The Hickory Police Department is investigating a homicide. The victim was found this morning (Wednesday, June 8). According to published reports, the victim is a 50-year-old woman and the incident occurred on 4th Avenue SW. The published reports also say police are looking for a person of interest in this case. That individual's name has not been released, nor has the cause of death.
27-year-old Jesse Brison Ollis, aka “Jesse Lequire,” of Valdese, has been handed down a 21-year prison sentence by a federal judge for producing child pornography. That announcement was made on Tuesday (June 7) by Jill Westmoreland Rose, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. U.S. District Judge Martin Reidinger presided over Tuesday’s hearing, ordering the defendant to serve a lifetime of supervised release and to register as a sex offender upon completion of his prison term.
According to the sentencing hearing and filed court documents, on November 26, 2014, law enforcement received information from Australian authorities that an Australian 14 year old female had been engaging in sexually explicit communications over the Internet with an individual later identified as Ollis. According to court documents, the victim informed law enforcement that she had met Ollis in 2011 online when she was 12 years old and she believed him to be 17 years old.
A forensic examination of electronic devices seized from Ollis’ residence revealed that Ollis had been communicating with victim one online and had “blogged,” or posted, child pornography images on the Internet. Further forensic investigation revealed that Ollis had additional sexually explicit images and videos of a second minor female. Court records indicate that law enforcement identified victim two as a minor living in Western North Carolina who Ollis had befriended.
Ollis is currently in custody and will be transferred to the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons upon designation of a federal facility. All federal sentences are served without the possibility of parole.
The investigation was handled by HSI and SBI, which are members of the North Carolina Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Asheville prosecuted the case.
21-year-old Matthew Edward Angle of Ravenwood Drive in Lenoir was arrested Tuesday (June 7) by Caldwell County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with felony obtaining property by false pretense. Angle was detained in the Caldwell County Detention Center under $2,500 secured bond. A District Court appearance was scheduled for today (Wednesday, June 8).
33-year-old Christopher Gray Young of Kool Park Road in Hickory was arrested Tuesday (June 7) by Catawba County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with possession of schedule I controlled substance, possession with intent to manufacture, sell, and deliver schedule I controlled substance, possession of methamphetamine, possession with intent to manufacture, sell, and deliver methamphetamine, felony possession of cocaine, and maintaining a vehicle, dwelling, or place to keep controlled substance. Young was jailed in the Catawba County Detention Facility under $50,000 bond. A District Court appearance was scheduled for today (Wednesday, June 8).
35-year-old Roosevelt Eugene Banks of Railroad Street in Lincolnton was arrested by Catawba County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged on bills of indictment with first degree burglary, felony conspiracy, second degree kidnapping, and robbery with a dangerous weapon. Banks was incarcerated this morning (Wednesday, June 8) in the Catawba County Detention Facility under $75,000 bond. A Superior Court appearance was scheduled for today.
42-year-old Tommy Keller Lane was arrested Tuesday (June 7) by authorities in Burke County. He's charged with felony possession with intent to manufacture, sell, and deliver schedule II controlled substance. Lane was placed in jail in Morganton under $100,000 secured bond. He was scheduled to appear in court today (Wednesday, June 8).
An arrest has been made in connection with the break-in to a Credit Union in Morganton. 25-year-old James Dewey Pennington of High Point was arrested Tuesday (June 7) by Morganton Public Safety Officers. He's charged with felony counts of breaking and entering and larceny, along with misdemeanor counts of damage to property and resisting an officer.
Tuesday at 1:56 a.m., Public Safety Officers received a call at the State Employees Credit Union on Enola Road. Officers were on the scene within minutes of the call and found the front doors shattered by rocks. An officer checked the building and found a white male, later identified as James Dewey Pennington, standing in the lobby area near the bathrooms. Officers called out to the man to come outside to them and he refused, turning instead to enter the bathroom.
The suspect shut the bathroom door and refused to come out. As additional officers arrived on scene, including deputies from the Burke County Sheriff's Office and officers with the State Highway Patrol, plans were made to bring the suspect out as safely as possible. Public Safety Officers and Sheriff's Deputies surrounded the building, covering all of the exits.
Due to the fact that officers did not know if the suspect had any weapons or if there were any more suspects in the building, the decision was made to send in a K9 officer first. Before the K9 entered, it's handler gave repeated commands for suspects to show themselves and come out with their hands up or they may be bitten. After the third announcement, K9 Kimo was sent into the building. Kimo found no other suspects, but could not get through an inner door to the bathroom which was being held shut by the suspect.
Officers entered the building and forced the door open so K9 Kimo could get inside. As Sgt. Triplett pulled the door open from Pennington's grip, K9 Kimo rushed in and, finding Pennington standing with his hands in the air and not armed, guarded him without biting while officers took Pennington into custody.
Following his arrest, Pennington was detained in the Burke-Catawba District Confinement Facility under $30,000 secured bond. He's scheduled to appear in District Court today (Wednesday, June 8) and June 28.
Election Results, June 7 Primary (** Indicates Winner)
U.S. House District 5
(Alexander County & a small portion of Catawba County)
Jim Roberts 25.46%
Charlie Wallin 26.91%
**Josh Brannon 47.64%
Pattie Curran 31.99%
**Virginia Foxx 68.01%
U.S. HOUSE DISTRICT 10 – winner to face Andy Millard [D] in Nov.
(Most of Catawba County, plus Lincoln, Gaston & more)
**Patrick McHenry 78.45%
Albert Lee Wiley Jr. 4.72%
Jeffrey Baker 4.78%
Jeff Gregory 12.05%
U.S. HOUSE DISTRICT 11 – winner to face Mark Meadows [R] in Nov.
(Burke & Caldwell counties, plus other parts of western N.C.)
Tom Hill 49.25%
**Rick Bryson 50.75%
N.C. SUPREME COURT ASSOCIATE JUSTICE
**Michael R. (Mike) Morgan 34.32%
Daniel Robertson 5.59%
**Robert H. Bob Edmunds 48.06%
Sabra Jean Faires 12.03%
Catawba County- 5.83%
Alexander County- 7.96%
Caldwell County- 3.40%
Burke County- 4.73%
The Catawba County Chamber of Commerce is currently taking applications for its Edison Project. The application process ends on Friday, July 22 at 5 p.m.
The Edison Project is a celebration and recognition of the creativity and entrepreneurial spirit in the area. The Chamber is looking for entrepreneurs who have an idea for an innovative, viable business in the Hickory Metro area that they’d like to submit for consideration and review by a panel of judges.
Participants will compete with other start-up entrepreneurs for an economic incentive of $18,000 in cash ($10,000 for 1st place, $5,000 for 2nd place and $3,000 for 3rd place); plus other pro-bono benefits for the best new entrepreneurial business ideas in the Metro area for 2016.
The competition is for potential new start-up companies and for those current businesses that have cumulative revenues of less than $350,000, excluding grants. The business must be in the Hickory Metro area of Catawba, Burke, Caldwell or Alexander counties.
A judging panel will review all applications and announce the finalists on Monday, August 15. Each finalist will make a 15-minute presentation to a judging panel on Friday, October 14. The finalists will have until Monday, October 24 to prepare and submit a formal business plan. On Monday, November 21, each finalist will present a more condensed version of their business plan at a special reception & awards ceremony, open to the public.
More information is available in the form of a Q&A document at www.catawbachamber.org. Additional questions may be directed to email@example.com or call 828 431-7230.
To apply, visit https://edisonproject2016.startupcompete.co and fill out the application and executive summary. A registration fee of $100 is required.
49-year-old William Randell Cannon of Mount Herman Road in Hudson was arrested last Friday (June 3) by Caldwell County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with felony identity fraud, two misdemeanor counts of fail to appear, and single misdemeanor counts of larceny, possession of stolen property, and resisting a public officer. Cannon was detained in the Caldwell County Detention Center under $8,000 secured bond. His next District Court appearance is scheduled for July 25.
37-year-old Mark Richard Vanderbloemen of 11th Street N.W. and 24-year-old Alexandra Elise Fox of Cemetery Loop Road, both from Hickory, were arrested by Hickory Police shortly after 1 p.m. yesterday (June 6) on one felony count each of possession of a schedule II controlled substance and one misdemeanor count each of possession of drug paraphernalia. Vanderbloemen was also charged with one felony count of maintaining a vehicle, dwelling or place for a controlled substance.
The two were taken into custody without incident at Vanderbloemen’s residence. They were placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility with bond for Vanderbloemen set at $15,000, secured, while Fox was given a $5,000 secured bond. Both were scheduled to make first appearances in District Court today in Newton.
43-year-old James Franklin Williams Jr. of 9th Avenue NW in Conover was arrested last Friday (June 3) by Caldwell County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with five felony counts of forgery of an instrument. Williams was locked up in the Caldwell County Detention Center under $15,000 secured bond. A Superior Court appearance is scheduled for July 25.
30-year-old Ashley Brandon Laws was arrested Monday (June 6) by Burke County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with felony counts of forced breaking and entering and forgery and uttering. Laws was jailed in Morganton under $15,500 secured. A District Court appearance is scheduled for Wednesday (June 8).
27-year-old Joshua Nathaniel Jones of “B” Avenue S.E. in Hickory was arrested by Hickory Police at about seven o’clock last night (June 6) on one felony count of possession of a schedule II controlled substance and one misdemeanor count each of possession of marijuana up to half an ounce and possession of drug paraphernalia.
He was arrested after Police stopped a vehicle on the 400 block of 8th Avenue N.E. for speeding. Officers smelled the odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle. Joshua Jones, who was a passenger in the vehicle, was searched, leading to the discovery of 0.8 grams of cocaine and a small amount of marijuana on his person. Another small quantity of marijuana was found in the vehicle. The marijuana had a total weight of 0.4 grams.
The driver was not charged, but was given a warning citation for speeding.
Jones was taken into custody without incident and placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under a $10,000 secured bond. He has since been released. A first appearance in District Court was set for today in Newton. Jones also has Superior Court dates on previous felony drug charges coming up on June 13, June 16 and September 6.