Closing arguments set in fast-moving NC redistricting trial
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The parties in litigation challenging North Carolina’s new congressional and legislative districts are getting a final chance to convince judges of their positions. A panel of three Superior Court judges scheduled closing arguments for Thursday in a fast-moving trial. The judges began hearing evidence Monday, and the state Supreme Court has told them to rule by early next week, with expected appeals to follow. Voters and advocacy groups who sued Republican legislative leaders say the maps the GOP drew are extreme partisan gerrymanders and diluted the voting power of Black residents. GOP lawmakers say the maps were lawfully approved.
BARRICADED MAN SENTENCED
North Carolina man who fired at police gets 46-year sentence
GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) — A federal prosecutor says a North Carolina man has been sentenced to 46 years in prison after his conviction on charges filed after he barricaded himself inside a home and began shooting at law enforcement officers. U.S. Attorney Sandra J. Hairston says 52-year-old Randall Gray Stoneman was sentenced on Wednesday in federal court in Greensboro on multiple charges. Stoneman was convicted in August. Authorities say Guilford County sheriff’s deputies were responding to a call about an assault on April 29, 2020. According to testimony, Stoneman was armed with multiple weapons and held officers at bay for hours, firing at them intermittently before the officers use chemical weapons to get him to surrender.
SHERIFF’S OFFICE-TWO DEATHS
North Carolina sheriff’s office loses 2 members in 2 days
LUMBERTON, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina sheriff’s office says a detention officer and a deputy have died on successive days. News outlets report the Robeson County Sheriff’s Office said 74-year-old detention officer Larry Morgan died early Wednesday morning at UNC Southeastern in Lumberton after experiencing a medical emergency at his home shortly after his shift ended. On Tuesday, 63-year-old deputy Welton Locklear was on duty and was assisting with a funeral escort when he suffered a heart attack in the parking lot of the church. Sheriff Burnis Williams says church members administered CPR to Locklear before he was taken to UNC Southeastern, where he died.
Police charge 2 in Black Friday mall shooting
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — Police have charged two men in a Black Friday shooting at a North Carolina mall. Police have said the Streets at Southpoint in Durham was packed when two men approached a jewelry vendor and one tried to rob him. The vendor and would-be robber fired at each other, wounding three people. Three others were injured as shoppers rushed for exits. The Herald-Sun reports that Durham police announced Wednesday that Romeo Pride, who was shot and seriously injured, was arrested after being released from the hospital. He’s charged with robbery with a dangerous weapon and weapons offenses. Police say Jaquaay Walton, who was charged last month with carrying a concealed gun, turned himself in and was released on bond.
Woman wielding shotgun killed by North Carolina deputies
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina sheriff’s office says a woman wielding a shotgun was killed by deputies after she aimed the weapon at them and wouldn’t put it down. News outlets report the Durham County Sheriff’s Office said deputies were called to a location in the town of Bahama around 3:30 p.m. When the deputies arrived, they saw a woman armed with a shotgun. Deputies say 28-year-old Stephanie Wilson aimed the shotgun at deputies multiple times while they tried to get her to put it down. Details of how Wilson was shot, or how many deputies were involved were not available.
North Carolina deputy disciplined over handling teen on bus
LAURINBURG, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina sheriff’s office says one of its deputies has been suspended without pay and demoted after a confrontation with a teenager on a school bus in November. WPDE reports Scotland County Chief Deputy Travis Harper says deputy Sheronica Smith has been removed from her position as a school resource officer. Harper says Smith also has been demoted from sergeant to road deputy, suspended seven days without pay and will have to go through mandatory de-escalation training. Harper says Smith was responding to a 14-year-old girl and her brother who didn’t want to sit in their assigned school bus seats.
OBIT-BLACK THEATER FESTIVAL CHAIR
Widow of National Black Theater Festival founder dies
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) — Sylvia Sprinkle-Hamlin, the widow of the founder of the National Black Theatre Festival, has died. She was 76. A news release from the North Carolina Black Repertory Company said Hamlin died on Monday. The family declined to give the cause of death. Sprinkle-Hamlin led the company as both its board chairman and executive producer of the National Black Theatre Festival. She stepped into the leadership position following the death of her husband, Larry Leon Hamlin, who founded the company and produced its first festival in 1989. Hamlin died in 2007. Funeral arrangement haven’t been completed.
‘Concept maps’ revealed as NC redistricting trial winds down
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina legislator who helped orchestrate redistricting in his chamber has acknowledged in a mapmaking trial that he examined some “concept maps” that were created quietly as he drew new boundaries in public. Wednesday’s testimony by House Redistricting Committee Chairman Destin Hall contrasts with comments about transparency Republicans made while drawing congressional and legislative boundaries this fall. Hall downplayed the maps he said he examined briefly and were designed to make him familiar with city and town borders before drawing. Closing arguments in the partisan and racial gerrymandering trial are expected Thursday, with a ruling by a three-judge panel by early next week.
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