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Twenty-fifth Year, Number 49
C'lvsr THE BKUNSWICK BEACON
3y, October 15. 1987
25c Per Copy
40 Pages Plus Insert
Ash Man Charged
In Murder Cases
THICK SMOKE BOH.S from the Capt. Jim as the Calabash-based charter
boat biinis to the water line and later sinks. This was the view from the Sea
Hawk II just after it and other fishing boats rescued the 61 passengers and
PHOtOBr ED IBACMAl
five crew members who jumped intEi the Atlantic Ocean as they abandoned
ship shortly before 9 a.ni. Saturday.
Disaster Avoided As 'Capt.
Jim' Fire Forces 61 Into Atlantic
BY SL'SAN USHER
It was a beautiful morning to fish
and the black sea bass and grouper
were only about three miles away.
With rod.s and reels distributed and
.some hooks baited, passengers and
crew of the Calabash-based charter
Jim were vvEiiting to liegin
casiini- Saturday morning when they
iie.ia! ;i sudden loud “pop.”
It w;is about 8;45 a.m. Within only
iniiuilcs Captain .lames T. (Jimmy)
.Stevens and four crew members
were pa.s.sing out life vests; their 56
pa.ssengers forced to jtimp into the
■Atlantic Ocean as they abandoned
the burning boat.
Eight nearby fishing boats came
quickly to their rescue; most were in
the water no more than 30 minutes.
All were accounted for and safe by
11:05 a.m., with only several minor
Back at the Capt. Jim Marina, the
passengers were met by more than 50
area rescue and fire volunteers and
equipment from the Calabash, Wac-
camaw and Shallotte rescue squads
and Calabash and Sunset Beach fire
departments. Calabash Rescue open
ed iLs .squad building for showers and
a local re.staiirant. Captain Nance’s
offered free coffee.
Eleven persons were examined at
the Brunswick Hospital in Supply,
said spokesman Pete Barnette, with
one sdrnitted for nf
possible pneumonia because he had
taken salt water in his lungs. Injuries
were minor, he said, mostly bumps
and bruises where passengers were
pulled aboard rescue boats.
Two people were treated and
released from Grand Strand
Memorial in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Cecil I^gan prai.scd the work of the
emergency volui.ieers as "well, wed
done,” a sentiment echoed by
He also praised the charter boat
“1 can’t say enough for the fishing
boats,” he said. “If it had not been
for their quick action. I’m afraid we
would have lost some people.”
As Captain Stevens was reunited
with his wife, Juanita, at the
Calabash docks, he said, "We got
everybody; that’s what I’m proudest
First thing back at the office he
peeled off his wet “Capt. Jim” sweat
shirt, rifled through a nearby rack
and donned a fresh one, spoke to his
wife, employees and several
reporters. Then he began refunding
to passengers the $17 each they had
paid for the trip.
The Capt. Jim, loaded to about half
its 116-passenger capacity, liad left
the dock at 8 a.m. and was to liave
returned at noon.
Instead, passengers and crew wat
ched from choppy, 71-degree water
2nd from rescue vessels a.: the 70-foot
mahogany Harkers Island-built
vessel went up in flames, thick, black
smoke from its diesel fuel boiling
from the engine room. Within two
hours it had burned to the water line,
in another two hours it had sunk.
“I hate it about the boat.” said an
emotional Gina Stocks, one of the
four crew members ami operator of
the canteen on the Capt. Jim for .n\
years. “I put in 14 to 15 hours a day
with it. It’s a part of me.”
She jumped overboard without a
life vest; a fellow crew member and
a passenger helped keep her aflojit.
When the boat stopped suddenly
about five miles east of Little River
Inlet, some passengers thought
they’d arrived at their destination
and at least one started fishing.
Capt. Stevens was in in the
wheelhouse when his radio and elec
tronic navigational equipment sud
denly went dead. “That’s when I
knew something was wrong,” lie
He went to the engine room and cut
the electricity. Returning to the
wheelhouse, he cut a wire that ap
peared to have shorted out lieneath
the radio. Crew members warned
him that black smoke was pouring
from the engine room; he and a crew
member returned to it with fire ex
tinguishers, he said, “But we
couldn’t stay because the smoke was
Passenger Everette Morcficld of
East Bend was on board with his son.
.lonathan, 9, tlie youngest passenger.
Though scared, both jumped
without liesiUition. Afterwards they
stood on the dock, wet. cold, sliaken,
huddled like other pa.ssengers in
lilaiikets and towels, sharing their ex-
■■\Ve saw a buneli of smoke and
Uie» .sUirted liai.diiig out life vests,”
.Morclield recalled. --We hadn’t got to
• It haiipeiied pretly'fast,” recalled
(See DISASTER. Page i-A)
BY RAHN ADAM.S
Three montlis after his release
from prison on a murder conviction,
a Brunswick County man has been
charged with two counts of first-
degree murder, in connection with
the shooting deatlis la.st week of two
Haeford CJayton Piver. 42. of Route
1, Ash. faces murder charges in both
Brunswick and New Hanover coun
ties. The charges stem from the Oct.
6 slayings of Nick H. Patelos, 31. out
side a Wilmington bar, and .Michael
Edward Baker, 33, at Gris.settown.
Bruiuswick County Sheriffs Capt.
Phil Perry said la.st week no other
suspects arc being sought, although
both cases renuiin under investiga
tion by the Brunswick County
Sheriff's Department. Wilmington
^olico und SB!.
Piver initially was taken into
custody last Tuesday morning by-
Brunswick County officers on a con
cealed weapons charge. .Murder
charges were officially filed late that
night. Perry said.
Piver also is charged w-illi posses
sion of a firearm by a felon, accor
ding to the Brunswick County Clerk
of Court’s office.
The suspect made his first court
appearance on the Brunsw ick County-
charges last Wednesday. District
Court Judge D. Jack Hooks ,Ir.
scheduled a probable cause hearing
for Oct. 26 in Bolivia. Piver will be
represented by Shallotte attorneys
Rex Gore and Michael Ramos.
Piver made a first appearance last
Thursday in New Hanover County-
District Court on the murder charge
there. .ludge Jaeqiieliiie Morris-
tioodson set a probalile cause hear
ing for Oet -20 in Wilmington, and ap-
liointed Wilmington atlorney
richard Milltr to reprtscr.l Piv-.i in
ttie New- Hanover case.
’Die defendant was being held in
the Bninswick County .Jail without
According to Wilmingto.n Police
Capt. Jimmy Williams, the first
.shooting la.st week occurred just
after midnight Oct. 6 in the parking
lot of Diana’s Ixiunge (formerly
Friendly’s Bar and Lounge) on
Market Street in Wilmington.
Williams said the shooting followed
an apparent argument between
Piver and Patelos, w-ho had been
playing pool inside the bar. Patelos
was believed not to be carrying a
weapon at the time of the shooting, he
Patelos was dead of multiple gun
shot wounds by the time emergency
personnel arrived on the scene,
Authorities have not released
po.ssible motives in the murders.
According to Wilmington Police
Sgt. J. L. Yost, authorities last week
received conflicting information
from tw o sources as to whether or not
Piver and Patelos actually had been
involved in an argument prior to the
Wilmington shooting. However, in
vestigators are assuming an argu
ment occurred, although it “was not
so flagrant that everybody (in the
ban noticed it,” Yost said.
Yost also said police had no
documented evidence last week that
the first shooting was drug-related,
even though police were “looking at
all aspects” in their continuing in
Williams said a white female and
two white males reportedly left the
shooting scene in a blue and white
1976 Ford Econoline van owned by
Baker, the second victim.
The woman, who Williams did not
identify, was questioned by police
last week. No charges liave been
aguiii.st her, although her involve
ment remains under investigation,
.-Wtording to Perry, Baker s b.dy
was found Oct. 6 around 5:40 a.m. by
a new-spaper carrier in a service sta
tion driveway near the intersection of
(See ASH, Page2-A)
CANAL LOTS TARGETED
County Sanitarians Reviewing Holden
Septic Tank Applications More Closely
BY SUSAN USHER
Owners of property at Holden
Beach, particularly canal lots, are
finding it more difficult these days to
obtain septic tank permits from the
Brunswick County Health Depart
After reviewing preliminary fin
dings of a wastewater treatment
study undertaken by McKim and
Creed Engineers of Wilmington at
the town’s the Brunswick
Coimtv Health Department has
ado[)ted a new- approach in reviewing
permit aiiplications from the island.
•We are looking a little more close
ly at soil cliaraetE-ristics of Holden
Beach, primarily in tile area of the
finger canals,” said .John Crowder,
environiiiental health siipervi.sor.
• The test well results gave us some
idea i.f what wi- need to look at.”
llie departnienl plans to hold a
pulilii- meeting at Holden Beach
within the i«-xt .several weeks to
di.s(-iiss the permit situation, with
N.C. Division of Health Services per
In contrast to reports circulating at
Holden Beach, Crowder emphasized
the health department is “not closing
the canals to development,” though
more permits have been denied in re
cent months than in the past.
A newsletter dated Oct. 5 and
distributed by one of the island’s
largest property management and
real estate firms advi.sed readers
that as of that week, “the Brunswick
County Health Department and/or
Tow n of Holden Beach will announce
that no more .septic- permits will lie
given on any canal lots on Holden
Beach without an engineer’s report
•'This means if you own a vacant
lot and you don’t liave a septic permit
that is valid, you have a major pro
blem. it will be almo.st impassible to
get a permit.”
Town Admini.strator T.C. Birm
ingham said the town has “nothing to
do” with issuance of septic tank per
mits, that being the re.spon.siblity of
the health department.
He said he understood a number of
applications for septic permits for
canal lots had been turned down
recently a.nd that health officials
planned to hold a public meeting on
“People are upset because w-e’re
not as liberal with optioas as in the
past,” said Crowder. “We want to gel
some outside help.”
Crowder said state health officials
and possibly other specialists w ill be
asked to “take a look” at the lots in
question and meet witli residents.
Pending confirmations, details of the
meeting haven’t been announced.
The prelimary findings of the
study, he noted, indicated some fecal
conform bacteria contamination,
though it could not ascertain the
source. ••The study was inconclusive,
but it gives the town a slartiiig
(See SKI»TICTANK, Page ‘2-A |
INVESTIGATORS believe Saturday night’s fire in
which Joe and Pearl Faircloth were critically burned
SIAEE PHOTO BT BAHN ADAMS
was ignited by a kerosene heater in the rear portion of
the couple’s frame house at Sunset Harbor.
Fire Victims Still Critical
An elderly Sunset Harlxir couple remained in
critical condition Tue.sday, three days after their home
was destroyed in a fire believed started by a kerosene
Joe Faircloth, 70, and his wife. Pearl F'airclolh, 69.
were being treated Tuesday in the Burn Center at N.C.
Memorial Ho.spital in Chapel Hill—taken there by air
aiiibulaiue.s .Saturday night from The Brunswick
Ho.spital in .Supply.
•‘We had to get them both cut of liere fa.st if they
svere to survive,” said Public Information Officer Pete
Barnette of Tlic Brunswick Haspital.
Barnette .said iKilh vicliias suffered first- and
.second-rlegrce burns over 80 percent of their bodies.
Ea.st ('are and Life FTiglit helicopters from Green
ville and Durham were used to transport the couple to
Chapel Hill .Saturday night.
.According to Sunset Harbor-Zion Hill Fin- Chii-f
Clifford Si-haefer, two neighbors inilled the Fairclolhs
from the liiirniiig hou.se lH*fore firemen arrived on the
sc-eiie .Saturday shortly after the 6:45 p in. call.
SE-liaefer .said that whi-ii firemen arrived the vic-
tiiiLs were lying in an open area across from the house,
which is located beside Faircloths’ Grocery near the
waterfront off .Sunset Harlwr Road. The couple has
operated the local store for more than 40 years.
CTiastline Volunteer Rescue Squad transported the
Faircloths to The Brunswick Hospital, Schaefer said.
.Schaefer and Brunswick County Fire Marshal Cecil
Logan .“.aid Monday that investigators believe the fire
wa.-; caused by a kerosene heater malfunction.
Firefighters found the five-room frame house fully
involved in flames, Schaefer said. Sunset Harbor-Zion
Hill VFD was on the scene until around 10:30 p.m.
Supply and Tri-Beach Volunteer Fire Departments
provided mutual aid.
.Scluiefer .siiid Sun.set Harbor-Zion Hill volunteer
Anthony Murray was treated at The Brunswick
Hosiiilal for smoke inhalation and a twisted ankle and
Logan c.sliiiialfd damages to tlie house at $25,000.
Four of live riMuiLs in ttie hou.se were destroyed, he said.