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News Roundup

This week Governor Roy Cooper appointed R. Andrew Murray, the former U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina, as the acting District Attorney for Prosecutorial District 42 following the removal of Greg Newman from office.  Murray served as the District Attorney in Mecklenburg County prior to serving in the federal Western District.  Keep reading for more on this story and other news.

Newman.  As the Asheville Citizen Times reports, Greg Newman no longer is the district attorney for Henderson, Polk, and Transylvania counties after being removed from office under G.S. 7A-66, which provides for removal on the basis of, among other things, willful misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice.  The Citizen Times report says that Superior Court Judge Robert C. Ervin’s removal order focused primarily on State Bar disciplinary actions against Newman and a Court of Appeals opinion finding that he had engaged in prosecutorial vindictiveness.  Newman became only the third district attorney to be removed under the statute, the others being Jerry Spivey in 1995 and Tracy Cline in 2012.

Winston-Salem.  The Winston-Salem Journal reports that a man died in a police standoff involving an exchange of gunfire on Wednesday.  Winston-Salem Police officers responded to a report of trouble at a home and upon arrival found Edwin Joseph Castillo Jr. lying unconscious in the doorway.  The article says that Castillo regained consciousness and began struggling with an officer over a pistol in his pocket.  Offices established a perimeter around the home and Castillo started a fire inside and shot at officers, who returned fire and fatally wounded him.  The officers are on administrative leave while the incident is investigated.

Watauga.  Last week the News Roundup noted that two Watauga County Sheriff’s deputies were killed in the line of duty after being ambushed during a welfare check at a home in Boone.  WLOS reports that the funeral for Sgt. Chris Ward and K-9 Deputy Logan Fox was held yesterday on the campus of Appalachian State University.  The Greensboro News & Record has photographs from the processional as it approached the Holmes Convocation Center where the funeral was held.

Brown.  The killing of Andrew Brown Jr. during the service of search and arrest warrants by Pasquotank County Sheriff’s Office deputies in Elizabeth City late last month continues to be a major news story, in part because of ongoing debate about the disclosure and release of bodycam footage in the case.  John Rubin and Frayda Bluestein talked about the bodycam issue with WUNC last Friday and John was part of a panel discussion about police reform on WFAE yesterday.

Racing.  WBTV reports that the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department in cooperation with other law enforcement agencies across the state seized 60 vehicles as part of an investigation into increasing illegal street racing in the area.  The article says that the CMPD received many reports of aggressive driving and street racing beginning in late 2020.

Mall Shooting Suit.  WSOC reports that the family of a 13-year-old girl who was killed by a stray bullet in the parking deck of Concord Mills mall in 2019 has filed a wrongful death suit against the mall’s parent company and others alleging that the parent company did not adequately address ongoing criminal activity and delinquent behavior by unsupervised juveniles at the property.  Aveanna Propst was killed when an 18-year-old and a 15-year-old fired shots at another teen following a disagreement at the mall.

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