DA Prepares To Prosecute Plethora of Orange County Drug Cases

The Sheriff’s Office announced 61 arrests last month, following a six-month undercover investigation of illegal narcotic sales in Orange County.

Orange and Chatham District Attorney Jim Woodall says his office should have no problem handling the volume of cases.

“These are cases that we know how to work through; we do it as just part of our job,” says Woodall. “If these were some other type of crime, these could really cause us difficulty because of staffing, but because they are controlled substance cases we can work them through the system a little bit easier and a little bit quicker.”

The same can’t be said for the state lab where the seized substances are tested.

“Unfortunately the state lab is so backed up that it will take them well over a year to get all the controlled substances analyzed, unless we find money to go to a private lab for analysis, so that actually gives us time to work through the cases.”

In many cases involving controlled substances, Woodall says defendants don’t wait for the official lab report before agreeing to a plea deal.

“Probably a majority of the cases will be disposed of prior to getting a lab back from the state laboratory,” says Woodall. “There will be some of the cases where the actual charges are dependent on the weight, so in those cases we’ll probably have to wait for the lab. Occasionally we have used outside labs and that may be a possibility in some of these cases.”

Sheriff’s deputies in June issued a total of 343 charges against 62 suspects. The charges range from drug possession to drug trafficking to selling narcotics near a school.

The operation netted more than 7,000 grams of cocaine, 693 doses of heroin, 110 pounds of marijuana and multiple prescription drugs as well as several firearms.

Narcotics officers say they’ve already launched a second round of investigations that will likely culminate in more arrests this fall.


Alert Carolina Late to Alarm Students of 2 Armed Robberies

UNC Police are investigating reports of two armed robberies on the Carolina campus last night.

An Alert Carolina message says that the robberies occurred near Aycock Hall and Raleigh Road just before 11 o’clock last night. Police are searching for two suspects, one estimated 6′ tall and the other approximately 5’10”.

In the first robbery, the suspects reportedly brandished a handgun and demanded the male victim’s wallet.

A female victim was approached shortly after the first robbery by the same two suspects who were in a white four-door sedan.

The Alert Carolina message told students to: Go inside immediately; Close windows and doors; Stay until further notice; and Follow directions from emergency responders or University officials.

While the Alert Carolina message reports the robberies occurred just before 11 o’clock, the message wasn’t sent out through the system until 11:35. The “All Clear” message was sent out at 11:50.

UNC officials say the system failed and a full review will be launched immediately to ensure this breakdown in communication does not happen again.

The university apologized for the system’s failure.

Anyone with information regarding the suspects is asked to call 911 or contact the UNC Department of Public Safety.


Police: “If you see something, say something” After Chapel Hill Break-Ins

Chapel Hill Police are investigating a string of break-ins.

Chapel Hill Police Lieutenant Josh Mecimore says the department is taking this opportunity to remind residents to always lock their vehicles and homes after a series of break-ins with a common theme – it was unlocked.

Mecimore says most reports have been vehicle break-ins but there were two apartment break-ins last week in the Chapel Ridge apartment complex.

“In both incidents, the occupant woke up [and] saw a man standing in their bedroom,” he says. “He takes off running and leaves, didn’t steal anything.

“We want to encourage people to always lock your door…whether you’re home or not, just have it locked.”

Mecimore has some tips to keep your items safe.

“Over the last couple of months, we’ve seen an increase in break-ins to vehicles and the common theme with them is that they are unlocked,” he says. “Sometimes nothing is taken. Sometimes things are taken.

“We always try to encourage people to lock their vehicles, take items of value out of the vehicle; don’t leave things visible inside the vehicle. If you do have to leave something in it, maybe put it in the trunk or have a place to hide it.”

Mecimore says authorities are still investigating the incidents and looking for suspects.

“I don’t know that there’s a relationship between the car B&E’s and the apartment B&E’s,” he says. “In the last month, we’ve made an arrest in a couple of those car break-ins, and I think may have some additional charges coming out on the same person that we arrested for those.

“I don’t think for a minute that all of those are the same person.”

Mecimore says police are looking for help from citizens in making an arrest.

“If you see something, say something,” he encourages. “You know what’s normal in your neighborhood. If you see something that seems out of the ordinary, suspicious, or causes you any concern, then call us.”

Mecimore reminds residents a call on something suspicious is not a waste of time if it turns out to be nothing illegal, adding that could be the call that leads to an arrest.


Removing a Member of the Board of Governors

Speculation has surrounded the future of a member of the UNC Board of Governors after news of his arrest last month on domestic violence charges.

UNC System General Counsel Thomas Shanahan says policy was adopted in April of this year that lays out guidelines for Duties, Responsibilities, and Expectations of Board Members.

Outside of missing a number of meetings or being appointed to a conflicting board, however, there is no clear policy for criminal charges.

61-year-old R. Doyle Parrish was arrested at his home on Kingsley Road in Raleigh, on May 12, after a report was filed by his wife Nancy Parrish, who was listed as the victim. Parrish was charged with simple assault.

Parrish was appointed to a four-year term on the Board of Governors by the North Carolina House in 2013.

The policy that the board adopted in April has an ethical conduct category, but that focuses on the confidential nature of some work of the board.

The fourth section of the policy centers on removal of a board member. The procedure laid out calls for the chair of the Committee on University Governance to submit written specification of reasons to consider the board member’s removal.

The member would then have a chance to respond before the entire board considers the case. The board is also permitted to recommend removal of a board member to the appointing body, in this case that would be the state House.

Joan MacNeill is currently serving as the University Governance Committee Chair for the Board of Governors. MacNeill did not respond to a request for comment on Thursday.

At a special meeting called by the Board of Governors on Thursday, where many members – including Parrish – participated via conference call, the situation was not discussed.

The Wake County Court Calendar shows Parrish’s next court appearance is slated for August 26th.


UNC Board of Governors Member Arrested in Alleged Domestic Assault

A member of the UNC Board of Governors was arrested in May for misdemeanor assault of a female, according to police reports.

61-year-old R. Doyle Parrish was arrested at his home on Kingsley Road in Raleigh on May 12 after a report was filed by his wife Nancy Parrish, who was listed as the victim. Parrish was charged with simple assault.

Parrish was appointed to a four-year term on the Board of Governors by the North Carolina House in 2013.

National Institute for Money in State Politics figures show that Parrish donated to campaigns for Thom Tillis, Pat McCrory, Phil Berger, Bev Perdue, and Mike Easley, according to WRAL.

The News & Observer of Raleigh reports Parrish was ordered to be held in the Wake County Jail on a mandatory domestic violence hold for two days. A district court judge on May 18 ordered Parrish released on his promise to appear at his next court date and ordered him to stay away from his wife.

The Wake County Court Calendar shows Parrish’s next court appearance is slated for August 26th.

A UNC System spokesperson says they “have no comment to offer.”


Carrboro Police Seek Info In Armed Robberies

Carrboro police are still investigating a pair of armed robberies at two apartment complexes last week.

One Carrboro resident was robbed at gunpoint, and another was threatened with a gun in separate incidents on the evening of March 30th.

Now, Captain Chris Atack says Carrboro police are looking for help from the public.

“This certainly rises to a level that is concerning to all,” says Atack. “We are asking anybody who has any information, any tips, any ideas on what parties might be responsible for these activities to please call us or call Crimestoppers.”

According to police reports, an armed suspect forced his way into an apartment at Collins Crossing just after 10:00 p.m.

The suspect, who covered his face and carried a rifle, allegedly shoved the resident of the apartment. Although the victim suffered minor injuries, nothing was reported stolen.

Moments later, at 10:47 pm, a woman reported she was robbed at gunpoint by a man with a rifle in the parking lot of Carolina Apartments, directly behind Collins Crossing.

The gunman reportedly took her wallet, car key, driver’s license and credit card.

Atack says the suspect or suspects didn’t steal much of value, but the presence of a firearm is still cause for concern.

“Especially when you have the potential for violent crime arising from someone with a firearm using it to threaten people, there’s always a greater potential for harm,” says Atack.

The suspect in both robberies is described as a 20-year-old black man. Atack says it’s not yet clear if the two incidents are related.

“With the proximity and the closeness in time and distance, obviously you’d initially believe there’s some sort of connection,” says Atack. “That’s something that we’re looking at, trying to get as much information as we can from witnesses. That is something we are dutifully pursuing.”

If you have any information, call Carrboro Police at 919-918-7397. You can leave an anonymous tip either online or over the phone at Crimestoppers: 919-942-7517.



Man Wanted For B&E In Carrboro

The Orange County Sheriff’s Office is seeking your help in apprehending a man wanted for breaking and entering in Carrboro.

Zachary Fitzgibbon is a white male, about 18-20 years old with long brown hair. Orange County officials are asking you not to try to apprehend him, but if you have any information about his location, call 911 – or contact Orange County Investigator Williams at 919-245-2951.

Fitzgibbon’s photo is above.


Orange County Sheriff’s Office Looking for Suspect

The Orange County Sheriff’s Office is looking for Linwood “Fred” Clay, after he fled from court personnel as they attempted to take him into custody, just before noon on Thursday.

Clay is wanted on outstanding warrants out of Durham and additional warrants of resisting a public officer.

The 26-year-old Clay is described as a black male, 6’ 1”, approximately 180 pounds.

He has numerous tattoos and is a registered sex offender.

Clay fled from court personnel toward his vehicle, described as a gold four-door car with large chrome rims. Officials believe he may be in Durham or Carrboro.

Clay has an extensive criminal history for violent felonies, including kidnapping and assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill.

Law enforcement says he should be considered armed and dangerous.

If anyone has any information regarding the whereabouts of Linwood “Fred” Clay, please contact the Orange County Sheriff’s Office at (919) 245-2900.


Shots Fired at Durham PD Vehicle

Shots were fired at a Durham police investigator around noon on Wednesday, and CrimeStoppers is offering a reward for information leading to an arrest in the incident.

Police say an investigator was driving an unmarked police vehicle on South Street when numerous shots were fired from a car on Bond Street. One bullet struck the officer’s car, but the officer was not injured.

Investigators believe the shots were fired from an older model gray sedan with tinted windows. The vehicle was possibly a Nissan. The vehicle was occupied by two black males wearing blue and black jackets. Investigators believe both occupants fired shots during the incident.

It appears that the unmarked car was deliberately targeted, according to investigators.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Investigator K. Emanuel at (919) 560-4415, ext. 29306 or CrimeStoppers at (919) 683-1200. CrimeStoppers pays cash rewards for information leading to arrests in felony cases and callers never have to identify themselves.


Chapel Hill Man Arrested by U.S. Marshals

A Chapel Hill man was arrested, on Friday morning, on charges of discharging a weapon into an occupied dwelling.

20-year-old Joseph Adam Alexander was charged with eight counts stemming from two separate shooting incidents, on December 23 and 24 of last year.

The shooting on Dec. 23 occurred at 800 Pritchard Avenue. Alexander allegedly fired two shots into the apartment; the man inside was not injured.

Alexander allegedly fired six shots into an apartment at 751 Trinity Court on Christmas Eve. A woman and two small children inside were physically unharmed.

U.S. Marshals arrested Alexander on Friday morning, without incident, at 500 Umstead Drive.

Detectives transported Alexander to the Orange County Jail where he is being held under a $500,000 secure bond. The motive behind the shootings is unknown at this time.