Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. EDT
BODY IN WELL
Man accused of killing girlfriend, dumping her body in well
COLUMBUS, N.C. (AP) – A man is accused of strangling his girlfriend and dumping her body in an abandoned well in North Carolina.
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office tells news outlets Jeremy Lynn Bradshaw was arrested and charged Tuesday with first-degree murder in the death of Karen Denise Jenkins. Authorities say her remains were found near Columbus.
Sheriff Donald J. Hill says Jenkins was reported missing with the Spartanburg County, South Carolina Sheriff’s Office. In January, Polk County received her missing person report from Spartanburg County.
The Landrum, South Carolina woman was 46 years old when she disappeared and was last seen on her way to Polk County in November. She was dating the Columbus man periodically for almost three years.
It is unclear if Bradshaw has a lawyer.
CONFEDERATE MONUMENTS-NORTH CAROLINA
Deadline nears to comment on moving of Confederate statues
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A committee studying the possible removal of three Confederate monuments on North Carolina’s Capitol grounds is accepting public comments for one more day.
So far, the committee that’s part of the North Carolina Historical Commission has received more than 5,400 comments on whether to move the statues to a Civil War battlefield as Gov. Roy Cooper requested. The committee will continue to accept comments through midnight Thursday.
The panel plans to report on the proposal this month to the full state commission. Cooper wants the monuments moved to the Bentonville battlefield site in Johnston County.
A 2015 state law approved by the Republican-controlled General Assembly prevents the permanent removal of most Confederate monuments on state and local property without legislative approval. It also severely limits their relocation.
Report doesn’t judge whether splitting districts makes sense
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina General Assembly study on potential gains and liabilities from breaking up large public school districts provides no judgment on whether deconsolidation is good for students.
The joint House-Senate committee wrapped up its work Wednesday by approving a report it will pass along to the entire legislature before it reconvenes next month. Some have questioned whether the Charlotte-Mecklenburg and Wake County districts are too large.
Panel members heard from school district leaders, education researchers and school policy analysts over several weeks. The report says existing studies don’t document a relationship between district size and educational performance, but it appears smaller schools contribute to improved student performance.
Some deconsolidation critics are worried it would lead to resegregation of the public schools or divide districts between rich and poor populations.
Federal tax changes won’t affect state coffers dramatically
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina’s nonpartisan legislative staffers say cash levels in state coffers won’t be significantly altered by last year’s federal tax overhaul compared to other states due to tax changes the General Assembly made years ago.
The explanation came during a revenue laws committee Wednesday. Members debated legislation that would align state tax laws to many new federal rules Congress approved on deductions, expenses and other changes. A staff memo says passing it would result in roughly $120 million in additional state revenues through mid-2020, primarily from business and investment tax changes.
Staffers say state changes since 2011 – made by Republicans – have diminished how the federal changes affect North Carolina revenues. For example, North Carolina taxes are calculated on income totals before certain federal deductions Congress curbed are included.
4 North Carolina college students arrested on drug charges
GREENVILLE, N.C. (AP) – Authorities say four North Carolina college students have been arrested on drug charges following a sweep of their fraternity house.
A statement from East Carolina University on Wednesday said members of the Greenville Regional Drug Task Force conducted a raid of the Phi Kappa Tau house west of campus.
Officials say the officers seized more than 2,500 bars of Xanax and two shotguns, and they said marijuana was being sold from the house. The raid occurred on Tuesday.
The four students appeared in court Wednesday and are free on bond. It’s not known if they have attorneys.
The national chapter of Phi Kappa Tau has issued an interim suspension for the local fraternity and is investigating the incident. Three other fraternities at ECU have been closed since January for violations.
INDICTED SHERIFF RETURNS
Former North Carolina sheriff can run for old job.
LEXINGTON, N.C. (AP) – A former North Carolina sheriff famous for painting his jail cells pink and hosting a cable television show before he pleaded guilty to felony charges can run for his old office.
News outlets report the Davidson County Board of Elections voted 3-1 Tuesday to grant Gerald Hege permission to run for sheriff.
Hege pleaded guilty in 2004 to two counts of felony obstruction of justice after authorities accused him of racial profiling, taking county money and driving his souped up car at high speeds when there was no apparent emergency.
Hege had been ineligible to run, but a law that went into effect last December reduced from 15 to 10 years the time those convicted of non-violent felonies must wait to request to have the crimes wiped from their records.
BEATING DEATH CHARGES
North Carolina couple charged in death of man beaten as baby
BOLIVIA, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina couple who served more than a decade in prison for beating a toddler so badly that he became deaf and blind have been charged with murder now that the man has died 21 years later.
Forty-one-year-old Robyn Lynn Noffsinger and her former boyfriend, 45-year-old David Raeford Tripp Jr., were in court Tuesday in Bolivia to face charges in the death of 21-year-old David Stuart. Noffsinger was Stuart’s biological mother.
Media outlets reported that Brunswick County prosecutors said Stuart was severely beaten in 1997 but did not die until March 8.
Tripp pleaded guilty to child abuse in 1998 and served more than 10 years in prison. Noffsinger was convicted in 1998 and served more than 11 years in prison.
District Attorney Jon David said the injuries Stuart sustained as a child led to his early death.
MOUNTAIN VALLEY PIPELINE
Mountain Valley Pipeline proposes expansion into N. Carolina
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – Developers of the Mountain Valley Pipeline want to extend the project from Virginia into North Carolina.
A news release Wednesday announced plans for an extension of the natural gas pipeline, which begins in West Virginia, called MVP Southgate.
The new segment would receive gas from the Mountain Valley Pipeline mainline in Pittsylvania County, Virginia, and extend approximately 70 miles south to new delivery points in Rockingham and Alamance counties in North Carolina.
The news release says MVP Southgate would provide natural gas to PSNC Energy, and additional customers will have the chance to subscribe.
The main Mountain Valley Pipeline has drawn strong opposition from environmental groups, and the new addition is likely to do the same.
MVP Southgate has a targeted in-service date of late 2020.