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News In Brief

Mistrial In Case Of Gay Man Beaten By Church; Gov. Cooper Pledges Support For Paris Accord

A judge has declared a mistrial in the case of a North Carolina minister charged with beating a gay congregant. Meanwhile, an appeals court has affirmed North Carolina's decision to refuse compensation to the relatives of people involuntarily sterilized by the North Carolina who died before a state deadline, and, Gov. Roy Cooper has pledged his support for the Paris Climate Accord after President Trump announced he would withdraw the U.S. from the agreement.

Here are some of Tuesday afternoon's top headlines on WFAE.

Mistrial Declared In Case Of Minister Charged In Beating Of Gay Congregant

A judge cited a juror's misbehavior and declared a mistrial in the case of a North Carolina church minister accused in the beating of a congregant who says he was attacked to expel his "homosexual demons."

The judge immediately held the juror in contempt on Tuesday and sentenced him to 30 days in jail and a $500 fine for bringing in unspecified outside materials.

The minister of Word of Faith Fellowship in Spindale, Brooke Covington, was the first of five members of the church to face trial in the case.

North Carolina Court Upholds Denial Of Eugenics Compensation

Surviving relatives of people involuntarily sterilized by the state of North Carolina decades ago can't get state compensation because those victims died before a legal cutoff date that determines who's qualified, a state appeals court affirmed Tuesday.

A Court of Appeals panel unanimously upheld decisions by a state commission to deny compensation to three estates. Attorneys for the estates argued that the cutoff date violated equal protection and due process rights for the deceased.

Writing for a three-judge panel, Chief Judge Linda McGee said there was a rational basis for the cutoff and credible differences between the victims and victims' heirs.

The law said victims still alive on June 30, 2013 could qualify to receive compensation. Payments of $35,000 each have been made so far to about 200 people.

Gov. Cooper Pledges Support For Paris Climate Accord

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper is joining a list of eight other governors pledging their state's support for the global Paris agreement.

Cooper's announcement Tuesday comes five days after President Trump said the U.S. would withdraw from the climate accord. Cooper criticized the president's move, saying it was wrong for the country and for future generations.

Cooper says the state will remain committed to clean air and to the environment, pointing to past initiatives like the Clean Smokestacks Act and the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard.

Appeals Court: Robeson County Must Grant Solar Permit

An appeals court says leaders of Robeson County were wrong to refuse a permit for an energy company to build a solar farm.

Robeson County commissioners voted in December 2015 to deny FLS Energy's request to erect and operate solar panels on some leased acreage, even though a planning board previously recommended approval. A trial court judge upheld the denial, but the state Court of Appeals on Tuesday reversed that decision and says commissioners must grant the permit.

The three-judge panel found evidence presented to Robeson County officials shows that the FLS Energy proposal met the qualifications for approval. The judges wrote that testimony by opponents about possible health concerns from the operation was unsupported and that other evidence they presented was not credible.