AP-NC Newswatch

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July 31, 2019
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July 31, 2019
AP-NC Newswatch





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



Pentagon identifies 2 US soldiers killed in Afghanistan
WASHINGTON (AP) – The Pentagon has announced the names of two U.S. soldiers who were killed in Afghanistan on Monday.
The Defense Department says 20-year-old Pfc. Brandon Jay Kreischer of Stryker, Ohio, and 24-year-old Spc. Michael Isaiah Nance of Chicago died “as a result of wounds sustained in a combat related incident” in Tarin Kowt, in southern Afghanistan.
Pentagon spokesperson Jessica R. Maxwell says the incident is under investigation.
Both soldiers were assigned to the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division, based in Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
U.S. officials said Monday that an Afghan soldier had shot and killed two American service members in Afghanistan.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak on the record about details that had not yet been made public.



Board overturns firing of former Asheville police captain
(Information from: The Asheville Citizen-Times, http://www.citizen-times.com)
ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) – A grievance board has overturned the firing of a former North Carolina police captain, saying the officer deserved discipline for some of his actions but shouldn’t have lost his job.
The Asheville Citizen-Times reports the Civil Service Board overturned the firing of former Asheville police Capt. Mark Byrd. His attorney, John C. Hunter, says the five-person board voted 4-1 on Monday after three days of hearings.
Hunter says the hearings were closed to the public and the media at the city’s request. The newspaper reports that the board found some charges against Byrd may have warranted discipline but not firing.
Byrd was fired in July 2018 by then-Police Chief Tammy Hooper. Hooper said Byrd was dishonest about the timeline into the investigation of a police beating of a pedestrian.



North Carolina ballot fraud investigation yields new charges
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A ballot fraud investigation has produced new felony charges against the political operative at the center of a disputed North Carolina congressional election.
Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman announced Tuesday that Leslie McCrae Dowless was indicted on new charges related to the 2018 general election including perjury, obstruction of justice and absentee ballot possession. He and others were charged earlier this year with counts related to the 2016 general election and 2018 primary.
The new indictment alleges Dowless directed people to collect absentee ballots that hadn’t been properly completed by voters. Dowless had worked for a GOP candidate.
The scandal resulted in state officials ordering a new 9th District election. The repeat general election will be held this fall.
Dowless’ defense attorney didn’t immediately return a message Tuesday.



In reversal, NC board could certify voting vendors this week
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina’s elections board may certify suppliers of new voting machines this week, after all.
The board announced a Thursday meeting to consider certifying the systems. The board’s agenda shows it’s likely to rescind a tentative plan approved this week to change requirements for paper records of ballots.
The announcement comes one day after the board voted to delay certification so members could consider a proposal to require that voting machines produce “human-readable marks on a paper ballot.”
Board spokesman Patrick Gannon said he couldn’t elaborate on why the board appeared to be changing course.
About a third of North Carolina uses touch-screen voting machines that are set to be decertified later this year.
Three private companies are vying for certification to sell new machines to county elections boards.



Officials: 3 correctional officers assaulted at state prison
(Information from: WITN-TV, http://www.witn.com/)
WINDSOR, N.C. (AP) – A state official confirms three correctional officers were assaulted at the North Carolina prison where an officer was killed two years ago.
WITN reports the state Department of Public Safety says an inmate at Bertie Correctional Institution hit a sergeant and two officers last Friday afternoon.
A DPS spokesman says no serious injuries were reported and the officers were able to subdue the inmate.
In April 2017, Sgt. Meggan Callahan was beaten to death with a fire extinguisher at the prison in Windsor, about 45 miles (70 kilometers) northeast of Greenville.
A lawsuit by Callahan’s father contends prison officials didn’t respond when convicted killer Craig Wissink said he needed psychological help to combat homicidal thoughts before he allegedly killed Callahan. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against Wissink.



Police: Insurance adjuster finds human remains in rubble
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – Police in North Carolina say an insurance adjuster found human remains at a house which was destroyed by fire last weekend.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg police say in a news release that firefighters responded to the fire at the home last Saturday. On Tuesday, the adjuster called 911 shortly after 10:30 p.m., and the medical examiner’s office responded and confirmed the presence of human remains.
Police spokesman Rob Tufano says authorities are working to identify the body, which had been burned. The cause of last weekend’s fire hasn’t been determined, and police are investigating the discovery of the remains.



Gun shop buys ‘4 Horsemen’ billboard insulting congresswomen
(Information from: The Charlotte Observer, http://www.charlotteobserver.com)
MURPHY, N.C. (AP) – A new billboard in North Carolina shows four minority congresswomen smiling down on the small town of Murphy, their faces at odds with the apocalyptic phrase slapped above them: The 4 Horsemen Cometh.
The billboard funded by a local gun shop then shows a red line striking out the last word, editing the phrase to instead say “The 4 Horsemen are Idiots.” The Charlotte Observer reports the billboard by Cherokee Guns targets the same congresswomen who President Donald Trump recently told to return to the “crime infested places from which they came.”
Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib are all U.S. citizens, and only one emigrated from another country. The sign is signed “the Deplorables,” and has sparked sharp reactions online, both supportive and appalled.



North Carolina city gets phone app for crime-solving tips
GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) – One of North Carolina’s biggest cities is launching a mobile phone app to make it easier for people to submit photos and videos along with anonymous crime-solving tips.
The Greensboro Police Department announced Monday that Greensboro/Guilford Crime Stoppers is adding the phone app to its other means of receiving tips. The other ways include phone calls, text messages and the Internet.
The new phone app will still allow tipsters to remain anonymous and will use encryption to protect the identities of people submitting information.
Crime Stoppers is a nonprofit group that works closely with the authorities. Its tips have helped authorities in Guilford County clear nearly 9,000 cases since 1981.