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Tuesday, 11 August 2015 04:36

Hickory Public Schools Names New Superintendent

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The Board of Education for Hickory Public Schools unanimously elected Dr. Robbie Adell as the next Superintendent of Hickory Public Schools. Dr. Adell will take office on September 14, 2015. According to a news release from Hickory Public Schools, during the search process, the HPS Board of Education carefully reviewed applications and supporting documentation from a diverse field of 20 excellent candidates. The news release says, although many qualified candidates applied, the board believes that Dr. Adell’s visionary leadership, breadth of experience, and dedication to students will best serve the HPS students, staff, and community for years to come. The board is confident that Dr. Adell will lead the Hickory Public Schools to even higher achievement.

An Asheville native, Dr. Adell's career in public education has spanned over three decades in western North Carolina. He currently serves as an Assistant Superintendent in Buncombe County Schools. In this role, Dr. Adell is responsible for oversight of facilities, capital outlay, maintenance, transportation, student services, purchasing, and athletics, among other areas.

Prior to his current role with Buncombe County, Dr. Adell served Buncombe County Schools as Director of Safe Schools, Athletics, and Community Relations. With considerable principal experience, Dr. Adell led A.C. Reynolds Middle School in Buncombe County from 2004-2012.

Since 2007, Dr. Adell has also served as an adjunct professor at University of the Cumberlands in Williamsburg, Kentucky.

Dr. Adell began his educational career as a middle school special education teacher in Asheville for 13 years before his selection to serve as assistant principal for both the high school and middle school level in Buncombe and Henderson Counties.

Earning a bachelor’s degree in special education and later a master’s degree in school administration from Western Carolina University, Dr. Adell returned to school in 2008 to obtain his Education Specialist degree and ultimately his Doctor of Education from the University of the Cumberlands in Kentucky.    

A nearly four-year-old murder case involving a father and son from Caldwell County came to its conclusion when the defendant pleaded guilty in Caldwell County Superior Court on Monday (August 10).

25-year-old Joshua Kelly Riggs of Glen Alpine, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the October 2011 death of his father, 58-year-old Ned Jones Riggs. The crime occurred in the Lower Creek community of Lenoir. The younger Riggs, who had no prior criminal history, also pleaded guilty to statutory rape involving a female victim who was 15 years old and at least 6 years younger than the defendant at the time of the offense.

The Honorable Nathaniel J. Poovey, Superior Court Judge from Catawba County, sentenced Riggs to serve 16 to 20 years in custody of the North Carolina Department of Adult Corrections for the second-degree murder conviction and an additional 6 to 8 years for the statutory rape. Those sentences will run consecutively for a total of 22 to 28 years.

Officers from the Lenoir Police Department conducted a welfare check at the residence of Ned Riggs on Oct. 4, 2011, after neighbors reported they had not seen or heard from him in some time. When they entered the home, with a key provided by the defendant, officers found the elder Riggs dead from stab wounds.

The defendant admitted in an interview with detectives that he killed his father with a knife. Further investigation revealed the two may have been arguing over custody of a child Joshua Riggs thought his girlfriend at the time was carrying. The son became enraged and assaulted his father, stabbing him multiple times and slitting his throat.

He took his father’s wallet and the knife, and went with a friend, Zachary Bentley, to the Patterson area of northern Caldwell County where they burned the items. Joshua Riggs later took investigators to that site where they recovered a knife consistent with the one that caused the victim’s fatal injuries, a burned cell phone and the partially burned wallet.

Several witnesses also told investigators that Joshua Riggs said he would kill or already had killed his father, including the girlfriend, who was the victim of the rape. Bentley’s case was disposed in September 2013. He pleaded guilty to accessory after the fact and was sentenced to serve 4 to 6 years in custody of the North Carolina Department of Adult Corrections.

Chris Branch was lead investigator on the case for Lenoir Police Department with assistance from the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation. District Attorney David Learner and Assistant District Attorney Andrew Jennings handled prosecution for the state.

34-year-old Richard William Duff was arrested Sunday (August 9) by authorities in Burke County. He’s charged with felony assault by strangulation. Following the arrest, Duff was placed in jail in Morganton under $50,000 secured bond. No court date had been listed as of this afternoon.

Authorities in Iredell County say a man shot his two young sons to death before attempting suicide.

According to a news release from the The Iredell County Sheriff’s Office, they received a call from a male caller at approximately 3:37 a.m. Sunday (August 9) in reference to domestic call at 162 Trent Road. The caller said the suspect was firing a weapon and was intoxicated. Deputies arrived on the scene at 3:43 a.m. and found an individual outside of the front door with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Deputies made entry in to the house and discovered two small children, both male, ages four and three who were deceased. It is confirmed the two young children are brothers and were living at this house with their biological mother and father. It appears at this time the individual that was found by Deputies outside was the children’s father and the suspect in these homicides. Published reports say the Sheriff's Office has identified the suspect as 31-year-old Shawn Fuller. The reports say Fuller had been drinking and got into an altercation with the boys' mother. She fled the house and that's when Fuller reportedly shot the boys according to the reports.

The names of the two victims are three-year-old Josiah Fuller, and four-year-old Uriah Fuller. The autopsy was being conducted today, and preliminary results are that the children died of multiple gunshot wounds.

The suspect is at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte in Critical Condition. According to updated information, the Sheriff’s Office has located a witness that was on the phone with the suspect at the time of the shooting. The suspect did make a statement to the witness over the phone “ That he had killed his kids, and would kill law enforcement.” We have interviewed this witness and cannot give more information at this time.

It appears at this time that the actual shooting took place prior to the first 911 call to Iredell Communications. The family at this point in the investigation appears to have been in North Carolina for approximately three to four years.

Only one weapon was located at the scene, it was found next to the suspect when deputies located him outside of the residence. It appears the suspect did not have a weapon but he had located the wife’s weapon which had been hidden in the house, she was assaulted prior to leaving the house and calling 911.

The Iredell County Sheriff’s Office is drawing warrants for two counts of murder. According to a news release, if the suspect survives his injuries he will be served and will be in custody as soon as possible.

Monday, 10 August 2015 10:48

Hickory Woman Charged with Child Abuse

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21-year-old Victoria Lee Carver of Lenoir-Rhyne Boulevard S.E. in Hickory was arrested by Hickory Police at 10:10 Saturday night (August 8) on charges of child abuse, possession of drug paraphernalia and failure to appear on a misdemeanor.

She was arrested after Police were called to the Red Roof Inn, which is Carver’s listed address. Hotel patrons and staff alerted authorities in reference to a young child who had been crying outside room #229 for an undetermined period of time.

Officers determined that Carver had fallen asleep inside the room. She was taken into custody without incident. D.S.S. also responded and took custody of the child, who was described as a boy less than two years of age.

Carver was taken to the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under a $14,800 secured bond. She has since been released. A first appearance in District Court was set for September 2 in Hickory.

A Hickory man was critically injured in a single-vehicle accident that occurred early Sunday morning (August 9). At 4:07 a.m. yesterday, a 2014 Kia Soul driven by an unknown white male subject struck a utility pole on 17th Street N.W. near Main Avenue N.W. The vehicle left the scene and parked behind a nearby residence. The driver then left, on foot.

44-year-old Erik Boyles of Hickory was a passenger in the vehicle. He suffered life-threatening injuries as a result of the collision and was left at the scene.

Two other subjects arrived and took the passenger to Frye Regional Medical Center. Hickory Police were notified of the crash by an off-duty Officer at the hospital. Mr. Boyles was later transferred to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem.

It’s not clear if the two subjects who transported Mr. Boyles to the hospital were in any way acquainted with the driver or with Mr. Boyles.

The Hickory Police Department’s Traffic Safety Unit is conducting an on-going investigation. Anyone with information regarding the case or the identity of the driver should call 828-328-5551.

28-year-old Jonathan Edward Barlow was arrested today by authorities in Burke County (Monday, August 10) and charged with felony larceny. Barlow is also facing counts of felony hit and run and habitual impaired driving. Following the arrest, Barlow was placed in jail under $85,000 secured bond. A Superior Court appearance is scheduled for August 31.

The forecast for a possibility of rain today and tomorrow is a welcome relief to the region, which continues to suffer from drought conditions. According to the US Drought Monitor’s latest report on North Carolina, the Greater Hickory Metro has counties either in a moderate drought category, or severe drought category. The report, released last Thursday reflects conditions from last Tuesday, August 4.

Catawba County is currently under a severe drought advisory. Also listed in this category is Lincoln County. Counties in the severe drought category are urged to implement water shortage response plans, stay informed on drought conditions and advisories, and participate, as appropriate, in regional and local coordination for the management of water resources. There are other precautions for counties in a severe drought and they can be found at the website www.ncdrought.org.

Alexander, Burke, Caldwell, and Iredell Counties are all listed in the moderate drought category. Counties in this category are urged to adhere to local water use restrictions, participate, as appropriate, in regional and local coordination for the management of water resources, and stay informed on drought conditions and advisories among other precautions, which can also be found at the previously mentioned website.

Overall, 61 of North Carolina’s 100 counties are listed in one of three categories, severe drought, moderate drought, or abnormally dry.

30-year-old Melissa Ann Abernathy of SW Central Drive in Lenoir was arrested Saturday (August 8) by Lenoir Police Officers. She’s charged on a fugitive warrant, Abernathy is wanted on a felony charge in Georgia. In addition, Abernathy is charged with possession with intent to sell or deliver schedule II controlled substance and driving while license revoked. Abernathy was confined in the Caldwell County Detention Center under $301,500 secured bond. A first appearance in District Court was scheduled for today (Monday, August 10) in Lenoir.

32-year-old Donte Rasaan Gore of 9th Avenue S.E. in Hickory was arrested early Sunday morning (August 9) by Hickory Police Officers. He’s charged with felony counts of trafficking in methamphetamine and maintaining a vehicle, dwelling or place to keep a controlled substance, along with misdemeanor counts of simple possession of a schedule II controlled substance and driving while license revoked.

He was arrested when Police responded to reports of a black male walking behind an apartment building and attempting to look in the windows on the 1800 block of 20th Avenue Drive N.E.

As Officers arrived, they saw the man leaving the area in a vehicle. They followed and stopped the vehicle at 20th Avenue Drive N.E. and 16th Street N.E. where Officers saw a clear plastic bag in the passenger seat containing what appeared to be methamphetamine.

The driver, Donte Gore, exited the vehicle. A plastic bag containing eight oxycodone pills was found in his right front pocket and $1,358 was found in the left pocket. He was taken to Hickory Police headquarters where two plastic bags containing 29.6 grams of meth were found hidden on Gore’s person.

Gore was locked up in the Catawba County Detention Facility under a $105,300 bond. A District Court appearance was scheduled for today (Monday, August 10).