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The wife of a man sentenced to a lengthy prison term for molesting children pleaded guilty to operating an unlicensed child care facility Tuesday (June 2) during Catawba County Superior Court. 33-year-old Tonya Lynn Casarreal of Hickory, was sentenced at the discretion of the court following her guilty plea. The Honorable Hugh B. Lewis, Superior Court Judge from Mecklenburg County, gave Casarreal a suspended sentence of 6-17 months with 30 months of supervised probation with the condition that she not be involved in any form of child care employment during her period of probation.

Casarreal admitted to operating the child care facility from her home without a license from November 2013 through July 2014, with up to 15 children staying there during that time. Casarreal’s husband, 41-year-old Crisoforo Casarreal-Parra, pleaded guilty in February to three counts of sexual offense with a child and five counts of indecent liberties with a child. He was sentenced to serve 25-35 years by Lewis and is in custody of the North Carolina Department of Adult Corrections.

Investigation revealed that Casarreal-Parra used the daycare to gain access to the victims he molested, both boys and girls ranging in age from 3 to 8 years old. Some of those children had disabilities.

Assistant District Attorneys Michael Van Buren and Michelle Lippert prosecuted the case for the District Attorney’s Office. The case was investigated by Hickory Police Department Det. Lori Miller. Hickory Police Department and the District Attorney’s Office also partnered with the Catawba County Department of Social Services and the Catawba County Child Advocacy and Protection Center during the investigation.

34-year-old Brandon Jackson Kirby of Ash Street in Lowell has been arrested and charged by Lincoln Co. Sheriff’s Detective David Brooks with one felony count of larceny and one misdemeanor count each of first-degree trespassing and injury to real property.

On or about May 3 of this year, Kirby allegedly entered the Verizon Wireless cell tower site on County Line Trail in western Lincoln County and removed HVAC coils valued at $10,000. He was first arrested in Gaston County on other charges and then transferred to the Lincoln County Detention Center yesterday (June 1). He was returned to Gaston County today.

Additional charges against Kirby are possible. Lincoln County Detectives are continuing to investigate cell tower break-ins and thefts and break-ins to AT&T hubs in Lincoln County.

Incidents have occurred at the Verizon cell tower on Orchard Road and Fox Meadow Lane in Iron Station. An AT&T cell tower on Sadler Road was also the target of thieves as grounding rods and air conditioning units were stolen. AT&T also reported that three hubs located on King Wilkinson Road and two on Highway 73 were broken into. Batteries valued at thousands of dollars were stolen.

Kirby was scheduled to appear in District Court yesterday in both Lincoln and Gaston counties.

Kirby also faces similar charges in Mecklenburg County.

Tuesday, 02 June 2015 10:31

Hickory Man Arrested on Felony Firearms Charge

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26-year-old Danny Wayne Powell, Jr. of 39th Avenue Court N.W. in Hickory was arrested by Hickory Police at 5:45 p.m. yesterday on one felony count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

The charge comes in connection to a March 4 incident in which Hickory Police assisted Probation & Parole Officers as they conducted a warrantless search (which was part of Powell’s probation agreement). A shotgun and a .22-rifle were found.

Powell was placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under a $3,000 secured bond. An appearance in Superior Court was set for June 5.

23-year-old Tevin Jerome Davis is wanted by Hickory Police in connection to a murder in Hickory last night (Monday, June 1). 46-year-old Lancelot Kenyatta Ellison of Georgia was shot and killed at a residence at 38 8th Avenue Drive S.E.

Police responded to the residence at 11:40 last night where they found the victim dead inside the house as the result of multiple gunshot wounds. Police say the murder weapon was a handgun.

The suspect and victim were acquainted. Neither lived at the residence, though Police believe the victim was staying there while he was in town.

Two other people were present at the time of the shooting. They were not injured. A search of the house was conducted, leading to the discovery of an unspecified quantity of marijuana.

Warrants have been issued for Davis’ arrest on one felony count of first-degree murder, two counts of second-degree kidnapping and one count of felony robbery with a dangerous weapon. Davis is considered armed and dangerous. Anyone who sees the suspect should not approach him, but should call Hickory Police at 828-328-5551.

Davis was out on bond after being charged with assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill in Iredell County. He also faces charges in Catawba County on two counts of possession of a firearm by a felon and one count each of common law robbery and driving while license revoked.

57-year-old Jimmie Dewayne Tate of Fox Run in Stanley was arrested Monday (June 1) by Lincoln County Sheriff’s Officers. He’s charged with one felony count each of Possession with the Intent to Manufacture, Sell and Deliver Marijuana and Trafficking in Opiates. He was charged with misdemeanor Simple Possession of a Controlled Substance Schedule II, Simple Possession of a Controlled Substance Schedule IV, and two counts of Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

Narcotics investigators conducting drug interdiction surveillance in eastern Lincoln County arrested Tate during a traffic stop on Highway 16 near the Highway 73 intersection on Monday. Investigators approached the vehicle and noticed a strong smell of marijuana coming from the vehicle and conducted a search. Inside the vehicle officers discovered 10.8 grams of marijuana, a trafficking amount of opiates, and small doses of Oxycodone and Xanax. They also seized drug paraphernalia.

After an appearance before a Lincoln County magistrate, Tate was transported to the Lincoln County Detention Center where he was processed and then released on a $20,000 secured bond. He was scheduled to appear in District Court today (Tuesday, June 2).

Residents are urged to continue using the Drug Tip Line which has led to a number of arrests on drug charges. The Tip Line Number is 704-736-8422.

Catawba Valley Community College’s drama faculty member Kim Stinson was recently presented the college’s 2015 Excellence in Teaching Award for full-time faculty.  

Criteria for the prestigious award include effective and innovative teaching techniques, leadership and skill in motivating high quality student performance, effective communication with students and colleagues, support of the total college mission and service beyond the classroom. Candidates are nominated by students, faculty or staff and interviewed by a committee that includes students, faculty, staff and a member of the college’s Board of Trustees.

Stinson became a full-time faculty member in 2010 after proving herself in the classroom as a valued adjunct faculty member for two years. Her initiative, dedication and sense of responsibility are exemplified in the way she approaches her classroom, her program, and her students. Through her integrity, accountability, and dedication to student success, she models CVCC’s core values.

Stinson is a notable playwright in her own right, and received the 2012 North Carolina New Play Project/Mark Gilbert Award for her play, “Appalachian Geisha.” She is also the North Carolina Regional Representative for the Dramatists Guild of America.

Her education includes a bachelor’s in fine arts in stage management from the North Carolina School of the Arts, a master’s degree in theatre from Miami University in Ohio, and a master’s in fine arts in playwriting from Spalding University in Louisville, Ky.

18-year-old Clyde Douglas Baker of Dawnview Lane, 18-year-old Micheala Diane Izard of Mauney Drive, 18-year-old Eddie Santiago Lopez of Elizabeth Avenue, 18-year-old Geovany Martinez Lopez of River Road, 18-year-old Juan Andres Peralta Jr. of Atlantic Lane, and 18-year-old Francisco Javier Velazquez of Bethel Church Road, all from Lincolnton, were arrested by Lincolnton Police Officers. A 16-year-old juvenile offender was also arrested. All of the suspects with the exception of Eddie Lopez are charged with breaking and entering and injury to property. Eddie Lopez is charged with aid and abet breaking and entering.  

In the early morning hours of Friday, May 29, patrol officers with the Lincolnton Police Department responded to an alarm activation at Lincolnton High School, 803 North Aspen Street in Lincolnton. Upon arrival officers found several suspects who had broken into the school and had damaged property at the school.

The suspects were students of the school and the criminal activity was reportedly planned. Assisting the Lincolnton Police Department in the apprehension of the offenders was the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office. Bond was set at $5,000 secured for all of the suspects with the exception of the juvenile, no bond amount was shown for the unnamed offender. The investigation is ongoing and more arrests are possible.

Tuesday, 02 June 2015 05:33

Meth Charge Filed Against Catawba County Man

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32-year-old David Lee Darty of Gross Road in Hickory was arrested Monday (June 1) by Catawba County Sheriff’s Officers. He’s charged with possession of methamphetamine. Following the arrest, Darty was incarcerated in the Catawba County Detention Facility under $8,500 bond. A District Court appearance is scheduled for Wednesday (June 3).

21-year-old Justin Seth Shatley of North Davis Avenue in Newton was arrested Monday (June 1) by Newton Police Officers. He’s charged with possession of stolen goods, breaking and or entering a place of worship, larceny after breaking and entering, and obtaining property by false pretense. Following the arrest, Shatley was detained under $10,000 bond. A District Court appearance is scheduled for Wednesday (June 3).

A new $15,000 fitness trail for the Catawba River Greenway in Morganton was donated by the Morrison Family, owners of Molded Fiber Glass Companies (MFG). Dean Justus, Human Resources Manager for MFG North Carolina, located in Morganton, said the management team at the Morganton plant came up with the idea as a way to support health and wellness in the community.

Joe Wilk, Senior General Manager of MFG North Carolina, proposed the idea to the Morrison Family, and the family agreed to fund the project. The Morrison Family funds various community programs at their factory locations across North America.

The new fitness trail consists of seven exercise stations located along a one-mile section of the Catawba River Greenway between the Greenlee Ford access at Judge’s Riverside and the River Village Access. Starting at the Greenlee Ford access, the first station is the Vault-Over, followed by the Arm-Walk, Push-Off, Body-Tuck, Sit-Up, Body-Pull, and Toe-Reach. Each station has exercise instructions.

Parks and Recreation Department Director Gary Leonhardt said that he has had requests in the past to put some exercise equipment along the greenway and he thinks the new equipment will be a big hit. The equipment was installed by the City’s Parks and Recreation Department.

Molded Fiber Glass Companies (MFG) is a leader in the field of reinforced plastics and composites, serving diverse markets with a variety of composite material systems. The company has 16 operating entities in the United States and Mexico, strategically focused to supply high value, high quality products and manufacturing services for applications such as wind energy, automotive, heavy truck, defense, construction, material handling and water treatment. The company is headquartered in Ashtabula, OH and is privately owned.

Find out more about the Morganton Greenway Systems at www.morgantonnc.gov/greenway.