The Hoke County News - Established 1928
e News -Journal
Volume LXXV Number 28
RAEFORD, HOKE COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA
S10 PER YEAR
The Hoke County Journal - Established 1905
25 CENTS Thursday, November 3, 1983
By Sherry Matthews
A 23-year old Fort Bragg
woman was incarcerated Monday
in a Raleigh Women's prison after
being found guilty last week of se
cond degree murder in Hoke
County Superior Court.
Victoria Stowers Burnette, on
trail for the stabbing death of her
step-father, Roger Keith Shannon,
was given a seven-year sentence by
Superior Court Judge Coy E.
Brewer of Fayetteville.
She is expected to serve only
three years before being eligible for
The jury of eight women and
four men deliberated two hours
Thursday and nearly 43 minutes
Friday before returning the
I unanimous guilty verdict.
The verdict came after four days
of testimony filled with the sordid
details of Shannon's sex life.
After court recessed several
members of the jury defended their
"It was the only verdict we
could possibly have reached con
sidering the evidence we heard,"
one juror said.
"It was a sad situation, but she
was guilty," another juror said.
"All the evidence proved that it
could not have simply been self
During the emotionally charged
verdict reading, Burnette, who had
appeared calm during the course of
the trial, wept with her head in her
Burnette's family, who had re
mained through the week-long
trail, wept openly as the clerk of
court read the jury's verdict.
Sources said they were told that
Burnette's family was "surprised"
by the jury's verdict.
Following the verdict, Judge
Brewer sentenced Burnette to
Sentence For Stabbing Death
seven years in prison, eight less
than the maximum sentence.
Although Burnette's attorneys,
Willis Brown and Bobby Deaver,
both of Fayetteville, tried to per
suade the judge to give their client
a suspended sentence. Brewer
refused to comply.
"This is one of the most serious
crimes in the state of North
Carolina. There is an irreducible
level of punishment for anyone
convicted of this sort of crime,"
"I feel I have no option, but to
impose what I believe is the
minimum level of punishment for
this crime," Brewer said, noting
that he was aware of the "many"
mitigating factors surrounding the
Burnette's lawyers immediately
appealed the seven-year sentence.
Judge Brewer acknowledged the
Although his eyes might bulge out, and he seems to
perhaps have too many legs, this cicada does little to
bother mankind, says Hoke Extension Agent H illie
Featherstone. "He nibbles on roots, " heatherstone
said. Roland h ulk took this photograph with a bug '*
eye view of a county cicada.
By Sam Morris
The weather has been as would
be expected for this time of year.
Warm days and cool nights. There
was a big frost last Friday morning
and according to Robert Gatlin,
the thermometer got down to 34
degrees. Now this is just two
degrees above freezing and this is
the reason for the car windows to
The forecast for the upcoming
weekend looks good and the
temperatures are supposed to get
to the high 70s by weekend.
So maybe we won't see the
"frost on the pumpkins" this
? ? ?
I stated last week that the rain
had hurt the attendance during the
last two days of the N.C. State
Fair. Even with the last two days
being down the Fair still drew over
600,000. Now this is a success in
? ? ?
The city election is next Tues
day, November 8. The mayor is
unopposed for office, but seven
are running for the five seats on
the council. In this day of big
money, it is important who
governs our city. The way to be a
part in this election is to be sure
Usually just a few of the
registered voters in the city take
time to go to the polls and vote.
These candidates have put their
names on the ballot, so we should
show our appreciation by going to
the polls and voting.
# * ?
Having served on the council for
many years, I can say with authori
ty that it is a thankless job. The
only time you see or hear from the
citizens is when something is
So mark your calendar NOW
and be sure to vote on Tuesday,
? ? *
Also don't forget to mark your
calendar for November 11th. This
is the date for the Dedication of
the new National Guard Armory
and the Armistice Day Parade
sponsored by the American
Commander Sam Snead told me
last week that plans for the parade
were about complete and it should
be well worth people's time to at
During these troubled times
(See AROUND, page 2A)
appeal and set Burnette's bond at
Following the verdict, Burnette
was taken into custody by Hoke
sheriff's deputies and transported
back to the Cumberland County
Jail where she spent the weekend.
Hoke sheriff's deputies
transported Burnette to Raleigh
early Monday morning.
Burnette was arrested and
charged in connection with the
February 8 stabbing death two
weeks after Shannon's body was
found in a wooded area between
Rockfish and Arabia.
Although during initial ques
tioning by Hoke Sheriff Dave Bar
rington, Burnette denied any
knowledge of her step-father's
death, she later admitted stabbing
During the trial, defense at
torneys attempted to prove that
Burnette was acting in "self
defense" when she stabbed her
step-father 11 times in the chest,
abdomen, back, leg and wrist.
"He got just exactly what he
deserved by his actions. Even if she
overdid it, it was justified because
she was trying to defend herself,"
Deaver told the jury.
The defense based its self
defense argument on an earlier
event when Shannon apparently
raped Burnette at their Fort Bragg
On the witness stand last Thurs
day, Burnette admitted that Shan
non had sexually assaulted her
when she was 14.
"It really disturbed my mind,"
Burnette -told the jury during
"1 kept it to myself because it
was so degrading," Burnette said,
noting that it was around that time
that she became involved with
alcohol and drugs.
Burnette, who has admitted that
she has homosexual tendencies,
blamed her fear of men on Shan
non's early assault.
"Roger's raping me was pro
bably the major factor in my seek
ing companionship with women,"
Although Burnette admitted
Thursday that she stabbed her
step-father "a lot of times," she
denied statements made to Bar
rington in February indicating that
she had handcuffed the 180-pound
Shannon before stabbing him.
Burnette also said Thursday that
the order of events in portions of
her statement to Barrington had
In her testimony, Burnette told
the jury that she killed her step
father in self-defense.
"The man was trying to rape
me. 1 thought he was going to kill
(See MURDER, page 2A)
Citizen Committee Chosen
T o Eye School Buildings
By Sherry Matthews
Following a lengthy executive
session, members of the Hoke
County Commission and the
Board of Education agreed to ap
point 21 members to a task force
being set up to study the condition
of the schools.
The 21 county residents under
consideration are expected to be
appointed officially to the new
"Blue Ribbon" study committee
during a second joint meeting of
the two boards slated for next
As part of the task force, the
committee, which was chosen from
taxpayers in the county, will have
the job of inspecting all the school
facilities, developing a "prioritiz
ed" list of facility needs, and
estimating costs, and eventually
presenting those findings to both
Both school board members and
county commissioners also agreed
that the task force should have
completed its job by May 1, 1984.
The date for completing the pro
ject was designed to meet both
boards' budget deadlines.
The local school board, by law,
must present its final fund requests
to the county commission by May
15, giving the board only 14 days
to incorporate the study commit
tee's recommendation into the
Those expected to be appointed
to the joint task force include Bob
by Gibson, former school board
chairman; John McAllister,
former assistant school superinten
dent; Ralph Barnhart, former
Hoke County Commissioner; Earl
Fowler, Chamber of Commerce
Director; Bill Archer, Burlington
Raeford Plant manager; Steve
Parker, Southern National Bank
Manager and Chamber of Com
merce President; Onnie Dudley,
Assistant Register of Deeds; Julian
Butler, Production Credit
Manager; Edith Newton, Jesse
Wheeler, Billy McCall, Lawrence
McLaughlin, Brenda Jacobs,
Henry Dial, William Kelly, Edgar
Edens, David Warren, Kay Hen
drix, Dr. Ramnik Zota, Robert
Doby and Eddie McNeill.
County Commissioners selected
seven of the 21 members, school
board members chose seven, and
the two boards jointly selected the
The appointments of the "blue
ribbon" committee came after
both boards agreed that the condi
tion of the Hoke schools needed to
be addressed soon.
In an earlier interview, School
Superintendent Dr. Robert Nelson
said the schools were in "bad need
of attention" and the job was not
one that "could be done
"This committee is going to
have a big job on its hands,"
Nelson said earlier.
The committee is expected to
find that some of the Hoke schools
need a lot of work and are over
crowded, Nelson added.
One school that will apparently
get a great deal of attention is the
48-year old J.W. Turlington
A facility plan, completed in
1974, recommended that no major
funds be spent to extend the life of
the aging school. At thai time
some 411 students were attending
Nine years later, Turlington still
stands and is housing some 809
Hunt Verdict Overturned
By Sherry Matthews
Hoke County Commissioner
James A. Hunt, who has been
charged with writing some $15,000
in worthless checks, is apparently
meeting court-ordered payment
deadlines and "getting back on the
"I don't lack much having
everybody paid off," Hunt said
Thursday after being given
suspended sentences in Hoke
County Superior for bad check
"My troubles are just about
over, and it sure feels good," Hunt
Less than 24 hours later, Hunt
was admitted to Moore Memorial
Hospital suffering from appen
Although Hunt was apparently
released Sunday, he could not be
reached for comment at press time.
Hunt was scheduled to appear in
Robeson County District Court
Friday on a $140 bad check charge.
Robeson clerks refused to com
ment on whether Hunt made his
The commissioner, however, did
appear in Hoke Superior Court
Thursday to appeal an earlier
District Court ruling that ordered
him jailed for 90 days.
District Court Judge Joseph
Dupree initiated the 90-day active
sentence in July after Hunt refused
to resign from the Hoke County
Commission. Hunt immediately
appealed the order
By Sherry Matthews
Hoke County's unemployment
rate dropped significantly during
the month of September, decreas
ing by 1.1%, according to figures
released this week by the North
Carolina Employment Security
During September, 860 people
were among the ranks of the
unemployed, 90 less than August's
950. Hoke's jobless rate decreased
from 11.3^0 to lOJ^o during the
While the unemployment rate
dropped, the number of Hoke
residents in the labor force climb
ed, making the jobless rate appear
In September, 8,450 county
residents were among the job labor
force. 70 more people than were
among that list in August.
Hoke's Employment Security
Commission Manager Donnie
Mann credits the sharp unemploy
ment decline to more people
"simply getting out and finding
"It is really difficult to tell
where the jobs are coming from,
but most deal with the manfactur
ing jobs available in this area,"
"Employment is up in this area.
We are coming off unemployment
and people are beginning to main
tain more jobs," Mann added.
Although Mann seemed pleased
with the decrease in joblessness, he
did not rule out the possibility that
the rate could increase again soon.
"It is really hard to determine
from month to month, but we
(See JOBLESS, page .1A)
"I thought it was a joke at first,
but I soon found out that he
wasn't just kidding," Hunt said.
Superior Court Judge Coy E.
Brewer of Fayetteville gave Hunt
two six-month suspended
sentences for writing $1,755 in bad
The judge suspended those
sentences with 30 months proba
tion attached to both counts.
Following the Thursday ruling.
Hunt claimed his nearly year-long
legal struggle was drawing to a
"I'm just about there," Hunt
The commissioner also claimed
that he had paid off over $24,000
(See HUNT, page 2A)
7 his youth appears to he hang
ing on for his turn to tour the
haunted house held during the
annual T\1H Carnival Satur
day. H i- take a look at the car
nival and the activities which
took place at Upchurch School
on page one of Section R in to