Morning News Briefs: Monday, June 11th, 2018
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Man's Mental Condition, Past Cited In Capital Resentencing
North Carolina's highest court has vacated the death sentence of a man found to have killed and decapitated his wife because the trial judge didn't tell jurors formally to consider evidence of his mental condition and childhood in war-torn El Salvador.
The state Supreme Court ordered Friday a resentencing hearing for Juan Carlos Rodriguez of Winston-Salem, who was convicted of first-degree murder and first-degree kidnapping in the 2010 death of his wife.
The justices let stand his convictions. The majority in the 5-2 decision determined Rodriguez's mental limitations and struggles should have been a mitigating factor in impairing his ability to fully comprehend his conduct.
Lawyers: North Carolina Law Punishing Felons Who Vote Is Racist
Lawyers for five convicted felons accused of voting in North Carolina in 2016 before their civil rights were fully restored say charges should be dropped because the state law is racist and overwhelmingly affects black people.
The Southern Coalition for Social Justice in Durham filed requests Friday for judges to dismiss charges that could result in new felony convictions for the five Alamance County residents. State law requires that convicted felons complete probation periods before they can vote again.
Attorneys contend the law punishing illegal voting with a new felony was passed in 1901 during the Jim Crow period to suppress voting by blacks.
NC Police Could Get Access To Painkiller Prescription Data
A proposal in North Carolina's legislature would let law officers access a statewide database recording who is prescribing controlled drugs from morphine to codeine.
The News & Observer reports the move is part of the General Assembly's efforts to grapple with the opioid epidemic. State officials say more than 13,000 North Carolinians have died from opioid-related overdoses since 1999.
The database exists to see if a patient is getting controlled substances from multiple doctors.
District Attorney On Trial After Hiring Fellow DA's Wife
A former district attorney is acting as his own lawyer as he stands trial on felony charges. Prosecutors say he hired a fellow district attorney's wife and paid her when she didn't work.
Wallace Bradsher is attacking the credibility of almost every witness, from the woman he hired to her district attorney husband and the State Bureau of Investigation agent assigned to the case.
Prosecutors say Bradsher was chief prosecutor in Person and Caswell counties when he arranged with then-Rockingham County District Attorney Craig Blitzer to hire each other's wives to get around an ethics law.
Blitzer pleaded guilty in a deal where if he testified against Bradsher and stayed out of trouble, the plea would disappear.
Water Gun Fight At Triad Escalates To Arrest
Authorities say they arrested a 17-year-old Triad high school student after he attacked a school employee and police officer during a water gun and water balloon fight.
Winston-Salem Police said about 150 students left the cafeteria of Glenn High School at lunch Friday and began fighting with water balloons and water guns.
Police say the one student tried to spray the school employee in the face with the water gun and became mad and began assaulting the staff member who was trying to take the water gun away.
Police said in a news release the student also attacked a police officer trying to stop him.
Salmonella Linked To Pre-Cut Melon Sickens 60 In Midwest
Health officials say a salmonella outbreak linked to pre-cut melon has sickened 60 people in five Midwestern states.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says Caito Foods LLC on Friday recalled pre-cut watermelon, honeydew melon, cantaloupe and fruit medleys containing at least one of those melons that were produced at its facility in Indianapolis.
It says the five states where people were sickened are Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri and Ohio. The CDC says the fruit was also distributed to stores in Georgia, Kentucky and North Carolina. It was sold in clear plastic clamshell containers at Costco, Jay C, Kroger, Payless, Owen's, Sprouts, Trader Joe's, Walgreens, Walmart and Whole Foods/Amazon.
Officials say people should throw away or return recalled products.