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Democrats' case headed for court

Unless a deal is reached sooner, the Mecklenburg County Democratic Party and county commissioners will be in court Thursday to try to settle how soon George Dunlap will be appointed as a county commissioner.

A hearing in the case is set for 3:30 p.m. Thursday in Mecklenburg County Superior Court. An out-of-town judge who is visiting Mecklenburg County this week will hear the case, said Mike Daisley, an attorney for the Democratic Party.

The party sued the county and commissioners last week and asked a judge to order the board to appoint Dunlap to fill the remaining weeks of the late Valerie Woodard's term.

Dunlap was chosen by a group of local party officials on Oct. 20 to succeed Woodard as commissioner for District 3 until 2010, including a two-year term she was seeking in this fall's election. Dunlap will be sworn in to serve that term in December.

But commissioners must vote on whether to allow Dunlap to fill the rest of Woodard's current term, which ends Nov. 30. Last Tuesday, a motion to confirm Dunlap failed after four Republican commissioners voted against the appointment.

APRIL BETHEA

Regional briefs

North Carolina Raleigh

A grand jury has indicted the husband of an N.C. mother found slain near her home in suburban Raleigh on charges of first-degree murder.

Bradley Cooper was indicted Monday with killing his wife, 34-year-old Nancy Cooper. Through his lawyers, the 34-year-old Cooper has repeatedly insisted he had no part in his wife's death.

Nancy Cooper was reported missing the afternoon of July 12 by a friend who told police the couple was in the middle of a divorce. Her body was found two days later at a construction site about three miles from her home in Cary.

Associated Press

Fayetteville

A teenager has been cited in connection with slashing tires on several vehicles during a Barack Obama rally in Fayetteville.

The Fayetteville Observer reports that 18-year-old Timothy Michael Strickland will be in court Thursday in connection with 11 counts of willful injury to personal property.

Officials said the incident was not politically motivated, and that Strickland and a 15-year-old boy randomly targeted the vehicles. The other teen has not yet been charged.

Associated Press

Asheville

Western North Carolina residents may see the first snowflakes of the year as cold temperatures hit the state's mountains.

The National Weather Service said there was a chance of snowfall after midnight with lows around 30. Accumulations were expected to be less than a half inch.

Forecasters also called for snow showers today before 11 a.m., followed by rain. Less than a half inch of snow accumulation was expected near the Tennessee border and winds to 20 mph were expected.

At Cataloochee Ski Area, officials started making snow Monday morning and planned to open the resort early Tuesday afternoon. That would be the earliest opening date ever for Cataloochee.

Associated Press

South Carolina Columbia

An attorney's “uneasiness” over a prospective juror's dreadlocks was a racially motivated reason for striking the man from serving on a car accident case and not sufficient to keep him off the panel, the S.C. Supreme Court said in a decision released Monday.

In a 3-2 decision, the court said dreadlocks remain “a religious and social symbol among historically black cultures” and dismissing a juror for wearing them was “not a sufficient basis to exercise a discretionary strike.” The court sent the case back to be retried.

Two other black potential jurors were also stricken from the same jury. The reasons given were because one was retired and the other had been charged in a domestic violence case.

Those factors combined, the court said, led them to overturn the Appeals Court ruling that the trial judge had properly determined there was no racial motivation in dismissing the juror.

In the case, Lakefhia McCrea, who is black, sued Jafer Gheraibeh, who is Middle Eastern, for damages following a car crash. McCrea's attorney claimed that Gheraibeh's attorney improperly dismissed three of six black potential jurors from a pool of 20 people.

Associated Press

Police digest

Mecklenburg County Charlotte

A 23-month-old girl may have been sexually assaulted, police said. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police responded to calls from Carolinas Medical Center at 2:47 a.m. Monday after reports that a toddler at the hospital may have been assaulted over the weekend. Police suspect the toddler is a victim of “sexual assault and indecent liberties.”

Detectives with Youth Crimes Domestic Violence unit have contacted Department of Social Services and began interviewing family members. Detective Aleta Dunbar said the girl had been at two homes over the weekend.

“There are several people she was with,” Dunbar said. “We're looking at who she came into contact with when she was away from mom.”

Franco Ordoñez

A 26-year-old man turned himself in to Charlotte-Mecklenburg police Monday in connection with a southeast Charlotte murder investigation.

Saquan Earl reported to police headquarters at 8:30 a.m. and was interviewed by homicide detectives about the shooting death of Darius Childs, 38. Police responded to Childs' apartment on Alpha Street at 10:09 p.m. Sunday following reports of gunshots. Police found Childs with at least one gunshot wound. He was pronounced dead less than a half hour later.

Franco Ordoñez
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