27-year-old Cierra Michelle Howell of Old Catawba Road in Catawba and 24-year-old Orlando Leverne Jones of South Cline Street in Newton were both arrested by Hickory Police at about 2 a.m. yesterday (November 20). They were both charged with one felony count of possession with intent to sell or deliver cocaine and one misdemeanor count each of simple possession of a schedule II controlled substance and possession of marijuana up to half an ounce. Howell also faces felony charges for maintaining a vehicle, dwelling or place for a controlled substance and identity theft, as well as one misdemeanor count of simple possession of a schedule III controlled substance. In addition, she was served a warrant for failure to appear on a charge of felony possession of cocaine. Jones faces additional misdemeanor charges for possession of drug paraphernalia and resisting, delaying or obstructing a public officer.
They were arrested when Officers on foot patrol at the Red Roof Inn on 8th Street Drive S.E. in Hickory detected the strong odor of marijuana coming from room #229. The Officer knocked and found two people in the room, Cierra Howell and Orlando Jones. Both subjects initially gave the Officer false information regarding their identities.
A search of the room turned up 6.3 grams of crack cocaine, 1.6 grams of marijuana, two hydrocodone pills, two oxycodone pills, a debit card that didn’t belong to either suspect and $1,319 in cash.
The two were taken into custody without incident. They were jailed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility with bond for Howell set at $20,000, secured, while Jones was given a $10,000 secured bond. They were scheduled to make first appearances in District Court today in Newton.
In its fifth year, the annual Shoe & Sock Drive, hosted by Frye Regional Medical Center’s Physical Therapy Department, collected 210 pairs of shoes, 671 pairs of socks and $100 in cash. Members of the department presented the donations to the Catawba County Department of Social Services (DSS) on November 7.
Each year in October, the Physical Therapy Department celebrates National Physical Therapy Month by collecting new shoes and socks for Catawba County DSS. Through the generosity of employees at Frye, the Shoe & Sock Drive throughout its lifetime has collected more than 900 pairs of shoes and 1,900 pairs of socks for local foster children.
40-year-old Adam Gilliam of Bel Aire Drive in Morganton has been arrested by Burke Co. Sheriff’s Officers on a charge of indecent liberties with a child.
According to a news release issued yesterday (November 20), the Department of Social Services received a report in October from a high school in reference to allegations of indecent liberties with a juvenile. The victim alleged that Gilliam inappropriately touched her.
Detectives from the Burke County Sheriff’s Office and Social Workers from the Department of Social Services interviewed Gilliam regarding the allegations. Following the interview, Gilliam was arrested and jailed under a $15,000 secured bond.
Gilliam’s case will likely be sent to a Grand Jury for a possible indictment. No court date is scheduled at this time.
19-year-old Chelsea Savannah Wise of 2nd Avenue S.W. in Hickory was arrested by Hickory Police at about 7 p.m. Wednesday (November 19) on one felony count of breaking & entering a motor vehicle and one misdemeanor count of larceny.
She was arrested when Officers responded to a residence on 5th Avenue S.W. in Hickory where they arrived to find the 25-year-old male victim holding Wise by the arm in the driveway. The victim, who was in the process of moving his belongings from the residence, allegedly saw Wise and two male subjects attempting to steal a T.V. from his vehicle.
The two men were not apprehended. One was described as a tall, black male. Police say Wise was not cooperative in identifying the other two suspects.
Following her arrest, Wise was placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under a $10,000 secured bond. She was scheduled to make a first appearance in District Court today (November 21) in Hickory.
22-year-old Marcus Allen Dula of Patterson Street in Lenoir has been arrested by Officers with the Lenoir Police Narcotics Unit and Special Response Team on one felony count each of possession of marijuana, possession with intent to manufacture, sell or deliver marijuana and maintaining a dwelling for the use, storage or sale of controlled substances. He was also charged with misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia.
Dula’s arrest was the culmination of a month-long investigation that came about as the direct result of community complaints. He was taken into custody at about six o’clock this morning (November 21) when Agents served a search warrant at Dula’s residence. The search yielded 70 grams of marijuana, a loaded 9 mm pistol and equipment used to grow marijuana. The marijuana was valued at $600, according to state guidelines.
Dula was taken to the Caldwell Co. Detention Center under a $50,000 secured bond. He will make a first appearance in District Court Monday (November 24) in Lenoir.
The Rancho Viejo restaurant on Lenoir-Rhyne Boulevard S.E. in Hickory was robbed by an armed suspect last night.
The robbery occurred at about 7:50 p.m. A former Rancho Viejo employee entered the restaurant. He sat down at a table, ordered a drink and asked to speak to the manager. The suspect and the manager went into the manager’s office where the suspect held a large object believed to be a gun in his pocket. He asked the manager for money.
When the manager came out of the office and went to the register to get cash for the suspect, he was able to motion to another employee to call Police. The suspect left the restaurant with an undisclosed amount of cash.
Police arrived as the suspect fled on foot into a nearby wooded area. A K-9 unit was called in, but the suspect was not found. The K-9 did lead Officers to recover the suspect’s airsoft pistol and a hat worn by the suspect.
The suspect was identified by Rancho Viejo employees. A warrant has been issued for his arrest. Police are not releasing the suspect’s identity at this time.
39-year-old Brian Keith Guzman of Alabama Avenue in Marion and 24-year-old Tiffany Dawn Milam of Faith Baptist Church Road in Marion have both been arrested in connection to the August 16 shooting death of 39-year-old James Lionel Ferguson of Old Highway 10 East in Marion. Guzman was charged with murder and felony conspiracy and Milam was charged with felony accessory after the fact.
Two other men – 24-year-old Shane Edward Webb of Forsythe Street in Marion and 24-year-old Andrew Clifton Johnson, of Maces Park Drive in Marion – were previously charged with murder.
McDowell County Sheriff’s Capt. Shanon Smith said an investigation shows that the three males conspired to rob Ferguson. During the robbery, the victim was shot and subsequently died. Capt. Smith also said that Milam allegedly aided the three men after the shooting by driving them away from the residence. The shooting occurred at approximately 4:30 p.m. on August 16 at a house on Blunt Way in Nebo.
Both suspects are scheduled to appear in Superior Court; Guzman on December 1 and Milam on December 15.
30-year-old Bradley Olin Burleson of Moody Drive in Connelly Springs pleaded guilty to felony assault by strangulation and felony assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury. The charges were consolidated during sentencing and he received a sentence of 33 to 52 months in prison. The sentence was handed down in Burke County Superior Court on Monday (November 17).
The incident occurred on May 22 of this year. The victim reported to the Burke County Sheriff’s Office that she had been beaten and held against her will inside her residence. She said she was recently separated from Burleson when the attack occurred.
Burleson has been in the Burke Catawba Detention Facility since his arrest the day after the attack.
56-year-old Donald Eric Kincaid could face the death penalty if he is convicted in connection to a triple homicide that occurred in Burke County in August of this year.
Kincaid is accused of beating three people to death at a residence on West Concord Street in Morganton. The victims are 54-year-old Barbara Ann Johnson, 21-year-old Freddie Charles Thompson, and 75-year-old Zakiya El Bey. The three were found dead in the home on the morning of August 10. Police said all three victims appear to have died as the result of blunt force trauma.
Johnson was Thompson’s mother. Bey was a family friend. The incident leading to their deaths was described as some sort of domestic dispute and not a random act of violence. Kincaid reportedly was Johnson’s boyfriend.
Kincaid is currently incarcerated without bond. His next appearance in Superior Court was set for December 15 in Morganton.
For the twenty-sixth straight year, Catawba County’s Budget Office has been recognized by its peers for producing a budget document that’s easy to read and understand.
The County Budget Office has won the 2014 Distinguished Budget Presentation Award from the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA). The award recognized the county’s fiscal year 2014-2015 budget. Staff from the budget office will be formally recognized at a future meeting of the Catawba County Board of Commissioners.
Catawba County's annual budget is created through a yearlong planning process involving department heads, the budget staff, County Manager Tom Lundy and the Board of Commissioners. Budget staff members receiving recognition included Budget Manager Jennifer Mace, Paul Murray, Budget & Management Analyst (now Strategic Management Director for Rockingham County); and Barron Monroe, Budget & Management Analyst.
Only 1,424 local governments across the United States received the award this year. The GFOA is a non-profit professional association serving more than 18,000 government finance professionals throughout North America.