North Carolina News – April 1, 2022

North Carolina News – April 1, 2022

NC man convicted of murder in 2017 fatal beating of uncle

ELIZABETHTOWN, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina prosecutor says a man has been found guilty of first-degree murder in the 2017 beating death of his uncle. District Attorney Jon David said 21-year-old Gabriel McDowell of Elizabethtown was convicted on Thursday after a trial that began last week. In a news release, David says the court has discretion to sentence McDowell to less than life without parole because he was 16 at the time the crime was committed. News outlets report McDowell was charged in the death of his uncle, 60-year-old Charles Leach in December 2017. Authorities said Leach, who lived in Clarkton, was the target of a robbery.


NC Sen. Tillis joins Republicans supporting Cawthorn rival

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis has endorsed a state legislator over U.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn in the upcoming Republican primary. Tillis’ backing of state Sen. Chuck Edwards adds another consequential voice in North Carolina’s GOP willing to oppose Cawthorn in his reelection bid in the 11th Congressional District. Cawthorn has received criticisms from a larger swath of Republicans for recent comments, including one in which he called the Ukrainian president a “thug.” Tillis says Cawthorn has “fallen well short” of expectations. North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate leader Phil Berger also were featured guests at a lunch fundraiser Thursday for Edwards.


Macy’s building NC distribution center, 2,800 jobs to come

CHINA GROVE, N.C. (AP) — Macy’s Inc. has announced plans to build a distribution and online order fulfillment center in central North Carolina that ultimately will employ 2,800 people. The department store and online retail giant said Thursday it will invest $584 million in the project in China Grove, which is northeast of Charlotte. The center could one day handle 30% of the company’s digital supply chain capacity. South Carolina also was in the running for the center. North Carolina state and local governments could ultimately give Macy’s incentives valued over $60 million. State government announced earlier this week that an electric car maker planned to create 7,500 jobs in Chatham County.


South Carolina man gets 12 years for robbing 3 NC pharmacies

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — A South Carolina man has been sentenced to more than 12 years in prison for a series of armed robberies involving pharmacies in North Carolina. U.S. Attorney Dena King says Christopher Michaud of Chesterfield, South Carolina, was sentenced on Wednesday and was also given three years of supervised release for his robbery and firearms offenses. Court documents and testimony at the sentencing hearing showed that between January and April 2020, Michaud robbed three pharmacies in the city of Monroe and illegally obtained large amounts of prescription opioids and other controlled substances. In two of the robberies, Michaud used a firearm. Michaud pleaded guilty last June and is awaiting transfer to a federal prison.


US judge won’t let 2nd group of voters fight Cawthorn suit

WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) — A federal judge has refused to allow a second group of voters seeking to challenge the candidacy of North Carolina Rep. Madison Cawthorn through a section of the Constitution addressing insurrection from opposing him in court. U.S. District Judge Richard Myers denied on Wednesday the request of voters from 11th Congressional District to enter Cawthorn’s lawsuit against the State Board of Elections. This involves an effort to disqualify the first-term Republican from seeking reelection because of his involvement with the rally that preceded the U.S. Capitol riot in January 2021. Cawthorn has won in court so far and says he’s never participated in an insurrection.


NC officials won’t OK ex-offender voter applications for now

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina election officials won’t approve for now voter registration requests filed by those convicted of felonies who are still serving their probation or parole, even though a court ruling says they should be. That’s in part due to expected appeals of this week’s decision by a panel of trial judges who declared unconstitutional a 1973 law that prevented the restoration of voting rights for these ex-offenders until all of the formal monitoring is finished. Tens of thousands of offenders could be affected. Republican legislative leaders said Wednesday they would appeal the ruling and asked the trial panel to delay enforcement of its decision.


Avian flu in North Carolina commercial turkey operation

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A commercial turkey operation in North Carolina has tested positive for avian flu following a test by a veterinary lab, the first time the virus has been found in the state’s poultry industry. The N.C. Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services said in a news release on Wednesday that the flock of 32,100 birds at the operation in Johnston County was killed and was being composted to guard against spread of the avian flu. State veterinarian Mike Martin, , said in the news release that the department will test other flocks within a 10-kilometer zone which includes Johnston County and portions of Sampson and Wayne counties.


Road closures in Great Smoky Mountains park due to high wind

Officials with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park have closed multiple road on Wednesday in anticipation of high winds. A news release from the National Park Service said the National Weather Service updated a high wind warning for the mountains from 8 a.m. Wednesday through 6 a.m. on Thursday. Officials anticipate sustained winds between 40 to 50 mph with gusts up to 90 mph in the mountains. The possibility of hazardous conditions caused by fallen trees and the increased risk of fire danger led to the multiple road closures.