The former UNC Charlotte student who attacked a classroom on the school’s campus earlier this year, killing two people and wounding four others, pleaded guilty to murder in Mecklenburg Superior Court yesterday. The Charlotte Observer reports that as part of a plea agreement Trystan Andrew Terrell received two consecutive life sentences for killing Reed Parlier and Riley Howell; he also was sentenced on other charges not detailed in the report. Keep reading for more on this story and other news.
UNCC. New information about the UNCC shooting was provided at the plea hearing. A prosecutor said that on the day of the shooting, Terrell, a former student of UNCC at the time, took the light rail to campus and walked around for several hours. He eventually entered an anthropology class about 10 minutes after it had started and fired 17 shots from a 9mm pistol. Terrell had practiced with the pistol at a gun range and a prosecutor said that he fired indiscriminately in the classroom, apparently shooting at the table closest to the door he entered. A law enforcement officer responding to the scene found Terrell, Howell, and Parlier on the floor of the classroom, with Terrell saying that he was the perpetrator and explaining that he had been tackled.
Sheriff Indicted. National and local news outlets alike are reporting that Granville County Sheriff Brindell Wilkins was indicted this week on two counts of obstruction of justice connected to an incident in 2014 where Wilkins allegedly advised someone to kill a former deputy. According to the indictments, Wilkins told the person how to commit the murder and contemplated that it could be done such that the sheriff’s department would have jurisdiction over the subsequent investigation. Wilkins allegedly believed that the intended victim planned to reveal a recording of him using racially offensive language.
A WRAL story goes on to say that other investigations of the Granville County Sheriff’s Office are ongoing. The office’s accounting practices and controlled substance interdiction efforts reportedly are being scrutinized, as is a 2016 murder-suicide involving a drug unit deputy where drugs and thousands of dollars in cash were found at the scene.
Police Investigated. The Johnston County Report says that the SBI has been asked to conduct a criminal investigation of the Kenly Police Department. A Kenly town councilman posted on his Facebook page that the “investigation concerns alleged behavior such as falsifying police reports and illegal searches.” District Attorney Susan Doyle told the newspaper that her office and the Kenly police chief made a joint request to the SBI for the investigation but declined to comment on its nature.
APD Training. WLOS reports that the Asheville Police Department recently conducted a training program that teaches officers strategies for intervening if they see another officer engaging in unethical policing. Called EPIC, the training is offered by the New Orleans Police Department and was conducted in Asheville. The training was motivated in part by the violent jaywalking stop involving a former APD officer and Johnnie Rush in 2017.
Mental Illness & The Courts. The National Center for State Courts, in collaboration with the Conference of Chief Justices, the Conference of State Court Administrators, and the State Justice Institute, recently released a guide for judges who are interested in improving their jurisdictions’ responses to individuals with mental health issues. Based on work currently underway in Arizona, the national guide focuses on strategies for convening court system and community stakeholders to collaborate on solutions tailored to a given jurisdiction. The guide is titled Leading Change: Improving the Court and Community’s Response to Mental Health and Co-Occurring Disorders, and Cheryl has a recent post about it over on the On the Civil Side blog.
Finger Bitten. Asheville resident Regina Whiteside “didn’t think this would ever happen” and neither did anyone else — WLOS reports that Whiteside’s neighbor Loyita Sayers has been charged with assault and robbery after an incident where Sayers allegedly stole $20 from Whiteside and bit her finger off. Whiteside told WLOS that she and Sayers had been on friendly terms until recently and that she was trying to keep a positive attitude while recovering from her injury.