By Jack Stephens
Published in News on February 11, 2004 2:02 PM
Deputy puts out fire
A Wayne County sheriff's deputy on routine patrol Tuesday saw thick smoke coming from a mobile home, then went inside, made sure the residents were safe and put out the fire with an extinguisher.
Deputy Chuck Schaeffer saw the smoke at about 10 a.m. at 106 W.D. Circle, off Camp Jubilee Road, in the southeastern part of the county. He said the kitchen grease fire was threatening to engulf the entire home.
"Due to Deputy Schaeffer's quick action," Sheriff Carey Winders said, "the residents' home was saved."
For his heroism, Schaeffer is receiving a letter of commendation for his vigilance from the sheriff.
Pricetown and Seven Springs volunteer firefighters also responded to the call.
KENANSVILLE -- Johnny Wilson, 39, of Warsaw pleaded guilty to second-degree murder Tuesday in Duplin Superior Court.
Judge Gary Trawick of Burgaw sentenced Wilson to a minimum of 19 years and a maximum of 23 years 9 months in prison for stabbing Gary Smith, 45, of Warsaw, on May 22.
District Attorney Dewey Hudson said Wilson claimed that Smith had not repaired his car after being paid, and they fought. Wilson later told authorities that he stabbed Smith.
The Duplin County Sheriff's Office subsequently found the knife where it had been thrown after the stabbing. An autopsy report confirmed that Smith was stabbed two times in the left side. The autopsy report confirmed that Smith had cocaine in his system, indicating recent use.
A murder charge against Steven Carroll, brother of Wilson, remains pending from this incident.
Walter H. Paramore III of Jacksonville, Wilson's lawyer, said Wilson had been drinking and using cocaine the day of the murder, and before that, he had no history of violence. Wilson told two aunts of the victim, who were present in court, that he was remorseful for what he had done.
Hudson said Wilson had two previous drug-related convictions in New York and North Carolina.
Hudson said there are a total of 39 defendants charged with murder in the 4th Prosecutorial District, including 17 defendants in Onslow, 13 in Sampson and 9 in Duplin County.
D.A. says no favoritism
MOUNT OLIVE -- District Attorney Branny Vickory says he will process the case of the Mount Olive police chief's son like any other case.
Michael Ballree, 18, was charged with larceny of firearms after an investigation by the Mount Olive Police Department. His father could not be reached for comment.
"It's a parent's nightmare. It's a police chief's nightmare," said Vickory. But he said Ballree handled the situation the way it's supposed to be handled. He called the district attorney's office immediately upon learning about the arrest.
Vickory said he notified the State Bureau of Investigation, but both were comfortable with the case staying with the Police Department. "They're aware and available if we need any further support," said Vickory.
Ballree has had his first appearance in court and has signed a waiver of a court appointed lawyer.
Next, the case will go before a Grand Jury.
Wayne County law-enforcement officers are investigating these reports:
*A stereo, a DVD player, a video cassette recorder, a microwave oven, a cable box, a video game and a gold wedding ring were stolen Tuesday after a door glass was smashed at a home in the 100 block of Flamingo Circle, sheriff's deputies said. The resident, G.M. Batiste, put a $905 value on the property. No damage estimate was reported.
*About $1,600 worth of property was stolen Monday after a door was damaged at an apartment in the 2700 block of Billy Francis Drive, Goldsboro police said. One resident, Glenn Maturkanitch, reported the theft of a 36-inch television, a DVD-VCR combination, video-game equipment and 40 DVD movies, valued at a combined $1,500. A second resident, Monique Witherspoon, reported the loss of two rings, valued at $100.
*A miter saw, a nail gun, a cordless drill and a cordless saw were stolen between Monday and Tuesday from a truck bed in the 600 block of Hooks Road, deputies said. The resident and owner, Jasper Lee Cummings, said his property was worth $1,100.
*A black and white Bobcat loader was stolen between Saturday and Tuesday from the 500 block of Stevens Church Road, deputies said. The owner, Curtis Glen Venable of Mount Olive, put a $14,000 value on it.
*About $200 in change was stolen Tuesday from a locked room, and a camper shell, 50 compact discs, a cell phone and men's cosmetics were stolen from a pickup, deputies said. One resident, David Shane Williams, said the cosmetics were worth $200, and another resident, Barbara J. Young, put a $4,400 on the other property.
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