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Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. EST



Forest ahead in GOP gov cash race, but Cooper lapping field
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Democratic incumbent Roy Cooper lapped the field of North Carolina gubernatorial candidates when it came to fundraising as 2020 began. Cooper’s campaign committee told the State Board of Elections that it brought in nearly $4 million in the second half of 2019. The committee of Republican Dan Forest reported raising roughly a third that amount. Cooper also had a wide cash advantage entering the new year. Forest is lieutenant governor and wants to unseat Cooper. Both of them have primary elections next month. State Rep. Holly Grange is Forest’s rival in the GOP primary. She was well behind Forest in fundraising.



Two North Carolina teens arrested after robberies, shooting
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – Police in North Carolina’s largest city say they have arrested a convicted teenage felon and a 17-year-old for a series of crimes including robberies and a shooting. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police said in a news release that a 17-year-old suspected of trying to steal a woman’s car in front of her home was shot by a neighbor. Authorities say that was the third shooting on Tuesday in the upscale Ballantyne neighborhood resulting from attempted car thefts. According to investigators, victims or bystanders fired at suspects in two of the cases.



Transportation, IT heads in NC governor’s Cabinet changing
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina’s transportation secretary is leaving the job at the end of the month, and another member of Gov. Roy Cooper’s Cabinet is moving over to succeed him. Cooper announced on Tuesday that secretary of information technology Eric Boyette is replacing transportation chief Jim Trogdon. Trogdon is retiring from state government with plans for private-sector work. Boyette will be replaced as IT secretary by chief deputy Tracy Doaks. Trogdon’s tenure was marked by a new way to issue debt to speed up road-building projects, but also a cash crunch caused by massive storm damage and right of way legal settlements.



North Carolina police arrest man they say set woman on fire
KINSTON, N.C. (AP) – Police in North Carolina have arrested a man accused of dousing a woman in flammable liquid and lighting her on fire. News outlets report 41-year-old Venice Taylor was taken into custody on Monday night. A Kinston Police Department statement says an officer found 24-year-old Khloe McNeal on the sidewalk with severe burns. McNeal told police she had been driving and had come to a stop when a man approached her car, threw liquid on her and set her on fire. Taylor faces attempted murder and malicious maiming charges. It’s unclear whether he has an attorney who can comment on his behalf.



Settlement reached in lawsuit over fatal campus shooting
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) – Court documents show a settlement has been reached in a lawsuit stemming from a fatal shooting on the Wake Forest University campus nearly two years ago. The Winston-Salem Journal reports that the school’s chapter of Delta Sigma Theta settled with the mother of shooting victim Najee Baker, who filed a wrongful-death lawsuit on behalf of her son’s estate. Claims against Wake Forest and other defendants in the lawsuit are still pending.



Transgender teen sues school district over bathroom access
SHELBY, N.C. (AP) – A transgender teen in North Carolina says his kidney disease worsened because his high school wouldn’t let him use the boys’ bathroom. The Shelby Star reports that the unnamed student is suing the Cleveland County school district, which is about an hour west of Charlotte. The suit claims that school officials let him only use girls’ restrooms before saying he could only use a separate restroom meant for teachers. The teen avoided using the bathroom during the school day. A doctor said in a court document that the teen’s kidney function was “compromised as a result of his lack of access to appropriate restroom facilities.”



Puerto Rico police probe fatal shooting of US pilot
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) – Puerto Rico police said Tuesday that an autopsy report will help determine who killed an American Airlines pilot over the weekend in front of a strip club in the U.S. territory’s capital. Police Lt. Ángel Martínez told The Associated Press that a shootout early Sunday between a customer and four bouncers at District nightclub led to the death of Matthew Stapula of North Carolina, an American Airlines pilot. The customer was identified as 36-year-old Rubén Alemán Hernández. Martínez said left the club after a discussion over his bill and came back with a gun and started shooting. He said the bouncers returned fire.



State appeals court overturns 2017 murder convictions
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina appeals court has overturned the 2017 murder convictions of a woman and her father in her husband’s death and ordered a new trial. The Winston-Salem Journal reports the N.C. Court of Appeals said in its ruling that it found errors with evidence in the trial were “so prejudicial” that they prevented attorneys for Molly Corbett and Thomas Martens from mounting an effective defense. The two were convicted in 2017 of second-degree murder in the death of Irish businessman Jason Corbett, 39. Molly Corbett and Martens, a former FBI agent, were each sentenced to 20 to 25 years in prison.



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