34-year-old Phillip Wayne Vrchota of Pinewood Drive in Lincolnton was arrested Wednesday (February 22) by Lincoln County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with felony taking indecent liberties with a minor.
The arrest is in connection to incidents that occurred in June and July 2016. On January 12, 2017 Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office Detective Kelsey Harrington received a report of child sexual assault. During the investigation it was learned that the suspect allegedly touched a 12-year-old female inappropriately on various parts of her body while at his home in Lincoln County.
Vrchota knew the victim who is a relative. He was interviewed at the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office Wednesday and then arrested on the felony charge. Vrchota was detained in the Harven A. Crouse Detention Center under a $50,000 secured bond. A first appearance in District Court was scheduled for today (Thursday, February 23).
38-year-old Kevin Jamal Haqq of Newton will spend 38 years in prison after a Catawba County jury found him guilty of second-degree murder yesterday (February 22).
After an eight-day trial, Haqq was found guilty of the July 24, 2014 stabbing death of 20-year-old Jason William Margarita of Sherrills Ford at a Balls Creek residence.
Following the jury’s verdict, the Honorable Daniel A. Kuehnert, Superior Court Judge from Burke County, gave Haqq an active prison term of 38 to 46 years.
After closing remarks by Prosecutor Sean McGinnis and Defense Attorney Ken Darty, the jury deliberated for about three hours Wednesday before rendering its verdict, which came in at about 6:30 last night.
Chris Branch led the investigation for the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office. McGinnis and Chad Smith prosecuted the case for the District Attorney’s Office.
25-year-old James Lee Totty III of 23rd Avenue N.E. in Hickory was arrested by Hickory Police at 11:20 last night (February 22) on one felony count of possession of a schedule II controlled substance and one misdemeanor count possession of marijuana up to half an ounce.
Totty was arrested when the vehicle he was driving was stopped for an expired registration plate at the intersection of Highway 321 N.W. and Clement Boulevard. A search of the vehicle turned up 0.5 grams of cocaine and 3.5 grams of marijuana. Totty was the vehicle’s only occupant.
He was taken into custody without incident. Totty was processed and released under a $10,000 unsecured bond. He was schedule to appear in District Court tomorrow in Newton.
A vehicle crashed into a house this morning (Thursday, February 23) in Hickory. The accident happened at the intersection of Highway 127 and 3rd Avenue N.E., across from the Catawba Science Center. Hickory Police responded to the call at about 6:25 this morning.
Published reports say the driver ran through a red light and struck a utility pole then the house. According to Hickory Police, two vehicles were involved. Minor injuries were reported as a result of the crash.
No additional details are available.
35-year-old Joy Amanda Moorefield and 20-year-old Aaron David Isley were both arrested Wednesday (February 22) by Burke County Sheriff's Officers. They're each charged with felony larceny of a motor vehicle. Moorefield was placed in jail in Morganton under $10,000 secured bond, Isley's bond was set at $6,000 secured. Moorefield was scheduled to appear in District Court today (Thursday, February 23), Isley's District Court date is set for Friday (February 24).
32-year-old Erika Nicole Self of 5th Street NE in Hickory was arrested Wednesday (February 22) by Hickory Police Officers. She's charged with two counts of felony habitual larceny. Self was locked up in the Catawba County Detention Facility under $50,000 bond. A District Court appearance was scheduled for today (Thursday, February 23).
17-year-old Sulayman Admeer Williams of 23rd Avenue Drive N.E. in Hickory was arrested yesterday (February 22) by Hickory Police Officers. He's charged with felony breaking & entering to a motor vehicle, along with misdemeanor counts of larceny and possession of stolen goods or property.
Events leading to Williams’ arrest unfolded yesterday as Police were investigating a residential break-in that had been reported the previous day. In the process, Officers encountered Williams walking on 5th Street N.E., carrying a backpack. In the backpack were a purse and other personal items belonging to a female who was the victim of a vehicle break-in. That victim’s case was unrelated to the residential break-in.
Williams was released; however, Officers met with the victim and confirmed that the purse and backpack were the items taken from her in a vehicle break-in. The stolen property belonged to three female victims, 21, 47 and 27 years of age, all from Conover.
Warrants for Williams’ arrest were issued. He was taken into custody without incident shortly before 10 p.m. at his residence. Williams was placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under a $40,000 secured bond. A District Court date was set for tomorrow (February 24).
Drivers in the City of Morganton may want to avoid the intersection of Collett Street and Davis Drive on Saturday (February 25). City of Morganton Electric Services workers plan to remove a large, storm-damaged tree at the intersection and workers will close the intersection at various times between 6:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. that day. For more information, call Electric Services at 828-438-5277.
26-year-old Justin Drew Coffey of Ridgeway Place in Lenoir was arrested Wednesday (February 22) by Lenoir Police Officers. He's charged with felony speeding to elude arrest. Coffey was detained in the Caldwell County Detention Center under $10,000 secured bond. A District Court appearance was scheduled for today (Thursday, February 23).
24-year-old Kenny Tran of 1st Street West in Conover was arrested by Catawba County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with possession with intent to manufacture, sell, and deliver heroin and possession with intent to manufacture, sell, and deliver schedule IV controlled substance. Tran is also charged with seven counts of failure to appear. Following the arrest, Tran was jailed this morning (Thursday, February 23) in the Catawba County Detention Facility under $32,000 bond. A Superior Court appearance is scheduled for Friday (February 24).
19-year-old Steven Tyler Lynn Hass of Highpoint Avenue in Statesville was arrested Tuesday (February 21) by Iredell County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with four felony counts of breaking and entering to a motor vehicle, felony and misdemeanor counts of larceny, and felony obtaining property by false pretense.
On Thursday, February 9, deputies were called to a residence on Wallace Springs Road where four unlocked motor vehicles had been broken into. Various items were stolen from the vehicles. Through further investigation Steven Hass was identified as the suspect.
Hass was located at his residence on Tuesday and placed under arrest. Some of the stolen property has been recovered. Hass also has pending charges for larceny of a firearm, larceny of a motor vehicle, misdemeanor larceny, and Underage consumption of alcohol. He was placed in jail under $25,000 secured bond. His next appearance is scheduled for March 7 in District Court.
It is believed that Hass may be involved in additional motor vehicle break ins. This investigation is ongoing and additional charges may be forthcoming. If anyone has additional information they are asked to contact Detective Brooks Meyer at the Iredell County Sheriff’s Office at 704-924-4025.
43-year-old Bobby Ray Mayberry and 37-year-old Kathy Lynn Creech, both of the same address on Fairlane Drive in Stony Point, were arrested by Hickory Police shortly after 3 p.m. yesterday on felony counts of failure to appear (two counts for Mayberry and one for Creech).
They were arrested after Hickory Police responded to the Walmart store on Highway 70 S.E. During the call, Officers learned that Mayberry and Creech had outstanding failure to appear warrants out of Iredell County for felony obtaining property by false pretense.
A third subject, 43-year-old Damion Ray Duke of Stony Point, was charged with misdemeanor larceny and issued a citation after Loss Prevention reported he concealed items and went past the last point of sale.
Mayberry and Creech were each taken to the Catawba Co. Detention Facility with bond for Mayberry set at $2,000, secured, while Creech was given a $1,000 secured bond. Both suspects have since been released. The two are scheduled to appear in District Court in Statesville on March 21.
32-year-old Philip Ligatti was arrested Tuesday (February 21) by Burke County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with felony possession of a firearm by a felon. Ligatti was placed in jail in Morganton under $5,000 secured bond. A Superior Court appearance was scheduled for today (Wednesday, February 22).
A Lincoln County woman was killed when her vehicle collided with another vehicle on Slanting Bridge Road in Catawba County this morning (Wednesday, February 22). At approximately 4:30 a.m. a vehicle driven by 22-year-old Marissa Billings of Iron Station was traveling northbound on Slanting Bridge Road when she lost control of the vehicle. Billings crossed the center line and her vehicle collided with another vehicle heading southbound. Billings' vehicle caught fire and she was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the other vehicle sustained minor injuries.
The accident happened at the intersection of Slanting Bridge Road and Drena Drive, approximately one mile from Highway 150. No charges are expected and speed is not considered a factor. The State Highway Patrol is investigating.