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Tag: North Carolina

FBI Investigates Brutal Police Beating of Black Man for Jaywalking in N.C.

Johnnie Rush was beaten, chocked and tasered after jaywalking in North Carolina.

By Steve Neavling

A day after the FBI announced it was launching a criminal investigation into the brutal police beating and tasering of a black man stopped for jaywalking in North Carolina, the county’s district attorney filed felony assault charges against the white officer accused of using excessive force.

Asheville Police Officer Chris Hickman, who resigned following the bloody beating, was arrested Thursday on charges of felony assault by strangulation and misdemeanor assault inflicting serious injury and communicating threats, USA Today reports.

Prosecutors say Hickman beat, chocked and used a stun gun on Johnnie Rush, 33, of Asheville, after he was stopped on Aug. 24 for allegedly jaywalking.

Hickman posted a $10,000 unsecured bond and was free of jail at 8:45 p.m. Thursday.

The FBI’s investigation is expected to focus on potential civil rights violations.

A body camera affixed to Hickman showed him punching and chocking Rush, who could be heard multiple times saying he could not great breathe.

FBI agents from the Charlotte office interviewed Rush in January.

Former FBI Employee Charged with Stealing from Bureau

Photo via FBI

By Steve Neavling

Gus Lee Moore, a former staff member in the FBI’s Charlotte office, was indicted Thursday on charges of stealing from the bureau.

The indictment alleges Moore stole “only and other things of value” in excess of $1,000 between August 2016 and January 2017, the Charlotte Observer reports

A federal warrant was issued for Moore’s arrest.

Details behind the allegations have not yet been publicly disclosed.

In a separate case in July 2017, Moore was arrested on three counts of shoplifting in South Carolina.

FBI Supervisor’s Gun Stolen After Night of Heavy Drinking at Hotel

fbigunbadgeBy Steve Neavling

An internal investigation is underway after an FBI counterterrorism supervisor was allegedly so drunk after a night of heavy drinking that a woman stole his gun at a Westin hotel in Charlotte, N.C.

Robert Manson, a unit chief in the FBI’s international terrorism section, and other agents were in Charlotte for training and ended up drinking with women who described themselves as exotic dancers, the New York Times reports.

A woman who went back to Manson’s hotel room stole his Glock .40-caliber handgun, a $6,000 Rolex watch and $60 in cash.

“Investigators determined that the victim, Robert Manson, met a woman in the hotel bar the prior night and took her back to his hotel room,” Robert Tufano, a spokesman for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, said in a statement.

Another agent filed a police report at 6:30 a.m. the next morning because Manson was allegedly incapacitated because of alcohol. The items were reportedly stolen between 2 a.m. and 5 a.m.

Man Accused of Murdering Ex-Girlfriend Added to FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitive List

Alejandro Castillo is accused of murdering his ex-girlfriend before fleeing to Mexico.

Alejandro Castillo is accused of murdering his ex-girlfriend before fleeing to Mexico.

By Steve Neavling

An 18-year-old man accused of murdering a former girlfriend and coworker in Charlotte, N. C.  in 2016 has been added to the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitive List.

The FBI believes Alejandro Castillo fled to Mexico after he forced 23-year-old Truc Quan “Sandy” Ly Le to withdraw a large sum of cash from an ATM and then shot her in the head and dumped her body.

The FBI said Castillo was last seen driving into Mexico through a port entry in Nogales, Ariz.

He has since been charged with murder.

Man Charged After Packing Mason Jar with Explosives at North Carolina Airport

Michael Christopher Estes

Michael Christopher Estes

By Steve Neavling

Pledging to “fight a war on U.S. soil,” a man packed a Mason jar with explosive chemicals and nails and left it at an airport in Asheville, N.C.

The FBI alleges Michael Christopher Estes placed an improvised explosive device at the airport near the terminal entrance Friday morning, CBS News reports

Estes was charged with attempted malicious use of explosive materials and unlawful possession of explosives at an airport.

Authorities are still trying to determine Estes’ motive to “fight a war in U.S. soil.”

Estes, who is Native American, is being held without bond at the Buncombe County jail. 

Other Stories of Interest

Ex-FBI Agent, Daughter Convicted of Killing Daughter’s Husband

Thomas Martens and his daughter Jason Corbett.

Thomas Martens and his daughter Jason Corbett.

By Steve Neavling

A former FBI agent and his daughter were found guilty by a jury Wednesday of murdering the daughter’s husband by crushing his skull with a baseball bat and brick at his house in Lexington, N.C.

Thomas Martens, who spent 31 years as an FBI agent, and his 33-year-old daughter, Molly Corbett, were sentenced to 20-25 years in prison on charges of second-degree murder in the death of Jason Corbett, the Washington Post reports

Martens admitted he attacked Corbett in August 2015, but he maintained he did so to save his daughter’s life after walking into the home to find the husband choking Molly Corbett.

But that story unraveled, and the jury didn’t buy it.

Special FBI Agent’s Brush with Death Doesn’t Slow Her Down

By Steve Neavling

An 11-year veteran of the FBI, Special Agent Diane Wehner believed she was in good physical shape.

After all, she worked out daily at the gym at the FBI’s Charlotte Field Office and passed her required annual fit tests.

But after completing the fit test in September 2015, the 36-year-old said she “didn’t feel very well. My neck hurt, my back hurt,” she told the Charlotte Observer. 

Just when she thought she was beginning to feel better, she began to slur her speech.

“When we first met Diane, she was in the middle of having a stroke and with strokes, time is very important,” said Dr. Joe Bernard, an Endovascular Neuro Surgeon at Carolinas Medical Center where Wehner was eventually airlifted.

Likely from doing sit-ups during the fit test, Wehner dissected both parties in her neck.

The doctor wasted no time and operated to remove the clot before it was too late.

“Sometimes we have hours to be able to do this. Sometimes we just have minutes,” Dr. Bernad said.

After her near brush with death, Wehner returned to the FBI, focusing on counterintelligence, white-collar crime and terrorism.

Dr. Bernard said Wehner is alive today because she didn’t hesitate to go to the hospital.

“Diane’s unusual because most strokes happen in older patients, but part of the awareness that needs to be broadcast is strokes can happen to anybody,” Dr. Bernard said.

ICE Arrests Honduran Man Who’s Wanted in Machete Deaths

Courtesy of ICE

Courtesy of ICE

By Steve Neavling

An undocumented immigrant who hacked two men to death with a machete in Honduras was arrested in North Carolina on Tuesday.

ICE deportation officers arrested Francisco Escobar-Orellana, a Honduran national, near his Hope Mills, N.C., home.

An arrest warrant for Escobar was issued in May 2995 following the machete attacks at a liquor store in 1993.

At some point, Escobar illegally entered the United States.

“ICE is focused on identifying, arresting and removing public safety threats, such as convicted criminal aliens and gang members, as well as individuals who have violated our nation’s immigration laws,” said ERO Atlanta Field Office Director Sean Gallagher in a statement. “ICE Fugitive Operations Teams conduct targeted enforcement operations toward these identified threats to public safety. North Carolina residents are safer today thanks to the professionalism and hard work of these dedicated officers.”

ICE plans to remove Escobar from the U.S. so he can face criminal charges in Honduras.