Two men traveling with stolen passports on a missing Malaysia Airlines jetliner were Iranians who had bought tickets to Europe and were probably not terrorists, law enforcement officials said Tuesday.More >>
The missing Boeing 777 jetliner changed course over the sea, crossed Malaysia and reached the Strait of Malacca - hundreds of miles from its last position recorded by civilian authorities, Malaysian military officials said...More >>
WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – Ben David has prosecuted murder cases and
dealt with violent crime in Wilmington for nearly 15 years, the last nine as
District Attorney for the 5th Judicial District. The city's most
recent murder case literally brought gang violence to David's front door. Someone gunned down Joseph David Williams on the afternoon of September 21st,
as the 19-year-old rode on the back of a scooter on Forest Hills Drive. That's
the same street where David lives with his wife and young children.
"I take any crime personally in this community," said the
District Attorney in an interview. "But when it's in your front yard, it's
especially so. Working closely with the neighborhood, the police and people on
the street, we're going to try to solve that crime, and bring justice for Mr.
After an outbreak of violence in June, with more than a
dozen reported shootings in one week and the murder of 17-year-old Jeffrey
Henry, Wilmington Police Chief Ralph Evangelous told residents it was a series
of gang-related crimes. The crackdown began on the streets involving police and
community leaders. David's office prosecuted and sentenced gang members under
federal guidelines, bringing stronger sentences not possible in state courts.
"The police and this office have been so effective with
the gang problem that I think we've created another one," said David. "There have
been people who've gone through federal sentencing through this office and
through local law enforcement getting years in prison in the decades. So, there
is a power vacuum on the street right now, and that's getting filled with new
people who are in a power struggle that has turned very violent."
David is active in initiatives and outreach efforts to speak with young adults before they get caught up in the gang lifestyle. He speaks
to thousands of students in local schools and supports other programs dedicated
to give at-risk youth alternatives to life on the streets. He also echoes the
sentiment of Chief Evangelous, who has urged community leaders and neighbors in
high-crime areas to report anything that looks out of the ordinary.
"The police department is absolutely doing what it needs
to do," David said. "The community needs to step up and do what it needs to do.
If they see a crime, they need to report it. If they fear a reprisal, they can
anonymously report it through Text-A-Tip."
Some blame the criminal justice system for contributing
to the escalation in crime. The criticism at times has come from law
enforcement, saying their arrests are often un-done by criminals being released
early or given lenient sentences.
"The laws, candidly, are inadequate in terms of
punishment to deal with property theft or drug abuse," said David. "Those
offenses are usually left out on the street in probationary sentences, not
because judges and prosecutors don't get it, but because structured sentencing
requires that in order not to overcrowd the prisons. The revolving door that many are frustrated
with, including yours truly, is that up until the time you have a grievous
offense it is not typically something you can warehouse away. And also very young people are committing
these crimes. Many are juveniles."
David said he is seeing a greater level of cooperation
with the nearby 13th Judicial District, which covers Brunswick,
Bladen and Columbus counties and is headed by his twin brother Jon. Ben David says criminals don't recognize
county lines when it comes to offenses such as drugs or human trafficking. They
have taken a regional approaching to fighting crime and Ben David says it is
having a positive effect so far.
When asked if he has any aspirations for higher political office, to help make changes to the system from Raleigh, David is matter-of-fact. "I tell people there is no beach in Raleigh," he said in response. "I really want to stay here. I want to raise my kids in Wilmington. I plan on running again for District Attorney, and to be in Wilmington for a long time."
Tuesday, March 11 2014 7:45 AM EDT2014-03-11 11:45:32 GMT
HAMPSTEAD, NC (WECT) – Rep. Chris Millis (R-Pender County) is the only local Republican member of the NC House not to endorse House Speaker Thom Tillis (R-Mecklenberg) in his bid for U.S. Senate. TillisMore >>
Rep. Chris Millis of Pender County is the only member of the local GOP delegation in the state House not to endorse Rep. Thom Tillis in his campaign for U.S. Senate. Click on the story to see why Millis is not endorsing Tillis or any other candidate in the GOP field.More >>
Friday, March 7 2014 8:10 AM EST2014-03-07 13:10:59 GMT
SWANNANOA, N.C. (AP/WECT) - State Sen. Martin Nesbitt, who this week stepped down as minority leader because of illness, has died. He was 67. Senate Democratic Caucus Director Ford Porter said NesbittMore >>
Just days after stepping down as the Senate Minority Leader in the General Assembly, state Sen. Martin Nesbitt (D-Buncombe) passed away from stomach cancer.More >>
Wednesday, March 5 2014 8:03 AM EST2014-03-05 13:03:49 GMT
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - North Carolina state Sen. Martin Nesbitt has stepped down as the Senate's minority leader because of a recent medical diagnosis. Sen. Dan Blue is taking his place. The Senate DemocraticMore >>
State Sen. Martin Nesbitt (D-Buncombe) has stepped down from his position of Minority Leader because of a health issue. Sen. Dan Blue (D-Wake) will be filling the role.More >>
Sunday, March 2 2014 10:02 AM EST2014-03-02 15:02:31 GMT
WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – A flurry of final-day filings on Friday added candidates to races for seats in Washington DC, Raleigh and southeastern North Carolina. New Hanover County Commissioner JonathanMore >>
Several last-minute filings set up primary challenges for candidates seeking office in Raleigh and Washington, DC. Nearly all Sheriffs in southeastern North Carolina will also have primary challenges in 2014.More >>
Friday, February 28 2014 12:00 AM EST2014-02-28 05:00:12 GMT
FLORENCE, SC (WECT) – Will Breazeale, the 2008 Republican nominee for North Carolina's 7th Congressional District seat, has decided not to run for the same office in 2014. In a news release sent out lateMore >>
Will Breazeale, who won the GOP nomination in the 7th Congressional District in 2008, has decided not to make another run for the office in 2014.More >>
1 Julian Price Place
Charlotte, NC 28208