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Headline Roundup: Appeals Court Allows Cigarette Butt As Evidence In Taft Murder Trial; More

The North Carolina Court of Appeals this morning upheld prosecutors’ use of a discarded cigarette butt as evidence in the trial of a man accused of killing a member of the North Carolina State Board of Education. Jason Williford is serving life in prison without parole for the 2010 rape and murder of Kathy Taft.

Williford's attorneys had appealed his conviction, saying police should have obtained a search warrant before collecting the butt and using it as evidence against him. The state argued the cigarette butt was admissible because Williford threw it away outside of his home where he had no reasonable expectation of privacy. 

New Plan To End Chronic Homelessness In Charlotte Unveiled

A group of Charlotte-area organizations today unveiled a new plan to end chronic homelessness in the area by the end of 2016. The 2-year plan would create supportive housing for people who have been homeless for more than a year or have been homeless several times in the past few years.

Leaders want to raise $11 million to build and operate a new 100-unit facility similar to Moore Place and McCreesh Place, both of which leaders credit with keeping chronically homeless people off the streets and out of hospitals and jails. Dale Mullenix of Urban Ministries is managing the project. He says it will take a wide community effort to raise the money.

The campaign has a wide range of public and private partners, including major banks, healthcare companies, churches, and government entities. Jacksonville, Florida and Nasheville, Tennessee have both seen decreases in their chronically homeless populations after developing supportive housing. 

Observer Uptown Property About To Change Hands
The Charlotte Observer property on South Tryon Street in uptown appears to be about to change hands. The newspaper reports negotiators are close to reaching a deal on the 9.4 acre site. The property belongs to the pension fund of the Observer’s parent company, McClatchy.

Charlotte Woman Enters Race For NC Democratic Party Chair
There’s another name in the race for chair of the North Carolina Democratic Party. Janice Allison of Charlotte say she wants the job for the next two year term. The party’s executive committee meets next month in Raleigh to vote. Current chairman Randy Voller is not seeking re-election. Allison was a delegate to the 2012 Democratic National Convention and would be the first transgender person to become chair.