Fifth Suspect in Efland Murder Appears in Court

A fifth suspect in a fatal shooting in Efland earlier this year appeared in court on Friday.

Terry Glenn Jones Jr., of Durham, made his first appearance in Orange County Court in connection with the January shooting death of 22-year-old Tevin Kendrick.

Kendrick was found in the parking area of the Efland – Cheeks Community Center near an open trunk of a sedan. Deputies said Kendrick was shot numerous times. Emergency officials declared Kendrick dead at the scene.

The 21-year-old Jones has been charged with first-degree murder in the shooting. Jermauciyae Abram, Barry Holt and Devon Harris are all facing first-degree murder charges in the case. Savian Turrentine has been charged with accessory after the fact to a felony.

All of those charged in the death are scheduled to appear in court in May.

Merging Orange County School Districts Not ‘Worth the Squeeze’

While our community works to find a way to provide housing options to every family that would like to live Orange County, former Chapel Hill Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt brought up an idea during the WCHL Community Forum that has been volleyed about in our community before as a potential solution.

Kleinschmidt said that merging the Chapel Hill – Carrboro and Orange County School Districts would alleviate some of the pressure on housing “at least between northern and southern Orange.”

Kleinschmidt said he thought that the benefits of merging the school districts would go beyond helping to provide more affordable housing.

“I think that would have enormous impact not only on housing prices,” Kleinschmidt said, “but I also believe it would have an impact on our ability to address the achievement gap.”

When speaking, Kleinschmidt cited former Orange County Commissioner Moses Carey, who brought up the idea in the early-2000s.

Current Commissioner and former Chapel Hill – Carrboro City School board member Mia Burroughs said she would support that idea, under certain circumstances.

“I would feel very strongly that we should merge if I felt that we had a severely disadvantaged school district among the two,” Burroughs said. “But I don’t think we’re there.”

Chapel Hill – Carrboro Superintendent Tom Forcella said that, while the school districts remain separate, there has been an increased level of collaboration between the two.

“I think the gains we would get, maybe, out of merging or consolidating, I think a lot of those things can be addressed if we really get creative and think about the things that we can share and do together.”

Orange County School Board chair Donna Coffey said a study was commissioned in 2001 that said merging the districts would raise the cost to Orange County residents as a whole.

“The study revealed that it would not save dollars and cents if you will,” Coffey said. “Because in order to merge the districts, state statute says you have to lift the per-pupil spending to the higher of the two districts that you merge.”

Coffey said the study said that would result in a “significant” tax increase, adding “at that time it was 18 to 20 cents, I believe.”

“Moses Carey was cited in the earlier conversation as being the one who brought this up,” Coffey said. “And I will quote Moses saying, ‘the juice’ at that point ‘did not appear to be worth the squeeze.’”

Orange County Delays E-Cigarette Decision

The Orange County Board of Health will delay the vote on a resolution that would ban all use of electronic cigarettes in bars and restaurants across the county.

“Because the science is so incredibly important to this decision, I would recommend you wait and let some national vetting of this emerging science occur,” said county health director Colleen Bridger.

The Surgeon General is scheduled to release a report on the effects of e-cigarettes in the fall and the board will wait for the results of that report before making a decision.

They will also have an expert look at the report and share their thoughts.

“Little is known about the long term effects of vaping on the lung,” said director of the UNC Center for Tobacco Regulatory Science Rob Tarran. “However, e-cigarettes appear to cause changes in the lung in the gene and protein level consistent with immunosuppression.”

Tarran was in favor of the ban, but his voice was far from the only one heard, as people on both sides of the argument addressed the board.

Those opposed to the ban said the county should let individual businesses choose their own policies and that there was not enough evidence to prove that vapor from these products are harmful.

Vaping products are also commonly used to help tobacco users move away from normal cigarettes.

One resident said the ban would force people trying to quit smoking to be exposed to the cigarettes they are trying to get away from.

“By banning vaping products from area businesses, it forces me outside to be around the smokers, continue the health issues that I already have,” she said.

Those in favor of the ban said allowing it in restaurants and bars would renormalize smoking and influence children to try tobacco products.

East Chapel Hill High School student Sophie Jin said there has been a rise in young people using e-cigarettes and the ban would help solve the problem.

“This rule would restrict health risks in public areas and prevent our future generations to start experimenting with a dangerous product,” she said. “Although advertised as safe and reliable, more and more research has been published that documents harmful effects.”

No date has been set for the next time the board will look at this issue.

Orange County Launches Misdemeanor Diversion Program

Some teenagers suspected of illegal behavior in Orange County may soon be sent through a new program that will keep them out of the adult criminal justice system.

“What it is,” explains local Assistant District Attorney Jeff Nieman, “is a program to divert misdemeanor charges against 16 and 17 year olds, to have an intervention of sorts using some court personnel but without the formality of a formal charge and/or arrest.”

The new program opens up an avenue outside of the adult criminal justice system for 16 and 17-year-old offenders in certain situations. North Carolina is one of two states in the country, along with New York, that currently treats anyone 16 years old or older who is arrested as an adult.

“In virtually every other state, if someone is under the age of 18 when they are accused of committing an offense,” Nieman said, “then they are handled by that state’s juvenile system.”

Nieman said this program will only bring in cases for 16 and 17 year olds who are suspected of misdemeanors that do not involve any sexual allegation.

“The punishment has a different goal,” Nieman said. “It’s focused more on rehabilitation and education than on traditional punitive punishment, and it’s more geared toward young people as opposed to the adult system.

“And, especially in our state and I’m pretty sure in most other states, that record is at some point purged and not available to the general public for review.”

Nieman says the goal is to avoid the permanency of a record that follows those who are processed as teenagers in the adult system.

“If a young person who is charged with a crime is allowed an opportunity to avoid the immediate consequences of being arrested and of being formally charged,” Nieman said, “I think there can be an effect on that person as not seeing the system as their enemy and they might not see law enforcement as their enemy.”

Nieman says this can benefit society as a whole by allowing those who may have entered the adult criminal justice system to follow a path to education and employment.

“You get the one charge, that charge prevents you from professional and school opportunities, and then that has a tendency to discourage success along legal tracks and, in effect, encourage success along illegal tracks,” Nieman said.

He added that his words should not be seen as condoning illegal behavior but that it can make it more difficult to follow standard avenues to success with any kind of charge, even as a teenager.

“The harder that we make it for people to succeed along legal tracks,” Nieman said, “it does bring in the temptation to find a way to find happiness or success in illegal ways.”

He says there is still a mechanism that brings those charged with other offenses, including violent crimes and felonies, into the adult system.

“If a 17 year old committed a serious, violent felony for example, the state can move to have that case tried as an adult,” Nieman said. “Frankly we can still do that now with people who are 15 and younger. If a 15 year old, 14 year old or younger commits a serious offense, there’s a process to have that case tried as an adult.

“It happens far less often in North Carolina, quite frankly, because our juvenile age is so low.”

Nieman says that those who are diverted through the system will be put through a 90-day program – which includes community service and possibly drug and alcohol counseling, depending on the charges.

Nieman says this program would not have happened without the support of local law enforcement and Caitlin Fehagen, who will serve as the MDP Coordinator and Orange County Criminal Justice Resource Manager.

The program began taking referrals on Friday.

Two Arrested in Orange County Shooting

The Orange County Sheriff’s Office has taken two suspects into custody in relation to a shooting in Hillsborough last weekend.

Authorities announced that Antonio “Tony” Laturan Whitted was arrested on Tuesday and charged with assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury, accessory after the fact, possession of a firearm by a felon, driving while license revoked and going armed to the terror of the public.

Whitted originally posted a $25,000 bond but is now being held in the Orange County Detention Center after his bond was raised to $250,000 at his first court appearance.

A second suspect, Antuanne Montez Shaw turned himself in to law enforcement on Friday, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Shaw has been charged with attempted first degree murder, assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury, discharging a weapon into an occupied vehicle inflicting serious bodily injury, injury to real property and going armed to the terror of the public. Shaw is being held under a $500,000 secured bond.

The shooting occurred the afternoon of Saturday, April 9, at the D-N-G Mart on Highway 86 just north of Highway 70.

Sheriff’s Office Investigating Weekend Shooting

Orange County authorities are investigating a shooting that took place in a convenience store parking lot over the weekend.

Officials say deputies with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office responded to a report of gunshots being fired into an occupied vehicle at the D-N-G Mart on Highway 86 just north of Highway 70.

A release says two deputies arrived on the scene at 1:44 Saturday afternoon, three minutes after the call was dispatched, but no subjects remained on the scene.

Witnesses described a situation where an altercation took place after two vehicles pulled into the parking lot, according to law enforcement. Reports say the subjects then returned to their respective vehicles. But witnesses say a passenger exited one vehicle just after it had started to pull away and fired into the other vehicle with a handgun.

A deputy found the vehicle that had been shot at in the area of Sherwood Lane in Hillsborough, where the deputy learned an occupant had been transported to the UNC Hospital Hillsborough campus, according to a release.

Officials say that individual was then transported to the Chapel Hill campus for treatment of non-life threatening injuries.

No further information is available at this time as the investigation is ongoing.

Woman Kicks, Spits on Officer After DWI

A Durham woman is being held in the Orange County jail after allegedly kicking and spitting in the face of a Chapel Hill Police Officer who had taken her into custody for allegedly driving while impaired.

The arrest report says 30-year-old Megan Brooke Ennis was pulled over for driving 59 miles per hour in a 35 mph zone on East Franklin Street just past Estes Drive at 3:16 Monday morning.

The report says that Ennis’ blood-alcohol content registered at .23 after willfully submitting a sample of her breath for analysis. That is nearly three times the .08 legal limit to drive in North Carolina.

Ennis then “kicked and spit in the face of the arresting officer,” while at the Magistrate’s Office, according to records. Ennis is now facing misdemeanor charges of assault on a government official and driving while impaired, along with a felony count of malicious conduct by a prisoner.

Ennis is being held under a $10,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in court on Monday afternoon.

Orange County Clarifies Dog Tethering Laws

After experiencing an increase in calls regarding the laws about dog tethering in Orange County, the county is attempting to clarify the issue for residents.

Continuous chaining or tethering is not allowed in Orange County.  It is restricted to three hours per day in the unincorporated areas and Hillsborough and prohibited altogether in Chapel Hill and Carrboro.

“We are uncertain as the reason for the increase in emails and calls, but the same thing happened last year, which could be the result of warming temperatures,” said Bob Marotto, director of Orange County Animal Services.

Tethering in many areas has been linked to nuisance barking and some instances of territorial aggression, which can lead to public safety concerns.  Extreme temperatures in summer or winter can also lead to concerns over animal safety for some of those tethered.

Because of these concerns, governments across the county have attempted to prevent tethering.

“It was a challenging community process but one that has been very successful,” said Marotto. “Dogs are naturally social beings who thrive on interaction with human beings and other animals.”

Orange County Reaches Waste Reduction Goals

For the second year in a row Orange County has surpassed it goals for waste reduction.

A total of 69,438 tons of waste were landfilled that originated from Orange County in the fiscal year 2014-15, according to the Waste Management Division of the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality.

This results in an annual landfilling rate of 1,000 pounds per person

“Recycling resources not only improves the environment but creates jobs throughout North Carolina and nationally,” said Earl McKee, chair of the Board of Orange County Commissioners.

Compared with the baseline year of 1991-92 when 2,720 pounds per person were sent to landfills, there has been a 64% reduction in the rate of landfilling.

“While recycling markets are currently weak they are cyclical and will improve again,” McKee said. “The current market conditions are no reason to stop recycling or working on reducing the amount of waste disposed. Reducing waste reduces both landfill costs and the amount we dump on other communities.”

Authorities Investigating 1-Year-Old Missing Person Case as Homicide

Brice Holliman disappeared on April 9, 2015.

And with the one-year anniversary coming up on Saturday, local law enforcement agencies are still working to find out exactly what happened.

The Orange County Sheriff’s Office announced on April 15 of last year that the 41-year-old Holliman had been reported missing after he was last seen on April 9.

Authorities say he left a friend’s home on Saxapahaw-Bethlehem Church Road near the Orange – Alamance County line around 6:30 in the evening and was last seen driving away in a white Lexus ES300. He reportedly told his friends that he would be back in about 30 minutes but never returned.

Holliman’s vehicle was found about one month after he went missing.

His family members have been calling for anyone with information to come forward and tell law enforcement.

Records show the majority of the action in the case has taken place in Alamance County and authorities have questioned multiple individuals on several occasions throughout the investigation. Documents also show that law enforcement agencies are investigating this case as a homicide.

Search warrants were taken out in March of this year to look for Holliman’s remains on a property off of Mineral Springs Road in Alamance County.

Orange County Sheriff Charles Blackwood says no remains were found as authorities investigated open wells on the property. But he said he feels that authorities are very close to finding a resolution to this case

“We are absolutely certain that one or more people know exactly what happened in this case,” Blackwood says. “And time will allow, we feel, at least one of these persons to either get mad at the other or to get angry with the other or somehow be motivated to come forth and tell the truth.

“And we look forward to the day that that happens, and we feel that it might happen sooner than later.”

Blackwood says his office is working with neighboring agencies in addition to authorities outside of the state, including but not limited to the state of Georgia.