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News In Brief

Court Strikes Down 2 N.C. Districts; Pedestrian Killed; Dalai Lama To Visit

The Supreme Court strikes down North Carolina’s 2011 Congressional redistricting, saying Republicans illegally used race to draw the lines. Meanwhile, police have identified a pedestrian killed in the University City area Sunday as a 35-year-old man. And a Duke University student’s body has been found in Massachusetts after he went missing. Afternoon headlines on WFAE.

SUPREME COURT STRIKES DOWN NC DISTRICTS

The Supreme Court has ruled that North Carolina lawmakers relied too heavily on race when they redrew congressional district boundaries in 2011. Voting rights advocates say it could set a precedent for challenges in similar cases in other states.

North Carolina’s 1st and 12th districts stood out because of their shapes. The 1st was like an octopus. The 12th stretched like a snake from Charlotte to Greensboro.

The court said Republicans drew them that way to include more African Americans. That meant fewer African Americans in other districts.

Law professor Rick Hasen writes the Election Law Blog. He says the problem is that race and party overlap in places like North Carolina - where African-Americans tend to vote Democratic.

“And therefore when a state legislature passes a redistricting law with a partisan motivation that has a racial component to it then that could constitute racial gerrymandering,” Hasen says.

The state has already redrawn the districts, in response to a lower court ruling. The redrawn districts are facing a separate court challenge, too.

PEDESTRIAN KILLED IN UNIVERSITY AREA

A man struck by a car and killed in the University City area this weekend has been identified as 35-year-old Brian Douglas Wood. CMPD arrested 19-year-old Kadalhia Johnson in the accident, which was initially reported as a hit-and-run.

Johnson left the scene after the accident, but police say she returned an hour later and was taken voluntarily to CMPD headquarters.

Police say Johnson had the green light when she hit Wood and that alcohol, drugs, and speed were not factors.

According to police, Wood was trying to cross the street at the intersection of University City Boulevard and W-T Harris around 10 p.m. Saturday when he was struck. Police also say Wood was not in a crosswalk and was crossing against a no crossing light.

DALAI LAMA COMING TO N.C.

The Dalai Lama plans to visit Raleigh this fall as part of a U.S. tour.  Raleigh mayor Nancy McFarlane says the Tibetan spiritual leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner will visit in mid-October.  McFarlane visited the DOLL-aye  Lama in India last month.  The mayor said the Triangle region's reputation for scientific and health care research…played a role in the spiritual leader's decision to visit.

WOMAN FALLS TO HER DEATH ON PARKWAY

Officials with the Blue Ridge Parkway say a Virginia woman fell to her death from a scenic overlook in Haywood County on Friday.  The woman has been identified as 83-year-old Nancy Martin of Richmond.  Park officials say rescuers found Martin's body about 150 feet below the East Fork Overlook.

DUKE STUDENT’S BODY FOUND IN MASS.

The body of a missing Duke University student has been found in woods along a Massachusetts highway near his hometown.

Norfolk District Attorney Michael Morrissey said Monday that the state medical examiner has informed him that the body found Saturday afternoon in dense woods and thick underbrush near Interstate 495 was 20-year-old Michael Doherty, of Franklin, Massachusetts.

Authorities say they've found no evidence of foul play in Doherty's death but the investigation continues.

Doherty would have been a junior this fall at the university in Durham, North Carolina. He was last seen leaving a party in his Massachusetts hometown in the early morning of May 14. His disappearance sparked a nearly weeklong search of swampy areas of Franklin and neighboring Bellingham.

CAR WINDS UP IN SWIMMING POOL

A man is trying to explain how his car ended up in a swimming pool at an apartment complex in Winston Salem.    James Poe told police the car rolled into the pool at the Tranquil Court complex after he got out on Friday thinking it was in park.  Poe told police he tried to stop the car and that he left the scene because he had to go home to care for his son. Police say Poe has given conflicting accounts about what happened. He's been cited for leaving the scene and for not having car insurance.  He's due in court next month.

MIGRANT WORK SHOT TO DEATH DURING ROBBERY

A migrant worker who had just arrived in the United States to pick this year's blueberry crop has died after being shot during an armed robbery in North Carolina. Bladen County authorities say the man was part of a group standing in front of a home. Authorities say two men approached the group and asked if they wanted to buy marijuana. When the group said no, the men pulled out guns and told everyone to get on the ground. As they robbed each person, 33-year-old Leonardo Zongua fought back. Authorities say he was shot twice and was pronounced dead at a hospital. No arrests have been made.

NEWS EXECUTIVE ERWIN POTTS DIES AT 85

A former Charlotte newspaper executive has died.   The Sacramento Bee reports Erwin Potts died last week in Mexico.   He was 85.  Potts was born in Pineville and earned a journalism degree from UNC Chapel Hill.  He was general manager of the Charlotte Observer and the Charlotte News during the first part of the 1970s before joining the McClatchy Newspaper chain.   Potts retired as McClatchy's chairman in 1996.  The Charlotte Knights lost to Norfolk on Saturday 8 to 7 and beat them on Sunday…5 to 3.   They're off Monday. They begin a 3-game home series against Syracuse Tuesday night uptown.

DUKE RESEARCHERS WIN GRANT FOR CONCUSSION STUDY

Some faculty members from Duke University will be involved in a study on what happens to the brain when someone gets a concussion. The foundation started by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen has given a $9.2 million grant to the University of Pennsylvania for concussion research. Ten faculty members from Duke, Penn, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and Columbia universities will take part in the study. They hope to identify more quickly which patients will have difficulty in recovering as a way to individualize treatment.