North Carolina

Former county clerk accused of helping man hide DUI charges

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- A former county clerk in North Carolina's capital is accused of changing state records to delete a man's drunken driving charges. The News & Observer reports (http://bit.ly/2mAjNdp ) 50-year-old Tony Richardson of Angier and 45-year-old Teresa Holiday of Smithfield are charged with accessing government computers to defraud, altering court documents and obstructing justice. All are felonies.

N. Carolina man accused of bilking victims of $800K

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Authorities accuse a 78-year-old western North Carolina man of stealing more than $800,000 by persuading victims to put money into bogus financial investments. U.S. Attorney Jill Westmoreland Rose announced Friday that Alan Darcy of Murphy is charged with wire fraud. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. A federal indictment accuses Darcy of operating his investment schemes from February 2012 through June 2016.

Fatal shooting is Charlotte's 21st homicide this year

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Charlotte police say a 28-year-old man was shot to death at an apartment. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department says Michael Xavier Morris was pronounced dead early Friday at the apartment in northeastern Charlotte, near Interstate 85. WSOC-TV reports (http://on.wsoctv.com/2nnooPb ) that Morris' death marks the city's 21st homicide this year -- three times more than at the same time last year.

N. Carolina father accused of killing newborn, toddler

RAEFORD, N.C. (AP) -- A North Carolina father was charged Saturday with stabbing his infant and toddler daughters to death, a day after he drove off with them "in a rage." Tillman Freeman III, 30, of Fayetteville is charged with two counts of first-degree murder for the deaths of 4-day-old Genesis Freeman and 2-year-old Serenity Freeman, said Hoke County Sheriff Hubert Peterkin. Their bodies were found about 2 a.m.

Historic area sees new generation of entrepreneurs

ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. (AP) -- Growth, decay, renewal. That's the story of McMorrine Street in Elizabeth City, where families of black entrepreneurs are working to bring people and prominence back to a once-thriving minority business area. Joel Taylor is among those entrepreneurs. He runs "Heart of Arts," an umbrella company for youth programs in music, theater, performing arts and more; he also noted he works with the city's Police Athletic League.

Investigation of fire in NC's capital city continues

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- Authorities have finished collecting and documenting evidence from a fire that destroyed an apartment complex that was under construction in Raleigh, but their investigation in the cause of the blaze continues. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives National Response said in a news release Friday that investigators have completed processing the physical scene of the fire at the Metropolitan apartment complex on March 16.

NC insurance officials to challenge auto rate increase

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- North Carolina's Department of Insurance has called a hearing to challenge a proposed auto insurance rate increase by a group representing the industry. The Insurance Department issued a news release on Friday saying it has determined a recently proposed rate hike is not justified. It has set up an administrative hearing in September so a hearing officer can listen to both sides.

NC officers to investigate apparent teen suicide at jail

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) -- A North Carolina sheriff is asking state law enforcement officers to investigate the apparent suicide of a teenager in the county jail. Durham County Sheriff Mike Andrews said in a news release Friday that he's asked the State Bureau of Investigation to investigate the death of 17-year-old Uniece Glenae Fennell, who died Thursday at the county detention facility.

3 convicted of sex trafficking in SC, Georgia and NC

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) -- Federal authorities say three men convicted of sex trafficking of minors in South Carolina, Georgia and North Carolina would routinely beat and rape victims to force them to participate in commercial sex acts. U.S. Attorney Beth Drake said in a news release Friday the three convicted men are from South Carolina: 24-year-old Damon Jackson of Columbia; 24-year-old Bakari McMillan, also of Columbia; and 44-year-old Cory Miller of Orangeburg.

Man gets 20 years for deadly Charleston bar shootout

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- A North Carolina man has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for a deadly shootout at a Charleston bar. The Charleston Gazette-Mail (http://bit.ly/2nw3T39) reports a judge handed down the maximum prison sentence Thursday to 26-year-old Jacques Slade of Gastonia, North Carolina. Last month, Slade pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in the death of 32-year-old Jamaine Sutton at the Boondocks Bar and Grill on May 14, 2016.

Cooper restores state worker association benefits and access

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper has essentially reversed an order by his Republican predecessor that scaled back benefits for North Carolina's chief state employee union. With his signature, Cooper restored the ability of members of the State Employees Association of North Carolina and other groups to visit executive branch agencies to recruit and speak with members and to distribute information. Then-GOP Gov.

North Carolina's unemployment rate drops slightly

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- North Carolina's unemployment rate for February has dropped to 5.1 percent. The state Commerce Department said Friday that's slightly lower than January's revised rate of 5.3 percent. The state says it's also slightly lower than the February 2016 rate. However, it's above the current national rate of 4.7 percent. There are about 4.

Man pleads guilty in 'pizzagate' shooting in DC

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A man who police said was inspired by false internet rumors dubbed "pizzagate" to fire an assault weapon inside a Washington pizzeria pleaded guilty Friday to two charges. Edgar Maddison Welch of Salisbury, North Carolina, said during a hearing in U.S. District Court in Washington that he had agreed to plead guilty to interstate transportation of a firearm and assault with a dangerous weapon.

Repairs delay start of Hammocks Beach park ferry servce

SWANSBORO, N.C. (AP) -- Repairs will delay the traditional opening of the Hammocks Beach State Park ferry service on the first weekend in April for about a month. State Parks and Recreation spokesman Charlie Peek tells The Daily News of Jacksonville (http://bit.ly/2neG5hX that the ferry service will begin in May. He says that will allow time for repairs to the ferry dock facilities at the mainland and on Bear Island.

Cooper restores state worker association benefits and access

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper has essentially reversed an order by his Republican predecessor that scaled back benefits for North Carolina's primary state employee union. Cooper's executive order restores benefits offered to the State Employees Association of North Carolina by previous Democratic governors but had been removed by GOP Gov. Pat McCrory in late 2015.

Two-lane bridge to Outer Banks to be repaired, not replaced

COLUMBIA, N.C. (AP) -- A two-lane bridge that links central North Carolina to the Outer Banks will not be replaced and instead will get a $16.7 million upgrade. Transportation Department spokesman Tim Hass told The Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk (http://bit.ly/2mYQVqR) that a $400 million project to replace the 57-year-old Alligator River bridge and widen U.S. Highway 64 is on hold.

This center hopes to turn abused dogs into adoptable pets

WEAVERVILLE, N.C. (AP) -- Construction has begun in Buncombe County on the ASPCA's $9 million dog rehabilitation facility, where abused and neglected dogs will get help with their behavior. A spokeswoman for the American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals tells the Asheville Citizen-Times (http://avlne.ws/2mZFNuB) that the center should open between September and December in Weaverville.