The Hoke County News - Established 1928 The Hoke County Journal - Established 1905
Volume LXXV Number 36 RAEFORD, HOKE COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA $10 PER YEAR 25 CENTS Thursday, December 29, 1983
Robbery Leads As Slaying Motive
Robbery has not been ruled out
as a possible motive in last Thurs
day's slaying of a prominent
Raeford businessman, authorities
"Robbery is a strong
possibility," Raeford Police Chief
Leonard Wiggins said.
"We're looking into that (rob
bery), as well as a lot of other
things," he added.
Wiggins, who is in charge of the
investigation into the death of
William Danuel Morrison, noted
that officers had worked overtime
during the Christmas weekend in
an effort to come up with "some"
answers in the case.
"We're checking out
everything," the chief said.
The body of the 54-year-old
owner of Morrison's Grocery on
Harris Avenue was found by a
customer slumped near the cash
register around 9:35 p.m. Thurs
Morrison died of multiple gun
shot wounds, Hoke Medical Ex
aminer Robert G. Townsend said.
Authorities have placed the time
of death between 9:25 p.m. when
Morrison was seen alive by
customers and 9:35 p.m. when the
body was discovered.
"We're looking for anyone who
might have some information or
who could have seen something
during that period," Wiggins said.
"We need all the help we can
get," the chief added.
Officers are looking for a red
car, which had been seen near the
store prior to the shooting, Wig
"We don't know if it is tied in or
not, but whoever was in it might be
able to help us solve this thing," he
Although Wiggins and other
local authorities have declined to
comment about the details of the
case, pending further investiga
tion, The News-Journal has learn
ed from police sources and others
?Morrison arrived at the store
around 7 p.m. He relieved a
?The store owner was apparent
ly shot four times. Although of
ficers were seen Thursday night ex
amining an apparent bullet hole in
the ceiling near the store's air con
ditioning unit, the fifth shot could
not be confirmed.
?The weapon was not a
?Store receipts of about $1,600
and Morrison's wallet were not
?Morrison kept a gun near the
cash register, but there was little
sign of a struggle, except for a
broken jar of honey.
?A witness saw one black male,
possibly two, inside the store near
the time of the slaying and at least
two other males sitting in a red car
outside the store.
Wiggins said that he does not
feel an arrest is imminent, but he is
optimistic that the killer will be
A memorial service was held for
Morrison Saturday afternoon at
Crumpler Funeral Home.
Although Morrison was not a
Hoke County native, he had lived
in Raeford for a number of years
and was a respected member of the
county's business community.
While in Hoke County, Mor
rison operated a number of
businesses including the Wagon
Wheel Restaurant and Morrison's
Morrison owned the Hoke 1
County Ambulance service prior to
former owner Jim Henley, and was
an outspoken critic of Henley's
(See ROBBERY, page II)
Weather Drives Hoke Indoors , Causes Death
Danny Morrison shown during a recent fishing trip.
Hoke County appeared early Wednesday to have
escaped the brunt of a storm which blanketed the
south in up to two inches of ice and left thousands
However, the Christmas weekend's frigid
temperatures took their toll on the county, and
authorities have pinned the cause of the death of at
least one county resident on the sub- 10" weather.
Two county dwellings were also declared total loses
after they were ravaged by fires, which ha\e been link
ed to the cold.
Scores of other residents suffered through having
broken water pipes, furnaces that quit working and lit
tle preparation for the sustained cold that roared into
the county on 60-mile-an-hour winds Saturday.
According to National Weather Service observer
Robert Gatlin, temperatures in the county reached a
low of 4? Sunday, 7? Monday and 22? on Tuesday.
- Sunday's wind chill factor has been estimated at
As of Wednesday, authorities had tied only one
county death to the cold.
Donald E. Holland, 45, was found dead by deputies
Christmas morning after neighbors reported seeing his
frozen body lying in the yard of his Rockfish area
Investigating officers found Holland frozen near his
front door around 10:20 a.m., Hoke County Sheriff
Dave Barrington said.
An early report that Holland might have died from a
blow to the head was proved incorrect by autopsy
results, Barrington said Tuesday.
"The autopsy shows that he died from exposure,"
the sheriff said.
"The blow to the head was not enough to knock him
out, much less kill him," Barrington said.
Investigators believe that Holland arrived home
sometime early Sunday morning.
While parking his car into the carport, the vehicle
apparently hit and knocked over a weight bench, the
Exhaust patterns on the driveway indicate that
Holland remained in the car for sometime with the
The Rockfish man then apparently made his way to
the front door, but apparently dropped his key while
attempting to turn the lock, authorities speculate.
The keys were found near the door, Barrington said.
Foot prints on the door and a broken screen door in
dicate that Holland attempted to kick in the door.
"We think that he lost his balance, and fell
backwards. That's when he hit his head," Barrington
"He just couldn't get up," the sheriff added.
Holland had a blood alcohol content of .21, Bar
rington said the autopsy showed.
Holland was living alone at the time of his death.
In an unrelated incident, Hillcrest firemen believe
the most likely cause of the blaze which destroyed a
Scurlock residence was a wood heater, a department
spokesman said Tuesday.
The fire erupted around 11:30 p.m. Sunday at the
home of Willie Hollingsworth on Scurlock Court.
Hillcrest volunteers, who were assisted by firemen
from Puppy Creek and North Raeford, battled the
blaze and the cold for almost two hours before bring
ing the fire under control.
"It was freezing. We had ice all over us," Hillcrest
assistant Chief Billy Norton said, adding that it was
about 3:30 a.m. Monday before firemen returned to
"The house was a total loss," Norton said.
The exact cause of the blaze was not known Tues
day, but investigators believe the most likely reason
may have been a wood heater.
(See WEATHER, page II)
By Sam Morris
I hope everyone had a fine
Christmas. There isn't much to
write about this week except the
weather. It has been cold in most
parts of the nation and 1 don't
remember a Christmas as cold as
the one this year. As one weather
reporter stated Monday, we will
remember the "Christmas of
The Christmas Eve service at the
Raeford Presbyterian Church was
well attended even though the wind
chill factor was about 20 degrees
below zero. Most of the ther
mometers in Hoke County
registered from four to seven
degrees Christmas morning. Now
this is about 30 degrees below nor
mal for this time of year.
On Monday morning the
temperature was down low again
but it started warming up
somewhat during the day. Maybe it
reached 20 degrees more.
Now the forecast is for warmer
weather Tuesday and then maybe
snow or sleet coming in Wednes
day. What has happened to the
prediction that this would be the
mildest winter in many years?
So far we haven't heard of any
power failures in Hoke County,
but we did see an announcement
on television at the Lumber River
Electric Coop, members to con
serve power on Sunday night. It
would be bad to lose electricity in
the cold weather.
The Raeford Fire Department
answered a call on Sunday morn
ing, but I haven't heard for what
reason. It has been too cold to in
Then on Sunday night after I had
gone to bed, the siren, which
sounded like North Raeford, went
off. No report on this either. Fires
are bad in cold weather; not only
for loss of property and heating,
but it is almost impossible to fight
fire with the freezing weather.
So please conserve electricity
and watch your fire in your home.
It pays to be safe.
? ? ?
This cold weather reminds me of
the National Guard bivouac in late
(See AROUND, page 1 1)
Happy New Year
Father Time has not changed much since he m as
depicted in this IHH9 wood cut. He will still bring in
the I9H4 New Year as he did then, at the stroke of
? 1 1 -?* mm gt a
midnight on Saturday. The staff and management
of The News-Journal wish our readers a prosperous
and healthy new year.
Sheriff: Daily Break -ins
'Normal' For Hoke County
Five Hoke County dwellings and
two businesses were broken into
during the week prior to Christmas
raising the local break-in total to
almost one unsolved incident per
day for the last 40 davs.
Although the number of in
cidents appears to be high, it is
normal for this time of year, Hoke
County Sheriff Dave Barrington
"We generally have 25 to 30 a
month," Barrington said, noting
that the number of break-ins are
down since the county started the
neighborhood watch programs.
"Before the community watch
programs, we used to have about
twice this many," the sheriff said.
"We .have cut it down
During the past year, the
sheriff's department has been solv
ing around 34<po of the county's
break-ins, Barrington said.
The national average is about
21%, he added.
Sheriff's deputies were in
vestigating last Thursday's early
morning break-in at the Jiffy Stop
Apparently $900 in cigarettes
and other items were taken from
the store, investigation reports
The break-in was discovered
around 6 a.m. Thursday when
owner David Draughon found a
lock on the door smashed and the
door apparently forced open, the
Deputies are also investigating
over $400 in vandalism to a house
under the care of the Hoke County
Department of Social Services.
The dwelling, which belonged to
the late Mary McLean, was ap
parently broken into sometime
prior to December 20, reports
Windows were apparently
broken, screens torn and furniture
stolen from the unoccupied dwell
ing, the reports show.
In another incident, a Rt.l
Raeford resident returned home
last Monday and found that some
one had forced a door open, and
that almost $1,500 in clothing and
appliances had been?stolen, reports
Items, including a stereo, a rug
shampooer, a kerosene heater and
clothing, were taken from the
home of Diane Chavis, the reports
Deputies were also investigating
a break-in which apparently occur
red on the same day as the Chavis
Another kerosene heater, along
with a television, a .22 caliber rifle
and a shotgun were reported taken
from the home of Andre Dorsey
McLaurin. The items were valued
at more than $600, the sheriff's
In a still further incident,
deputies were investigating the
break-in and theft from a Lumber
Bridge area residence, reports
(See BREAK-IN. page 11)
Share Your Christmas
These mounds of clothes were
part of the many gifts that
went to over 500 Hoke County
residents who had a little nicer
( hristmas as a result of the
Raeford Woman's Cluh effort
in the .Share Your Christmas
Campaign. He take a look ut
the effort on page 10 of