VOL. XXXXV11I NO. 37 USPS 162-860 KENANSV1LLE, NC 28349 SEPTEMBER 12. 1985 14 PAGES THIS WEEK 10 CENTS PLUS TAX
"It was all gone when we got there," said Sprunt Hall
of the Faison Fire Department. A charred foudation,
pieces of tin, and ashes are all that remain of the
McGowan tobacco barn. An explosion and fire
destroyed the frame building Friday about 10:45 in the
morning. Two men were burned, and one died as a
result, (see story)
? Faison Man Dies, Another
Hurt In Tobacco Barn Blast
One man has died and another was
seriously burned when leaking gas
exploded in a tobacco barn near
James Gerald McGowan, 63, of
k Route 2, Faison, died at about IjO
? a.m. Saturday at the Jaycee Burn
Center at N.C. Memorial Hospital in
Chapel Hill, a hospital spokesman
McGowan and a Bowdens man.
Otto Hill, apparently tried to light a
gas burner used to heat tobacco in
McGowan's barn Friday morning
when an explosion ripped through
Duplin County emergency series
coordinator Hiram Brinson, who
investigated the accident Saturday,
said Hill apparently had been stand
ing near the door and was blown out
of the barn.
He said Hill entered the burning
rubble twice in an effort to save
McGowan, who was pinned beneath
a wooden beam. On the second trip
Hill pulled McGowan out, put him in
a truck and drove to a nearby house
Both men were taken by private
vehicle to Sampson Memorial Hos
pital before fire and rescue units
arrived at about 11 a.m., said Faison
the two men 'were later flown by
helicopter to the Chapel Hill burn
center, where Hill is in serious
Fire and emergency services in
vestigators picked through the
debris Saturday to determine the
cause of the blast. Jernigan said an
LP gas tank outside the barn had not
ruptured and that the explosion was
probably caused by gas that had
leaked inside the structure. He said
the lighier-than-air gas had probably
risen to the top of the barn.
Fire officials did not realize the
fire had been caused by an explosion
until they arrived, Jernigan said.
"You-couldn't tell it had been a
Tobafcco barn," Brinson said of the
wreckage that remained.
Defendant Sentenced To
Death In Warsaw Murder
Russell Holden Jr., 31, of
^ Warsaw was sentenced to death last
week on Thursday by the Duplin
County Superior Court jury that
found him guilty of first degree
The jury had a choice between
sentencing Holden to death or to life
imprisonment. It deliberated an hour
and 10 minutes after receiving
instructions from Judge Henry L.
Stevens. District Attorney Wiliiam
| An appeal of the sentence to the
? N.C. Supreme Court is automatic.
Holden was taken to Central
Prison in Raleigh Thursday after
Holden was convicted Friday of
attempted rape and murdering
Vanessa Jones, 17, of Warsaw. Her
body was found March 16 in a
cornfield outside Warsaw.
The sentencing hearing opened
Tuesday afternoon. The defense
lawyers, Reginald Kenan of Warsaw
and Graham Phillips of Wallace,
contended that mitigating circum
stances should moderate the sen
tence. They said Holden had no
significant history of criminal acti
The prosecution presented evi
dence that Holden had been con
victed of attempted rape in 1982 and
that he once said the next woman he
raped would be killed so she
wouldn't be able to identify him.
Two women testified that Holden
had raped them but that they did not
report it. Three other prosecution
witnesses testified Holden had at
tempted to assault them.
Among key elements in the state's
presentation during the murder trial
were a pair of torn suspenders, a
portion of which was found under tfie
victim's feet and the other in
Holden's possession, and a spent
cartricge found at the death site. The
cartridge was identified as having
been fired in a gun found in Holden's
Andrews said Duplin County Chief
Deputy Glen Jernigan, State Bureau
of Investigation Agent John Payne
and Assistant District Attorney
Dewey Hudson interviewed ? 75 wit
nesses during the murder investiga
Faison Board Adopts
Town Personnel Policy
Faison is just one of many muni
cipalities which have recently
adopted a personnel policy setting
work hours, rates of pay, and
overtime procedures for its
The policy adopted by the Faison
Board last week was written to
comply with federal fair labor
) standards. Faison Commissioner Bill
Igoe was assisted by John Blane,
compliance office of the federal
Wage and Hour division in Golds
boro in drafting the policy.
According to the policy, town
public works employees will punch a
time-clock and be paid per hour of
work at a rate not less than the
current federal minimum wage. The
town clerk will fill out a daily time
sheet and be paiid per hour of work at
a rate not less than the current
federal minimum wage. Overtime
will begin after an employee has
worked 40 hours during a week. The
policy stated no compensatpry time
would be granted instead of overtime
payment. Exempt from the overtime
policy is the town public works
director and the police officers. The
personnel policy was adopted wit!,
the effective date April 11,1985.
Continuing efforts to connect town
residences along available sewer
lines, the board authorized Town
Clerk Hazel Kelly to bill all cus
tomers along the system whether
connected or not. After a letter
campaign requesting connection to
the system, only five homes along
the line remain unconnected to the
sewer lines. The board moved to
begin billing the unconnected homes
for the minimum charge.
On the request of Faison Commis
sioner Melvin Rogers, the board
unanimously agreed tp honor a
retiring town businessman by pro
claiming "Roscoe Cooper Day."
A date was not set. but the events
of the day will be organized by
Commissioner Rogers and Faison
Commissioner Jane Hollingsworth.
Cooper is a former cafe operator
from which he sold a variety of fresh
vegetables and fruits. He is said to
have operated the business about 60
years at its current location in
downtown Faison. Cooper officially
closed his cafe last Wednesday.
The Duplin County school system
has been and will be checking
kindergarten students for various
Hearing, speech, motor skills,
reasoning, lapguage and vision will
be checked of the kindergarten
children at each elementary school.
Those already tested are from B.F.
Grady, Chinquapin, Beulaville,
Wallace and North Duplin. Sept. 12
they will be tested at Rose Hill
Magnolia, Sept. 13 at Kenansville
and Sept. 16 at Warsaw.
Duplin Candidates File
Seven candidates have filed for
Duplin County town offices through
last Wednesday, the county elections
office reported. The filing period for
municipal elections Nov. 5 began the
week before and will continue to
noon Sept. 20.
Jimmy D. Newkirk. a Kenansville
town commissioner, has filed as u
candidate for mayor.
Those filing for re-election are:
? Wallace Mayor Earl Whitaker
and town Commissioner Luther
? Rose Hill Mayor Ben Harrell
and Commissioner Felton Rackley
? Faison Mayor N.F. McCole
? Warsaw Commissioner W.E.
Duplin To Experiment With
After-School Child Core
"Latchkey children" in Duplin
County soon will have an alternative
to spending school day afternoons in
an empty home.
A two-year pilot program to pro
vide after-school care to children of
working parents will begin in North
Duplin Elementary School Sept. 16.
The Duplin County Board of
Education agreed Tuesday of last
week to provide these children with
2Vi hours of supervision after each
regular school day.
The county will provide $9,707
worth of services as its share of the
program's annual cost of $41,384.
The remainder of the money will
come from state and federal sources.
One teacher will be provided for
every 25 children. The plan requires
four teachers at $10 an hour and four
teacher aides at $4.53 an hour for 2.5
hours a day for 180 days.
"Latchkev children" are those
who return from school to empty
homes because their parents work.
A survey of 492 elementary school
children in Duplin County found that
100 went home to unsupervised
homes, said Austin Carter, a school
Working on the premise that
children left unsupervised are more
likely to be abused or neglected, he
said, this program will help working
families who have no choice but to let
their children come to empty homes.
Carter said working families have
a problem finding affordable child
care near home with hours that
match their working hours.
He said 13,204 children under 18
live in Duplin County. Only 1,807 of
them live in urban areas with easy
access to child-care facilities. Many
families can't afford child care, he
said. Twenty-si* percent of children
in the county live in proverty, about
10 percent above the national
average. Carter said.
His report showed that 5,925
Duplin County mothers are employ
ed and 3,763 of them have children
aged 6 to 17. He said the county has
1,107 single-parent families includ
ing 621 working mothers with chil
dren aged 6 to 17.
There are only 18 licensed daycare
centers in Duplin County.
If fewer than 100 children parti
cipate in the program in North
Duplin, the program will be divided
between it and another school.
The program will be free but
parents will have to arrange for their
children to be picked up at the
Carter said families need the in
come provided by the parents. "No
single indicator correlates so highly
with children's health and education
as family income." he said.
Duplin Board Of Elections Meets
The Duplin County Board of
Elections met Aug. 20. They made
the following appointments who are
available to register new registrants
or unregistered persons. They are
appointed for two years.
Persons desiring to register or
make any changes in their ? regis
tration with one of these officials,
should call or contact that piers on for
an appointment, since this is a
Those appointed are: Warsaw:
Registrar - Doris Britt. Judges -
Barbara Collins and Lee Brown;
Faison: Registrar - Roba Pate.
Judges - Evelyn Malpass and Cath
erine Kennedy; Calypso: Registrar -
Sara Southerland. Judges ? Ella
Radcliff and Virginia Hines; Wolf
scrapte: Registrar ? Jean Sullivan.
Judges - Murray Roberts and Elbert
1 Davis; Glisson: Registrar - Lynn
Harper. Judges - Leon Arthur and
J.N. Waters; Albertson: Registrar -
Annie Deaver. Judges ? Donald
Heath and Thomas L. Stroud; Smith:
Registrar - Kenneth Maxwell.
Judges - Charles Linwood Tyndall
and Grover Rhodes; Cabin: Registrar
- Ressie Kennedy. Judges - Kenneth
Heath and Haywood Tyndall; Halls
ville; Registrar - Michael Kent
Miller. Judges - Robert Miller Jr.
and Grace Albertson; Beulaville:
Registrar - Johnnie Boyette. Judges
? Raddie Faye Johnson and William
D. Thigpen; Cedar Fork: Registrar -
Harold Raynor. Judges - Charles W.
Edwards and J.D. Sloan; Cypress
Creek: Registrar - J.D. Manning.
Judges - Randy Maready and Keith
R. Sholar; Chinquapin: Registrar -
Milo N. Pickett. Judges - Wanda
Southerland and Nell Bryan; Locklin:
Registrar ? Jone James Cavenaugh.
Judges - Peggy G. Hanchey and Eva
Marie Carter; Charity: Registrar ?
J.T. Brink ley. Judges - Virginia
Brinkley and Joseph W. Bland;
Wallace: Registrar - Nina Cave
naugh. Judges - Mary Jo Robinson
and Veffla Wells; RockfTsh: Regis
trar - Joan Conway. Judges - Eunice
Knowles and Annie Ruth Wells:
Rose Hill: Registrar - H.M. Price.
Judges - Sallie W. Blanchard and
Luther J. Sutton; Magnolia: Regis
trar - J.H. Rouse. Judges - Ruth
Quinn and Helen Allen; Kenansville:
Registrar - Florence Brown. Judges -
Mary Brown and Carolyn C. Hall.
The municipal election officials
appointed to serve ft* two years are
so appointed; Beulaville: Registrar -
W.D. Thipgen. Judges - Wyoma
Thomas and Blanchie Spell; Calypso:
Registrar - Sarah Southerland.
Judge - Virginia Hines; Greenevers:
Registrar - Linda C. Farrior. Judges -
Vernett Carr and Hazel Wither
spoon; Kenansville: Registrar - Flo
rence Brown. Judges - Carolyn C.
Hall and Tro> D. Mullis; Magnolia:
Registrar - James A. Powell. Judges
- Lillie Sanders and Wray Sasser;
Rose Hill: Registrar - H.M. Price.
Judges - Sallie W. Blanchard and
Norman Z. Teachcy; Teachey:
Registrar - Alice F. Wadswt*th.
Judge - Pearl Usher. Wallace:
Registrar - Nine Cavenangh-. Judges
- Vetda ft. Wells and ZT.R. Atkinson;
Warsaw: Registrar - Timothy Wil
liams. Judges - Barbara Collins and
The registration deadline for
registering to vote in the Nov. 5
municipal election is Oct. 7.
Conviction Is Reversed
In Wallace Murder Case
A three-judge panel of the N.C.
Court of Appeals has reversed the
second-degree murder conviction of
a Duplin County woman sentenced in
the 1984 death of a 2-year-old child.
The panel unanimously declared
last week that a motion to dismiss
murder charges against Pearl Al
freda West for lack of evidence
should have been granted in the
April 1984 Superior Court trial in
Mrs. West, a Wallace native, was
found guilty of the Feb. 9, 1984,
suffocation of Jason Lamar Fillyow.
She was sentenced to 25 years in
prison by Superior Court Judge
Mary M. Pope.
Jason Fillyow was found dead in
the house of Carlton and Pearl West
after a fight involving West, his wife
and Ingenue Fillyow, the child's
District Attorney William An
drews said in Kenansville that he
was shocked at the reversal. He said
he could not comment until he read
the ruling. He said he would have to
look at the decision before he could
determine whether a trial on lesser
charges could be ordered.
"As to whether the defendant
committed the crime charged, the
state's evidence is entirely circum
stantial," the appellate panel said in
its decision. The decision noted that
there were three versions of the
circumstances surrounding the
These three versions were the
testimonies of Ms. Fillyow, Mrs.
West and police detective Jimmy
Smith, who testified as to statements
made by West during the prelimi
nary hearing. West declined to
testify against his wife during the
murder trial. In the preliminary
hearing West had testified that he
had an affair with Ms. Fillyow.
The appeals court said testimony
in the Superior Court trial "supports
a finding that the defendant had
malice towards the child," but this
testimony could not determine
whether Mrs. West killed Jason.
The child's body was discovered
on a bed under a closet door in the
Mrs. West testified in the murder
trial that she telephoned West from
Warsaw on Feb. 9 and told him she
was in Washington. She testified
that he told her he was hungry and
had no money, so she drove back to
Wallace, stopping in a nearby yard
and walking to the house.
She entered the house, walked
down a hall toward the bedrooms
and saw her husband. She said he
asked her, "What are you doing
She testified that he grabbed her
arm to keep her from passing. She
kicked open the door to a room and
saw the child watching television.
She said she and her husband
struggled but she got past her hus
band and opened their bedroom
door. She said she saw a woman's
coat on the bed. The child ran past
her and West into the bedroom, she
told the court.
Mrs. West said she thought a
woman might be hiding in the closet
so she started to open the door. She
testified that Ms. Fillyow dashed out
of the closet, knocking the door off
Mrs. West said the door knocked
her down as it fell on or against the
bed. Ms. Fillyow and West fled into
nearby woods. Mrs. West said she
found the child on the bed under the
When West refused to testify in
the trial, the judge directed a deputy
to read West's testimony in the pre
liminary hearing. In that testimony
he said Mrs. West returned heme
unexpectedly and in a violent rage
because Ms. Fillyow was in the
He said he and Ms. Fillyow fled.
He said he thought the child had
escaped but when he and Ms.
Fillyow returned, they found Mrs.
West had left and the child was
The appellate panel said Jason
could have accidentally suffocated
during the disturbance between the
three adults: "Given this gap in the
record, we cannot in conscience say
that there is substantial evidence to
support the finding that the defen
dant suffocated the child."
Ailing Tobacco Has
The furor over leaves falling from
a popular tobacco variety continued
with farmers complaining about their
monetary loss and tobacco specia
lists attempting to determine the
Dick Powell, N.C. State Univer
sity tobacco specialist, toured
several fields in northern Duplin
County Thursday with farmers and
J. Michael Moore, Duplin County
Several farmers have complained
for the past three weeks that unripe
leaves are falling off Speights G-80
tobacco. Morris Kornegay estimated
his potential loss in a field near
Friendship Church in the Outlaw's
Store area at SI,000 an acre.
One of the hardest hit is Wayne
Davis, who has severe leaf loss in 16
acres of the variety. He said he
believes the loss is so extensive he
will lose money on his crop.
Powell said the problem, a type of
hollow rot, is caused by a specific set
of conditions not likely to be re
peated every year.
"We have received more attention
on this G-80 variety than any other,"
"It looks like the remaining leaves
might be coming out of it and will be
harvested," he said.
Powell split several stalks of
affected plants, which showed rot
t*nd hollow tops.