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Tuesday, 05 May 2015 13:42

Man Pleads Guilty in 2013 Murder Case

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A Burke County man charged in connection with a murder in Caldwell County entered a guilty plea today in Caldwell County Superior Court. 24-year-old Cory Travis Vanover of Highway 70 East in Morganton entered a plea to second-degree murder and received a sentence of 18 to 23 years in prison.

Vanover was arrested February 6, 2013 by Lenoir Police and was charged with first-degree murder. He was charged in connection with the killing of 28-year-old Wade Michael Taylor, Jr., whose last known address was on Woodsway Lane in Lenoir.

Taylor’s body was found on January 23, 2013, behind the Lenoir Mall on Morganton Boulevard. Autopsy results indicated that Taylor died from injuries resulting from a severe assault.

Hickory Police continue to seek information regarding the whereabouts of 32-year-old William Pierre Mayfield. Mr. Mayfield was last seen at approximately 1 a.m. on September 21, 2014 leaving the Total Convenience Market on Highway 70 S.W. in a small, silver, late-model, four-door vehicle.

He is believed to have attended a party at a house on the 900 block of South Center Street during the evening of September 20 and was reported missing on September 24.

Mr. Mayfield is a black male. He is 5’8” tall and weighs 135 pounds. He is bald with brown eyes. Mr. Mayfield was last seen wearing a black ball cap with a white logo and a red bill, a long red t-shirt with a white & black logo on the chest, dark colored jeans and black shoes.

There is a reward for information that leads directly to Mr. Mayfield’s location. Anyone with information regarding Mr. Mayfield’s whereabouts (including persons who may have been with him on the night of September 20 & 21) should contact Hickory Police at 828-328-5551 or H.P.D. Investigator Kim Craig at 828-261-2616 or kcraig@hickorync.gov.

35-year-old Richard Emerson Clark of Merestone Drive in Wilmington was arrested by Hickory Police at about 1:20 yesterday afternoon (April 4) on one felony count of larceny by anti-inventory device and misdemeanor larceny.

Clark was arrested at the Wal-Mart store on Highway 70 S.E. in Hickory after he allegedly removed the spider-wrap from two DVD players, concealed them in a plastic bag and passed the last point-of-sale without paying. He was stopped there by Loss Prevention Officers and taken into custody without incident by Hickory Police.

Clark was placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility with bond set at $1,200, secured. A first appearance in District Court was set for tomorrow in Newton.

19-year-old Chase Alexander Eckhoff of 19th Avenue N.E. in Hickory was arrested by Hickory Police just after 10 o’clock last night (May 4) on a long list of charges. Among those was a true bill of indictment for possession of a schedule I controlled substance. Other charges include resisting, delaying or obstructing a public officer, possession of marijuana paraphernalia, carrying a concealed weapon, littering, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of marijuana up to half an ounce, felony speeding to elude arrest, reckless driving to endanger and failure to heed a light or siren. Eckhoff was also charged with failure to appear on felony counts of possession of a stolen firearm and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. In addition, he was charged on a number of failure to appear warrants from Burke County for four counts of breaking & entering, three counts of larceny after breaking & entering and one count of possession of stolen goods.

Some of the charges date back to a January 2014 arrest involving a residential break-in that included the theft of firearms.

He was taken into custody at the Red Roof Inn on Lenoir-Rhyne Boulevard S.E. in Hickory. Eckhoff has been confined in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under a $191,000 secured bond. He will appear in District Court on May 6, May 8 and May 27. Superior Court dates were set for May 6 in Newton and May 11 in Morganton.

On April 20th, 2015, the Watauga County Sheriff’s Office, the NC Department of Public Safety (Probation/Parole), US Marshals Service, Boone Police, ASU Police and the NC State Bureau of Investigation conducted a joint operation.       

The operation consisted of six different teams composed of Officers and Agents from the participating agencies assisting Probation officers as they attempted to locate probationers and conduct warrantless searches on their residences to confirm each were in compliance with the rules and regulations set forth by the court system. More than fifty individuals on probation were contacted and their compliance confirmed.      

During the operation, eleven arrests were made of either probationers or suspects that were located that had outstanding warrants. Several citations were issued and one clandestine methamphetamine laboratory was found.

Tuesday, 05 May 2015 05:20

Extortion Charge Filed In Monday Arrest

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39-year-old Loretta Ann Barnes was arrested Monday (May 4) by authorities in Burke County. She’s charged with felony extortion. Following the arrest, Barnes was placed in jail in Morganton under $10,000 secured bond. A District Court appearance is scheduled for Wednesday (May 6).

28-year-old Randall Kyle Ballard was arrested Monday (May 4) by authorities in Burke County. He’s charged with felony possession of a stolen motor vehicle and felony breaking and entering to a motor vehicle. Following the arrest, Ballard was placed in jail under $35,000 secured bond. A Superior Court appearance is scheduled for June 1 in Morganton.

33-year-old Dusten Lee Jones of William & Nance Road in Taylorsville was arrested Monday (May 4) by Long View Police Officers. He’s charged with felony possession of schedule II controlled substance, misdemeanor carrying a concealed weapon, and misdemeanor resisting a public officer. Following the arrest, Jones was detained in the Catawba County Detention Facility under $9,800 bond. A District Court appearance is scheduled for May 22.

52-year-old Scott Luther Propst of County Home Road in Conover was arrested Monday (May 4) by Conover Police Officers. He’s charged with six felony counts of break or enter a motor vehicle and one felony count of breaking and or entering. Following the arrest, Propst was detained at the Catawba County Detention Facility under $20,000 bond. A District Court appearance is scheduled for Wednesday (May 6).

Two Burke County men who were originally charged with murder in connection with the death of a Burke County woman, have been indicted on different charges. The indictments are in connection with the death of 39-year-old Leslie Renee Hensley of the Clark Loop area of Burke County. The victim's body was found on the side of a roadway in Rutherford County on April 17.

According to a published report, 26-year-old Michael Lee Shuping of Mount Olive Church Road in Morganton, will be charged with involuntary manslaughter and concealment of death. Shuping was also was indicted on the charge of possession of a firearm by convicted felon. The report says 37-year-old Timothy Hal Edwards of Rainhill Church Road, will be charged with concealment of death.

The indictments had not been served as of Monday. Both suspects were originally charged with murder, after investigators found Hensley's body on the side of a rural dirt road in Rutherford County. The report says the men told police Shuping accidentally shot Hensley, then they drove her across the county line and dumped her body. The report also says a witness approached police April 16, saying she had seen Shuping shoot Hensley, according to the search warrant. Investigators found Hensley’s body the next day.

As WHKY previously reported, Edwards was taken into custody on April 16, and Shuping on April 17, on probation violation charges. They were charged in relation to Hensley’s death April 19, and appeared in court April 20.