North Carolina Newspapers

    A $50,000 Goal
Brunswick County's United Way campaign
gets under way Saturday with a 'fix-up'
project at local agencies. Page 14-a.
In Gear Now...
The Trojans travel to
Georgetown, fresh off a
whopping 41 -6 win. 7-B.
Mind Your Business
The chambers of commerce, SBA and
Brunswick Community College will help you
during Business Development Week.
12/31/99 #.fcP0
P.O. BOX 162
Year, Number 4flS
Sbollotte, North Carolina, Thursday, September 16, 19$$
504 Per Copy
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WILIJAM EARL HILL listens as Judge Orlando Hudson imposes
the maximum sentence of life plus 54 years in prison after he con
fessed to charges of second-degree murder, kidnapping and armed
robbery Monday in the abduction and shooting of Ronald Everett
Evans of Ash last October.
Hill Enters Surprise Plea In Evans
Murder; Sentence Is Life Plus 54
Last October, DcWaync and Ma
rian McCumbcc were grief-stricken
with ihc news thai their 20-year-old
son Ronald Evans had been mur
dered by two Shallotte teenagers.
Last month, they suffered through
a three-week trial, re-living the night
of his death in the same room with
one of the killers, who eventually
pleaded guilty to first degree mur
Last Friday, District Attorney Rex
Gore called the McCumbccs to tell
them that the second defendant
wanted to plead guilty to a lesser
charge of second-degree murder.
Faced with another three weeks of
painful testimony, they agreed.
Next Thursday, William Earl Hill,
18, of Blueberry Farm Road will
spend the first of at least 23 birth
days in prison after receiving the
maximum sentence of life plus 54
years for the kidnapping, armed rob
bery and murder of Ronald Evans.
Hill's last-minute plea bargain
came as a surprise to defense attor
neys William Fairley and James
Payne, who had spent many hours
preparing for a capital murder trial
scheduled to begin Tuesday. Instead,
they stood on cither side of Hil!
Monday morning as he told Judge
Orlando Hudson that he was guilty
of the three charges.
Gore said he was satisfied with
the outcome, saying the judgment
was "as g(xxl a sentence as we could
have gotten under the circum
stances, while fulfilling the family's
desire not to have another trial."
He said that although the state's
evidence was strong enough to sup
port a first-degree murder convic
tion, it was doubtful that Hill would
have received the death penalty.
Hill's accomplice in the abduction
and murder, Bradley Tyrone King,
18, agreed to testify against his co
defendant as part of a plea bargain in
which he also admitted being the
one who pulled the trigger on Evans.
King received a life sentence on the
murder conviction.
Later this week, he is expected to
be sentenced on his armed robbery
charge, for which he could receive
an additional 14 to 40 years.
Assistant Disuict Attorney Lee
Bollinger said Monday liial while he
hesitates to predict the actions of the
N C. Department of Corrections, he
expects that if King also receives the
maximum sentence, he would spend
"about six years" more prison time
than Hill.
In the King trial, the state sought
to prove that King and Mill ap
proached Evans in the parking lot of
a Shallotte pharmacy and stole his
car at gunpoint. They forced him in
to the trunk and drove him to a dirt
logging road north of town. There,
Evans was led to the front of the car
and shot twice in the leg and back.
Prosecutors contend that King
and Hill abducted Evans so they
could steal his car. and killed him al
ter they realized that he recognized
one of the two men.
Afier their arrest, bod) Hill and
King gave statements admitting that
they took Evans to the dirt road. But
each one claimed the other did the
shooting. The state's case was solid
ified when two witnesses in the first
trial testified that they heard King
admit that he was the one who
pulled the trigger.
Health Board Divided Over Proposed Smoking Ban
Deeply divided over a proposed
smoking control ordinance, the
Brunswick County Board of Health
on Monday put off a vote on the
controversial issue and scheduled a
hearing to gauge public support for
the measure.
The public forum will be held
next Tuesday, Sept. 21, at 7 p.m. in
the public assembly building at the
county government complex in
Rules proposed by a health board
committee would prohibit smoking
in all public places except those
specifically exempted. Those in
clude private homes and clubs,
state and federal facilities and ho
tels that have rooms with ventila
tion systems that prevent second
hand smoke from reaching non
Beginning next year, the rules
would limit smoking in all restau
rants to smaller areas each year.
leading to a complete ban on July
1995. 1 licy would also prohibit
smoking in all workplaces begin
ning Jan. 1, except in areas served
by a separate ventilation system.
Opposition to the proposed ordi
nance surfaced immediately Mon
day, with health board members
Don Warren, Bruce Quaintance and
Patrick Newton all voicing con
cerns about the burden it would put
on businesses.
"Who's going to monitor this?"
asked Warren. "Docs the health de
partment have enough people and
enough money in its budget to en
force it?"
Dr. Brad Kerr, who chaired the
smoking committee, said the de
partment would have to rely on the
cooperation of business owners and
would move to enforce the regula
tions only when a complaint is re
"Our intent is not to give out a
lot of fines," Kerr said. Our intent
" Twenty years
from now you
might be telling
me I cant eat
eggs because of
the cholesterol
? Patrick Newton
is to improve the health of people
by allowing them not to be exposed
to second-hand smoke."
The ordinance notes that the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency
classifies environmental tobacco
smoke " as a Class A carcinogen
and one of the few agents known to
cause cancer in humans."
Newton insisted that it would be
unreasonable to require business
and re.>murjni owners to police
smoking by their customers.
"We're making a mle and asking
someone else to enforce it," New
ton said, "if they (health inspectors)
go in and see someone smoking,
they're not going to cite the indi
vidual. They're going to cite die
owner. Thai's just not right."
Kerr said "third-party enforce
ment" is an accepted concept in die
state, citing the "dram shop law"
under which a bartender who
serves alcohol to an intoxicated
customer can be found liable if that
person causes a traffic accident.
He said when a complaint is re
ceived from a customer or employ
ee, inspectors would try to work
with the manager or owner in an ef
fort to improve compliance with
the rules.
Dr. Jeffrey Mint/, noted that the
rules only require a business ow ner
to make "reasonable efforts" at
controlling their patrons' smoking.
Qujiniancc said lie had not
heard convincing evidence thai sec
ond-hand smoke poses a health
ha/ard to nonsmokers. He ques
tioned the law's requirement that
smoking would be allowed only in
areas with separate ventilation sys
tems that would cost business own
ers thousands of dollars.
"Twenty years ago, it someone
said we'd be here tonight talking
about this, you'd think they were
crazy," Quaintance said. "Twenty
years from now you might be
telling me I can't cat eggs because
of the cholesterol. You just keep
making rules. 1 disagree."
After an attempt to go through
the proposal rules quickly became
mired in disagreements, the board
voted unanimously in favor of
Warren's motion to hold a public
hearing on the proposal "with no
endorsement from the health
Both defendants could have laced
the dcaih penalty if a jury decided
either that they acted together to kill
Evans or that they were willing par
ticipants in a felony that resulted in
his death.
Although he would not comment
on the specifics of the state's case
against Hill, Bollinger said state
ments made by King immediately
after his trial provided new evidence
for the second trial.
As a result, a grand jury last week
handed down three new indictments
against Hill, charging him with con
spiracy to commit murder, kidnap
ping and armed robbery. The indict
ments name Hill's uncle, Otis Hill,
as a co-conspirator in the murder.
Testimony in the King trial indi
cated that Otis Hill kept the (>mm
handgun owned by his nephew and
used by King in the shooting. State
Bureau of Investigation agents said
they recovered the weapon from
Olis Hill's home after the murder.
Bollinger would not reveal the
state's theory of Otis Hill's involve
ment in the case, noting that he has
not been charged.
Gore said that he was not sure
that the state would have prosecuted
William Hill on the conspiracy
charges. He said they were used
largely as leverage to force a plea.
"It helped," Gore said.
A conviction on the conspiracy
charges could have added another
30 years to Hill's sentence.
Birthdays 2B
Business News 10-C
Calendar 11 A
Church News 12A
Classified 1-9C
Court Docket 11-C
Crime Report 7A
Fishing 11B
Golf. 7B
Obituaries 12A
Opinion 4-5A
People In The Newsl3A
Plant Doctor 3 A
Sports 7-12B
Television 4-5B
Hundreds Show Their Support
For Detective Battling Cancer
When Floyd Kirby and Paul
Dennis first started talking about
holding a Brunswick County Law
Enforcement Day, they planned it as
an annual event to thank all local
police and sheriff's deputies for their
public service.
Kirby owns the Siz/.lin Sirloin
restaurant in Shallotte, while Dennis
is a partner in Sea Trail Corp., a golf
course development group in Sunset
Beach. So they came up with the
idea of inviting a hundred or so of
their closest friends for a free dinner
and a day of golf.
Plans were well under way when
they heard about Lt. David Crocker,
the Brunswick County Sheriff's
Detective who was recently diag
nosed witli seninoma, a form of
stomach cancer. They learned of the
repeated trips he makes to Chapel
Hill for expensive and debilitating
chemotherapy treatments.
"We had just planned to offer all
law enforcement people in the coun
ty a free dinner and a round of golf
as a way to say thank you for all
their hard work," said Kirby. "Then
we heard about David and dccided
to ask for a donation to help with his
medical expenses. I couldn't believe
the response."
Last Wednesday (Sept. 7), more
than 350 people showed up at Sea
Trail golf course to play golf, to en
joy a barbecue dinner and to show
their appreciation and support for an
ve knocked
down doors. I've
wrestled with
suspects, r ve been
shot at. But I've
never had anything
kick me like this
has.... But I'm
learning how to
cope with it."
? David Crocker
officer universally regarded as one
of the area's bcsl.
"I've been knowing him for
years. And as far as I'm concerned,
he's Brunswick County's lop cop,"
Kirby said. "It was a pleasant sur
prise to see how many people feel
the same way. I expected about 140
people to come. Rut once the word
got out, it just mushroomed. We had
people from all over the state send
ing in checks."
Even a torrential afternoon show
er failed to dampen the spirits of
those who attended the event. Local
judges, prosecutors, attorneys, high
way patrol officers and prominent
business, government and civic
leaders could be seen standing in
line ? many of them dripping wet ?
for a meal of pork barbecue, cole
slaw and baked beans.
Sheriff's Lt. Liston Hawcs helped
fry the hush puppies. District At
torney Rex Gore stood at the end of
the line and handed out drinks.
District Court Judge Ola Lewis and
Highway Patrol Officer Jerry Dove
danced to a country tune played by
the "Crossroads" band, which also
performed free of charge.
And all the while, the basket of
donations continued to fill. Even
participants who had already pur
chased tickets tossed in a few extra
dollars for the cause.
"1 was overwhelmed, lt brings me
to tears to think about it," Crocker
said Tuesday. "There were policc of
ficers from all over the state ? peo
ple I didn't even recognize.
"1 just want to say thank you to iUl
my friends who have stood by me
and given so generously of their
time and energy, especially Floyd
Kirby, Paul Dennis and Sheriff John
Carr Davis. I would love to name
everybody who deserves thanks, but
there arc just too many. I plan to
thank them all personally the next
lime 1 see them."
Seated at a table with his family
Wednesday afternoon, Crocker
greeted an endless stream of well
wishers. Although noticeably ihin
(See (iRNEROSITY, Page 2-A)
DAVID CROCKER gets a kiss from his daughter Reth at a benefit golf tournament and dinner held to
raise money for the Rrunswick County Sheriff's Detective's cancer treatments. Also pictured is his
mother, Margie Crocker.

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