02/22/06 — Officials shut down another bar

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Officials shut down another bar

By Jack Stephens
Published in News on February 22, 2006 1:59 PM

SEVEN SPRINGS -- A Lenoir County nightclub where a Mount Olive man was killed last year has been closed after the owner agreed to surrender his alcohol license.

Johnny Harrison Smith Jr. signed a consent judgment in Lenoir County Superior Court, agreeing to close Smitty's at N.C. 903 and Davis-Hardy Road, just east of Seven Springs.

By signing the judgment, Smith avoided a nuisance abatement lawsuit.

"This action will prevent the club from returning to the property and will address citizen and community concerns, especially as it relates to the violence, alcohol abuse and late-night crowds that frequently gathered there," District Attorney Branny Vickory said.

"This location has been an ongoing source of citizen complaints and illegal activity. The nuisance abatement law is an important tool, and my office will not hesitate to use it in the future if needed," Lenoir County Sheriff Billy Smith said.

The murder victim, Antrail Terria Stephenson Stukes, 22, of Kornegay Street, was mortally wounded early on Feb. 21, 2005. He died before rescue personnel could get him to a hospital.

Stukes' cousin, Defonzia Faison, 24, of Candy Place, Dudley, was shot in the chest. He was taken to Pitt County Memorial Hospital in Greenville. He recovered from his injuries.

The accused gunman, Donald White, 43, of LaGrange, was charged with murder. He has not been indicted by a grand jury. He has another District Court appearance scheduled for April 30, a deputy Lenoir County court clerk said. White also faces a felony drug trafficking charge that was filed in 2001.

Johnny Smith also operated a second nightclub, unlicensed by the state Alcohol Beverage Commission, on the same property. He also agreed to close it.

The agreement was reached after an investigation by the N.C. Alcohol Law Enforcement Division agents and the Lenoir County Sheriff's Office into drug, alcohol, gambling and prostitution violations on the property.

Johnny Smith signed the content judgment, agreeing to turn in his state ABC permits, not allowing any alcohol on the premises and not operating any nightclubs or maintaining a nuisance property. Vickory said Smith cooperated during the investigation.

Two nightclubs in Wayne County have been closed under the same nuisance law. The owner of one nightclub in Goldsboro, where two people were murdered, closed his business voluntarily. The second business on U.S. 70 East was closed after the case went to civil court.