North Carolina News – April 5, 2022

North Carolina News – April 5, 2022


Nurse indicted in custody death, no indictment for officers

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) — A grand jury has indicted a nurse on an involuntary manslaughter charge in the 2019 death of a Black man at a North Carolina jail, but declined to indict five former detention officers involved in the incident. News outlets report Forsyth County District Attorney Jim O’Neill confirmed that Michelle Heughins, who worked as a nurse at the jail, was indicted Monday in John Neville’s death. O’Neill says he’s disappointed in the outcome and prosecutors will meet with investigators and Neville’s family before deciding on any further action. Body camera videos showed him yelling “I can’t breathe!” as he was restrained. An attorney for Heughins says her client will be fully vindicated at trial.


NC court halts suit fighting municipal charter school option

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina’s intermediate appeals court has ruled a lawsuit that attempts to block a law that permits four Charlotte-area municipalities to operate their own charter schools can’t go forward. The Court of Appeals ruled unanimously Tuesday in favor of legislative leaders defending the 2018 law. The North Carolina and Charlotte-Mecklenburg NAACP chapters and two parents had sued, calling the law unconstitutional in part by encouraging racial segregation in public schools. A trial judge refused to dismiss the lawsuit, but the appeals court said the plaintiffs alleged neither a direct injury nor immediate threat of injury from the law.


1 killed in Texas as damaging storms tear across South

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Authorities say one person is dead in Texas amid damaging storms that have prompted a flurry of tornado warnings in the South. Forecasters said it’s the start of what could be two days of violent weather in the region. More than 50,000 homes and businesses were without power Tuesday morning from eastern Texas to South Carolina. In Whitehouse, Texas, Fire Chief Madison Johnson confirmed one person was killed as storms moved through early Tuesday, but no other details were immediately available. The threat of damaging weather will move to the north on Wednesday, with severe storms possible from western Alabama to the western tip of the Carolinas.


NC court upholds Asheville’s removal of Vance obelisk

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A western North Carolina city’s decision to remove a monument honoring a Civil War-era governor has been upheld by the state Court of Appeals. An appeals panel unanimously affirmed Tuesday a Superior Court judge’s decision last year to dismiss a lawsuit filed by an historic preservation group. The group opposed the demolition of the obelisk honoring former Gov. Zebulon Vance in Asheville. The obelisk was dismantled but the base has remained in place pending appeals. Vance also was a U.S. senator and Confederate military officer. The obelisk is one of many Confederate statues and memorials taken down amid recent protests for racial justice.


Hundreds line streets at funeral of fallen Marine

LEOMINSTER, Mass. (AP) — Residents of a Massachusetts city turned out in force for the funeral of a U.S. Marine officer who died last month during a NATO training exercise in Norway and was known for his infectious smile and commitment to serve. Capt. Ross Reynolds’ casket was transported on Tuesday from Leominster City Hall to St. Cecilia’s Church by a horse-drawn carriage and escorted by a contingent of Marines and Boy Scouts. Hundreds of residents carrying U.S. flags lined the streets and gathered outside the church where the private funeral was held. Reynolds was a 27-year-old Osprey pilot and one of four Marines killed when their aircraft crashed March 18.


Appeals courts asked to step in on NC offenders’ voting case

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Lawyers representing competing sides in a legal debate over when felony offenders in North Carolina should be able to vote again are asking appeals courts to step in. Last week, a panel of trial judges struck down a 1973 state law that prevents someone convicted of a felony from having voting rights restored while they’re still on probation, parole or post-release supervision. It’s possible they could begin voting in the May 17 primary. Republican lawmakers asked the Court of Appeals to block enforcement of the ruling while it’s challenged. But those who sued over the law asked the state Supreme Court on Monday to take over the case instead.


Outer Banks will soon open 2nd bridge to skirt flooded route

RODANTHE, N.C. (AP) — A bridge that will allow locals and tourists to avoid a perennially washed-out route on North Carolina’s Outer Banks is set to open to traffic this month. The News & Observer reports that people will be able to walk, bike and run across the 2.4-mile Rodanthe Bridge on Saturday ahead of its opening. The $154 million bridge will bypass the south end of the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge and part of the highway that’s often washed over by the ocean during storms. Construction on the project began in 2018. The structure is known as the “jug handle bridge” because of how it sticks out over Pamlico Sound.


No votes planned for NC legislative mini-session this week

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina legislators won’t take up any business during a scheduled three-day reconvened session this week. Only a handful of House and Senate members returned on Monday as each chamber gaveled floor meetings in and out within a few minutes. The offices of House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate leader Phil Berger say no recorded votes would be held before Wednesday’s scheduled adjournment. Legislative leaders agreed last month to return in case there was some urgent business that needed addressing. There’s another three-day session set for early May, before lawmakers return for their longer budget-adjustment session set for May 18.