Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. EDT
Death penalty trial begins for NC inmate in prison attack
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A death penalty trial has begun for the first of four North Carolina inmates accused of using scissors and hammers from a prison workshop to kill four workers and hurt eight others during a failed escape attempt.
The Virginian-Pilot reports that armed police surrounded inmate Mikel Brady as video of the gruesome aftermath was replayed in court.
Former Pasquotank Correctional officer Scott Stormer testified that he and other responding guards found the inmates attacking an officer in October 2017. Stormer said he felt a punch to his back during a scuffle with an inmate, only to later realize he’d been stabbed.
The inmates were ultimately surrounded and caught. WTKR-TV reports an Elizabeth City police officer testified he was hit with the “odor of pure blood” upon arriving.
2 charged with involuntary manslaughter in overdose death
JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (AP) – Two people are being held on manslaughter charges in the death of a North Carolina man who died from an overdose.
The Daily News of Jacksonville reports that 22-year-old Zachary Wayne Foster of Sneads Ferry and 24-year-old Marissa Kerr of Jacksonville were arrested Tuesday on charges of felony involuntary manslaughter, felony delivery of fentanyl and felony conspiracy.
Warrants say they’re charged with delivering fentanyl to 20-year-old Morgan McKinney of Maple Hill on March 1, 2019. McKinney died the next day.
Police Lt. Richard Kellum said an autopsy showed that McKinney died from an overdose of a mixture of heroin and fentanyl.
Authorities said Kerr and Foster were being held on bond at the Onslow County Detention Center. Sheriff’s office records didn’t indicate if they have attorneys.
Activists protest proposal to collect unpaid ambulance bills
(Information from: The Charlotte Observer, http://www.charlotteobserver.com)
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – A county in North Carolina may begin garnishing wages or bank deposits from patients to collect unpaid ambulance bills.
The Charlotte Observer reports activists protested the proposal Tuesday at a Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners meeting. Dr. Jessica Saxe said people make life-threatening decisions based on their ability to pay and may stop calling 911 for help.
Medic, the Mecklenburg Emergency Services Agency, has said nearly 2,700 ambulance bills are more than 120 days past due, totaling over $2 million.
The county was expected to send those bills to the county Tax Collector starting in October, but Medic spokeswoman Grace Nelson says that’s “on pause” now as the company and county explore options.
EARNS-BANK OF AMERICA
Bank of America hit by $2B charge, still tops expectations
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – Bank of America is reporting a 21% drop in third quarter profits due to a $2 billion impairment charge.
The nation’s second largest bank reported net income of $5.78 billion, or 56 cents per share. That’s better than the per-share projections of 50 cents that Wall Street was calling for, according to a survey by Zacks Investment Research.
Revenue was $28.54 billion and revenue net of interest expense was $22.81 billion, edging out expectations.
Shares of Bank of America Corp., based in Charlotte, North Carolina, are up almost 2% before the opening bell Wednesday.
Portions of this story were generated by Automated Insights using data from Zacks Investment Research. Access a Zacks stock report on BAC at https://www.zacks.com/ap/BAC
JIM CROW RAIL CAR
Grant to help renovate ‘Jim Crow’ rail car in North Carolina
SPENCER, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina has received a federal grant to renovate a 1920s rail car that was built to comply with the racist Jim Crow laws of the 20th century.
State officials say the National Park Service awarded a grant of more than $287,000 to renovate the railroad car that’s now at the N.C. Transportation Museum in Spencer. The 44-seat coach hasn’t been used since 1969.
The car has 22 seats in the rear designated for African Americans so that it complied with segregation laws. It needs extensive renovation, including asbestos removal.
The Department of Natural and Cultural Resources says it’s one of few such cars held by a museum for public viewing. Another one is at the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.
HEALTH CARE FRAUD
Pain MD owner, employees accused of $38M health care fraud
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – The majority owner of Pain MD and three employees are charged with more than $38 million in health care fraud.
The charges are part of an indictment filed Tuesday by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Nashville. It charges that between 2010 and May 2018, Michael Kestner, Brian Richey, Jonathan White, and Daniel Seeley conspired to enrich themselves by submitting fraudulent claims to Medicare, Medicaid and TRICARE.
Kestner, of Nashville, was the owner and CEO of MedManagment Inc. and the majority owner of Pain MD. MedManagment also managed Pain MD, which operated clinics in Tennessee, Virginia, and North Carolina. Richey, of Cookeville, White, of Tullahoma, and Seeley, of Batesville, Mississippi, were employees.
If convicted, the defendants face up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each count.
Bust of Orville Wright found on North Carolina beach
KILL DEVIL HILLS, N.C. (AP) – The National Park Service says a bust of Orville Wright that was stolen from the Wright Brothers National Memorial on the North Carolina coast has been found.
A news release from the park service Tuesday says a visitor to the beach at Kill Devil Hills called authorities in Dare County to say the bust was tucked into some dunes.
The park service said initially that the monument was damaged either Saturday evening or Sunday morning. The granite base on which the bust was mounted had been toppled and damaged.
An investigation continues into the theft as well as damage to the granite base. Homeowners have been asked to review security video footage for suspicious activity.
The memorial honors aviation pioneers Wilbur and Orville Wright.
POLICE SHOOTING-NORTH CAROLINA
Sheriff’s office involved in 2 fatal shootings in 24 hours
GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) – The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation is looking into two unrelated shooting deaths involving the same sheriff’s office within 24 hours.
News organizations report two Guilford County sheriff’s deputies were shot Monday during a standoff with a man barricaded in a house in High Point. After the 11-hour standoff, deputies entered the house, exchanged gunfire with the man and shot him dead.
Authorities say deputies had been trying to serve the man with civil papers. The two deputies were hospitalized, but one has since been released.
In the other shooting, deputies were performing a welfare check Tuesday at a home in Jamestown. A department spokesman says when deputies arrived, the man fired at them as he stood outside the home. The deputies fired back and killed him.