to identify him.
A farmer harvesting his crop Monday spotted the body. At that point, officials couldn’t tell if the remains belonged to a man or a woman.
The sheriff’s office says Melton was reported missing Sept. 3, but hadn’t been seen since Aug. 10.
The medical examiner is still determining a cause of death.
The soybean field in around 30 miles (48 kilometers) southeast of Charlotte.
2 high school volleyball players injured in bus crash
(Information from: The Asheville Citizen-Times, http://www.citizen-times.com)
ROBBINSVILLE, N.C. (AP) – Officials say two high school volleyball players were injured when their coach passed out while driving the team’s bus.
The Asheville-Citizen Times reports the two Robbinsville High School players were hospitalized after the bus crashed on its way to a playoff game Tuesday morning.
The mother of one of the injured players, Jessica Davis, says her daughter was being evaluated for a possible neck injury and both girls were suffering concussion symptoms.
Principal David Matheson says coach Kadey Phillips’ mother was able to get control of the bus. Matheson says Phillips is licensed to operate an activity bus and her loss of consciousness was likely “a case of low blood sugar.” She’ll have a drug test per district policy, but Matheson says her job is “in no way” jeopardized.
TROOPER KILLED-NORTH CAROLINA-THE LATEST
The Latest: 2nd person faces murder charge in trooper death
WHITEVILLE, N.C. (AP) – A prosecutor says a second person is facing a murder charge in the fatal shooting of a North Carolina state trooper.
Columbus County District Attorney Jon David said 18-year-old Chauncy Askew was arrested early Tuesday in South Carolina on a charge of first-degree murder.
Authorities say Trooper Kevin Conner was shot last week by the driver of a pickup truck during a traffic stop on a rural North Carolina highway. The Highway Patrol has identified Raheem Cole Dashanell Davis as the driver, and he also faces a first-degree murder charge.
David said Tuesday that Askew was also in the truck, but didn’t elaborate on what role he played in the killing. David said Askew was being held in South Carolina and would be brought to North Carolina soon.
The district attorney’s office didn’t immediately respond to an email asking if Askew has a lawyer.
Bridgestone tire plant could get $30M to keep 2,000 jobs
WILSON, N.C. (AP) – A tire-maker could get up to another $30 million from taxpayers if it keeps 2,000 jobs and upgrades its eastern North Carolina factory.
A state panel that approves big corporate incentives on Tuesday approved grants of up to $3 million a year for 10 years to Bridgestone Americas, which is updating its Wilson tire plant.
The company just finished a decade-long, $30 million grant as an original beneficiary of the state’s Job Maintenance and Capital Development program. The program benefits large employers that preserve their workforce levels and invest at least $150 million.
Only Bridgestone, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.’s Fayetteville tire plant and two paper mills have received money from the program, which is designed to preserve good-paying jobs in towns outside major urban centers.