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. THE 12/31/99 #.fcP0 HOAG if SONS BOOK BINDERY P.O. BOX 162 SF'R I NGPOFT MI 49284 Year, Number 4flS Sbollotte, North Carolina, Thursday, September 16, 19$$ 504 Per Copy . ?? ?? >?? STAFF PHOtO BY HIC CAUSON 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 BY KRIC CARLSON 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 der. 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. PUBLIC HEARING SET SEPTEMBER 21 Health Board Divided Over Proposed Smoking Ban BY KHIC CARLSON 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 Bolivia. 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 smokers. 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 ceived. "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 board." 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. Inside... 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 BY ERIC CARLSON 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) i STA/f PHOTO BY (IIIC CARLSON 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.