Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. EDT
Police seek man charged in death of woman at NC motel
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (AP) – Authorities are searching for a man charged with the first-degree murder of a woman found dead at a North Carolina motel.
Fayetteville police tell reporters that 46-year-old Phillip Jerome Little is considered armed and dangerous. A police statement says 26-year-old Meoshia Corbett was found dead Wednesday at a Travel Inn. Her cause of death is pending.
Motel owner Mike Naik tells WRAL-TV that Little and Corbett were in an off-again, on-again relationship and lived at the motel. Naik says Little left a note confessing to the slaying.
Waymon Gainey manages the nearby Big Mike’s Car Wash. He tells WTVD-TV he called police after a former employee dropped off a note instructing him to call a phone number and tell the recipient “that I killed his daughter at the Travel Inn.”
1 dead as N Carolina police respond to grocery store
GREENVILLE, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina police fatally shot a man they say was harassing customers in a grocery store parking lot and then showed a gun as an officer approached.
Greenville police said a bystander was wounded during the shooting Thursday afternoon but will survive.
Greenville police say the first officer to arrive at the scene approached a white man described in complaint calls. Police say the suspect was shot after producing a gun and died at the scene.
Police say the officer is a nine-year veteran who wasn’t injured, but that names of those involved would be released later. Department spokeswoman Kristen Hunter says the officer is also white.
A spokeswoman for the State Bureau of Investigation said agents are investigating.
North Carolina congressional map for 2020 weighed in court
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina voters asking state judges to block the use of the current congressional district boundaries next year say it’s obvious the lines are illegally tainted by partisan bias favoring Republicans.
A three-judge panel heard arguments on Thursday on the request by plaintiffs in a partisan gerrymandering lawsuit filed last month. The court didn’t rule immediately.
The voters are suing to overturn the map based on a recent ruling by the same three judges, who determined General Assembly districts violated the state constitution. A voters’ attorney said there’s uncontroverted evidence Republican legislators used partisanship to ensure the 2016 maps would elect 10 Republicans in 13 congressional districts.
But the lawyer for GOP lawmakers says it’s too late to redraw the maps five weeks before candidate filing begins.
MISSING TEEN-TRIAL SET
April murder trial set for missing teen’s adoptive father
SALISBURY, N.C. (AP) – The adoptive father of a North Carolina teen who was missing for years before her body was found in South Carolina will go on trial for first-degree murder in April.
News outlets reported that a judge set the trial for Sandy Parsons to start on April 6, 2020.
His wife pleaded guilty in August to first-degree murder, serious child abuse, and concealing Erica Parsons’ death. Casey Parsons was sentenced to life in prison.
Sandy Parsons faces similar charges.
Both adults are serving federal prison sentences for keeping adoption assistance money for more than a year after Erica had disappeared from their home. She had last been seen alive in 2011, when she was 13.
An autopsy after her remains were found in 2016 showed Erica had suffered multiple broken bones.
NC House committee holds rare debate on redistricting reform
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Proposed changes on how to draw North Carolina’s legislative and congressional districts are getting their first significant debate by lawmakers in years.
A House committee on Thursday discussed three reform bills filed this year. No votes were taken, and there are no guarantees legislation will advance, let alone become law.
The discussion came as North Carolina congressional and legislative districts have been challenged in courts for almost the entire decade. Legislative districts had to be redrawn last month.
All three bills would put map-drawing in the hands of someone beside legislators, but the General Assembly would ultimately approve the final product. One proposal requires amending the state constitution.
GOP Rep. Chuck McGrady is a primary sponsor of two bills. He warned against legislation that didn’t garner bipartisan support.
SHERIFF-SEXUAL MISCONDUCT-THE LATEST
The Latest: SC sheriff guilty of 1 count of misconduct
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – A South Carolina sheriff has been found guilty of one count of misconduct in office for using his power and public resources to have sex with his personal assistant.
A jury deliberated more than four hours before splitting its verdicts Thursday against suspended Greenville County Sheriff Will Lewis. He was found guilty on one count of misconduct in office and not guilty on another misconduct charge.
Lewis faces up to a year in prison when he is sentenced Friday morning.
Prosecutors say the 43-year-old Lewis hired Savanah Nabors after his 2016 election, paying the then 22-year-old $62,000 a year and giving her a vehicle and other perks to groom her for a sexual relationship.
Lewis testified that the sex at an out-of-town meeting was consensual. He said cheating on his wife was immoral but he did nothing illegal.
With budget impasse, minimal teacher raises clear NC Senate
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Legislation allowing North Carolina public school teachers only seniority pay raises already on the books has cleared one General Assembly chamber despite complaints from Gov. Roy Cooper and other Democrats that they’re insufficient.
The Senate agreed to the Republican measure on Thursday in a near party-line vote. The legislation would ensure that teachers move up the current salary scale this fall based on another year of being on the job. Salaries listed in the scale wouldn’t change in the bill now heading to the House.
The minimal raises are the result of an extended budget impasse between Republicans and Cooper, who vetoed the state budget passed by the GOP in June.
The budget bill contained nearly 4% teacher raises on average over two years. Cooper wants double that amount.
Man serving life sentence faces
(Information from: The Wilson Daily Times, http://www.wilsondaily.com)
WILSON, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina man serving a life sentence for murder now faces charges in the stabbing death of a 13-year-old girl who was killed 35 years ago.
The Wilson Times reports 60-year-old Gregory Parks was charged with first-degree murder and first-degree rape in the 1984 death of Marsha Ann Whitted on Wednesday, the 35th anniversary of her body’s discovery. Whitted was stabbed 62 times.
Parks is serving a life sentence in the 2015 kidnapping and murder of Isabel Palacios, whose body hasn’t been found.
Sheriff Calvin Woodard said advances in DNA allowed detectives to connect Parks to the case. Officers submitted evidence collected during the original investigation in 2012, then again in March.
Woodard said Parks denied the charges when he was interviewed in prison on Monday.