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May 2, 2018
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Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. EDT


N. Carolina mom charged in daughter’s malnourishment death
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina mother is facing charges in the death of one adult daughter and the severe neglect of another.
Authorities tell local media outlets 68-year-old Bertha Melvin is charged with first-degree murder and two counts of domestic abuse, neglect, and exploitation of disabled or elder adults.
Authorities say the mother was caring for 22-year-old Tial Melvin and 28-year-old Edna Melvin, both of whom have cognitive impairments.
Both women became severely malnourished. Authorities say Tial died February 3, and Edna was hospitalized.
Bertha was arrested Monday and was being held without bond. It wasn’t known if she had an attorney.



More trains between Charlotte and Raleigh to begin in June
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Train travel between North Carolina’s capital and its largest city will have more options beginning next month.
The N.C. Department of Transportation says a fourth daily round trip between Raleigh and Charlotte will be added beginning June 4.
And for passengers leaving from Raleigh, service will move from the current station on Cabarrus Street to the new Raleigh Union Station on West Martin Street in late May or early June.
With the new schedule, the Piedmont will leave Raleigh at 3 p.m. and arrive in Charlotte at 6:10 p.m. It will leave Charlotte at 7 p.m. and reach Raleigh at 10:11 p.m.
The Piedmont and Carolinian trains are sponsored by NCDOT and operated by Amtrak.



Judge: Libel case over double-voting accusations to continue
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A judge is allowing four North Carolina voters to pursue their libel lawsuit against allies of former North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory and a Virginia law firm that tried to help the Republican’s unsuccessful effort to disqualify votes and win re-election in 2016.
Attorneys learned Tuesday Superior Court Judge Allen Baddour will allow the four plaintiffs to continue their claims against the Pat McCrory Committee Legal Defense Fund, the Holtzman Vogel Josefiak Torchinsky law firm and four of the firm’s attorneys.
The voters from Guilford and Brunswick counties sued after false accusations of felony voting crimes like casting ballots in multiple states.
The McCrory allies helped mount a last-ditch effort to sway a close election for governor by accusing voters in 52 counties of double voting and other misdeeds.


This story has been corrected to show that Baddour’s decision was communicated to lawyers Tuesday.



Police: 3 young children drink vodka while mother away
GASTONIA, N.C. (AP) – Police in North Carolina say officers found three children age 7 and younger drinking vodka while their mother was away from the home for at least seven hours.
Gastonia police tell news outlets 26-year-old Tyeisha Coneisha Streater is charged with misdemeanor child abuse and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
According to police, officers found the oldest child had also defecated outside their apartment and simulated a sex act on her brother. Investigators say the 7-year-old also wandered into traffic and tried to stop cars.
Streater told police her children were asleep when she went to a laundromat with her 8-month-old child and that the alcohol bottles had been filled with water.
Streater is jailed on a $25,000 bond. Online records don’t say if she has an attorney.



Some North Carolina workers getting raises from retooling
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A few thousand North Carolina state employees could soon receive pay raises stemming from a years-long project to merge two job classification systems into one.
The Office of State Human Resources said Tuesday about 4 percent of employees affected by the change will see salary increases to ensure pay meets minimum levels for salary grades from the new system. Money already was set aside for the increases by the General Assembly, which mandated the overhaul in 2014. Raises are retroactive to Feb. 1. No one will see a pay reduction.
The state personnel office says the new system will allow greater flexibility in hiring for some positions and help meet market demands.
Agency workers subject to the change are learning about new job classifications and titles this week and next.



Ex-preschool teacher sentenced for taking indecent liberties
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – A former North Carolina preschool teacher has pleaded guilty to taking indecent liberties with children and sentenced to prison.
Local news outlets report Joseph Starnes entered his plea Tuesday. He was sentenced to between 18 and 31 months in prison.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police said in March 2017 that it learned of a forcible fondling incident involving an 8-year-old boy at the Primrose School of Ballantyne. During that investigation, detectives found that a 7-year-old boy was also fondled at the school. Both incidents occurred while Starnes was a teacher at Primrose.
After the initial report, two more victims came forward several days later.
State officials suspended the school’s license after Starnes was charged.



Kidnapping suspect says victims sent him nude photos of wife
(Information from: WSOC-TV, http://www.wsoctv.com)
HICKORY, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina man accused of kidnapping three co-workers and shooting one of them says he did it because they sent him inappropriate photos of his wife.
Multiple news sources cite authorities who say 25-year-old Brendan Marshall Withers was arrested Saturday after the incident occurred the previous day.
Caldwell County sheriff’s deputies were called to a shooting Friday night. It was determined that three people, including the person injured, had been kidnapped from a business in Hickory where all four worked and taken to Caldwell County, where the shooting occurred.
Withers told WSOC in Charlotte that the three victims sent him nude photos of his wife.
Withers, who was in court Monday, is charged with attempted murder and first-degree kidnapping. It couldn’t be determined if he has an attorney.


Police officer can sue over firing for political beliefs
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina appeals court is giving a former police officer a new shot at suing local officials over his firing weeks after running for Jackson County sheriff.
The state Court of Appeals on Tuesday ruled a judge shouldn’t have dismissed Curtis Lambert’s lawsuit against the town of Sylva before a jury could start considering the case. The appeals court said Sylva was responsible for firing decisions by the police chief and town manager.
Lambert was fired about two weeks after filing to run for sheriff in 2014 despite no recorded disciplinary action or complaints about his work. Lambert claimed he was fired for his political activity or beliefs.
The Republican lost the 2014 general election to Democrat Chip Hall and is not running this year.