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NORTH CAROLINA-BALLOT BATTLE-THE LATEST
The Latest: General Assembly gavels in amendment-fix session
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The North Carolina legislature has reconvened to pass two proposed constitutional amendments that will replace a pair that a court this week blocked from going on November ballots because the questions were misleading.
The House and Senate gaveled in the special session Friday morning. The House was expected later in the day to debate proposals that would rewrite those amendments.
One referendum would ask the public whether the legislature should have more control over whom the governor picks to fill judicial vacancies. The other one, if approved, would give the General Assembly decision-making over who serves on an eight-member state elections board.
The Senate isn’t expected to vote on the proposals until Monday. Senate leader Phil Berger told reporters approving new referendums is better than appealing the court decision because it will ensure voters can decide this fall what they want in their constitution.
REGISTER OF DEEDS GUILTY
Ex-North Carolina records registrar admits to skimming $900K
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The longtime official in North Carolina’s capital city responsible for registering deed and marriage records has pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $900,000 in cash from her office to repay credit card and household debts.
Media organizations reported former Wake County Register of Deeds Laura Riddick entered her guilty plea Friday. Her plea deal with prosecutors calls for her to serve at least five years in prison.
The county’s insurance company discovered last year that $2.3 million in public money went missing from Riddick’s office between 2013 and 2017. Prosecutors charged four former employees, including Riddick.
Registers of deeds in North Carolina record mortgages and maintain birth and death records, and issue marriage licenses. Riddick held the office from 1996 until resigning last year.
CHILD SEX CRIMES-DRUGS
Hours after child sex crimes plea, woman found with drugs
NAKINA, N.C. (AP) – Hours after a woman pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting children in South Carolina, authorities in North Carolina say she was slumped over in a vehicle with drugs.
News outlets cite a Columbus County Sheriff’s Office release that says marijuana, cocaine, and the generic form of Xanax were found in 31-year-old Lindsey Honeycutt’s car Tuesday. Although she pleaded guilty to child sex crimes earlier that day, her sentencing was delayed to allow testimony in co-defendants’ trials.
She’s now charged with several drug possession counts. Solicitor Jimmy Richardson says her new charges will play a part in her sentencing.
He says his office needs her help with at least one more trial.
A Horry County, South Carolina police report related to the four defendants’ arrests says the two victims were under 6.
MALICIOUS CASTRATION-NOT GUILTY
Woman who bit ex’s testicles cleared of malicious castration
JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina woman accused of trying to bite off her ex-boyfriend’s testicles has been found not guilty of malicious castration.
News outlets report a jury also cleared 54-year-old Martinne Delavega on an assault charge Thursday.
The man testified Tuesday that he punched her head to stop her as she bit his chest and arms and ripped open his scrotum during an argument in September 2015. He says he still has psychological and physical problems.
But when Delavega took the stand Wednesday, she asserted she was defending herself from his assault. She said she thought she was biting his leg as he tackled, hit and choked her.
Delavega’s attorney Matt Silva says the verdict is “a poor definition of victory,” given that she “endured three years of being vilified.”
Ex-inmate who went blind in North Carolina prison gets $2.6M
(Information from: The News & Observer, http://www.newsobserver.com)
BUTNER, N.C. (AP) – A former inmate who went blind while in prison in North Carolina has received a $2.6 million settlement.
The News & Observer reports 29-year-old Vannara Nhar had near-perfect vision when imprisoned in 2013, and was legally blind when he left in 2013.
Nhar was convicted of selling stolen weapons to an undercover officer. The lawsuit says prison medical staff knew he had an eye disease that can trigger glaucoma, and he repeatedly notified medical staff of vision deterioration, but received insufficient care.
His attorney, Gregory Kash, says federal attorneys asserted Nhar would’ve lost his vision anyway.
Roughly $1.5 million will go toward annual payments, with $300,000 going toward a house. The remaining funds will cover court costs, fees and medical bills.
Nhar now lives in Lowell, Massachusetts.