41-year-old Debra Ann Matney of Lincolncon was given an active prison sentence of five to seven years after pleading guilty to first-degree burglary, felony conspiracy, second-degree kidnapping and common law robbery during Catawba County Superior Court on Thursday (March 9).
The Honorable Jeffrey P. Hunt, Superior Court Judge from Transylvania County, imposed Matney’s sentence, which will be served in custody of the North Carolina Division of Adult Corrections, following her guilty plea.
Matney and four other individuals were involved in a home invasion, robbery and kidnapping of her then 18-year-old daughter on Aug. 19, 2015. They covered the girl’s face, took her from the home and drove her to multiple locations, using her debit card to withdraw funds.
The victim identified her mother’s voice during the kidnapping. Video surveillance from a store helped identify two of the co-defendants, and a third person identified helped investigators develop the other two suspects, including Matney, who made a statement that she was trying to teach her daughter a lesson.
One of the co-defendants already has pleaded guilty and is serving a prison sentence. The other three have pending court dates on charges related to the offenses. Russ Boger investigated the case for the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office. Lance Sigmon handled prosecution for the District Attorney’s Office.
31-year-old Jerry Antwon Young of 1st Street S.E. in Hickory was arrested by Hickory Police at 2:15 Wednesday afternoon (March 8) on one felony count of failure to appear. He was served a bill of indictment for the sale of cocaine and possession with intent to sell or deliver cocaine. Young was also charged with a felony probation violation. In addition, the Catawba Co. Sheriff’s Office has charged Young with non-support.
He was taken into custody at a residence on 10th Avenue S.W. in Hickory. Young was jailed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility with bond set at $50,000, secured, plus a $2,715 bond on the non-support charge. He has court dates on March 20 and May 15.
A Hickory man will be in prison for at least seven years following his guilty plea to two counts of larceny from the person and his admission to habitual felon status during Catawba County Superior Court on Wednesday (March 8).
57-year-old Ronnie Darnell Smith was sentenced to an active prison term of seven to ten years in custody of the North Carolina Division of Adult Corrections by the Honorable Jeffrey P. Hunt, Superior Court Judge from Transylvania County.
Smith’s prison sentence was enhanced by prior felony convictions for larceny after breaking and entering in Mecklenburg County (August 2004), attempted felonious larceny in Nash County (September 2008) and attempted felonious larceny in Durham County (April 2012).
The defendant took property from the Cubbard Express in Hickory without paying for it on Sept. 22, 2016, and did the same at CVS Pharmacy in Hickory the following day. Video surveillance from both businesses helped investigators from Hickory Police Department determine it was the same person who committed the offenses. A neighborhood canvass for the suspect led investigators to Smith as a suspect, and he later confessed to the crimes.
Justin Levey led the investigation for Hickory Police Department, and Kyle Smith prosecuted the case for the District Attorney’s Office.
33-year-old Michael Eugene Grutizus, whose address is listed as the Budget Inn in Hickory, was arrested by Hickory Police shortly before noon yesterday on two felony counts of breaking & entering and two misdemeanor counts of larceny after breaking & entering.
He was arrested in connection to two incidents that were reported on March 8. Officers responded to a vehicle break-in on 14th Avenue N.E. in Hickory. A female victim reported the theft of a purse, which included two debit cards. Investigators learned that the suspect attempted to use the debit cards.
On the same date, another victim reported the theft of a purse, including a wallet with credit cards. That incident occurred at King Hickory Furniture.
Yesterday (March 9), Officers located the suspect, Michael Grutizus, at the Raceway convenience store on Lenoir-Rhyne Boulevard. He was taken into custoday without incident and placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under a $15,000 secured bond. A first appearance in District Court was set for today in Newton.
51-year-old Jimmy Cola Ayers of Riverfield Road in Statesville has been arrested by Iredell Co. Sheriff’s Officers on assault with a deadly weapon, communicating threats, injury to personal property and impersonating a law enforcement officer.
Events leading to his arrest began as Detective Sgt. Katie Harwell followed up on a domestic assault incident involving the suspect, Jimmy Ayers, and his wife. In the course of the investigation, Detectives learned that Ayers approached a subject in a vehicle and presented himself as a law enforcement officer. The incident took place on Stan Lane in Statesville on February 27.
At that time, Ayers, who was armed with a Bowie knife, claimed he was looking for a female and needed to search the victim’s car. Ayers told the victim that the Sheriff’s Office had offered a reward for the woman. The victim allowed Ayers to search the vehicle. When he didn’t find the woman, Ayers became upset and began to stab and damage the victim’s property in the vehicle.
The victim asked for Ayers’ I.D. and told him to stop. While continuing to hold the knife, Ayers threatened the victim and said he didn’t have to show anything. The victim was able to get back in the vehicle and leave the area.
Ayers was arrested and given a $4,000 secured bond. He was also served a warrant for assault on a female as the result of a March 1 altercation between Ayers and his wife. An appearance in District Court was scheduled for April 3.
The man charged with making hundreds of bomb threats to locations in Burke, Caldwell, and Catawba Counties appeared in court today in Catawba County. 27-year-old Cody Matthew Startt of Matoaka, West Virginia did not receive any additional time for the charges in Catawba County. He was sentenced to 11-21 years in prison following his appearance in Burke County. Startt still has a court appearance scheduled in Caldwell County, which was set for today but could change.
The District Attorney's Office has issued a statement regarding the investigation into two Assistant DA's involvement in a church facing abuse allegations.
The statement from District Attorney David Learnerreads as follows: "Assistant District Attorney Frank Webster and Assistant District Attorney Chris Back are no longer employed by the 25th Judicial District. Assistant District Attorney Lance Sigmon will be the Chief ADA in Burke County, and Kyle Smith will be the Chief ADA in Catawba County. I along with my staff, have worked very hard in the past two years to rebuild the reputation of the DA's Office, and I cannot allow the integrity of the office to be called into question. My administration is dedicated to the fair and impartial administration of criminal justice for the citizens of Burke, Caldwell, and Catawba Counties."
An Associated Press Article says at least a half-dozen times over a period of twenty years, authorities investigated reports that members of the Word of Faith Church were being beaten. The report says according to former congregants, the orders came down from church leaders to lie to protect the sect. According to the AP report, Frank Webster and Chris Back, assistant District Attorneys in the 25th District were ministers with the church. They allegedly provided legal advice, helped at strategy sessions and participated in a mock trial for four congregants charged with harassing a former member.
A Joint Meeting of the Hickory City Council and the Bond Implementation Commission will be held on Monday (March 13) at 4:00 p.m. The meeting will be held in Council Chambers at the
Julian G. Whitener Municipal Building at 76 North Center Street in Hickory. The meeting is being held to give an update of the Bond Commission Program, distribute the Gateway Questionnaire, and have open discussion.
The evenings get lighter and mornings darker starting this weekend. Daylight Savings Time begins Sunday (March 12). Eastern Standard Time ends and Daylight Savings begins at 2 a.m. Sunday. Set your clocks ahead one hour before going to bed Saturday night (March 11) or early Sunday morning.
The Hickory Regional Planning Commission (HRPC) will hold a public drop-in meeting on Wednesday, March 22 at 6 p.m. at City Hall in City Council Chambers at 76 North Center Street.
During the meeting, the public will review a draft revision of the Hickory by Choice 2030 plan, which is the city’s long-range development plan that covers topics like land-use, transportation, housing, vision and community design, economic development, demographics, parks and recreation, public facilities, and the environment.
The HRPC established a subcommittee in early 2016 to oversee and guide the update process of the Hickory by Choice 2030 plan. Revisions were made to almost all of the plan’s chapters, as well as the creation of two new chapters, which cover public health and historic preservation. The draft revisions are now complete and ready to be unveiled to the public.
Copies of the draft plan will be available at the meeting for the public to review. Members of the HRPC and city staff will be present to assist the public and answer questions about the plan. Public comments provided during the meeting will be considered and used in finalizing the plan before it goes before the full HRPC and City Council for consideration and final approval.
The meeting will take place during the HRPC’s regularly scheduled meeting on March 22 and the public can drop by between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. To view the current plan, prior to its revisions, visit http://www.hickorync.gov/content/planning-documents.
25-year-old Kasey Holden Brown of JJ Lane in Hudson was arrested Thursday (March 9) by Caldwell County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with felony counts of breaking and entering, larceny after breaking and entering, and possession of stolen goods. Brown was jailed in the Caldwell County Detention Center under $5,000 secured bond. No court date was listed.
The person who passed away on the Old Burke County Courthouse lawn in Morganton was identified Thursday (March 9). On Wednesday (March 8) at 2:37 p.m. Morganton Public Safety Officers were dispatched to the lawn of the courthouse at 101 South Sterling Street in reference to a cardiac arrest. Upon arrival officers found the victim, deceased.
The victim was identified as 36-year-old Joy Lynett LaValley of Morganton. The Morganton Public Safety Criminal Investigations Division is handling the investigation into the cause of the death. An autopsy will be conducted. The case remains under investigation by MDPS Criminal Investigations Division.
43-year-old William Lynn Turner of Shoals Way in Lenoir was arrested Thursday (March 9) by Caldwell County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with felony speeding to elude arrest along with misdemeanor counts of cyberstalking and failure to appear. Turner was detained in the Caldwell County Detention Center under $30,000 secured bond. His next District Court appearance is scheduled for Monday (March 13).
38-year-old James Daniel Terry of Conover was arrested by Hickory Police Officers. He's charged with possession of methamphetamine. Terry was incarcerated this morning (Friday, March 10) in the Catawba County Detention Facility under $5,000 bond. A District Court appearance was scheduled for today.
A Caldwell County man was given minimum sentence of six years following his guilty plea to drug charges and admission as a habitual felon.
39-year-old Timothy Shawn Byrd of Granite Falls was sentenced to six to eight years in the custody of the North Carolina Department of Adult Corrections by the Honorable Daniel A. Kuehnert, Superior Court Judge from Burke County, during Caldwell County Superior Court on Tuesday (March 7). He pleaded guilty to maintaining a dwelling to sell methamphetamine and possession with intent to sell and deliver methamphetamine.
Byrd’s sentence was enhanced by prior felony convictions for breaking and entering in Caldwell County (November 1997), and obtaining property by false pretense in Caldwell County (October 2007 and July 2012).
Deputies with the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office received information that the defendant was selling methamphetamine out of his residence. A confidential informant made two supervised controlled purchases from Byrd, and a subsequent search of home resulted in the seizure of methamphetamine and other items.
Deputy Adam Joseph led the investigation for the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office, and Andrew Jennings handled prosecution for the State.
40-year-old Joshua Duerr Pate of Lenoir pleaded guilty to felony possession of methamphetamine and felony flee to elude arrest, and admitted his habitual felon status during Caldwell County Superior Court on Tuesday (March 7).
As a result of the guilty plea, the Honorable Daniel A. Kuehnert, Superior Court Judge from Burke County, sentenced Pate to serve an active prison term of six to nine years in custody of the North Carolina Division of Adult Corrections.
Pate’s habitual felon status enhanced his sentence. He previously was convicted of larceny in Watauga County (July 1996), second-degree burglary in Watauga County (March 2009) and common law robbery in Watauga County (July 2012).
A needle and two baggies of a crystalline substance were found in Pate’s pocket during a search by a Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office deputy on June 27, 2015. The North Carolina Crime Lab confirmed that substance to be methamphetamine.
On Sept. 4, 2016, the defendant was operating a motor vehicle with a fictitious license plate. When the deputy initiated a traffic stop, Pate accelerated to a high speed, drove left of center and swerved into the opposite lane before crashing. He fled the scene but was identified by a passenger in the vehicle as the driver.
Deputy C.L. Greene handled both cases for the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant District Attorney Nancy Lee was the prosecutor for the State.
Caldwell Co. Sheriff’s Officers are seeking the public’s assistance in locating 33-year-old Timothy Allan Harmon. Warrants for his arrest have been issued on charges of first-degree arson and first-degree kidnapping.
Harmon is wanted in connection to an incident at about six o’clock this morning (March 9) in which Caldwell County Deputies, along with Fire & Rescue personnel from multiple agencies, responded to a structure fire at an apartment complex on Oak Tree Lane in Sawmills. Once the fire was contained, Fire Investigators determined that the fire was a result of arson.
Fire Investigators and Detectives were able to determine that the apartment complex was occupied at the time fire was set. A suspect, Timothy Allan Harmon, fled the scene prior to the arrival of law enforcement.
No injuries were reported.
Anyone with information regarding Harmon’s whereabouts should call the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office at 828-757-1400 or call Crime Stoppers at 828-758-8300. Crime Stoppers callers can remain anonymous.
36-year-old James Kelly Lynch of 4th Street Drive N.E. in Hickory was arrested by Hickory Police at about 10:20 last night on one felony count of possession of a schedule II controlled substance. He was also charged with a misdemeanor probation violation on a warrant issued on February 8 in Henderson County.
Lynch was taken into custody without incident on the 1700 block of 10th Avenue N.E. in Hickory. He was given a $10,000 unsecured bond on the drug charge and a $25,000 secured bond for the probation violation. A District Court date was set for April 5 in Newton.
Lynch also faces felony charges for the sale of heroin and conspiracy to sell heroin. He’ll appear in Superior Court on March 20 on those charges.
26-year-old Tyler Akeem Ferguson of 8th Avenue Drive S.E. in Hickory was arrested by Hickory Police at about 8:30 last night on two counts of failure to appear, one felony and one misdemeanor. He also faces charges for breaking & entering, plus an additional count of failure to appear for driving while license revoked.
The charges come in connection to an incident on January 23 of this year when Officers responded to a residence on 2nd Street Place N.E. where damage to property was reported. Upon arrival, Officers leaned the residence had been broken into and multiple items were taken. On January 26, some of the items, including a PlayStation console and controller, were located at a local pawnshop. Ferguson was initially arrested on January 27.
Ferguson was placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility with bond set at $20,500, secured. District Court appearances were scheduled for March 15 and April 27 in Newton.
25-year-old Jordon Adam Shook of Herman Sipe Road in Conover was arrested today (Thursday, March 9) by Catawba County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with possession of heroin and possession of drug paraphernalia. Shook was placed in the Catawba County Detention Facility under $5,000 bond. A District Court appearance is scheduled for Friday (March 10).