City Walk contractors will need to close Main Avenue NE, from Second Street NE to First Avenue NE in Hickory, Monday (June 29) through Wednesday (July 1), for the break down and removal of the large crane used for construction of the N.C. 127 pedestrian bridge. The roadway will close Monday at 7 a.m. and remain closed through 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday. Detour routes will be established and clearly marked.
State correctional and local law enforcement officers from Newton and the Catawba Sheriff’s Office are seeking Catawba Correctional Center, minimum custody offender, 35-year-old Juan McDonald, who was reported missing from the facility Thursday (June 25). McDonald was last seen in the yard at approximately 9 p.m.
McDonald is 35-years-old, 5-foot-10, 181 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes. He is from Hickory and was serving a sentence for speeding to elude arrest. He was convicted on October 29, 2018 and admitted to prison on November 22, 2019. He was scheduled for release November 6, 2020.
If you see McDonald, please call local law enforcement, dial 911 or contact Catawba Correctional Center at 828-466-5521. WHKY News earlier reported the escape of another inmate at approximately the same time, Nhia Vue, who was still being sought by authorities as of this afternoon (June 26).
A Hickory man could spend up to 17 years in prison following his conviction for second-degree murder during Catawba County Superior Court on Thursday (June 25). 54-year-old Monroe David Byrd. Jr., was given an active prison term of 13 to 17 years after pleading guilty to the 2012 killing of his estranged wife, 33-year-old Amy Marie Starnes Byrd.
The Honorable Gregory R. Hayes, Superior Court Judge from Catawba County, imposed the prison term for Byrd, who will spend his period of incarceration in the custody of the North Carolina Division of Adult Corrections.
“Our sentiments continue to be with the family of Amy Byrd,” Catawba County Sheriff Don Brown said. “We are satisfied with the plea accepted by Mr. Byrd and the sentence imposed by Judge Hayes. We support and are proud to continue partnering with our District Attorney.”
Because the date of offense was in August 2012, the defendant was sentenced under the sentencing laws that were in effect at that time. Sentences for second-degree murder were substantially increased by the General Assembly in December 2012.
Prior to entry of the plea, Judge Hayes adopted findings from an evaluation by a forensic psychiatrist from Broughton Hospital that showed the defendant had the capacity to proceed. Byrd had been hospitalized several times during the eight years since the murder to address his mental capacity.
The murder took place on August 23, 2012. On that date, the defendant went to the house of an acquaintance covered in blood needing a place to hide because he said he had killed someone. That was reported to law enforcement.
Deputies from the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office later went to the defendant’s house. He was in front of the home but claimed he did not know where the victim was at that time. He still had dried blood on him. When deputies went inside the home, they found the victim dead on the couch.
Amy Byrd was stabbed to death by the defendant. The autopsy report showed that the victim died as a result of sharp force injuries to the head, chest, abdomen, back and extremities. She had defensive wounds on her hands.
Assistant District Attorney Melanie Earles noted the horrific nature of the crime and way that Amy Byrd suffered, telling the Court that her family had been seeking closure. Defense Attorney Lisa Dubs pointed out that Monroe Byrd had long-standing psychiatric issues dating back to 1992, outlining numerous evaluations and treatment regimens through the years.
Amy Byrd’s father, Paul Starnes, addressed the Court, saying that he wanted the defendant to know what he had put her family through – anguish and heartache that was still present even after eight years – mentioning that her four children were having to grow up without her.
35 New Coronavirus Infections Pushes Catawba County Total Past 700, Face Covering Order Goes Into Effect TodayWritten by Rob Eastwood
35 new COVID-19 cases were confirmed today (June 26) in Catawba County, increasing the overall total to 704, with 13 deaths. Hospitalizations dropped to 11, according to Catawba County Public Health, one fewer than Thursday (June 25). At least 314 patients had recovered from the coronavirus and there have been 3,190 negative tests.
Governor Roy Cooper announced earlier this week that face coverings will be required for citizens when they are out in the public and six feet of social distancing is not possible. That was scheduled to take effect at 5 p.m. today. This requirement includes all employees and customers in retail establishments. There are exceptions that include situations when a medical condition will not allow for a face covering and children under 11-years-old.
On Thursday (June 25) at approximately 2:30 p.m. Iredell County Sheriff’s Office Patrol Deputies responded to a reported death at an address on Damron Lane in Harmony. The first deputy to arrive on the scene approached the residence and could see a male body in the living room. No one else was located in the home.
Criminal Detectives and Crime Scene Investigators soon arrived at the location. From the initial crime scene observation, the cause of death was not natural causes. While the crime scene was being processed for evidence, Iredell County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigators canvassed the area interviewing neighbors, and people in the area.
The victim was positively identified, as 35-year-old Aaron Bruce Holland who resided at the Damron Lane home. At this time, the incident is being investigated as a homicide, and the investigation is still on going. Anyone with information about this investigation is asked to contact the Iredell County Sheriff’s Office at (704) 878-3180 or Iredell County Crime Stoppers at (704) 662-1340.
39-year-old Anthony Lynn Davidson of Finger Bridge Road in Hickory was arrested Thursday (June 25) by Catawba County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with possession of a firearm by a felon along with two counts of felony probation violation. Davidson was incarcerated in the Catawba County Detention Facility under $50,000 bond. A Superior Court appearance is scheduled for September 24.
47-year-old Brian Blake Blackburn of Shady Valley Lane in Claremont was arrested Thursday (July 25) by Catawba County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with trafficking in methamphetamine, possession with intent to manufacture, sell, and deliver meth, maintaining a vehicle, dwelling or place to keep controlled substance, simple possession of schedule II controlled substance, and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Blackburn was confined in the Catawba County Detention Facility under $151,500 bond. A District Court appearance was scheduled today (June 26).
37-year-old Quantay Anthony Gaither of Mckay Road in Newton was arrested Thursday (June 25) by Hickory Police Officers. He's charged with felony counts of possession with intent to manufacture, sell, and deliver marijuana, and possession of schedule 1, II, and IV controlled substances. Gaither is also charged with misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia.
On Thursday, a Hickory Police Officer conducted a traffic stop near the intersection of 4th Street SW and 4th Street Drive SW. During the stop, the officer reportedly found 196.65 grams of marijuana, 2.95 grams of cocaine, 15 dosage units of ecstasy, 30 dosage units of xanax, 19 dosage units of oxycodone, three dosage units of alprazolam, two grams of THC oil, 183 dosage units of various pills, drug paraphernalia, and $1,266 in cash.
Gaither was arrested without incident and his bond was set at $31,000 secured. He was not listed as an inmate in Catawba County today (June 26). A District Court appearance was scheduled today in Newton.
31-year-old Sara Alexandra Isbell of Banner Elk was arrested today (June 26) by Newton Police Officers. She's charged with felony possession of heroin. Isbell was jailed in the Catawba County Detention Facility under $2,000 bond. A District Court appearance was scheduled today.
57-year-old Richard Alan Mayers of Spruce Pine was arrested Thursday (June 25) by Lenoir Police Officers. He's charged on a felony warrant as a fugitive from another state. Mayers is wanted in Tennessee on unspecified charges. He's also charged in Caldwell County with simple assault, communicating threats, and second-degree trespassing.
Mayers was jailed in the Caldwell County Detention Center under $50,000 secured bond, District Court appearances are scheduled for next Monday (June 29) and August 3.
Next week, the Governor’s Highway Safety Program and more than 500 law enforcement agencies in North Carolina will kick off the state’s annual 4th of July anti-drunk driving campaign ‘Operation Firecracker’ with increased enforcement patrols.
‘Operation Firecracker’ runs from June 29 through July 5. This year, the Governor’s Highway Safety Program is soliciting motorists to encourage everyone to support sober driving by adorning their vehicles with messages in window chalk that read #KeysFreeNC.
Next Monday, June 29, the Highway Safety Program will kick-off this year’s holiday enforcement campaign at the main entrance of Marine Corp Air Station Cherry Point with a community drive-through event. The program has recruited area law enforcement agencies, military, state highway patrol, Breath Alcohol Testing mobile workers and firefighters to flank the entrance to the installation in a show of support for the cause.
The Highway Safety Program will also use social media to encourage everyone to drive sober during the holiday week and release a video via YouTube that will include messaging from law enforcement, clergy, military and the governor’s office. A news release from the North Carolina Department of Transportation says if you are drinking this weekend and choose to get behind the wheel law enforcement will be on the lookout.
Those with a social media platform are asked to mention @NCGHSP on Facebook and tag @NC_GHSP on Twitter and Instagram with #KeysFreeNC and #NCGHSP to show that you are celebrating safely. Get more details at https://www.ncdot.gov/news/press-releases/Pages/2020/2020-06-25-operation-firecracker.aspx
39-year-old Bobby Lewis Cloer of Sulphur Springs Road in Hickory was arrested by Catawba County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with larceny of a motor vehicle, larceny of a firearm, possession of a firearm by a felon, resisting a public officer, driving while license revoked, fail to stop for a steady red light, reckless driving to endanger, and driving the wrong way on a dual lane.
Cloer was placed in the Catawba County Detention Facility this morning (June 26) under $27,000 bond. A District Court appearance was scheduled today.
30 new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed Thursday (June 25) in Catawba County, increasing the overall total to 669, with 13 deaths. 12 people were hospitalized with the coronavirus in Catawba County, the same number as Wednesday (June 24). There have been 3,190 negative COVID-19 test results and at least 303 patients had recovered.
Burke County Public Health reported 14 new coronavirus cases Thursday, increasing that county's total to 962, with 19 deaths. 14 new cases of COVID-19 were reported Thursday in Caldwell County, upping the total to 342, with four deaths. 13 patients from Caldwell County were hospitalized, the highest number reported by the county since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. At least 184 patients in Caldwell County have recovered.
Alexander County health officials confirmed four new cases of COVID-19 Thursday, increasing the county's total to 80, with no deaths. There are 30 active cases of the coronavirus who are in quarantine in Alexander County, two people remained in the hospital, and 48 people have fully recovered.
Lincoln County Sheriff's detectives are asking for the public's help in finding a woman who has been missing for almost a week. On Wednesday (June 24) deputies were dispatched to a residence in the 2100 block of St. James Church Road in Denver, NC in reference the missing woman.
A relative told officers the last time 32-year-old Amanda Cheyenne Morrow of St. James Church Road in Denver was seen was on June 19 at a residence in Maiden. She had been released from the Harven A. Crouse Detention Center on June 18.
Morrow is described as a white female with short blond hair and blue eyes. She is 6' 1" and weighs approximately 180 pounds. She also has tattoos on her left arm of a skull and feathers and a tattoo on her back of angel wings. She may possibly be in the Charlotte area.
Anyone with information on Morrow's whereabouts is asked to contact the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office at 704-732-9050, the Lincoln County Communications Center at 704-735-8202 or Lincolnton/Lincoln County Crime Stoppers at 704-736-8909.