Cherokee Tribe Removes Chief; Man Pleads Guilty To 7 Killings; NC Free Of Drought

May 26, 2017

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians has unseated its chief, accusing him of using his office for personal gain. Meanwhile, a South Carolina man who kept a woman chained in a storage container for two months has pleaded guilty to killing seven people over 13 years. And a woman has been extradited to the Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office to face charges related to the murder of a 25-year-old man in April. Afternoon headlines on WFAE.

TRIBAL COUNCIL REMOVES CHEROKEE CHIEF FROM OFFICE

The tribal council of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians has voted to remove its chief from office for only the second time in roughly 200 years. The Asheville-Citizen Times reports the Council found Principal Chief Patrick Lambert guilty on eight of 12 articles of impeachment Thursday.

The articles of impeachment included allegations that Lambert had used his office for personal gain by entering into a contract with Harrah’s Cherokee Casino to rent rooms from his hotel.

Lambert was elected principal chief of the 14,000 member tribe in 2015. He called the impeachment effort a “witch hunt," and retribution for his ordered audit of tribal programs which led to an FBI investigation. Vice Chief Richard Sneed takes over as principal chief.

BODY IN ROCK HILL IS BELIEVED TO BE MISSING UBER DRIVER

Police have found a body in Rock Hill they believe is that of missing Charlotte Uber driver Marlo Medina-Chevez. The body was found yesterday off Mount Gallant Hill Road, south of Lake Wylie. Police have not positively identified the body, but they believe it is Media-Chevez based on clothing and description.

Medina-Chevez, 44, disappeared Sunday night around 9:45 after he left his home in southwest Charlotte to pick up an Uber passenger. He was reported missing on Monday when he failed to return home.

On Monday night, police in Maryland stopped Medina-Chevez’s Nissan Pathfinder near the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. Four people were in the car. Police charged two of them in connection with the case. The other two were released.

CITY COUNCILMAN AL AUSTIN TO STEP DOWN

City Councilman Al Austin will resign his seat on July 16, 2017, to take on the position of outreach director for the state's Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU).

Austin, a Democrat, was elected in 2013 and is currently serving his second term on council. He represents  district two, which encompasses uptown in the northwest district of the city, including third and fourth ward.

By law, city council must appoint a replacement that is of the same political party as Austin. Other qualifications are that the appointee must be a registered voter, be 20 years of age or older, and be a resident of and registered to vote in district two.

MAN CHARGED WITH KILLING 7 IN SOUTH CAROLINA PLEADS GUILTY

A South Carolina realtor who admitted to killing seven people over nearly 13 years has pleaded guilty to seven counts of murder and a number of other charges.

Todd Kohlhepp has accepted a plea deal that will send him to prison for life without parole. Kohlhepp was arrested in November after investigators rescued a woman chained inside a container on his property for more than two months.

Kohlhepp admitted to killing four people at a motorcycle shop in 2003 after becoming enraged by something the shop owner said. He also killed a husband and wife doing work on his Spartanburg County property in 2015 and the boyfriend of the woman chained in the container.

NORTH CAROLINA FREE OF DROUGHT

A state official says North Carolina is free of drought or dry conditions for the first time in more than a year. Linwood Peele, the acting chairman of the NC Drought Management Advisory Council says recent rainfall has brought relief statewide especially in southwestern North Carolina. Peele says streams, groundwater levels, and soil moisture have improved and that counties are close to long-term averages. The council says conditions are closely monitored and can change quickly especially during summer when evaporation rates are higher.

WOMAN EXTRADITED TO NORTH CAROLINA TO FACE MURDER CHARGE

A 35-year-old woman has been extradited to North Carolina to face murder and robbery charges. Shenika Yvonne James was booked with the Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office on Thursday. That's after she turned herself in to the Clarendon County Sheriff's Office in South Carolina last week.

James is scheduled to appear in court Friday. She's charged alongside James Russell Andrews, 23, with the murder of Jarel D'Shaun Grace, 25, on April 1, 2017.

Grace was found dead with multiple gunshot wounds in the front yard of a home on the 4100 block of Colebrook Road. Two other people were injured in the shooting. Police believe three suspects were robbing the victims when the shooting occurred.