Local

Woman pleads guilty to killing ex-lover

York County, S.C.

Rock Hill

A 48-year old York woman pleaded guilty Thursday to killing her former lover, officials said.

Margie Smith West of 907 E. Liberty St. Apt. 7 pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and possession of a firearm during a violent crime in the June 30 shooting death of Pamela Ellenburg Caines.

“This is a guilty but mentally ill plea,” 16th Circuit Public Defender Harry Dest said during court.

A judge handed down a 12-year sentence for voluntary manslaughter to run concurrent with a five-year sentence on the weapon charge.

“It's not fair,” Terri Caines said after court. “How is that justice? She gets to see her kids. My mom will not.”

Toya Graham, (Rock Hill) Herald

McCrory's plans

Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory will meet with reporters Monday for the first time since he lost the governor's race.

McCrory is making himself available for interviews Monday in his office at the Government Center. A spokeswoman says he'll discuss his 2009 priorities as well as the election he lost to Democrat Bev Perdue.

McCrory could also discuss whether he plans to run for an eighth term in 2009.

Jim Morrill

Meck briefs

Charlotte

Charlotte's Temple Israel is hosting a reflection Sunday on the 70th anniversary of Kristallnacht, the night of Nazi violence that signaled the beginning of the Holocaust.

On Nov. 9, 1938, Nazi troops torched 200 synagogues, ransacked 7,500 Jewish-owned businesses and murdered scores of German and Austrian Jews. They rounded up 70,000 more Jews – mostly men – for the concentration camps.

Seventy years later, a dozen Holocaust survivors from the Charlotte area and seven World War II vets who liberated the camps will tell their stories at the Charlotte synagogue in a film by local videographer Steve Kahn.

The free program, open to the public, begins at 7 p.m. Sunday with a procession of the survivors and liberators. Temple Israel is at 4901 Providence Road.

David Perlmutt

Charlotte-Mecklenburg's Animal Care & Control division will offer a free rabies clinic today in addition to its last low-cost microchip clinic of the year. Both events are from 8-11 a.m. at the Animal Care & Control office, 8315 Byrum Drive, in west Charlotte.

Having the microchips planted in dogs enables authorities to determine the owner of pets that might be found running loose. In a recent 12-month period, Animal Care & Control, a division of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg police, found 324 stray dogs with microchips and was able to return 276 animals to their homes. The chips are planted for an $8 donation.

Steve Lyttle

Nurses with the Mecklenburg County Health Department will give flu shots from noon to 3:30 p.m. Sunday at both health department locations – 249 Billingsley Road and 2845 Beatties Ford Road.

No appointments are necessary. The cost is $25 (cash, check, credit card, Medicaid and Medicare Part B accepted). Insurance cards required. Details: www.meckhealth.org.

Karen Garloch

Regional briefs

North Carolina

Hillsborough

The Orange County commissioners are headed toward restricting the tying up of dogs after a 4-1 vote Thursday.

Because the vote was not unanimous, the proposed regulation must come back for a final vote. If approved Nov. 18, the measure will restrict tethering to no more than three hours during a 24-hour period.

Thursday's night's vote appears to have ended, for now, almost two years of debate. Dozens of animal lovers packed public hearings to argue for and against the proposal. Proponents said it would help fight abuse, while opponents said it would unfairly penalize responsible pet owners.

Mark Schultz, (Raleigh) News & Observer

Fayetteville

School officials are investigating a North Carolina teacher who last spring told a fifth-grade student her soldier-father could be deployed for years if John McCain were elected president.

A Scandinavian film crew captured McArthur Elementary School teacher Diatha Harris talking to her class about the Republican and Democrat Barack Obama. Many of the area's students have parents stationed at nearby Fort Bragg, and the video is posted online.

Cumberland County Schools Superintendent William Harrison said Friday neutral discussion of politics is appropriate, but teachers shouldn't push their views.

Associated Press

South Carolina

Columbia

South Carolina high school students have made their best showing yet on the state's new exit exam, with four out of five students passing on their first try, according to results released Friday by the state Education Department.

That's the state's highest success rate since the High School Assessment Program replaced the old test in 2004.

“If we continue to improve, that could have a positive long-term impact on high school graduation rates,” state schools Superintendent Jim Rex said in a statement. “Students who pass the exit exam on their first attempt should be more likely to complete their 24 credits and get their diplomas on time in four years.”

The average passing rate on tests taken in the spring increased almost 4 percentage points from last year, marking the third straight year of improvement. Associated Press

Police digest

Cabarrus County

Kannapolis

FBI agents are asking for the public's help tracking down a bank robber.

Witnesses say the man rushed into the Wachovia on South Cannon Street in Kannapolis on Friday morning and forced customers and employees to lie on the floor.

The man was holding a gun, wearing a ski mask, an orange construction vest and a construction hat.

“Generally they go in, grab the money and run before anybody even realizes what's going on, but he made himself known the minute he walked in the bank,” said FBI spokesperson Amy Thoreson.

There were 13 people in the bank at the time of the robbery. Police say none of them were hurt.

The man is considered armed and dangerous. Anyone with information should contact the FBI Charlotte field office at 704-377-9200.

WCNC

Catawba County

Hickory

Hickory police are investigating an early morning shooting Thursday that left a Hickory man dead.

Officers responded to a call on 14th Street N.E. just after 4 a.m. and found Jessie Arnold Frye, 41, in front of a home with a gunshot wound to the chest, said Capt. Thurman Whisnant.

Paramedics took Frye to Frye Regional Medical Center, where he later died.

Witnesses told investigators that Frye sometimes stayed at the 14th Street home, Whisnant said. They said he had been there earlier that night and then returned.

Upon return, he argued over a child custody issue with a second man at the home, witnesses told police, then pulled out a knife and either threatened the man or charged him with the knife, Whisnant said. The man then shot Frye with a small-caliber gun.

Investigators were still interviewing witnesses and reviewing evidence. “Once the investigation is complete, we'll be consulting with the district attorney's office to see what, if any charges would be filed,” Whisnant said.

Hannah Mitchell

Mecklenburg County

Charlotte

A would-be robber picked the wrong person as a victim Thursday night, according to Charlotte-Mecklenburg police. The suspect tried to take money from an ex-Marine, police say.

Both the suspect and victim were homeless men, according to police, and the series of events began about 9:20 p.m., when the ex-Marine entered a store in the 3800 block of Statesville Avenue. The man bought several items and pulled out a wad of cash to pay. The other homeless man was standing nearby. The ex-Marine told police that shortly after leaving the store, he was hit on the head by the other man in a robbery attempt.

But the victim beat the other man, injuring him, he told police. Officers said they contacted area hospitals, in case the suspect showed up for medical attention.

Steve Lyttle
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