North Carolina News, Dec. 27, 2012

Published 8:00 pm Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Updated indictment filed against ex-N.C. lawmaker 

RALEIGH (AP) — Additional charges have been filed against a former North Carolina state legislator accused of theft and money laundering related to federal funds loaned to his company.

An updated federal indictment now accuses ex-Rep. Stephen LaRoque of Kinston of four more charges, raising the counts against him to 12.

Prosecutors now allege the Republican filed false 2009 and 2010 tax returns and hid details about a scheme to benefit personally from loans designed to help rural communities. LaRoque already is accused of funneling $300,000 to another company he owned to help family members.

LaRoque attorney Joe Cheshire said Wednesday the additional charges issued last week were expected, and LaRoque is preparing to defend himself against all counts. Cheshire has said LaRoque is innocent.

A trial won’t begin until at least mid-February.



Thief takes bronze cemetery vases to sell as scrap 

ROCK HILL, S.C. (AP) — A York County man is accused of stealing 39 vases from a cemetery where many veterans are buried, then selling the metal for scrap.

Deputies say 42-year-old Charles Cochran of Clover was arrested Saturday and charged with grand larceny and grave desecration.

Employees at York’s Lakeview Memory Gardens reported that someone stole 18 bronze vases on Nov. 28 and 21 additional vases the next day. They were worth more than $11,000.

A York County Sheriff’s Office report says the manager of a recycling center in Dallas, N.C., told authorities that Cochran brought in the cemetery vases and received a total of $451.50 for all 39 of them.

Cochran was being held in the York County jail. He has denied stealing the vases. It wasn’t known if he had a lawyer.


Greenville spends $90,000
on firm to market city 

GREENVILLE (AP) — Greenville is spending $90,000 on a marketing firm to help figure out how to sell the city as an economic powerhouse.

The Daily Reflector of Greenville reports that City Council unanimously approved the contract with North Star, a market research firm based in Nashville, Tenn.

The research firm will develop a 15-step plan that unfolds over three years to show Greenville as an area rich in resources and ready for more industry.

North Star executives will come to Greenville for a three-day tour next month, meeting with city leaders, industry and education officials and tourism leaders.

The firm is currently managing a campaign for New Bern and just finished a project in Hickory.


2 dead in unrelated
Shootings near Tabor City 

TABOR CITY (AP) — Columbus County authorities have charged a 60-year-old man with fatally shooting his girlfriend in her home near Tabor City.

The sheriff’s office says Beamon Fowler called 911 about 1:15 a.m. Monday. Fowler told deputies he shot 46-year-old Rebecca Buffkin with his handgun during an argument. She was shot in the head in her kitchen.

Fowler is charged with murder and is being held without bail.

Authorities are looking for several suspects in an unrelated shooting death near Tabor City.

The sheriff’s office says 51-year-old Gilberto Segovia was found dead about 12:30 a.m. Tuesday at the bottom of his front steps. His girlfriend had been forcefully taken by her ex-boyfriend but later escaped unharmed.

Capt. David Nobles says that ex-boyfriend and two others are being sought for the shooting.