Additional charges were filed Friday (January 13) against 46-year-old Donald Eugene Blankenship of East 11th Street in Newton. He was initially charged and arrested last Wednesday (January 11) on one count of indecent liberties with a child and two counts of third-degree sexual exploitation of a minor.
Detectives identified another victim during the continuing investigation. As a result of the interview with the second victim, Blankenship was charged with two additional counts of indecent liberties with children.
He was again placed in the Catawba County Detention Facility under a $100,000 bond. An appearance in District Court was set for tomorrow (January 17) in Newton.
Any other potential victims of Blankenship or David Lee Perkins (who was arrested last month in Missouri in connection to the same case) are asked to contact the Newton Police Department at 828-465-7430.
Lisa Williard of Harmony, N.C. is a winner for a second time in the North Carolina Education Lottery’s Cash 5 jackpot. Her first win came in 2008, when she won $363,041. Williard won again Thursday night (January 12) when she was one of three people to win the $1,065,423 jackpot.
The odds of winning a Cash 5 jackpot are one-in-749,398. Williard bought several Quick Pick tickets for Thursday’s drawing at Barker’s Log Cabin Grocery Too on the Harmony Highway in Harmony. When she checked her first ticket, she saw that she matched four numbers to win $250. Her next ticket matched all five numbers.
Willard claimed her prize Friday at lottery headquarters in Raleigh, receiving a third of the jackpot, $355,141. After required state and federal tax withholdings, she took home $246,826. She plans to use the money to pay off her mortgage.
The other winning tickets were sold at the Kangaroo Express on South Polk Street in Pineville and Stanleyville Grocery on North Patterson Avenue in Winston Salem. Winners have 180 days to claim their prize.
The lottery raised more than $634 million for the state last year.
32-year-old Benny Ray Prestwood of Zacks Fork Road in Lenoir was arrested Saturday (January 14) by Lenoir Police Officers. He's charged with probation violation, uttering a forged instrument, and simple possession of schedule II controlled substance, and failure to appear. Prestwood was jailed in the Caldwell County Detention Center under $55,000 secured bond. No court date was listed.
39-year-old Michael Andrew Laney of Buffalo Shoals Road in Lincolnton was arrested Saturday (January 14) by Maiden Police Officers. He's charged with single counts of possession of methamphetamine, assault with a deadly weapon, assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury, and second degree trespassing. Laney is also charged with two counts apiece of assault by pointing a gun and communicating threats. He was jailed at the Catawba County Detention Facility. Bond for Laney was set at $25,000. A District Court appearance is scheduled for tomorrow (Tuesday, January 17).
24-year-old Alomar Teracious Edwards of Lee Avenue in Linconlton was arrested Friday (January 13) by Lincoln County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with two counts of statutory rape/sex offense against a victim 13, 14 or 15-years-old by a defendant at least six years older.
Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office Detective Kelsey Harrington received a report on December 28, 2016 after deputies responded to a call at CHS-Lincoln in reference to a missing 15-year-old juvenile.
It was determined during the investigation that the juvenile had engaged in sexual intercourse between January 1, 2016 and January 12, 2017 with Alomar Teracious Edwards. The victim knew the suspect in the case. Detective Harrington interviewed Edwards last Friday while he was in the Lincoln County Detention Center on other charges. A news release says the suspect admitted to having sex with the female.
Edwards was ordered held without bond and will have a first appearance in Lincoln County District Court on Tuesday (January 17).
31-year-old John Christopher Watts of Old NC 10 in Hickory was arrested last Thursday (January 12) by Burke County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with felony counts of trafficking drugs by possession, possession with intent to manufacture, sell, and deliver schedule VI controlled substance, and sale and delivery of controlled substance within 300 feet of a school.
Last Thursday, Burke County Sheriff’s Officers were serving a warrant at a residence on Old NC 10. While at the home, Watts reportedly threw drugs out the rear door of his residence in the presence of Officers. An investigation revealed additional narcotics inside the residence.
Watts was taken into custody without further incident and confined at the Burke Catawba District Confinement Facility under a $75,000 secured bond. A first court appearance was scheduled for last Friday (January 13). His next District Court appearance is scheduled for February 1.
A Wilmington man was sentenced to a minimum of eight years in prison after pleading guilty to obtaining property by false pretense and possession of stolen goods, and admitting his status as a habitual felon during Catawba County Superior Court earlier this month.
54-year-old William McDowell Butler Jr. was given an active prison sentence of 8-10 years in custody of the North Carolina Division of Adult Corrections by the Honorable Gregory R. Hayes, Superior Court Judge from Catawba County, on January 6. Details on the sentencing were included in a news release issued last Friday (January 13).
Butler received money after knowingly defrauding the Gold and Silver Assay Company and the Gold King in March 2015 and was found to be in possession of stolen property belonging to three other individuals.
The defendant’s habitual felon status enhanced the sentence he was given. Butler had prior felony convictions for breaking or entering in Beaufort County (June 1991), forgery of an instrument in Beaufort County (September 1993) and obtaining property by false pretense in Caldwell County (April 2001).
The case was investigated by Spencer Cline of Newton Police Department and prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Kyle Smith.
37-year-old Reginald Curtis of Morganton was found guilty of two counts of trafficking methamphetamine by a Catawba County jury last Thursday (January 12).
The jury deliberated for an hour before returning its guilty verdict against Curtis, who was given two active sentences of 7-10 years in custody of the North Carolina Division of Adult Corrections by the Honorable William T. Pomeroy, Superior Court Judge from Lincoln County. Those sentences will run concurrently.
In addition, Judge Pomeroy imposed fines totaling $200,000 for Curtis on the trafficking convictions.
Curtis was found guilty of trafficking more than 200 grams of methamphetamine but less than 400 grams by transportation and possession. He has previously been convicted of trafficking marijuana in November 2008.
On January 16, 2014, Curtis was driving a rental car when he was stopped for traffic violations by deputies with the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office. A search of the vehicle turned up a shoebox containing 303.85 grams of methamphetamine.
When the methamphetamine was found, Curtis tried to flee on foot, but he was captured by the deputies.
Danny Cline and Jared Hallman led the investigation for the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office. Sean Baetjer prosecuted the case for the District Attorney’s Office.
The Catawba County Board of Commissioners will meet in regular session Tuesday night (January 17). Commissioners typically meet on Monday, but this month's session was moved to Tuesday due to the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday today.
Commissioners will hold four public hearings at Tuesday's session. One public hearing is scheduled to receive citizen comments and consider an economic development agreement with GKN Driveline Newton LLC. Another is being held to hear comments on an amendment the 2009 economic development agreement with Apple Inc. Commissioners are also holding a public hearing to receive comments on amendments to the wall signage regulations, and another is to discuss and receive comments on the definition for conference/retreat centers in the Catawba County Unified Development Ordinance.
The Board will also consider appropriating grant funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities to the Catawba County Library. They'll consider transferring $126,705 in remaining funds from completed capital Catawba County Schools projects to replace a chiller at Mountain View Elementary. Commissioners will also discuss modifying two minor outcomes for Social Services to better align with state policy and the changing environment, and endorsing the updated Catawba County Children’s Agenda.
The Board will also consider approving a resolution and bylaws for the creation of an operating board of K-64. This is a proposed partnership with the three public school systems, Catawba Valley Community College, business and industry, county government and other community partners. It's goal is to create a world class education system.
The Catawba County Board of Commissioners meets at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the 1924 Courthouse at 30 North College Avenue in Newton.
Hickory Police are investigating an armed robbery at the Cubbard Express store on 2nd Street N.E. in Viewmont.
At about 11:20 last night, Hickory Police Officers responded to an armed robbery call at the store. The female clerk said that two suspects came into the store and demanded money while holding her at gunpoint. The suspects took an undisclosed sum of cash and tobacco products valued at $31. They exited through a side door and left the store on foot. No one was injured.
One suspect was described as a tall, young black male with a slim build. He was wearing a pink Under Armour hoodie, dark pants with three white stripes down each outer leg and a light-colored facemask. He was carrying a black book bag with green and possibly yellow highlights.
The second suspect was said to be a tall, young black male with a slim build. He was wearing a black zip-up hoodie, blue pants and a black mask.
A possible third suspect involved appears to be a black male wearing a gray hoodie, black pants and a black hat. He was seen walking through the rear parking lot at the Cubbard Express just before the robbery.
Anyone with information regarding the robbery should call Hickory Police at 828-328-5551 or contact Investigator Jeff Pruett directly at 828-261-2617 or email@example.com.
29-year-old Thatcher Lynn Wilson of Black Oak Road in Hickory was arrested by Hickory Police shortly after 6:30 last night (January 12) on one felony count of speeding to elude arrest.
He was arrested in connection to an incident on November 18 of last year. At that time, Officers responded to a fight at an address on 1st Avenue N.W. in Hickory. As they arrived, Officers saw a white 2006 Mercedes fleeing the scene on 1st Avenue N.W. at 2nd Street N.W. Police attempted to stop the Mercedes at 2nd Street N.W. and 2nd Avenue N.W., but the vehicle accelerated and pulled away. The chase was terminated.
Officers recognized the driver as Thatcher Lynn Wilson as he initially pulled away from the scene of the fight. A warrant for his arrest was issued. He was taken into custody without incident yesterday at a convenience store on North Center Street in Hickory.
Wilson was processed and released nearly three hours later under an $8,000 secured bond. A first appearance in District Court was scheduled today in Newton.
32-year-old Clarence O'Brien Heller of Eastover Drive in Statesville was arrested Tuesday (January 10) By Iredell County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with interference with an electronic monitoring device. Heller is also charged on an outstanding warrant for child support and additional warrants from Probation and Parole.
On Friday, December 2, 2016, Iredell County Probation/Parole went to 501 Russell Street Apartment 2 in Statesville to serve a parole warrant on Clarence O’Brien Heller. While attempting to serve Heller with the parole warrant he ran out the front door of the apartment and ran into nearby woods. The electronic monitoring bracelet was pinged to determine its location and was located in a trash can next to where Heller ran into the woods. A warrant was then secured on Heller for Interference with an Electric Monitoring Device.
Heller is currently on post release supervision from serving time for a possession of schedule II controlled substance conviction. Bond for Heller on the interference charge was set at $3,500 secured. He's being held at the Iredell County Jail under a total bond amount of $121,283. A District Court appearance is scheduled for January 31.
Hickory Police are investigating an armed robbery at the Cubbard Express store on 2nd Street N.E. in Viewmont.
The incident occurred between 11:15 and 11:20 last night (January 12) when two black males entered the store. The men demanded money, and at least one handgun was displayed. The suspects kept their faces covered during the robbery.
They took tobacco products valued at $31 and an undisclosed sum of cash. The suspects left the store through a side entrance. It’s not known if they fled on foot or in a vehicle.
No one was injured. No further description of the suspects is available.
Anyone with information regarding the robbery should call Hickory Police at 828-328-5551.
44-year-old Mark Anthony Russell of the Gastonia Highway in Lincolnton was arrested by Hickory Police at about 10:20 Thursday (January 12) on one felony count of obtaining property by false pretense and one misdemeanor count of obtaining advances under promise to work.
He was arrested after Police responded on December 29 to a residence on 10th Street Boulevard N.W. in Hickory where a victim told Officers that he had hired Russell to make some renovations to his residence. According to the victim, the work was scheduled to begin in late October, to be completed by early December.
Some of the work was done; however, the renovations were to include the installation of an air-conditioning unit. The victim paid for the unit, but – according to a Police spokesperson – the unit was never purchased by the suspect.
A warrant for Russell’s arrest was issued on December 29. He was taken into custody without incident yesterday at Startown Road and Highway 321 in Newton. Russell was placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under a $2,000 secured bond. He has since been released. A first appearance in District Court was set for today in Newton.
46-year-old Donald Eugene Blankenship of Newton was arrested by Newton Police Officers. He's charged with indecent liberties with a child and two counts of third degree sexual exploitation of a minor.
On Wednesday (January 11) the Newton Police Department, in conjunction with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Hickory Police Department, executed a search warrant at 625 East 11th Street in Newton, the home of Donald Eugene Blankenship. The search warrant was executed as a result of an investigation and the arrest of 33-year-old David Lee Perkins, formerly of Newton, in December of 2016. Perkins was arrested in Joplin, Missouri and charged with sexual exploitation of a minor for crimes that occurred in that jurisdiction.
During the investigation in Missouri, it was discovered that Perkins was also possibly involved in the same type of activity at the East 11th Street home of Blankenship. Perkins owns that home. Officers searched the residence and seized evidence related to the crimes of indecent liberties with a child, and sexual exploitation of a minor in which they allege Blankenship was involved.
Blankenship was arrested and charged, the case is currently still under investigation with additional charges pending.
25-year-old Cory Austin Barrett of North Davis Avenue in Newton was arrested today (Friday, January 13) by Catawba County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with two counts of break or enter a motor vehicle, three counts of misdemeanor larceny, and reckless driving. Barrett was jailed in the Catawba County Detention Facility under $7,000 bond. He's scheduled to appear in District Court February 6.
The City of Hickory will close its offices on Monday (January 16) in observance of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, but garbage and recycling pick-up will continue.
The City of Hickory offices will re-open on Tuesday, January 17 at 8:30 a.m. The Hickory Public Library, the Patrick Beaver Memorial main facility and the Ridgeview Branch, will be closed for the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday on Monday. The library will reopen at its regular hours on Tuesday. The administrative offices, all recreation centers, and the skate park will be closed on Monday. City parks are open 365 days a year.
In honor of the life and legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the Office of Multicultural Affairs at Lenoir-Rhyne University (LRU) will host the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day celebration Monday at 10 a.m. in the P.E. Monroe Auditorium. This year’s guest speaker is Dr. Obery M. Hendricks, Jr. Dr. Hendricks is the author of the bestselling book, The Politics of Jesus: Rediscovering the True Revolutionary Nature of Jesus’ Teachings and How They Have Been Corrupted.
Immediately following the presentation, attendees are invited to participate in the annual NAACP March sponsored by the Hickory Branch of the NAACP. The march will begin at 11 a.m. in front of P.E. Monroe Auditorium and extend approximately two miles to the Ridgeview Recreation Center. The event will conclude with entertainment and light refreshments at the recreation center.
All events are free and open to the public.
25-year-old Jonathan Wayne Shawver was arrested this morning (Friday, January 13) by authorities in Burke County. He's charged with felony forced breaking and entering. Following the arrest, Shawver was placed in jail in Morganton under $5,000 secured bond. A court appearance is scheduled for next Friday (January 20).
52-year-old Robert Junior Fox was arrested Thursday (January 12) by authorities in Burke County. He's charged with felony possession of stolen goods. Fox was placed in jail in Morganton under $5,000 secured bond. A District Court appearance was scheduled for today (Friday, January 13).
The Iredell County Sheriff’s Office has released an update on a homicide investigation in Statesville. On Tuesday (January 10) the body of 80-year-old Hugh Lee Moose was found inside a residence at 577 Shiloh Road in Statesville. Sheriff Darren E. Campbell announced Thursday (January 11) that he received confirmation that the cause of death was due to a gun shot.
The investigation is continuing into this case, Detectives are attempting to identify a man seen between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. on foot in the area. He is described as a white male, about 5’10 tall, between 25 and 35 years of age. He was wearing light brown Carhartt-style overalls with a dark colored backpack. The man was last seen on a side road off of Shiloh Road.
Anyone with information regarding the case should call the Sheriff’s Homicide Hotline at 704-928-9804. Callers may remain anonymous.