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Friday, 02 January 2015 06:10

New District Attorney Sworn In

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The new District Attorney representing Catawba, Burke and Caldwell Counties was sworn in Thursday. David Learner took the oath on New Year’s Day in a Burke County courtroom along with 18 assistant DA's. Learner replaces Jay Gaither as the D.A. in District 25 after defeating the incumbent in a runoff election in July. Learner will take on some high-profile cases from 2014. Included in those cases are the Sharman Odom prosecution, Odom is charged in the strangulation death of Newton teacher and guidance counselor Maggie Daniels. Learner will also be in charge of the prosecution of Donald Kincaid in connection with a triple-murder in Morganton in August.

20-year-old Brock Mackie Towery of 20th Avenue Court N.E. in Hickory was arrested at about 2:40 this morning (January 2) by Hickory Police Officers. He was charged with possession of heroin, possession with intent to manufacture, sell and deliver heroin, possession of drug paraphernalia and maintaining a vehicle, dwelling or place for a controlled substance.

He was arrested after Officers on Patrol pulled behind a red 1999 Chevrolet Cavalier and saw the vehicle crossing the double-yellow line. Officers conducted a traffic stop on the 100 block of Government Avenue S.W.

The driver, who was the vehicle’s only occupant, was identified as Brock Towery. No outstanding warrants for his arrest were found; however, Police said Towery appeared to be impaired. They asked him to exit the vehicle, and, as he did so, Officers saw an orange pill bottle under the driver’s seat.

In the pill bottle were 14 individually packaged baggies containing a white substance later identified as heroin. The drugs had a weight of one gram.

Towery was arrested without incident. An additional search of the vehicle turned up two used syringes.

Following his arrest, Towery was placed in the Catawba County Detention Facility under a $15,000 secured bond. A first appearance in District Court was set for January 5 in Newton.

25-year-old Necole Elizabeth Lusk of River Trail Lane, Granite Falls, was arrested Thursday (January 1) by Catawba County Sheriff's Officers. She's charged with possession of stolen goods or property. Following the arrest, Lusk was placed in the Catawba County Detention Facility under $10,000 bond. A District Court appearance is scheduled for Monday (January 5).

 

36-year-old Randy Phillip Leopard, who is listed as a homeless person from Hickory, was arrested by Hickory Police yesterday (January 1) on one felony count of breaking & entering and one misdemeanor count of littering.

 

Events leading to arrest unfolded when Police responded to an alarm at the Iron Thunder Saloon & Grill on 13th Avenue Drive S.E. There, they found a broken window in the front of the building and an A.T.M. damaged inside the restaurant. Officers also noticed some leaves near the A.T.M.

 

Police then searched a nearby wooded area, where they found Leopard with a hammer in his possession. He was taken into custody without incident. The littering charge was likely the result of the condition of Leopard’s campsite.

 

The suspect was not successful in removing anything from the A.T.M., though it did sustain $200 in damages. Damages to the window were estimated at $250.

 

Following the arrest, Leopard was placed in the Catawba County Detention Facility under a $5,000 secured bond. A District Court appearance was scheduled for Monday (January 5).

 

Friday, 02 January 2015 05:30

Driver Climbs Out of Vehicle After it Flips

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The driver involved in a New Year's Day wreck in Burke County climbed out of the vehicle following the accident. The North Carolina State Highway Patrol is investigating the Thursday morning accident. According to published reports, the accident happened on Warlicks Church Road near Connelly Springs at approximately 10:30 a.m. Rescue workers said the driver managed to climb out of the wreckage after flipping his car on a curve in the road. The driver was taken to the hospital, the extent of injuries was not known.

Friday, 02 January 2015 05:26

Catawba County Man Charged with Murder of Infant

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A Catawba County man is charged with murder in connection with the death of an infant. According to a news release from the Newton Police Department, Wednesday (December 31) at 7:20 a.m., Newton Police responded to 711-E Sandalwood Ct to assist EMS. Upon arrival officers were told that a seven-month-old child was found not breathing and non-responsive by his mother’s boyfriend. The child was immediately transported by EMS to Catawba Valley Medical Center for treatment.

During the investigation at the scene the boyfriend, 23-year-old Tyler Leroy Linebarger of Trillium Court, Conover, told police that the child was lying on the sofa asleep. Linebarger said that he went upstairs to take a shower and when he came back downstairs the child was lying on the floor. Linebarger stated he picked up the child and placed him back on the sofa and went back upstairs. When Linebarger returned downstairs he noticed the child blue and not breathing. Linebarger went to a neighbor’s apartment to call 911.

The child’s mother, Amber Leigh Estep, was on scene and stated that she last saw her son at 5:40 am when she left for work and he was fine. Police investigators were contacted along with DSS who responded to the scene and to the hospital. An examination of the child at Catawba Valley Medical Center revealed recent and past injuries that were severe in nature. The child was transported to Levine Children’s Hospital in Charlotte for treatment and was immediately taken for surgery upon arrival at Levine’s. Investigators traveled to Levine and spoke with doctors about the extent of the child’s injuries. Doctors discovered the child had severe internal injuries located in various parts of the body that were a direct result of “horrific trauma”. Doctors also confirmed the child had several older injuries that were in various stages of healing.

The child passed away Thursday morning. Linebarger was arrested and initially charged with one count of felony child abuse-inflicting serious injury. A count of murder was added after the victim passed away. Linebarger is being held in the Catawba County Detention Facility under a $175,000 secured bond. This investigation is continuing with additional charges possible.

Wednesday, 31 December 2014 14:52

Catawba Chamber to Hold Annual Luncheon on February 26

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The Catawba County Chamber of Commerce will hold its Annual Shareholders & Investors Luncheon from 11:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, February 26 at the Hickory Metro Convention Center.

The event will feature an appearance by world-class inspirational speaker Tommy Spaulding. Mr. Spaulding is the president of Spaulding Companies LLC. His book, “It's Not Just Who You Know” was released on August 10, 2010. Mr. Spaulding is also the former CEO and President of one of the largest non-profit organizations in the world, Up with People, and he founded Leader's Challenge, which has become the largest high school civics program in the state of Colorado.

The cost is $55 per person with corporate tables of eight available for $450. The event is open to Chamber members and their guests only.

An RSVP is required. Call 828-328-6111 or email pmanfredi@catawbachamber.org.

46-year-old George Randal Wilson, Sr. of Clearfield Place in Lenoir was arrested by Lenoir Police yesterday for three felony out-of-county probation violations. He was also charged with two counts of communicating threats and one count of cyberstalking. Wilson is on probation following a D.W.I. conviction in September of last year and convictions for discharging a firearm into an occupied vehicle and possession of stolen goods or property in June of 2012, all in Columbus County.

Following his arrest, Wilson was taken to the Caldwell Co. Detention Center with bond set at $45,000 secured. An appearance in District Court was scheduled for January 12 in Lenoir.

Wednesday, 31 December 2014 13:41

City of Morganton Adjusts Holiday Schedule

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Morganton City Hall will be closed Thursday (January 1) for the New Year's Day holiday. The Collett Street Recreation Center will be closed as well. Garbage collection will also be affected by the New Year’s Day holiday. While pickups have remained on a normal schedule through today (December 31), Thursday’s route will be picked up on Friday.

41-year-old Alvaro “Pito” Iriarte, Jr. of North Grove Street in Lincolnton, 41-year-old Charles “Chucky” Danny Brown, Jr. with no listed address and 35-year-old Ty Fabian Lane of Louise Avenue in Lincolnton have all been arrested by Lincolnton Police. Iriarte was charged with possession with intent to sell or deliver methamphetamine and possession of marijuana. Brown was arrested on outstanding warrants for three counts of non-support and Lane was charged with possession with intent to sell or deliver marijuana and possession of a schedule II controlled substance. The arrests were made on Tuesday and early this morning, December 30 & 31.

The investigation centered around a residence on Louise Avenue and was the result of several complaints from citizens within the community. The Lincolnton Police Department narcotics division, patrol division and criminal investigations division all participated in the investigation, which utilized surveillance and heavy patrols in a coordinated effort during certain times throughout the day and night.

As a result of the investigation, Iriarte, Brown and Lane were arrested. All three suspects have substantial criminal histories with prior narcotics charges.

Iriarte was arrested at the Louise Avenue residence after Officers found him to be in possession of several individually packaged baggies of methamphetamine and a small amount of marijuana. The meth was packaged in a manner that shows it was prepared for sale and delivery. 18 grams of meth with a street value of approximately $1,500 were seized. Also seized were scales, baggies for packaging, U.S. currency, a cell phone and other drug paraphernalia.

Brown was also at the residence when Officers conducted their search. He was arrested on the outstanding non-support warrants.


Lane was arrested when Officers conducted a traffic stop on East Main Street in Lincolnton. Lane is the renter of the property on Louise Avenue. Lane’s vehicle was stopped as the result of a traffic violation. Officers then observed a controlled substance in plain view in the vehicle and conducted a search. The search turned up several small baggies of marijuana, individually packaged for sale. The also found a bottle of a liquid called Cheratussin, which is a schedule II controlled substance.

There were additional suspects at the residence and other illegal items such as marijuana, paraphernalia and weapons were seized. Additional charges are pending further investigation.    

All three suspects were placed in the Lincoln County Jail with a $10,000 secured bond for Iriarte; a $2,250 secured bond for Brown and a $10,000 secured bond for Lane. All three men were scheduled to make first appearances in District Court today (December 31).

The arresting Officers were Sgt. Dennis Harris, Officer Chuck McGinley and Officer Tiffany Cline.