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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 11:20 a.m. EDT



Appeals court allows lawsuit in 1983 killing to move forward
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – A federal appeals court has denied a request by North Carolina police officers to throw out a lawsuit filed by two brothers who spent decades behind bars after being wrongfully convicted in the 1983 killing of an 11-year-old girl.
Henry McCollum and Leon Brown were convicted of rape and murder in the death of Sabrina Buie in Red Springs, North Carolina. The intellectually disabled brothers spent years on death row before being cleared by DNA evidence linking another man to the crime. They were released in 2014 and later pardoned.
The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that their lawsuit alleging false arrest, malicious prosecution and other claims can move forward and be decided by a jury.
The court upheld a ruling by a U.S. District Court judge.



NC Elections chairman quits over joke relating cows to women
CARY, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina’s Board of Elections Chairman has resigned after opening a statewide meeting of elections officials with a joke about cows and women who don’t want sex.
Gov. Roy Cooper accepted Democrat Robert Cordle’s resignation on Tuesday. WRAL reports Wake County Board of Elections member Gerry Cohen called the joke Cordle told Monday “misogynistic and wildly inappropriate.” Cordle apologized in his resignation letter.
His departure casts further uncertainty over a vote Thursday on new elections equipment. The board voted Monday to delay certification until August to consider requiring “human-readable marks on a paper ballot” as a security measure.
But they soon backtracked and set up the upcoming meeting. Cordle had favored moving forward with certification, and it’s not clear if there are enough votes to do so without him.



$1.7M still missing after scam targets North Carolina county
CONCORD, N.C. (AP) – Officials say a North Carolina county got scammed when criminals posing as representatives of a construction contractor tricked county workers into transferring about $2.5 million into a bogus account.
The money was meant for construction of a new high school in Cabarrus County. A bank managed to freeze some of the transfer once officials realized they were being scammed, but about $1.7 million remains missing.
County Manager Mike Downs says employees followed protocols when they received a seemingly legitimate email request to update bank information from the scammers, who appeared to have valid identification and signed approvals.
County commissioners provided emergency funds so that construction on the school wasn’t affected, and the county created a new authentication process.
The FBI says email scams targeting business accounts are on the rise.



9-year-old saves drowning friend, named hero by firefighters
(Information from: The Asheville Citizen-Times, http://www.citizen-times.com)
ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) – Firefighters in North Carolina have honored a 9-year-old boy for saving another child from drowning in a pool.
The Asheville Citizen-Times reports Jayden Castillo was presented a Civilian Life-Saving Award by the Asheville Fire Department Monday for rescuing 5-year-old Marlee Shelton.
Castillo was swimming in their complex’s pool when 4-year-old Jercovi Jackson told him Shelton was under water for too long. Castillo says he saw Shelton on his back at the bottom of the pool and dove into action. Nearby adults began CPR before emergency services arrived.
Castillo was also awarded a Commissioners’ Award of Heroism from the State Fire Marshal in Raleigh. Both Castillo and Jackson were given gifts from Safe Kids Western North Carolina.
Castillo says he knew Shelton is “awesome,” so he had to save him.



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.



Mom, boyfriend charged in death of North Carolina toddler
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina woman and her boyfriend have been charged in the death of her 1-year-old child.
A Charlotte-Mecklenburg police statement says 24-year-old Yasmine Danielle Richardson and 23-year-old Daquan Harmon McFadden are charged with felony child abuse inflicting serious injury. McFadden also is charged with murder.
News outlets report police say officers responded Tuesday morning to a report of an injured child at a Best Western. The child was later pronounced dead at a hospital. Authorities didn’t immediately release the child’s name or details about their injuries. Police say the investigation is ongoing and the scene was searched for evidence and witnesses.
Richardson and McFadden are being held at a county jail. It’s unclear if they have lawyers.



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.



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.



AP-WF-07-31-19 1520GMT