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Has board's confidence
SRUNSW1CK Bf ACON
Volume 23, Number 3
BY TERRY POPE
An argument that started over a
piece of "fried chicken" and led to
the murder of a I/)ng Beach man
ended with a life sentence for a
Welch, W.Va., native in Brunswick
County Superior Court Monday.
James K. Stamper, 24. pleaded
guilty Monday to second-degree
murder in the Feb. 27 stabbing death
of Samuel Allen Mabe, 23, a
rehabilitation aide at Ocean Trail
Convalescent Center in Southport
and resident of N.E. 28th Street of
Defense attorney William Fairley
said the stabbing death resulted from
an argument "over a matter as simple
as a piece of fried chicken."
Southport attorneys Fairley and
Steve Yount asked Judge Preston
v. ?i uciiua uui iu issue int* ueaui
sentence against Stamper, a West
Virginia native who moved to
Hrunswick County last September to
seek.employment as a carpenter.
In a plea bargain agreement reached
Monday, District Attorney
Michael Easley agreed to the seconddegree
murder plea, saying that a
first-degree conviction would be hard
to obtain since the only aggravating
factor in the case was that the crime
was "so grossly cruel."
Stamper had been charged with
first-degree murder by the
Brunswick County Sheriff's Department
and Long Beach police officers
the day following the 10:10 p.m. stabbing.
Mabe had been stabbed 13
times with a butcher's knife that was
never found when he staggered to a
neighbor's house for help, said agent
Tim Batchelor of the State Bureau of
The victim was able to identify
Stamper as his attacker, and gave
Stamper's name to emergency personnel
before he died at Dosher
Memorial Hospital inSouthport, BatCbtlOT
Stamper was scheduled for trial on
first-degree murder charges Monday.
The trial was avoided after the
defendant pleaded guilty before a
Jury was chosen. Fairley entered a
plea of not guilty to the first-degree
charges at an arraignment last
Voters To Dec
Of Tech Buildii
(See Related SU
A proposed $8 million t>
Brunswick Technical Collej
"as soon as possible," Brurr
voted Monday night at the c
The date of the referen
question will be determine
Board of Elections. Once i
bond issue would be conduel
Taking an earlier hint f
lege trustees approved a
calling for a referendum as
In turn, commissioners una
call for the referendum.
The proceeds would be
programs at three location
permanent campus betweer
ed facilities include an au<
County Manager Billy C
dum several months ago <
saying it was the most pra
long-range building prograr
BY SUSAN USHER ge
County Manager Billy Carter st;
received the equivalent of a mj
unanimous "vote of confidence" an
from the Brunswick County Board of orj
Commissioners Monday night follow- tin
ing an unusual evaluation conducted 1
in open session. ne
Carter, who also had an opportuni- an
ty to evaluate the board's perfor- fiv
mance during the past eight months, Ca
was voted a three percent merit in- of
crease in salary. an
At Chairman Chris Chappell's sugH?"G
4 BOOK BinderSPRTNGPORT
7 Shallotte, h
Mabe's parents had also requested
that the death sentence not be issued
in the case, Easley told the judge at
Monday's sentencing hearing.
Their concern, and they wanted
me to bring it to the court's
attention," Easley said, "is that
they're not in favor of the death
sentence. However, they would like gg
to be heard at any parole hearing if
he becomes eligible for parole."
Judge Cornelius ordered that both Ef
the district attorney's office and H
Mabe's parents be notified by mail H
by the N.C. Parole Commission in the 9
event that Stamper does become
eligible for parole. Stamper was not ^
sentenced under the Committed 9
Youthful Offender (CYO) act. He is ?
not eligible for immediate parole I I
since the crime carries a maximum i
of life, or 50 years in prison, and a
minimum of 15 years in prison.
CYO .status is eligible for persons H
under 25 who have coinraitted certa in . H
non-violent crimes, making them im
mediately eligible for parole.
Stamper was sentenced to serve
"the rest of his natural life" in the ^
N.C. Department of Corrections and ?
to receive counseling for a drug addition
problem. Dressed in a white
T-shirt, navy blue slacks and tennis
shoes, the defendant appeared in the
courtroom Monday where he
acknowledged that he was guilty of
A(.?.UIUlllg IU agClll Ddllllt'lUI b
testimony. Stamper had met Ma be at
lx>ng Beach "only a week or so prior
to the murder." There was some indication
that the two had just eaten
dinner at Mabe's house when the
argument broke out, he added.
Stamper had picked up a butcher's a(
knife during the "fight" and had "ac- af
tually chased him from the residence ^
and out into the yard," Batchelor at
said. After the incident, the defen- f"
dant then fled to Wilmington, but
later changed his mind about his hi
plans and was walking to South
Carolina to seek help from a M
girlfriend when he was arrested near T1
the Brunswick County Government a.
Complex on U.S. 17 by Chief Deputy
(See MURDER, Page 14-A)
ig Program *
jries, Page Id-A) tii
ond issue for construction at
ie will be put before voters 4
swick County commissioners
ollege's behest. *
dum and the wording of the pi
d by the Brunswick County 3
j pp roved by the voters, the
?d by the Local Government
rom the commissioners, colresolution
soon as it can be scheduled,
inimously agreed Monday to u
used to consolidate college d
s in new facilities on BTCs ?
i Supply and Bolivia. Propos- 4
rlitftrinm aitoilaKla fy~,w
.44.V.IU1H a? aiiauit IUI twir
"arter suggested the referen- ?
luring budget deliberations,
ictical means of financing a A
stion, each member marked a
andard form evaluating the
anager's performance in seven
eas such as goal setting and
ganizational skills, public relans,
and management style.
iVhile acknowledging they had
ver worked with another manager
d had no basis for comparison, all
e commissioners said they rated
rter in the medium to high ranges
"standard" performance in most
Their comments will be placed in
Jorth Carolina, Thursday
VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTERS and
lupply responded when fire broke oui
All n I
BY SUSAN USHER
Electric carts were humming
:ross the greens Saturday morning
ter a Friday evening blaze razed
e Oyster Bay Golf links clubhouse
Twin L^kes and sent a dozen
remen to the hospital.
"We didn't lose any operating
Tie." said tarry Young, owner.
iVe originally thought it would be
onday, but the cart men came,
tiey had carts on the course by 6:30
The course was not damaged.
Site clean-up had begun by Monday
id Young predicted construction of
new clubhouse would begin next
eek. "We're going to rebuild as
lickly as possible." he added.
In the interim, crews moved in
lobile office quarters this week that
id been used at the Dunes Club at
lyrtle Beach, S.C., during construemi
of a new clubhouse.
"They moved out of them Thursly,"
said Young. "I was able to buy
Meanwhile, it was business almost
> usual Saturday morning for golf
-o Mike Kearns and staff. With the
ill-smoking ruin of the clubhouse as
BY SUSAN USHER
A two-year investigation of Ocean
le Beach voting records by the U.S.
ttorney General's office has corvuded
with no irregulanoes found.
cean isie ueacn Board at Elections
hairman Martha Benton said Mooa>
'All our voting records have been
fturned." she said. "No ir?gulanUes
On Monday, .April 18. 1983, SBI
gent John Willis served a subpoena
i Ms. Benton ordering her to turn
rer voter registration lists and
osentee ballots for elections in the
Carter's personnel file and reviewed
during his next appraisal.
Thanking the board, Carter asked
if he could consider their actions a
vote of confidence.
"From what 1 hoar tcn'ght,"
replied Chappell, "you have a vote of
In the weeks immediately before
and after the newly constituted board
took office in December, rumors flew
through political circles that a move
Iwas aiooi to tire carter. However, in vidual
, July 25. 1985
UK | "
rescue workers from Calabash to
t Friday aight in a golf cart storage
background, they were operating th<
pro shop from the tailgate of a truck
Their "shop" was equipped will
materials from Marsh Harbour Gol
links at Calabash, which Young alsi
Young brought 30 carts fron
Marsh Harbour and borrowed abou
10 each from several courses tha
didn't need their full complemen
this time of year, he said.
"Every little bit helps," he added
noting that the operation was "jus
trying to get back to normal."
Young estimated his losses a
$700,000, including the 84 carts hous
ed on the first floor of the two-stor]
structure where the fire apparently
"It definitely started in the gol
carts, either in the charging system
or the wiring," he said. "We'n
checking with the golf cart company
When firefighters arrived on th
scene, the fire appeared smaller thai
it actually was, said Jimmy Allison
fire coordinator for the World 600 a
Rockingham and a Sunset Bead
volunteer firefighter in the summer
After attempting to enter a smal
."lis o, iaw ?uKi iwk. nowevei
town elections are conducted in odd
numbered years, making it impcos
b!e to honor his request.
"They redrafted the subpoena an
came back and asked for record
from the years 1977, 1979 and 1961,
said Ms Benton, who has been chair
man o< the board since 1961.
Meanwhile, Willis also contacts
Brunswick County Board of Elec
Uons Chairman Aifonza Roach. O
Tuesday, April 19. 1963. he told M?
Benton a subpoena had been serve
on Roach, she said at that time.
ice In Count]
denied any such plan, saying they
would allow time to form their own
judgements of his performance.
In turn, Carter told commissioners
Monday that they comprise one of the
best boards he's ever worked with
because members act together
rather than individually.
"You've had your differences and
spoken your differences, but you
work as a unit once a decision is
made." he said.
Carter praised their willingness to
meet, become informed and question
25c Per Copy
y^' . . . . ? '">
'.^ ' V^XrVni.
area of the Oyster Bay clubhouse. D
blazed leveled the structure.
es For Nc
; steel side door, firemen used an electric
winch to pry off the bay door to
) the first-level storage area,
f Allison worked his way through the
) smoke to retrieve keys for the other
t In the end, the gesture was futile,
t "If I'd known how serious it was I
t wouldn't have waited to find the
t keys," he recalled after his release
from the emergency room. "I would
have taken an ax and started breakt
ing out glass."
Firefighters penetrated about five
t feet into the storage area, said Sunset
- Beach fireman Bob Constantine, not
/ knowing the area was used to store
/ golf carts.
"We couldn't see anything. You
f could hear it busting, the batteries
1 nooninv At first we didn't know what
e we were hearing."
f When they first turned hoses on the
fire, a cloud of thick black smoke act
companied by intense heat billowed
* back in their faces. The firefighters
, pulled out.
t "The batteries were getting hot,"
l recalled Allison. "It was too risky.
The danger to human lives was too
3 Ends With CI
In county, state and national elec1
tions Ocean Isle Beach voters cast
i- their ballots mi a county precinct,
s At the tune the records were sub
poenaed, a state grand jury meeting
- in Raleigh was investigating charges
c< voting irregularities and ballot box
fraud across the state Records had
d been subpoenaed from several Coly
umbos County precincts and towns
n earlier that month by the grand jury,
k the same body that handed down ind
dictmentx in the Columbus County
all they hear.
But like any new board, he added,
"You have had to get over what's
been told you and what is fact."
Noting their lack of a basis of comnan?snn
jn his evaluation, he suggested
another yardstick for future
appraisals: more familiarity with
the specific responsibilities of the
county manager and county commissioners.
He said lie would accept their comments
as "constructive criticism"
(See COMMISSIONERS, Page 2-A)
JIAff PHOTO ?V SUSAN USNIR
espltc their containment efforts, the
Most of the firefighters wore portable
breathing apparatus. But, low
on air, most removed them immediately
after stepping out the
clubhouse, said Calabash fireman
Chuck Fogle, the third fireman affected
by smoke inhalation.
Tim Carter said he "coughed,
vomited and passed out."
That first blast was "when we got it
the worst," said Fogle. "It got to me
fast. I've been to a lot of fires but the
heat on this was the most, the top five
percent of any I've been too."
Firefighters were aided on the
scene by volunteers hauling water
and jugs of 'Gator Aid. Fire medics
Jean and Alex Mearns of Bonaparte
administered oxygen, saying the fire
was an excellent example of why
more such medics are needed localiy
Kearns was the only person in the
clubhouse when the fire began,
"He was locking up, waiting for his
wife to pick him up, when he noticed
smoke coming from under the
Before the club pro could call the
(See CROWD. Page 2-A)
Brunswick County Board of Elections
Chairman Orie Gore did not
know the status of the Brunswick
County records originally subpoenaed
Elections office personnel were out
of town Monday and Tuesday and
could not be reached for comment.
Willis referred comments to Doag
McCullough, assistant in the VS. Attorney
General's office in Raleigh.
However, he was involved in a case
in federal court in Wilmington and
could not be reached by press time