Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. EST
North Carolina lawmakers begin considering new Congress map
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina legislators have started the process of redrawing the state’s congressional map by agreeing to omit political and racial data in forming whatever new districts they create.
A House-Senate committee began considering on Tuesday how to respond to a state judicial panel’s ruling that blocked the use of the current district map for the 2020 elections. The judges determined it was likely the voters who sued in September to overturn the map based on excessive partisan bias favoring Republicans would be successful.
The General Assembly redrew dozens of state legislative districts several weeks ago. Committee co-chairman Sen. Ralph Hise says drawing a congressional map is more complex even with only 13 U.S. House seats. For example, Hise says each district must be exactly the same in population.
RACIST INSTAGRAM VIDEO
NC school football coach resigns over racist Instagram video
KNIGHTDALE, N.C. (AP) – An assistant football coach at a North Carolina high school has resigned after making racist comments on Instagram.
News outlets report John Hoskins resigned over the weekend from his post at Knightdale High School. WTVD-TV reports Hoskins, who is white, posted a now-deleted video to Instagram in which he said “white power” and the n-word.
Hoskins told the station Tuesday that “just to set the record, I’m not a racist.” He says his black friends have given him the OK to use the word, as have players on the majority-black team that he coached. He says he posted the video and used the slur while caught up in celebrating the team’s win against Corinth Holders High last week.
The video was shared with administrators before Hoskins deleted it.
Authorities: Boy, 13 suspected in double homicide escapes
LUMBERTON, N.C. (AP) – Authorities say a 13-year-old suspect in a double homicide has escaped from a courthouse in eastern North Carolina.
The Robeson County Sheriff’s Office said Tuesday the teenager escaped from Juvenile Court around noon Tuesday. He was last seen in a white T-shirt and beige pants, wearing leg restraints without shoes. The boy is described as having brown eyes and brown hair, standing about 5 feet tall (1.5 meters) and weighing about 110 pounds (49 kilograms).
He and a 19-year-old codefendant, Derrick Deshawn Hunt, are charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the killings of two brothers found dead inside a home last month.
MAN SHOT-SON CHARGED
North Carolina man accused of shooting father after argument
BAILEY, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina sheriff’s office says a man is accused of shooting his father.
The Nash County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release that police and deputies responded to a home in Bailey on Tuesday and found a man with an apparent gunshot wound to the chest.
The sheriff’s office said emergency personnel performed life-saving measures before the man was hospitalized. Neither his name nor condition has been released.
The man’s son, 36-year-old Justin Bailey, is charged with assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury. Investigators say he drew a gun on his father after an argument.
Bailey is jailed on a $500,000 bond. It’s not known if he has an attorney.
The town of Bailey is 35 miles (56 kilometers) east of Raleigh.
GENETICALLY ENGINEERED CHESTNUT
High-tech chestnuts: US to consider genetically altered tree
SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) – Can biotechnology bring back the American chestnut tree?
Researchers at New York state’s College of Environmental Science and Forestry will soon seek federal clearance to distribute thousands of modified trees as part of a restoration effort. The precedent-setting case adds urgency to the question of whether genetic engineering should be used to help save or restore trees.
Opponents warn of starting “a massive and irreversible experiment” in a highly complex ecosystem. Proponents see a technology already ubiquitous in the supermarket that could help save forests besieged by invasive pests.
Researchers will ask the U.S. Department of Agriculture to assess an American chestnut tree with a gene from wheat that helps it tolerate blight.
The blight decimated a towering tree species once dominant in forests from Maine to Georgia.
SMALL PLANE CRASH-NORTH CAROLINA
Report: Pilot had trouble seeing runway in small plane crash
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Federal authorities say a veterinarian who died along with his wife when the plane he was piloting crashed in North Carolina was having trouble seeing the runway on a nighttime approach.
The National Transportation Safety Board issued a preliminary report on the Oct. 20 crash that killed Harvey and Patricia Partridge of Terra Ceia, Florida. Their plane crashed near Raleigh-Durham International Airport.
The report says Partridge was within a few miles of the airport when he told air controllers he saw “lots of lights” but not the runway. Shortly after, Partridge said he could see only the beacon, so runway lights were turned up. He finally told a controller he had the runway in sight shortly before controllers lost communication.
The preliminary report doesn’t make final conclusions about the crash.
ICE agents arrest man released by North Carolina sheriff
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – Federal agents have arrested a Mexican citizen who was released by a North Carolina sheriff’s office after he was convicted and sentenced for a drunken driving death in January.
Jose Barajas-Diaz was convicted on Oct. 24 and given a five-year suspended sentence, with credit for time served. The Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office then released him, refusing to honor an ICE request to detain him for living in the U.S. without permission. Barajas-Diaz was free for a week before Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested him on Friday.
Sheriff Garry McFadden has said his office must comply with any federal arrest warrant, but not with administrative detainer requests that lack judicial authority.
Republican U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis accused the sheriff on Tuesday of putting reckless sanctuary policies ahead of public safety.
SUPREME COURT-PIRATE SHIP
Justices struggle with copyright case involving pirate ship
WASHINGTON (AP) – The Supreme Court is wrestling with a modern-day dispute involving the pirate Blackbeard’s ship that went down off North Carolina’s coast more than 300 years ago.
The justices on Tuesday heard arguments in a copyright case over photos and videos that document the recovery of the Queen Anne’s Revenge, discovered in 1996.
The company that took the images holds the copyrights to them and says the state should pay for using them. North Carolina says a federal law that seems to allow for copyright infringement lawsuits against states is unconstitutional.
It was unclear what the justices would decide.