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State briefs: Couple sues over rebuild permit denial for burned beach home


The Associated Press

Saturday, April 13, 2019

NAGS HEAD — A couple whose North Carolina vacation home burned down have filed a federal lawsuit saying the state Coastal Resources Commission won’t let them rebuild.

News outlets report this week that the Nags Head house Cathy and Michael Zito bought was destroyed by a 2016 fire. They said the local fire chief called to tell them there was nothing left.

An investigation ruled the fire’s cause as “inconclusive.” The blaze happened during the end of Hurricane Matthew and the call came moments after electricity was restored.

The commission denied their rebuilding permit because the area was deemed a beach erosion and flood damage environmental hazard in 2011.

Glenn Roper, the Zitos’ pro bono lawyer with Pacific Legal Foundation, says the government must compensate them if they can’t rebuild. They still pay the mortgage and taxes.

Man found guilty in child’s death

WINSTON-SALEM — A North Carolina man has been found guilty of first-degree murder and felony child abuse in the death of a 2-year-old boy.

The Winston-Salem Journal reported that a Forsyth County jury deliberated several hours before returning its verdict on Friday in the trial of 33-year-old Charles Thomas Stacks. The same jury will determine Stacks’ sentence.

Forsyth County paramedics and Winston-Salem police found Jaxson on Aug. 16, 2015, at the house Stacks and his wife, Megin, rented. Prosecutors said Charles Stacks was friends with the boy’s mother, who stayed at the house periodically in August with the boy and his sister.

Prosecutors said evidence showed Charles Stacks tortured Jaxson through abuse that culminated in slamming the boy repeatedly on the ground, causing a brain injury from which he died three days later.

Police chief retires over toppled statue

RALEIGH — The police chief at North Carolina’s flagship public university is retiring after an investigation found campus police were unprepared for demonstrators who tore down a Confederate memorial last summer.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill said in a statement Friday that Jeff McCracken will leave his position in July after 26 years with the force and 12 years as top law enforcement officer.

A report commissioned by state university system officials found that because of miscommunication between police and top administrators, officers failed to install barriers around the Confederate statute nicknamed “Silent Sam” to keep protesters away.

The February report found no evidence of a conspiracy to enable the monument’s toppling.

Opponents called the statue a racist symbol. Supporters considered it a marker of North Carolina and Southern heritage.

Copper wrapping up western N.C. visits

ROBBINSVILLE — Gov. Roy Cooper is wrapping up a multi-county visit to far western North Carolina, where the Democrat has been talking up his budget proposal, bond package and efforts to assist rural communities and small businesses.

Cooper scheduled visits on Friday in Robbinsville, Bryson City and Cullowhee. The stops included the Nantahala Outdoor Center, the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Western Carolina University.

Thursday’s schedule had him in Brevard, Hayesville and Murphy. Cooper was more than 400 miles to the east earlier in the week, touring Hurricane Florence damage at Camp Lejeune.

Police ordered to release shooting video

CHARLOTTE — A North Carolina police department has been ordered to release video of an officer fatally shooting a man at a Burger King.

The Charlotte Observer reported that a judge on Thursday ordered Charlotte-Mecklenburg police to release the video by Monday.

Police have said Officer Wende Kerl killed 27-year-old Danquirs Napoleon Franklin at the restaurant in late March. They said Kerl fired when an armed Franklin refused to drop his weapon.

WBTV-TV reporter Nick Ochsner petitioned for the video’s release, arguing that conflicting witness and police accounts created a compelling reason for release.

Assistant District Attorney Bill Bunting has argued releasing the video may impact the ongoing criminal investigation. Kerl’s attorney, Jeremy Smith, argued the release would endanger his client’s safety.