Monday, September 10, 2012

Monroe: Police negotiated with protesters during DNC

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Rodney Monroe said he caught two hours of sleep most nights during the Democratic National Convention, taking naps on the couch of the his office at CMPD's uptown headquarters. 

After the final protest ended, Monroe, 55, says he hustled to Time Warner Cable arena to hear the final moments of President Barack Obama's acceptance speech.  

Monroe talked with the Observer about the department's handling of the convention -- and the hundreds of demonstrators who descended on the city last week. We wrote about Monroe's interactions with protesters on Saturday. 

Some quotes from the interview: 

The department has new resources: "When we went through identifying security-related resources that we were going to purchase, we were very mindful of trying to focus on those things that not only would help us in securing the convention, but would also be resources that we could use going forward, whether it's a camera system, whether it's a bicycle, whether it's the motorcycles that we were able to purchase." (The city received a $50 million federal grant that paid for the new equipment.) 

Monroe openly negotiated with protesters: "There were two things that we were very clear on. We clearly recognized their First Amendment right to demonstrate and we were looking to facilitate that whenever and however possible. And number two was that we weren't going to tolerate property damage or violence toward officers or others. So those were the two non-negotiating points. We made it clear that anything between that we were willing to have a discussion about.  

And there were a number of times when they wanted to go along a certain route and we would analyze that request. As long it didn't negatively affect either an event or a traffic pattern we were trying to maintain -- whether it was the delegate bus route or one of the dignitary escort routes -- we were willing to talk about it and make some kind of allowance. But we didn't want to come off as trying to hamper their ability to exercise their First Amendment rights."

Monroe slept on office couch, but managed to see part of Obama's speech:  "There were 24-hour-a-day events occurring that necessitated a response by a number of personnel.  I did take a couple naps on the couch, but I also had a place to stay nearby that allowed me to get at least two hours per night.  

After the last protest, I was able to get to the arena catch the last 15 minutes (of the president's speech)."  --Cleve R. Wootson Jr. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Overcash named Concord's deputy chief of police

Concord police veteran Allen Overcash has been promoted to deputy chief of the police department, city officials announced Thursday.

Overcash has spent his entire law enforcement career with the Concord Police Department since becoming a patrol officer in 1983, officials said in a statement.

In 2003, after working in various roles in the department, he was promoted to major and supervised the department's first Special Investigations Unit, which was called on to investigate serious crimes, as well as unsolved homicides.

As deputy chief, Overcash will replace Guy Smith, who was promoted to police chief last year.

In his new role, Overcash will help with the overall operation of the department, and he'll also be involved in the development of the budget, policies and coordination with other agencies, officials said.

"I am extremely grateful for the opportunity I've been given in this great community and department," Overcash said in a statement.

Overcash graduated from Concord High School and then received his undergraduate and Master of Business Administration degrees from Pfeiffer University. He's a member of the Concord Rotary Club and Forest Hil United Methodist Church, where he works with youth.

"Deputy Chief Overcash will be an excellent addition to the Police Department's top management," said Assistant City Manager and former police chief Merl Hamilton. "He has a lengthy and varied career in law enforcement. The fact his career has been spent entirely in Concord, as has that of Chief Smith, makes the Police Department's commitment to this community even stronger."

Overcash will officially begin his new role on Sept. 3.

Concord Police Deputy Chief Allen Overcash

--Meghan Cooke

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

CMPD report: Crime up in 2012

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police on Wednesday released first-quarter crime statistics for 2012. And in a sharp contrast from the past three years, the crime index is up by 12 percent.

Click here to read the full report from police, including a breakdown of crimes by division.

Among the highlights:

-- There were 1,208 reported violent crimes from January to March, an increase of 23 percent over the first three months of 2011. 
-- Property crimes also were up in the first quarter, with 7,427 reported incidents versus 6,727 for the same period a year ago. 
-- Homicides doubled in the opening quarter, with 12 this year versus 6 this time last year. By comparison, there were 15 homicides in the final quarter of 2011, according to the report. 
-- Vehicle thefts are down nearly 12 percent. Through March, 397 of the thefts had been reported compared to 450 for this time last year

Whether the trend will continue for the rest of the year is left to be seen. Police said preliminary figures from the first three weeks of April has dropped the 2012 crime rate to some 7.8 percent.

--April Bethea

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Astronaut Mark Kelly talks to Charlotte audience about space, wife Gabrielle Giffords, and perseverance

Astronaut Mark Kelly -- who became the center of international attention when his wife, former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, was shot in the head during a 2011 assassination attempt -- was the keynote speaker at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Foundation's annual luncheon.

The foundation raises money to fund police needs not included in the city's budget.

In remarks at the Westin Hotel that lasted about 45 minutes, Kelly touched on a number of subjects, from his wife's obsession with U2 lead singer Bono to the unpredictability of life.

On his wife: "She's doing well, she's in a good mood." He said Giffords goes through about six hours of physical therapy five days a week, and puts in extra work on weekends. At some point, Kelly said, Giffords plans to continue in public service, although they're not sure in what capacity.

He said the couple has been invited to the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte in September. She's capable of traveling, but the family doesn't know whether the convention will conflict with her rehabilitation schedule.

He said the shooting brought his family face-to-face with the unpredictability of life. "I'd flown into space and I'd flown 35 combat missions, but Gabby almost lost her life just doing her job," he said. "It's important for everyone to understand things can change for us in an instant."

On his arm: Kelly was wearing a sophisticated brace to immobilize his right arm. He said he had torn his bicep while using some of his daughter's pole-vaulting equipment. Kelly said he had pole-vaulted in high school. "I was telling my wife about how much my arm hurt," Kelly said. "She looked up from her fruit and yogurt and said 'You've gotta be kidding me.'"

Perseverance: The accomplished astronaut said at first he was a horrible pilot. When he first landed on an aircraft carrier, his instructor said "Are you sure this is for you?"

"How good you do at the beginning of anything you try is not an indication of how good you'll be if you don't give up," Kelly said.

Kelly said his wife teaches him lessons on perseverance. "She tells me each and every day to deny the acceptance of failure," he said. "This woman will not give up."

The final flight of the Space Shuttle Endeavor: Kelly was scheduled to command the final flight of the Space Shuttle Endeavor before Giffords was shot. "This was going to be the pinnacle of my career, and I told my boss, you've gotta replace me," he said. Giffords was ultimately moved to a rehabilitation facility in Houston, which allowed Kelly to continue training. "This was a controversial decision for me," he said. On the day Endeavor touched down, Kelly said, Giffords wasn't there as she usually was because she was having surgery.

-Cleve R. Wootson Jr.
Twitter: @CleveWootson

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Summoned to jury duty? There's an app for that.

Mecklenburg County residents summoned to serve on a jury can now access information about their duty online.

By visiting, people can search for information by entering their juror ID number or Social Security number. The website allows them to confirm their juror status and date, request a deferral for duty and even create an email reminder. People using a smart phone will be automatically redirected to the county's mobile application.

Since the online jury management system was developed nearly a year ago, the county has received about 4,400 requests for deferral and more than 3,100 requests to be excused from duty through the website, officials said.

Court officials said they believe the app will reduce the costs and manpower needed to respond to mail and phone inquiries regarding jury duty.

This is the county's third mobile site. Mobile apps are also available to search arrests and warrants in the county.

--Meghan Cooke

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

In "suicide by cop" case, pull gun or Taser?

Gun or Taser?

That was a choice two police officers had to make in what Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police are calling an apparent “suicide-by-cop” attempt Tuesday night in northern Charlotte.

Police say the suicidal man, Fred Daye, claimed he was schizophrenic and told 911 dispatchers that he'd gone off his medication. When officers got there, Daye told the officers he wanted to die and that he wanted the officers to pull the trigger.

Officers told Daye to show his hands, but at some point, he reached into his jacket

What happened next will likely be mulled over by police officers and the general public for weeks, though officers point out that situations like this are almost always a split-second decision.

One officer shot his Taser at Daye and another fired his department-issued shotgun. The shotgun round struck Daye's left elbow, police said, but it's unclear whether he was struck by the pellet or the wadding from the round. Doctors described the man's injury as a "flesh wound."

Police are still investigating whether officers responded appropriately. “Those and other matters are being examined during these parallel investigations," CMPD spokesman Rob Tufano said. "We’re going to investigate this incident thoroughly before making any of those determinations.”

But, in a close reading of the police account, an officer could make a case for pulling either weapon. The police department has a use of force continuum, and officers are trained to respond with the appropriate amount of force for any given situation -- everything from verbal commands to firing a police-issued weapon.

CMPD's directives provide some insight into what an officer should do when faced with a threat. Often, using a particular type of force is not an "either-or" proposition. In fact, police say, an officer's professional presence and verbal commands are uses of force that are always present, even when other force is applied.

And one particular use of force, or weapon, can be used to de-escalate several types of conflicts. Pepper spray, for example, can be used to combat defensive resistance (like when a person won't move from a blocked sidewalk) or aggravated aggression (like when a suspect approaches an officer with a knife).

In a previous case where law enforcement officers applied different uses of force, one officer was fired. In 2008, Brian Howie was shot after he was confronted by officers at a gas station on Central Avenue. An officer reported he suspected Howie had been drinking and tried to hide drugs in his car, so the officer called for backup. Howie was also shocked with a Taser during the incident.

Jenny Curlee, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer who shot Howie, was fired after a review board found the shooting was unjustified. -- Cleve R. Wootson Jr.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Indictment spells out former officer's drug dealing arrest

Officers weren't surprised to find the drugs and the guns while searching an east Charlotte house at the tail end of a massive joint investigation.

But, police say, they were surprised to be arresting one of their own -- former police officer Theodore Kennedy.

Kennedy was arrested Monday at the tail end of a four-month investigation into suspected drug dealers using motels in northern Charlotte as a way station for crime.

Kennedy, who served as an officer from 1977 until 1993, is charged with possession with intent to distribute cocaine. His wife, Roberta Kennedy, is also charged.

Little is known about Kennedy's time on the force. (In 1985, he shot a west Charlotte man in the mouth during stepped-up police activities after a shootout at Piedmont Courts. He wasn't charged with a crime.)

But the Kennedys alleged drug connections are spelled out in a federal indictment that was submitted on Monday.

On Monday morning, according to the indictment, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police officers were attempting to serve an arrest warrant on Kerwin Burke at 5042 The Plaza. (According to WCNC-TV, Burke is the boyfriend of Kennedy's daughter.) Officers figured Burke was at the home because his 1996 Chevy Caprice Classic was parked there.

But when officers knocked on the front door, they were met by Kennedy, according to the affidavit. His wife came to the door too and consented to officers searching the house.

When officers entered the couple's bedroom, they saw what appeared to be a mixture of crack and cocaine on the bed -- in all about 17.6 grams. Kennedy entered the bedroom and said "That's all hers."

Officers asked Kennedy if he had any guns or weapons inside the bedroom and he responded "Yeah, I have a couple."

Officers found seven guns scattered through the bedroom. They also found another baggie of cocaine in a dresser drawer. The drawer also contained "Kennedy's police identification from his previous service with CMPD."

Monroe said Kennedy's status as a former officer won't shield him.

"No one is immune from this," Monroe said at the news conference on Monday. "If you choose to engage in drug sales or gun-running in this community, you're a target." -- Cleve R. Wootson Jr.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Prosecutors: Ponzi scheme takes $40 million from victims

A federal grand jury in Charlotte this week indicted four men in connection with what prosecutors allege was an investment fraud conspiracy.

Prosecutors have accused the men of operating "hedge funds" as part of a conspiracy that took in $40 million from victims for a Ponzi scheme operating under the name Black Diamond Capital Solutions.

The indictment alleges that the defendants lied to get money from their victims by claiming, among other things, that they had done due diligence on Black Diamond and were operating legitimate hedge funds with significant safeguards. In reality, prosecutors say, neither claim was true.

Prosecutors allege that one of the men stole more than a million dollars from victims to build his personal mansion.

To read the U.S. Attorney's Office's news release, click here.

To read the indictment, click here.

-- Gary L. Wright

Monday, February 20, 2012

Settlement: Former councilman Turner wins big

Former Charlotte City Council member Warren Turner at first was fired in July 2010 from his job as a state probation officer. The following year he lost his bid for reelection.

But Turner, 47, appealed his firing. This month, a year and a half after the firing, he got his job back. He’s no longer a probation officer. But he’s working for the same salary only now as an judicial services coordinator for the probation office in Gaston County. Judicial services coordinators are responsible for the intake of new probation cases, preparing pre-sentencing reports and conducting initial risk-needs assessments.

Turner was fired for missing meetings or drug screenings with at least 14 probationers, according to the termination letter released in 2010 by the DOC. The DOC also said Turner falsified at least one record of a home visit with a probationer and reported visiting with probationers on days that he was on leave or wasn’t scheduled to work.

N.C. Department of Correction officials aren’t saying much about Turner’s firing and reinstatement. The settlement agreement says the DOC and Turner have agreed that the only statement they’ll make about the firing, reinstatement and reassignment is:

“The DOC has reviewed the formal appeal of Mr. Warren Turner. After careful consideration of the issues raised by both  Mr. Turner and DOC, the parties have reached a mutual settlement agreement. The Department reviewed Mr. Turner’s level of career experience and agrees to his reinstatement.”

But it’s clear from the settlement agreement that Turner won big. He’ll get back pay from the date of his firing to the date of his reinstatement. The state also has agreed to pay $10,000 to Turner’s legal counsel for the cost of his appeal.

To see the  settlement agreement, click here.

Gary L. Wright

Friday, February 17, 2012

CMPD offers workshops for Mecklenburg residents

Registration is now open for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department's spring workshops for the public.

The "community education workshops" will teach people about the department's history, recruitment process, training of recruits and officers, crime prevention techniques, criminal investigations, gangs, volunteer opportunities and more.

The workshops are open to Mecklenburg County residents age 18 and older. Applications are not necessary to attend, but registration for each workshop is required.

Mecklenburg residents who are at least 18 years old can also apply to participate in the Citizens Academy program. Those who participate in this program will be able to see exercises and demonstrations of police operations. An application and background check is required to participate in the Citizens Academy.

The workshops will be held from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays at CMPD headquarters on East Trade Street in uptown or at the Police and Fire Training Academy on Shopton Road in southwest Charlotte.

The workshops begin March 13.

For more information and registration, visit CMPD's website or call 704-432-1655.

--Meghan Cooke

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

North Tryon Division gets new bikes

Are two wheels better than four?

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department's North Tryon Divison launched its new bike patrol during a press conference outside the Compare Foods at N. Tryon Street and Sugar Creek Road.

Officers B. Etter, J. Wally and J. Lancaster make up the patrol, which will ride through business parking lots and some apartment complexes along North Tryon Street.

Lt. Jeff Harless, the Response Area Commander for that part of the city, says officers will attempt to decrease larcenies from autos and robberies from businesses along the corridor. The bikes will make them more approachable, Harless says, and give them a bigger element of surprise when trying to combat crimes.

"The bad guys aren't looking out for bikes, they're looking for patrol cars," Harless said.

During the press conference, members of the new squad took some questions about whether they'll be taken as seriously on a bike. But bike officers were credited with one of the department's bigger success stories last year.

Officers arrested 15 people in connection with a drug ring along North Tryon Street (in the Metro Division, just south of the North Tryon Division) where drug dealers recruited homeless people from nearby shelters to work as drug runners and deal-brokers.

Officer Jared Porter, an officer who patrolled the area on bicycle, was one of the first to notice the trend. -- Cleve R. Wootson Jr.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Occupy odds and ends: Safe initiative, smelly discovery

Some odds and ends from the Occupy Charlotte protests after police removed tents from the camp, which had stood since last fall:

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Rodney Monroe and Capt. Jeff Estes both called the initiative a success. No officers or protesters were injured and there were no reports of use of force. Officers were professional and didn't respond as protesters insulted them.
The Fire Department's hazardous materials team was called out to the Occupy Charlotte site Tuesday, after police discovered that protesters were apparently using a storm drain as a bathroom. 

According to sources, the storm drain on the lawn of old City Hall empties into Little Sugar Creek. City officials were trying to figure out the most effective and environmentally friendly way to clean up the mess. It's unclear if police will be able to charge anyone with a crime. 

In October, a few weeks after the start of the Occupy Charlotte movement, organizers told city officials they'd like to set up portable bathrooms for people who have joined the movement, even appealing to Mayor Anthony Foxx for help. 

But city officials said they're not required to allow restroom facilities or other "semi-permanent" structures to be put on city property. It was unclear, until Monday when police broke up the camp, if the Occupiers had found a solution.


Occupiers talked extensively with members of the media on Sunday, after they were given their first warning about having to remove tents from the lawn of old City Hall. But there were some things organizers chose to keep secret, even going off to another part of the camp to have private discussions.
One of those secrets was apparently a codeword for when officers arrived. When officers stormed out of police headquarters around 2:45 p.m. Monday, several occupiers yelled "Flamingo" and began running toward tents.
Some of the protest chants:
  • "Arrest us, we'll multiply. Occupy will never die."
  • "Show me what a police state looks like. This is what a police state looks like."
  • "Free speech is not a crime. Occupy will never die."
  • "We are the 99%"
As officers descended on the Occupy Charlotte camp, local TV stations chronicled nearly every move.

But they weren't the only ones recording. At least two police officers were assigned to tape the interactions with protesters. And protesters made their own recordings. Some used camera phones, another person used an iPad to record the arrests.

Protesters have also been been recording on-air interviews with the media, saying they wanted to have the ability to correct any misinformation. Before an interview, the person going on camera would often yell "I need a spotter." It's unclear where the videos were filed or if they were ever used.

Video recordings have made national news in other Occupy protests. In October, Occupy Wall Street protesters in New York claimed police tricked them, saying officers told protesters they could go onto the Brooklyn Bridge, then arresting hundreds. New York police later released a video showing an officer with a megaphone, warning protesters not to walk on the bridge.
Occupy Charlotte protesters had been preparing for a showdown with police for days. On Sunday, they had a group discussion about passive resistance and nonviolent protest.

But organizers stressed that the decision about whether to get arrested or not was a personal choice by each individual protester.

"You have to be practical with people's safety, with people's lives," said James Lee Walker II, who had been involved in the Occupy Charlotte protest since October. Like the majority of protesters, he wasn't arrested on Monday.
At one point near the end of Monday's police initiative, protesters crossed Trade Street where Chief Monroe and two dozen police officers watched the events unfold.

"Since the police see fit to occupy the people's campground, why don't we go over there and show them some love?" said Michael Zytkow.

When they got there, they did the hokey pokey. (They changed the last line to "You do the hokey pokey and you kiss your rights goodbye.") At one point, one man did the dance move "The worm."

-- Cleve R. Wootson Jr.

Friday, January 13, 2012

15 recently convicted in Mecklenburg homicides and fatal crashes

Fifteen people were convicted from October to December in Mecklenburg County cases of homicides and fatal crashes, according to a quarterly report released by the District Attorney’s Office.


Jeffrey Jenkins, 30, pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in connection with the 2006 shooting death of 33-year-old Charles “Jake” Melton in Matthews. Jenkins was sentenced to up to nearly two years in prison.

Tricia Rawana, 33, pleaded guilty to felony death by vehicle. In 2009, police said Rawana was impaired when she drove the wrong way on East W.T. Harris Boulevard and struck another car head-on. The crash killed the other driver, 43-year-old Kim Mobley. Rawana, who was hospitalized for about a month after the crash, was sentenced to 20-33 months in prison.


John Adams, 34, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the shooting death of his mother, 63-year-old Ada Adams. In June 2010, police said an ongoing custody dispute over John Adams' son resulted in the shooting at a home off Beatties Ford Road. The boy called 911 and told dispatchers his father shot his grandmother in the kitchen. Ada Adams, a retired worker at a Lance snack food plant, had been shot in the chest, police said. John Adams was sentenced to about 16-20 years in prison.

Shamon Goins, 21, and Dantonio Hamilton, 20, each pleaded guilty to discharging a gun into an occupied vehicle in connection with the killing of Devon Clement, 20. Clement was shot in front of dozens of people at the Cook-Out restaurant on West Sugar Creek Road in May 2010. Prosecutors said the only gunshot that struck Clement was fired by another suspect, Cherelle Griffin, who pleaded guilty in September to second-degree murder. Goins, who was on probation at the time of the shooting, was sentenced to 25-39 months in prison. Hamilton received the same sentence, but it was suspended pending his successful completion of three years on supervised probation. Hamilton was also ordered to be put on electronic house arrest for 30 days.

Travis Moore, 26, pleaded guilty to driving while impaired in the 2010 crash near Charlotte Motor Speedway that killed Amanda George, 25. Police said George had gone to the Bank of America 500 race with friends but got separated from her group and was trying to find them. She was trying to cross U.S. 29, when she was hit by a truck driven by Moore, police said. He was sentenced to 60 days in jail, but the sentence was suspended pending his successful completion of 18 months of supervised probation.

Jamarr Springs, 29, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, two counts of assault with a deadly weapon, robbery with a dangerous weapon, attempted robbery with a dangerous weapon and second-degree kidnapping. Prosecutors said Springs' girlfriend, Pamela Garmon, was planning to end their relationship in December 2010, and during an argument, Springs grabbed an AK-47 and shot her to death. When Springs fled, he tried to stop a car with two people inside and fired a shot at the car when they drove around him, prosecutors said. He later forced a driver out of a car at Northlake Mall and made the vehicle’s passenger ride with him as he drove to a relative’s house. At his sentencing, Springs said he loved Garmon and didn’t realize he was shooting at her because he was under the influence. He will spend up to about 48 years in prison.

Thomas Davis, 42, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the death of Linda Wise, 54. Davis was taken into custody in Baltimore about three months after Wise was found beaten in her apartment on Effingham Road in August 2010. Neighbors said they had heard screaming from inside the apartment. Davis was sentenced to about 15-19 years in prison.

A jury found Shawn Howard, 29, guilty of murder and discharging a gun into occupied property in the killing of his landlord, Jacob Massachi, 53. Massachi was shot after trying to evict Howard and his girlfriend from a home in the Grier Heights neighborhood in July 2008. The couple hadn’t paid all of their rent, neighbors said, and Massachi had come to the home to remove Howard’s belongings. That’s when Howard shot the married father of two, according to neighbors. A Superior Court judge sentenced Howard to life in prison without the possibility of parole, as well as up to about three additional years in prison for the weapon charge.


Tracy Gilliam, 29, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, first-degree burglary and possession of a firearm by a felon in connection with the 2010 killing of his ex-girlfriend LaSheira Hall. Relatives said Hall, the mother of three, was holding a baby when Gilliam shot her. He was later arrested in Detroit. Gilliam was sentenced to up to about 34 years in prison.

Mercedes Smith, 22, pleaded guilty to felony obstruction of justice. Prosecutors said she concealed the whereabouts of Corey Grant, who previously pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the September 2009 killing of Jimmy Sanderlin, 24. Smith was sentenced to six to eight months in prison, but the sentence was suspended pending her successful completion of two years of supervised probation.

Seth Smith, 30, pleaded guilty to two counts of misdemeanor death by vehicle for the deaths of 26-year-old Courtney Puckett and her child. Puckett and her 15-month-old daughter, Alexandria Hinkley, were riding with Smith when he veered off a road and slammed into a tree in October 2009, police said. Puckett and her daughter died at the scene, and Smith was seriously injured. Police said they believed excessive speed had caused the crash. Records showed Smith had a long history of speeding and had been previously charged at least eight times with speeding in North Carolina since he was 18. Smith was sentenced to 200 days in prison.

Oz Thomas, 22, pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in the shooting death of Travis Davis, 21. Witnesses told police in May 2009 that they saw several people involved in an argument in front of a home in west Charlotte and then heard gunfire. Davis suffered a gunshot wound and was taken to an area hospital, where he died. Thomas was sentenced to about five to seven years in prison.

Melissa Wooten, 29, pleaded guilty to driving while impaired and misdemeanor possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia in connection with the death of Rosemarie Lyle, 55. Police said Lyle was trying to cross North Tryon Street near the NoDa neighborhood in July 2011 when she was struck by a car driven by Wooten. Lyle died later at Carolinas Medical Center. Police said Wooten initially left the scene of the collision but returned a short time later. Wooten was sentenced to nearly seven months in jail, but the sentence was suspended pending her successful completion of 18 months of supervised probation. She was also ordered to immediately serve 72 hours in jail and pay a $1,000 fine.

Tyler Stasko, 23, was put on trial for three counts of second-degree murder stemming from an April 2009 crash that killed three people, including two children. Stasko, of Matthews, and Carlene Atkinson, 47, of Lake Wylie, were accused of racing at speeds of up to 100 mph on N.C. 49 near Lake Wylie when Stasko's Mitsubishi Eclipse smashed into a Mercedes. Killed in the wreck were 45-year-old Cynthia Furr, her 2-year-old daughter, McAllister Price, and 13-year-old Hunter Holt, a passenger in Stasko’s car. A jury found Stasko guilty of three counts of involuntary manslaughter rather than murder. He was sentenced to at least three years and nine months in prison. Atkinson wasn't involved in the wreck, but she is also charged with three counts of second-degree murder. Her case has not yet gone to trial.

--Meghan Cooke

From top to bottom, left to right: Tricia Rawana, John Adams, Shamon Goins, Dantonio Hamilton, Travis Moore, Jamarr Springs, Thomas Davis, Tracy Gilliam, Mercedes Smith, Seth Smith, Oz Thomas, Melissa Wootsen, and Tyler Stasko.