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Mike Waters Announces New Assistant District Attorney

Henderson, NC– District Attorney Mike Waters is pleased to announce the addition of David Erdmann as an Assistant District Attorney.

Mr. Erdmann was sworn in by District Court Judge Carolyn Thompson on Thursday, March 2, 2017. He joins the District Attorney’s staff after four years of practice as a criminal defense attorney in Surry County, North Carolina.

Mr. Erdmann is from Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina, and will relocate to the Ninth Prosecutorial District. He was a 2007 graduate of North Carolina State University, and earned a Juris Doctor from Florida State College of Law in 2011.

Mr. Erdmann also clerked for the Honorable Jose Lopez in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.

He will be primarily working in Vance County prosecuting narcotics cases.

Multiple Trials Resolved in Vance County – Office of the DA

Henderson, NC – Jurors in Vance County Superior Court found Antwon Burt guilty of Battery on an Unborn Child and Simple Assault after hearing one day of testimony. Officers with the Henderson Police Department testified about their 2016 investigation of the defendant. Mr. Burt was sentenced to 210 days in the North Carolina Department of Public Safety, Division of Adult Correction (DAC). That sentence was suspended for 18 months of supervised probation by Judge Henry W. Hight, Jr. Mr. Burt was represented by Deborah Leigh Holtzman and Adam Mincher.

In the second jury trial of the week long session of Superior Court in Vance County, Melvin McDonald was found guilty by a Vance County jury of Resisting a Public Officer and Possession of a Firearm by a Felon. Judge Hight sentenced McDonald to an active sentence of 17 to 30 months in the DAC. McDonald was on probation at the time he was charged by officers with the Henderson Police Department. Judge Hight revoked McDonald’s probationary sentence as well. The defendant was represented by Scott Hamilton.

Maurice Manning plead guilty to Assault Inflicting Serious Bodily Injury. Judge Hight sentenced Manning to a 16 to 29 month sentence that was suspended for 24 months of supervised probation to begin after the defendant had served a portion of his sentence in jail. Detective B. Logue with the Henderson Police Department investigated the case. Mr. Manning was represented by Nick Bagshawe.

Peter Lagattuta plead guilty to Felony Possession of Cocaine. Judge Hight sentenced Lagattuta to a 6 to 17 month sentence that was suspended for 18 months of supervised probation. Officer J. Henderson with the Henderson Police Department charged the defendant. Mr. Lagattuta was represented by J. Paul Stainback.

Arthur Henderson was found guilty of Driving While Impaired and Carrying a Concealed Gun after entering a plea of no contest. Mr. Henderson was given a 60 day sentence that was suspended for 12 months of supervised probation in each of his cases. B. Yarborough who was formerly with the Henderson Police Department charged Mr. Henderson with the gun charge, while Trooper J. Harrah with the NC State Highway Patrol charged Mr. Henderson with Driving While Impaired. The defendant was represented by Michael F. Rogers.

Jonathan Dailey plead guilty to Assault on a Female and was given a 75 day sentence that was suspended for 18 months of supervised probation. J. Aiken with the Vance County Sheriffs Office was the complainant. Defendant was represented by Deborah Leigh Holtzman.

Stanley Bullock, Jr. plead guilty to misdemeanor breaking and entering and misdemeanor larceny. Mr. Bullock was given a 45 day sentence that was suspended for 18 months of supervised probation by Judge Hight. Detective J. Jones with the Vance County Sheriff’s Office investigated the case. The defendant was represented by Dorothy Lewis.

Daquan Foster sentenced in local Rape Case

A special setting of Vance County Criminal Superior Court was held Monday, December 19, 2016. The Honorable Robert H. Hobgood Senior Resident Superior Court Judge for Franklin, Granville, Vance, and Warren Counties presided for the term. The Office of District Attorney Mike Waters was represented by Assistant District Attorneys Melissa D. Pelfrey and Onica F. Fuller. The single matter scheduled for hearing was the sentencing of Daquan Keith Foster.

Defendant Daquan Foster was convicted of First Degree Rape on December 4, 2015, before the same judge. The sentencing was continued to allow his attorney, E.N. Bagshawe of Warrenton to put forward evidence in mitigation.

Daquan Foster was sentenced to 239 to 347 months in the North Carolina Department of Public Safety, Division of Adult Correction for a 2013 rape in the City of Henderson. Officers with the Henderson Police Department investigated the case after a citizen reported that the victim came out of the woods reporting that she had been sexually assaulted. Strong police work resulted in an eyewitness identification by the victim and the collection of DNA evidence, both of which were presented by the State during Foster’s trial. It took jurors less than an hour to return a verdict of guilty of First Degree Rape against Foster. The jury also heard evidence concerning aggravating factors that were put forth by the State in an effort to increase Foster’s sentence. Jurors took less than five minutes to decide that the State had proven the aggravating factors based on the victim’s mental and physical infirmities and that she was handicapped. This case was investigated and prepared for trial by Detective Brandon Logue, Detective Jessica West, and patrol officers with the Henderson Police Department.

It’s through the hard work of the Henderson Police Department and their collaboration with our office that convictions like this are made possible. Our office would like to acknowledge the victim for her willingness to participate in this prosecution. Without her courage and the hard work of law enforcement, this would not have been possible.

Press Release from District Attorney Mike Waters

Oxford, NC – A multi-agency law enforcement operation is underway. The operation should not interfere with daily activities of the public.

 

In order to preserve operational security and the safety of the officers involved, no details will be released until the operation has concluded. A news conference with details is planned for Thursday morning.

 

WIZS Radio will air this news conference live on location.

DA Mike Waters welcomes new Assistant District Attorney

District Attorney Mike Waters welcomes new Assistant District Attorney Nicole G. Burnette to his office as of December 1, 2016.

Ms. Burnette was born and raised in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. She attended North Carolina State University on a full scholarship, where she double majored in political science and criminology. Ms. Burnette attended the University of Maryland School of Law, and graduated in May 2015, where she was honored with the Litigation and Advocacy Award, as well as the Public Interest Award. While in law school, Ms. Burnette served as a member of the trial team, an Articles Editor for the Journal of Race, Religion, Gender and Class, and served as Vice President for the Black Law Students’ Association.

Ms. Burnette resides in Creedmoor, North Carolina with her husband.

Vance County Superior Case Management Court

Henderson, NC– Vance County Superior Case Management Court was held during the week of July 18, 2016. Judge G. Wayne Abernathy of Alamance County presided over the session. The Office of District Attorney Michael D. Waters was represented by Assistant District Attorneys Stephen T. Gheen, Melissa D. Pelfrey, and William J. Williamson.

Francis Davis pleaded guilty to armed robbery and received an active sentence of 38 to 58 months in the North Carolina Department of Public Safety, Division of Adult Correction (DAC). The robbery occurred at the Marathon convenience store on Dabney Drive on August 31, 2015. This case was prosecuted by Melissa D. Pelfrey and investigated by the Henderson Police Department.

Kelly Hester pleaded guilty to Larceny by Defeating an Anti-Theft Device at Wal-Mart for a March 11, 2016 incident, and received a sentence of 8 to 19 months in the DAC. The sentence was suspended for 24 months and the defendant was placed on supervised probation. This case was prosecuted by Melissa D. Pelfrey and investigated by the Henderson Police Department.

Anna Strain pleaded guilty to Possession of Drug Paraphernalia and was sentenced to 120 days in a misdemeanor confinement facility. The sentence was suspended and the Defendant placed on 30 months of supervised probation. The case was prosecuted by Stephen T. Gheen and investigated by the Vance County Sheriffs Office.

Robert Speed pleaded guilty to breaking and entering a motor vehicle and for attaining habitual felon status, and received an active sentence of 48 to 70 months in the DAC. The conviction arose out of a string of motor vehicle break-ins occurring between December 1, 2015, and February 1, 2016. The cases were prosecuted by Melissa D. Pelfrey and investigated by the Henderson Police Department.

Michelle Spence pleaded guilty to Possession of a Schedule I controlled substance and received a sentence of 6 to 17 months in the DAC. The sentence was suspended for 36 months of supervised probation. The case was prosecuted by Stephen T. Gheen and investigated by the Henderson Police Department.

Darryl White pleaded guilty to Fleeing to Elude Arrest and Larceny of a Motor Vehicle and received a sentence of 24 to 41 months in the DAC. The sentence was suspended for 48 months of supervised probation after the defendant serves a 10 month active sentence. These charges arose out of a high speed chase that took law enforcement through four counties on March 1, 2016, before they could safely stop and apprehend the defendant. The case was prosecuted by Stephen T. Gheen and investigated by the North Carolina State Highway Patrol.

(Full Press Release from District Attorney Mike Waters)

Electronic Compliance and Dismissal System For Certain Traffic Violations

DA Mike Waters – ecadpressrelease

Electronic Compliance and Dismissal (ECAD) quicker and more efficient for citizens

Oxford, N.C.- Citizens of Franklin, Granville, Vance and Warren Counties can now easily request dismissal of certain traffic violations online with the launch of the new Electronic Compliance and Dismissal (ECAD) system. The application delivers a modern and user friendly experience to quickly process traffic violations online without having to appear in court.

“The online dismissal system is quicker and easier for citizens and provides immediate benefits to our courts,” said District Attorney Mike Waters. “Citizens are able to go online at home without having to miss work or wait in line, while saving time and resources of our district attorneys and court staff to process cases.”

Following Chief Justice Mark Martin’s vision for modernizing court technology systems statewide, ECAD was designed to reduce foot traffic in courthouses across the state while allowing the public a fast, convenient way to request dismissal for certain traffic violations online. The efficient, user-friendly system also benefits district attorneys by dramatically reducing the time needed to review and process dismissals of minor traffic cases.

“Online dismissals and services are changing the way the public does business with our courts,” said Judge Marion Warren, director of the N.C. Administrative Office of the Courts. “This modern court technology is more efficient and convenient to process a significant portion of traffic cases online and not have to stand in line at the courthouse.”

Prior to ECAD, citizens had to appear in court and visit the courthouse to request dismissal. In 2015, over 220,000 cases with ECAD eligible offenses were dismissed in North Carolina. This represents a significant portion of the traffic cases handled in our state and underscores the importance and convenience for the public. There is no cost associated with requesting dismissal of a case online through ECAD, and the system is available 24/7.

The system was funded by S.L. 2015-241 (HB 97) in September 2015 and work on the system began in October. ECAD was piloted beginning in May 2016, and is now available in all 100 counties statewide as of July. New language will be added to traffic citations statewide to inform the general public about ECAD and the courts’ online services available at onlineservices.NCcourts.org.

The following offenses are the only offenses eligible for dismissal/disposition through ECAD:
No Operator’s License
Failure to carry a valid driver’s license
Expired operator’s license
Expire/no inspection
OR/allow registration plate not display
Drive/allow MV no registration
Canceled/revoked/suspended certificate/tag
Expired registration card/tag

Citizens who have received a traffic citation for any of the above referenced offenses, and are in compliance and seeking a dismissal through ECAD, can go to onlineservices.NCcourts.org. They will need their citation number, which is located at the top of their ticket, and a valid address. If these charges are attached to a moving violation, a court appearance is still required.

Warren County Criminal Superior Trial Court

(Full Press Release from Mike Waters)

Warrenton, NC- Warren County Criminal Superior Trial Court was held the week of July 11, 2016.  The Honorable Henry W. Hight, Jr., Resident Superior Court Judge, presided for the session.  District Attorney Michael D. Waters along with Assistant District Attorneys Onica F. Fuller and Mark L. Gregory appeared on behalf of the State of North Carolina.

Luchano Johnson was convicted of Second Degree Murder in the death of Daniel Martinez. Mr. Martinez was murdered in his home on October 11, 2014, in an attempted robbery. Mr. Johnson’s sentencing was continued until after the trial and disposition of Rance Richardson’s case in September 2016. This case was investigated by the NC State Bureau of Investigation and the Warren County Sheriff’s Office.

Tywan Ali Williams was convicted of Felony Possession of Schedule II Controlled Substance, Possession of a Firearm by a Felon, Felony Carrying a Concealed Gun, Driving While Licensed Revoked along with other related traffic matters and received an active sentence of 19 to 32 months in the North Carolina Department of Public Safety, Division of Adult Correction (DAC). These cases were investigated by the Warren County Sheriff’s Office and the Warrenton Police Department.

Jerry Warren Pendergrass was convicted of a Felony Domestic Violence Protective Order Violation and Misdemeanor Assault Inflicting Serious Injury. He received an active sentence of 16 to 29 months in the DAC. This sentence is to be served at the expiration of the sentence that he is currently serving. This case was investigated by the Warren County Sheriffs Office.

Reginald Southerland was convicted of Felony Failure to Register as a Sex Offender and received an active sentence of 26 to 41 months in the DAC. This case was investigated by the Warren County Sheriff’s Office.

James Ayscue was convicted of Misdemeanor Sexual Battery and received a suspended sentence of 150 days. Mr. Ayscue was placed on supervised probation for 24 months and was ordered to register as a sex offender. He was also ordered not to have any contact with any minor under the age of 18 without an adult over the age of 21 present. This case was investigated by the Warren County Sheriff’s Office.

Richard Newman was convicted of Misdemeanor Assault Inflicting Serious Injury and received an active sentence of 120 days in a Misdemeanor Confinement Facility. This case was investigated by the Warren County Sheriffs Office.

Vance County Criminal Superior Trial Court

(Full Press Release from Mike Waters)

Vance County Criminal Superior Trial Court was held during the week of June 27, 2016. The Honorable Cy A. Grant, Sr., Senior Resident Superior Court Judge from Judicial District 6B, presided over the session.

Cassandra Ewing was convicted of Driving While Impaired and received an active sentence of 18 months in the North Carolina Department of Public Safety, Division of Adult Correction (DAC).

Bruce Collins was convicted of Common Law Robbery and Assault Inflicting Serious Injury and received an active sentence of 17 to 30 months in the DAC.

Thomas Mudd was convicted of Felony Larceny from the Person and received an active sentence of 5 to 15 months in the DAC. Mr. Mudd’s sentence was suspended for 18 months of supervised probation after he serves 45 days in jail.

John Hester was convicted of three counts of Felony Uttering a Forged Check and received a sentence of 6 to 17 months in the DAC. Mr. Hester’s sentence was suspended for 24 months of supervised probation after he serves 90 days in jail.

All of the cases above were prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Melissa D. Pelfrey, William J. Williamson and Stephen T. Gheen.

Vance County Criminal Superior Case Management Court

Full Press Release

Henderson, NC- Vance County Criminal Superior Case Management Court was held during the week of February 22,2016. The Honorable Donald W. Stephens, Senior Resident Superior Court Judge from Wake County, presided over the session. The Office of District Attorney Mike Waters was represented by Assistant District Attorneys Melissa Pelfrey, Bill Williamson and Steve Gheen.

The following cases were disposed of by plea agreement during the session:

David Perdue pleaded guilty to Felony Assault on a Handicapped Person and received an active sentence of 13 to 25 months in the North Carolina Department of Public Safety, Division of Adult Correction (DAC), which was suspended for 18 months of supervised probation.

Terrick Verner pleaded guilty to Common law Robbery and received an active sentence of 12 to 24 months in the DAC, suspended for 24 months of supervised probation.

Daniel Wells pleaded guilty to Felony Fleeing to Elude Arrest and larceny of a Motor Vehicle and received an active sentence of 10 to 21 months in the DAC. Mr. Wells also had a probation violation case which was revoked and his probationary sentence of 16 to 29 months was activated.

Takisha Durham pleaded guilty to Misdemeanor Common law Uttering and received an active sentence of 45 days in the Vance County Jail, suspended for 18 months of supervised probation.

Cody Creech pleaded guilty to Felony Breaking and Entering a Motor Vehicle and received an active sentence of 11 to 23 months in the DAC.

Deshawn Hargrove pleaded guilty to Felony Sex Offender Use Social Website and received an active sentence of 9 to 20 months in the DAC. Mr. Hargrove also had a probation violation case which was revoked and his probationary sentence of 17 to 30 months was activated.

Dustin Matthews pleaded guilty to Felony Possession of Stolen Goods, Obtaining Property by False Pretenses, and larceny and received an active sentence of 8 to 19 months in the DAC.

Lorenzo Terry pleaded guilty to Felony Breaking and Entering a Motor Vehicle and received an active sentence of 26 to 41 months in the DAC. All of the cases mentioned above were investigated by officers with the Vance County Sheriff’s Office.

Jonathan Rhodes pleaded guilty to Felony Possess/Distribute Meth Precursor and received and active sentence of 21 to 35 months in the DAC. Mr. Rhodes also had a probation violation case which was revoked and his probationary sentence of 9 to 20 months was activated. This case was investigated by Officer M. Jackson of the Henderson Police Department.