Crime and Incident Releases

ps-patch-111x90pxThe Morganton Public Safety Department issues press releases to help keep local media and residents informed of crime and incidents in the City. Crime and incident releases are written and published by Public Safety platoon captains, and managed by the Public Information Officer.

View crime and incident information online at the Public Safety Police to Citizen (P2C) website.

On Monday May 25th around 3pm, Morganton Public Safety was dispatched to a water rescue along the Catawba River. Once on scene it was determined that a kayaker had fallen out of their kayak in the fast moving river and was in distress, in addition to two other people with them. Shortly after the original dispatch, the caller told Burke County Communication Center that another person trying to rescue the kayaker and their passengers were also stuck in the water and needed help. Crews stationed themselves along the river strategically to locate the four people, communicate with them, and begin the rescue process. They were located on the banks of the river hanging on to trees to avoid being swept away in the current. With the coordination and help from Burke County EMS, Burke County Communication Center, Burke County Rescue Squad, fire and police personnel from MDPS and Burke County Emergency Management, all four people were quickly assisted to safety, removed from the water and evaluated by medical personnel. MDPS reminds outdoor enthusiasts to monitor water levels and conditions before boating and kayaking to avoid potentially dangerous situations made by rising water levels.

 


On May 18th at approximately 6:12PM, Morganton Public Safety was dispatched to a possible structure Fire at 211 Summit St. First arriving units advised there was smoke showing from a single story residence confirming there was a working fire. Upon arrival of Morganton Engine 3, two hand lines were deployed to begin suppression operations. The second due truck was ordered to establish the water supply. Upon crews entering the residence they found fire in the kitchen. The fire was quickly knocked down reducing extension into other parts of the structure. Fire Fighters quickly sweep the house searching for any victims possibly remaining in the residence.

 

City of Morganton Electric Department personnel were contacted to respond to turn-off the power to the residence. Fire Personnel remained on the scene for approximately 1hour and 15 minutes. No injuries to victims or Fire personnel was found or reported. The fire is still under investigation by Morganton Public Safety fire investigators. It appears the fire is accidental at this time, possibly starting in the kitchen on a cooking stove. Damages are estimated around 13,000 dollars.

 

Morganton Public Safety Fire Division wants to remind everyone to maintain proper clearances around all cooking appliances and never leave a stove unattended while cooking.     

On April 30, 2020, Investigators with the Morganton Department of Public Safety received a report from the Burke County Department of Social Services, Child Protective Services, which stated that a juvenile had been taken to Carolinas Health Care Systems Blue Ridge with serious injuries.  The juvenile was transported to Levin Children’s Hospital in Charlotte, where the juvenile was determined to have multiple injuries constant with the juvenile being shaken.

David Allen Proctor, D.O.B. 11/12/1987, of 119 C Myrtle St. Morganton, NC was charged with N.C.G.S. 14-814.4(A3), Felony Child Abuse: A parent or any other person providing care to or supervision of a child less than 16 years of age who intentionally inflicts any serious bodily injury to the child or who intentionally commits an assault upon the child which results in any serious bodily injury to the child, or which results in permanent or protracted loss or impairment of any mental or emotional function of the child. This charge is a Class B2 felony.

Proctor was placed into the Burke County Jail under a $100,000 secure bond. Proctor has an initial court appearance on May 8, 2020.

On May 3, 2020 at 10:46 pm, Officers with Morganton Public Safety responded to 511 East Union Street for a self-inflicted gunshot wound.  It was reported, 24 year old Jacob Peele, accidentally discharged a firearm striking him in the mouth. 

Officers recovered a revolver from the scene and ammunition. 

The victim was transported to Carolina Health Care System Main in Charlotte and was in stable condition.  Investigators with Morganton Public Safety are looking into the matter and the investigation is ongoing. 

 

On 04-01-2020 officers responded to a disturbance call at 312 White Apt-C involving Dawson L. Hicks (W/M 03-18-1999) Dispatch advised officers that Hicks was destroying the inside of the residence. The officer responding to this address knew that Hicks has a violent past (attempted suicide with a firearm, assault on law enforcement kicking an officer in the face while serving an involuntary commitment, and domestic violence charges). When officers arrived at this location officers came into to contact with Hicks who was intoxicated and had assaulted his 73 year old grandmother Betty Hudson. Ms. Hudson advised that Hicks was drunk and he was throwing her around. (Ms. Hudson suffered from several broken bones in her arm). While officers were inside the residence Susie Hicks, Dawson’s mother advised “He needs to go to jail”. PSO Gates had Hicks step outside on the concrete porch where he had him to sit down in a rocking chair. Hicks stood up and got in PSO Gates’ face. PSO Gates pushed Hicks back down in the rocking chair at this point Hicks jumped up and started kicking and assaulting PSO Gates. PSO Gates grabbed ahold of Hicks to keep from being assaulted. During this encounter PSO Gates and the suspect fell into the doorway and on the concrete porch. PSO Gates struck his head on the metal door frame and both of his knees struck the concrete. While on the ground Hicks grabbed ahold of PSO Gates’ gun belt but PSO Gates was able to get Hicks’ hand off of his gun belt. Hicks then spit on PSO Gates and it landed on PSO Gates left shoulder and face area. PSO Gates and Rivera held the suspect down until other officers arrived on scene and helped secure him. Burke EMS was called to the scene to evaluate the grandmother (Ms. Hudson) and PSO Gates. Ms. Hudson was transported to the hospital by her daughter Susie Hicks. PSO Gates was transported to the hospital by Burke Co EMS where he was treated and released for minor injuries.   

 

Dawson Hicks was charged and placed under a $5,000.00 secured bond in the Burke County Jail for the following charges;

 

Misdemeanor Assault on a female

 

Misdemeanor Resist, Delay, or Obstruct a Public Officer

 

Misdemeanor Assault on Government Official

 

 

Dawson Hicks was also charged for Felony Assault Inflicting Serious Bodily Injury and placed under a $10,000.00 secured bond. He as a first appearance court date for 4-08-20

 

 

Update on February 19, 2020:

Both subjects in this case, Ezra Harold Patton and Kristen Jewel Costner, plead guilty to charges associated with the armed robbery that occurred on May 17, 2019.

On Thursday January 16, 2020, Kristen Jewel Costner plead guilty In Burke County Superior Court to the following charges:

N.C.G.S. 14-3:  Felonious assault with deadly weapon with intent to kill or inflicting serious injury

N.C.G.S. 14-87:  Robbery with firearms or other dangerous weapons

N.C.G.S. 14-32.4:  Assault inflicting serious bodily injury

N.C.G.S. 20-141.5: Speeding to elude arrest

N.C.G.S. 90-95(H): Attempted Trafficking Schedule II

Costner received an active sentence of no less than 89 months in The Department of Public Safety followed by 60 months of probation.

On Monday February 17, 2020, Ezra Harold Patton plead guilty in Burke County Superior Court to the following charges:

N.C.G.S. 14-3:  Felonious assault with deadly weapon with intent to kill or inflicting serious injury

N.C.G.S. 14-87:  Robbery with firearms or other dangerous weapons

N.C.G.S. 14-32.4:  Assault inflicting serious bodily injury

N.C.G.S. 90-95(H): Attempted Trafficking Schedule II

N.C.G.S. 14-34:  Assaulting by pointing gun

N.C.G.S. 90-90(a1): Possession with Intent to Sell, Manufacture, or Deliver Schedule VI

 

Patton received an active sentence of no less than 103 months in The Department of Public Safety followed by 36 months of probation. 

 

On May 17, 2019, at 10:41 am, Morganton Public Safety Officers responded to 118 Lenoir Road in reference to reports of a robbery where the caller, Richard Edgardo Hidalgo, was found to be suffering from gunshot wounds to the pelvic region.  Hidalgo reported that Ezra Harold Patton of 5543 White Oaks Drive in Morganton and Kristen Jewel Costner of 7860 Deerfarm Road in Morganton, arrived at his residence where a physical altercation began.

 

Officers were able to locate the Costner’s vehicle on Bouchelle Street where pursuit ensued.  The pursuit led officers down Bouchelle Street, to Sanford Drive and on to Kirksey Drive. The occupants of the vehicle stopped at the old Star Light Fish Camp on Amherst Rd.  

 

Officers found the driver, Costner and the passenger, Patton, had life threatening stab wounds to the body.  Both Patton and Costner were transported to CHS Morganton where they were treated for their wounds.  Hidalgo was transported to CHS Morganton, where he was found to have gunshot wounds and a broken jaw.  He was later transported to CHS Charlotte where he continues to receive medical treatment. Officers recovered a firearm that was tossed from the vehicle near Riverview Apartments.

 

Costner was released on May 19th from CHS Morganton where she was arrested on charges for Felonious Flee to Elude, Reckless Driving to Endanger, and a Stoplight Violation.  Patton was later released from CHS Morganton on May 20, 2019.  

 

Morganton Public Safety Investigators continue to speak with those involved and follow up on leads. Investigators with the State Bureau of Investigation assisted with the crime scene processing.  Anyone having information regarding this incident should contact Morganton/Burke Crime Stoppers.   

On January 31, 2020, Morganton Deapartment of Public Safety Officers responded to 304 Huffman St. in reference to a suspicious vehicle/check welfare regarding two subjects passed out in a vehicle.  

Officers arrived and were on scene for several minutes before the occupants were able to acknowledge their presence.  The occupants were later identifed to be Jorden Isaiah Moore 01/11/1994 of 304 Huffman St. Morganton NC, and Michelle Beck 09/18/1995 of 2589 Hayes Waters Rd. Morganton NC. 

Jorden Isaiah Moore was in the driver's seat of the vehicle when officers arrivde on scene.  Officers obsered a bag of suspected narcotics in Jorden Moore's lap in plain view.  A probable cause search of the vehicle was conducted and resulted in approximately 8.5 grams of Heroin and related drug paraphernalia.

Jorden Isaiah Moore was arrested and charged with Trafficking in Opium or Heroin and received a $20,000 secure bond.  Moore's has a first appearance court date for the felonious drug charge on 02/03/2020.  Michelle Beck was arrested and charged with Possession of Drug Paraphernalia and received a $1,000 secure bond.  Beck received a court date for her charges on 02/24/2020 in district court.  

Narcotics Investigators with the Morganton Department of Public Safety responded to the scene to process the evidence and will be handling the investigation.  

    Jorden Moore 2                                                    Michelle Beck 2

            Jorden Isaiah Moore                                                                           Michelle Renate Beck

On February 02, 2020 around 6:30 pm, officers responded to a hit and run accident involving a cyclist and dark color truck on Independence Blvd.  When officers arrived on scene they noticed a black Cannondale bicycle lying in the roadway along with the operator of the bike.  The bike was struck from behind by a vehicle traveling on Independence Blvd. towards Carbon City Rd.  The driver of the vehicle did not stop and fled the scene of the wreck.  Burke County EMS assessed the cyclist for injuries and transported him to CHS Morganton.

The truck that struck the cyclist is believed to be dark in color.  Officers were able to recover pieces of this truck that were broken off during the collision.  Officers believe that one of the headlights were broken out as well. 

If you have any information that would assist Morganton Department of Public Safety in locating the driver and owner of this vehicle, please call (828) 437-1211.

 

On January 20th, around 4:50 am, Morganton Public Safety officers were dispatched to McDonald’s restaurant on West Union Street after a report of a fire that burned a man. It was reported that, while sleeping, the man kicked over a nearby kerosene heater that he used to keep warm overnight and it ignited an area under the bridge nearby. Officers aided the man until Burke County EMS arrived and transported him to the hospital. The man, who was identified as Bennett Deaton, was treated for burns to his arm, hand and side of his face. Deaton's dog, a brown and white pit bull mix that answers to "DJ," reportedly ran from the scene and has not been found as of the time of this report. The fire was extinguished by fire personnel from the Morganton Department of Public Safety. This incident is still under investigation. If anyone locates this dog, do not try to catch it but call Public Safety at 828-437-1211.

 

At approximately 4:10pm on Friday December 20th a white male suspect entered the Members Credit Union located at 106 E Fleming Dr. Morganton N.C. The white male suspect waited in line and when he approached the teller he gave her a note demanding money. The suspect did not present a weapon. The teller stalled in giving the suspect money.  The suspect then grabbed the note and fled the bank.

 

A witnessed followed the suspect out of the bank and watched him get into a silver 2 door passenger vehicle with black rims and damage on the driver’s side. The witnessed stated that the suspect drove up S. Sterling St into the downtown area of Morganton.

 

The suspect acted alone and is describe as white male, dark hair, beard and mustache. He is approximately 5’6” to 5’8”. He was wearing jeans, black shirt, black zip up (sweat suit style) coat, and a black toboggan.

 

If anyone has and information on this suspect please contact Morganton Public Safety at (828) 437-1211 or your local law enforcement agency.

 

(For more information and a picture of the suspect see the Morganton Public Safety Facebook page)

 

On December 10, 2019 at 10:57 pm, Officers with Morganton Public Safety attempted to stop a vehicle traveling on Burkemont Ave for a fictitious registration plate.  The driver of the vehicle accelerated onto Salem Road in attempt to flee from officers. Due to the acceleration of the vehicle and the roads being wet from recent rain, the drive lost control of the vehicle, slid through yards and struck a house located at 1023 Salem Road. 

Officers identified the driver as, Austin Frisbee of 3233 Clark Loop, Lot 9 Morganton, NC.  Frisbee was pinned inside the vehicle for a short time after the crash.  With the assistance of Salem Fire Department, Frisbee was freed from the vehicle which was severely damaged.  North Carolina Highway Patrol investigated the crash scene.

The passenger was identified as Jadayn Moorefield of 3772 South Park Drive Morganton, NC.  Both Frisbee and Moorefield were transported to CHS Morganton and later release with no serious injuries. 

During the crash investigation, Officers located methamphetamine and various drug paraphernalia in the vehicle and in Moorefield’s possession.  Frisbee was charged with various driving offenses to include felony flee to elude arrest and reckless driving.  Additional charges included Felony possession of schedule I, methamphetamine, Possession of drug paraphernalia and Domestic Violence Protection Order Violation.  Frisbee is being held in the Burke Catawba Detention Facility under a $14,000 secured bond and a domestic violence hold pending his court appearance on December 13, 2019 in Burke County District Court.

Moore was charged with Felony Possession of Schedule I, methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia.  She was confined to the Burke Catawba Detention Facility under a $3,000 secured bond pending a December 13, 2019 court appearance. 

No one in the residence was injured as a result of the crash. 

On November 25th, 2019, at 10:06 pm, an unidentified male entered Big Daddy’s convenience store wielding a long curved knife and demanded money from the store clerk.  The suspect stole $2,960 in cash.  The store clerk, Callie Elizabeth Carswell, reported the suspect fled in a grey Toyota Camry toward Glen Alpine.  The suspect was described as a black male or an older white male with a deep voice, 6 foot tall and weighing 250 pounds. 

Morganton Public Safety Investigators were able to watch the video footage from inside the store and discovered Carswell’s story was different than what the video captured.  After interviews with Callie Elizabeth Carswell of 2281 Lot 40 Jessie St. Morganton NC, investigators discovered Carswell was not a victim of an armed robbery.  It was discovered Carswell’s boyfriend, Clarence William Moore III of 2281 Jessie St., was the suspect who entered the store armed and demanding money. Carswell and Moore planned the armed robbery and stole a total of $2,960 in cash.  Carswell allowed investigators to search her cellular phone which contained videos of her and Moore getting engaged at Walmart in the early morning hours after the robbery.  Additionally, receipts seized during search warrant revealed the engagement rings being purchased at Walmart.

A search of Moore’s vehicle resulted in the discovery of money belonging to the store, as well as a hand written list of materials needed to conduct the robbery.  A search warrant was also conducted at Carswell and Moore’s residence where investigators located the weapon and the clothing worn by Moore during the robbery. 

Callie Elizabeth Carswell was charged with Armed Robbery, Misuse of 911, and Filing a False Police Report.  Clarence William Moore III was charged with Armed Robbery.  Both Carswell and Moore received a $50,000 secure bond and are scheduled for their first appearance court date on November 26, 2019.  Additional charges are pending for both Carswell and Moore.

On November 21, 10:22 p.m., Morganton Public Safety responded to a traffic crash with injuries at Shuey Field on Golf Course Rd.  Officers arrived to discover a Ford 150 had impacted the bathroom facilities located at Shuey Field and had extensive front end damage. The damage to the bathroom facilities was as extensive and City crews are assessing the damage to make the building safe at this time. The vehicle had one occupant with injuries who was pronounced dead at the scene.  The roadway remained closed for several hours as officers worked to determine contributing circumstances for the crash. The occupant was, Chadd Allen Powell of Morganton, 41 years of age. Further Investigation into the traffic crash are ongoing at this time.  Morganton Department of Public Safety was assisted by the Burke County EMS at the scene.

On October 26, 2019 at 12:03 pm, Morganton Public Safety Officers responded to 112 Ross St. Morganton NC, in reference to a gunshot wound.  When officers arrived they found two victims suffering from gunshot wounds.  The first victim, Jacob Hmoo Lor (12/19/1997), was pronounced dead at the scene and his father, Nai Lor (08/20/1975), was air lifted to Carolinas Medical Center of Charlotte where he remains in critical condition.  Family members who were inside the residence at the time of the shooting described the shooter and knew his name. The shooter was identified to be Pheng Lee (12/12/1977) of 4097 Sundown Rd. Morganton NC.

During the investigation, it was learned that Pheng Lee left the scene on a bicycle heading toward his residence at 4097 Sundown Rd.  With the help of the Burke County Sheriff’s Office, the suspect was located riding his bicycle on Sundown Road and taken into custody. Lee was found to be in possession of a handgun at the time of his arrest.

Pheng Lee was charged for First Degree Murder and placed into Burke Catawba Detention Facility.  Lee has a first appearance court date set for October 28, 2019. 

This case remains under investigation with the assistance from the NC State Bureau of Investigation. If anyone has information regarding this case please contact Morganton Department of Public Safety at 828-437-1211 or Crime Stoppers at 828-437-3333.

******************************************************UPDATE********************************************************

As of 10/28/2019 Nai Lor has succumbed to his inujuries from the shooting and died at Carolina's Medical Center of Charlotte.  This investigation has now changed to a double homicide investigation and more charges are pending against Pheng Lee.  

 

pheng lee

On Monday October 21, 2019 Morganton Public Safety Officers responded to Cannon Pharmacy at 342 E. Parker Rd. Morganton NC, 28655 in reference to a Breaking and Entering.  Public Safety Officers arrived to find the drive thru window shattered which appeared to be where the suspects made entry into the business. The power was cut to the building during the break-in and the meter was pulled. Morganton Public Safety Investigators are currently working this case following up on leads and suspect identification.  It is believed that two suspects entered the business causing an estimated $10,000 in damages and stole multiple types of medications and cash. 

 

Anyone having information about this crime or the identity of the two suspects should contact Crime Stoppers at 828-437-3333. 

 

Morganton Public Safety Investigators in conjunction with Burke County Sheriff’s Office Investigators arrested two suspects for multiple Breaking and Entering with Larcenies.  Ryan Chrishan Johnson 12/04/1985 of 105 East Commons Dr. and Isiah Rashon Ervin 01/29/1997 of 1200 Crescent woods Dr. were arrested on September 18, 2019.  Investigators served a search warrant on Ryan Johnson’s residence and located several items that belonged to the victims.  Collectively Johnson and Ervin were involved in 8 Felony Breaking and Entering’s to a house of worship, and 3 Felony Breaking and Entering’s to other businesses within the city limits of Morganton.  Morganton Public Safety Investigators will be issuing indictments for additional charges for both Johnson and Ervin.  Burke County Sheriff’s Office charged them both with one additional Felony Breaking and Entering to a house of worship and will be issuing indictments for 6 more.  Ryan Chrishan Johnson received a total of $110,000 secure bond and Isiah Rashon Ervin received a $55,000 secure bond.  Both have a first appearance court date set for September 19, 2019.

At approximately 0930 am on 08/13/2019, Morganton Public Safety Officers responded to the area of Rand Street at West Fleming Drive to investigate a motor vehicle crash with injuries. 

When officers arrived, two vehicles had crashed, a 2004 Nissan Armada and a 2017 Ford Transit Van.  Each vehicle was occupied by only the driver.  According to witnesses at the scene, a black male, with long dreads, dark pants, and heavy build was the driver of the Nissan and had left the scene, just after the crash.  The driver of the Ford, Jose Juan Reyes Rosas (46 YOA) was complaining of neck pain.

PSO Gates spotted the suspect near Mighty Dollar on West Fleming Drive where he was detained. 

During the investigation, it was determined that the Nissan Armada, driven by Erskine Wells Arnold of 415 B Summers Road (46 YOA) was traveling west on West Fleming Drive when Rosas failed to see before starting in the roadway from Rand Street, that such movement could be made in safety.  Rosas collided with Arnold near Rand Street at West Fleming Drive.  After the collision, Arnold fled on foot.

PSO J. Jones suspected that Arnold had been operating a vehicle, subject to an impairing substance due to visible indications from his eyes.  Additionally, Arnold was a wanted person with extradition from Greenville, SC.  Arnold had a fugitive warrant for First Degree Domestic Violence.  It was discovered that Arnold was wearing an ankle monitor at the time of his arrest. 

Arnold was arrested for Felony Hit and Run (with injury) and pending a Driving While Impaired charge-when blood toxicology is received. 

Additionally, the owner of the Nissan, Jessica Pruit, was cited for allowing an unlicensed driver to operate her vehicle. 

Arnold was transported to Burke Catawba DCF pending extradition to SC as well as a $3000.00 secured bond for Felony Hit and Run.  Arnold has an initial appearance in Burke County District Court on 08/14/19. 

Rosas was issued a citation for failing to yield.  He was treated at the scene by Burke EMS for his injuries and released. 

During the months of June and July, 2019, Morganton Public Safety conducted alcohol sales compliance checks at 37 convenience stores inside Morganton City limits. 

The compliance checks enlisted 17 year old, confidential informants tasked with attempting to purchase alcoholic beverages.

11 stores sold alcoholic beverages to the confidential informants:

Tobacco Barn             569 East Fleming Drive

Bypass Beverage        556 East Fleming Drive

Dollar General                        545 East Fleming Drive

Big Daddy’s                1308 Carbon City Rd

Colonel’s Pantry         1007 Jamestown Rd

Jett Xpress                  410 Vine Arden Rd.

Super Tienda Maya    301 Avery Ave.

Murphy's Express       655 W Fleming Dr.

Jack B Quick             1270 Burkemont Ave.

Tobacco Barn             401 Old NC 18

Salem Express            1014 Salem Rd.

NC General Statute 18B-302 prohibits the sale or giving of any alcoholic beverage to a person less than 21 years of age.  Officers identified the store clerks and issued citations. 

Morganton Public Safety will conduct future compliance checks.  We encourage local businesses to provide training and awareness about the law in regards to selling alcoholic beverages. 

Underage Drinking Facts

  • Alcohol stems brain development in adolescents and young adults. (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism).
  • Alcohol may cause permanent damage to the memory and learning center inside the brain as well as decision-making and reasoning areas. (Clinical EEG and Neuroscience).
  • 14% of North Carolina high school students had their first drink before the age of 13. (HHS Office of Adolescent Health).
  • Alcohol kills more young people under the age of 21 than all other illicit drugs combined. (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism).
  • Most high school students that drink alcohol are binge drinkers (57.8%). (DHHS)
  • Thirty-three percent of middle school students began drinking before age 11. (DHHS)
  • In North Carolina, the underage consumption of alcohol costs taxpayers $1.1 billion annually.
  • Alcohol is one of the most common contributors of injury, death and criminal behavior among youth.
  • 95% of all violent crimes committed on college campuses are alcohol-related. (N.C. Carolina Governor's Institute on Alcohol and Substance Abuse).
  • In 2015, 23.5% of all fatal crashes in North Carolina involving an underage driver were due to alcohol impairment. (Responsibility.org)
  • Most teens get their alcohol from their parents or other adults over the age of 21.
  • It is illegal for anyone under 21 to drive while consuming or after consuming alcohol.
  • Any reading above 0.00 on an alcohol-screening test is sufficient to convict a youth.
  • Refusing to take an intoxilyzer test along with the odor of alcohol on the breath is sufficient evidence to convict an underage user.

 

On Saturday August 3, 2019 at 4:43 a.m., Officer’s with Morganton Department of Public Safety were dispatched to alarm call at Premiere Studio located at 101 Lenoir St. When Officers arrived they located a broken window at the rear of the business. The suspect entered the business through the broken window and stole an undisclosed amount of cash from business. The suspect exited the business and left the area prior to officer’s arrival. The suspect was a black male wearing a shirt with “U2” on the back of it, blue jeans, and tennis shoes.  On Sunday August 4, 2019 at 11:32 p.m., Lt. J. Brown located a subject matching the description of the suspect from this case in the area of Burger King on S. Sterling St.  During the investigation of the subject, PSO D. Smith located the shirt worn during Breaking and Entering into Premiere Studio in the possession of the subject. The subject was identified as Jason Antonio Lytle, Black Male, age 39, of Morganton, NC.  The subject was charged with the following crimes:

 

N.C.G.S.: 14- 54(A) - BREAK OR ENTER ANY BUILDING-INTENT COMMIT FELONY/LARCENY

 

N.C.G.S.: 14-72(B)(2)- LARCENY AFTER BREAKING OR ENTERING

 

N.C.G.S.: 14-71.1- FELONY POSSESS STOLEN GOODS

 

N.C.G.S.: 14-127- INJURY TO REAL PROPERTY

 

Lytle was placed in Burke Catawba Detention Center under a $10,000 secure bond with a court date of August 6, 2019.

 

lytle

 

At 4:26 pm on July 4th, Morganton Public Safety officers responded to a call at the Greenway near Judges Riverside Restaraunt about a missing kayaker. Upon arrival, Officer J. Bess met with the father of the missing youth, Brandon Fore. Fore told Officer Bess that his 15 year old son, who is an experienced kayaker, did not exit the river at the designated point on Watermill Road with the others in his party. His friends said he had floated downstream around a bend in the river ahead of them and missed the exit point. Public Safety officers and Fire Engineer J. Burnett quickly staged at different points along the river in the city and spoke to anyone in the area about having seen the boy. 

It was quickly determined that the youth had not come past the dam and spillway at the city's water treatment plant. Officers changed locations to points at and above the spillway to search for the boy. Lt. Triplett called for assistance from Burke County Rescue and Emergency Management. Both agencies were enroute within minutes to Watermill Road to begin searching downstream toward the city officers already on the scene. Lt. Triplett and PSO Paterno walked the river's edge from the spillway to a point approximately 300 yards upriver where the trees thickened and line of sight upriver was nearly impossible.

At 4:56 pm, Lt. R.Triplett and PSO A. Paterno were leaving the river's edge when Officer Paterno saw a young man walking away from the river toward a tree nursery off NC 126 about 350 yards above the spillway. Both officers called out to the youth and identified him as the missing teenager. Lt. Triplett alerted Burke County Communications and other officers that the missing kayaker had been found safe. All assisting units were released as officers ensured the teenager was not injured or suffering any medical issues from the heat. PSO Paterno assisted the youth with recovering his kayak and fishing gear, then the officers led the boy out of the woods to the patrol vehicles where they waited. PSO Bess led the father from the Greenway to where he could be reunited with his son.

The total time from dispatch to the youth being located was 30 minutes. Morganton Public Safety thanks all responding agencies and civilian persons who assisted us with narrowing our search area and bringing this to a happy conclusion.

 

Today at 11:40 am, the Burke County Emergency Communication Center received a call from a concerned citizen reporting a man matching the description of wanted fugitive; Ezra Patton was at Healthy Petz Veterinarian Clinic on Enola Road.  Morganton Public Safety Officers arrived and positively identified Ezra Patton taking him into custody. 

Patton has been on the run since May 18, 2019 for armed robbery.  Patton was indicted by a grand jury after three subjects were injured at 118 Lenoir Road during the robbery.  Authorities served a true bill of indictment for assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury, robbery with a dangerous weapon, and assault by pointing a gun. 

Patton was placed in the Burke Catawba Detention Facility under a $500,000 secured bond and has a court date in Burke County Superior Court on July 29, 2019.

Ezra Harold Patton

DOB:  5/24/1996

 

Patton

The third suspect in the June 13th armed robbery of the Speedway Convenience Store in Morganton turned himself in at the Cleveland County Magistrate's Office Saturday June 15th.  He was served with warrants for Kidnapping and Armed Robbery.  He received a $25,000 secured bond and was release at the magistrate's office.  He has a scheduled court date for Burke County District Court on June 24, 2019.  

Authorities continue to investigate this crime that is connected to additional robberies in surrounding counties.  

Just before 5:00 am on Thursday, June 13, 2019, officers with Morganton Public Safety responded to Speedway Convenience Store on South Sterling Street reference an armed robbery in progress. After arriving on the scene, officers came into contact with 3 black males dressed in dark clothing with handguns. The three suspects fled on foot.  The store clerk was forced at gun point out back door and over an embankment at the rear of the business.  The clerk was not harmed in the robbery.  Officers conducted a search of the immediate area and were unable to locate the suspects. 

Just after 5:30 am, a resident on West Parker Road called 911 to report two male suspects stealing a truck from the driveway.  Public Safety Officers located the truck on Interstate 40 East.  Officers engaged in a vehicle pursuit and chased the suspects to the Mineral Springs Mountain area where they crashed the stolen truck and fled again on foot. 

Around 1:15 pm, Investigators with Morganton Public Safety located one suspect, Kamua Jarak Clark of Shelby, walking on the side of the road on Hwy 18 South.  Clark was arrest and charged with Armed Robbery and Kidnapping.  He is confined in the Burke Catawba Detention Facility under a $500,000 Secured Bond. 

ClarkKamua Jarak Clark

DOB:  01/20/2000

Address:  113 Davis Ridge Dr. Shelby, NC 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A multi-agency manhunt was conducted and continued into the late evening hours of June 13, 2019. Authorities from Morganton Public Safety and Burke County Sheriff’s Office remained in the area of Mineral Springs Mountain over night to ensure the safety of the area residents.

Around 1:00 pm on June 14, 2019, Burke County Deputies responded to 5313 Mineral Springs Mountain Ave. regarding a breaking and entering.  Deputies discovered the second robbery suspect, Darik Montre Williams inside the residence. 

Morganton Public Safety has charged Darik Williams with Armed Robbery and Kidnapping.  He is confined in the Burke Catawba Detention Facility under a $500,000 secured bond. 

 

Williams

Darik Montre Williams

DOB:  4/16/99

Address:   835 Lincoln Drive Shelby, NC 

A third suspect, Stephen Jamal Craig, is still at large.  He is considered armed and dangerous and is wanted for Kidnapping and Armed Robbery.   If located, the public should not approach this individual.  Please contact your local law enforcement agnecy or Morganton Department of Public Safety at 828-437-1211.

                Wanted Person

Craig

Name: STEPHEN JAMAL CRAIG

DOB: 10/3/2000                                Age: 18

Race: Black                                      Hair: Black

Sex: Male                                          Eyes: Brown

Height: 5’8”                                       Weight: 140

 

Last Known Address: 2600 Elizabeth Ave., Shelby, NC

The investigation is ongoing and additional charges are pending.  Investigators have made direct links from this investigation to additional armed robberies in Kings Mountain on June 6th and June 11th, as well as an armed robbery in the City of Newton on June 12. 

Update on February 19, 2020:

Both subjects in this case, Ezra Harold Patton and Kristen Jewel Costner, plead guilty to charges associated with the armed robbery that occurred on May 17, 2019.

On Thursday January 16, 2020, Kristen Jewel Costner plead guilty In Burke County Superior Court to the following charges:

N.C.G.S. 14-3:  Felonious assault with deadly weapon with intent to kill or inflicting serious injury

N.C.G.S. 14-87:  Robbery with firearms or other dangerous weapons

N.C.G.S. 14-32.4:  Assault inflicting serious bodily injury

N.C.G.S. 20-141.5: Speeding to elude arrest

N.C.G.S. 90-95(H): Attempted Trafficking Schedule II

Costner received an active sentence of no less than 89 months in The Department of Public Safety followed by 60 months of probation.

On Monday February 17, 2020, Ezra Harold Patton plead guilty in Burke County Superior Court to the following charges:

N.C.G.S. 14-3:  Felonious assault with deadly weapon with intent to kill or inflicting serious injury

N.C.G.S. 14-87:  Robbery with firearms or other dangerous weapons

N.C.G.S. 14-32.4:  Assault inflicting serious bodily injury

N.C.G.S. 90-95(H): Attempted Trafficking Schedule II

N.C.G.S. 14-34:  Assaulting by pointing gun

N.C.G.S. 90-90(a1): Possession with Intent to Sell, Manufacture, or Deliver Schedule VI

 

Patton received an active sentence of no less than 103 months in The Department of Public Safety followed by 36 months of probation. 

 

On May 17, 2019, at 10:41 am, Morganton Public Safety Officers responded to 118 Lenoir Road in reference to reports of a robbery where the caller, Richard Edgardo Hidalgo, was found to be suffering from gunshot wounds to the pelvic region.  Hidalgo reported that Ezra Harold Patton of 5543 White Oaks Drive in Morganton and Kristen Jewel Costner of 7860 Deerfarm Road in Morganton, arrived at his residence where a physical altercation began.

 

Officers were able to locate the Costner’s vehicle on Bouchelle Street where pursuit ensued.  The pursuit led officers down Bouchelle Street, to Sanford Drive and on to Kirksey Drive. The occupants of the vehicle stopped at the old Star Light Fish Camp on Amherst Rd.

 

Officers found the driver, Costner and the passenger, Patton, had life threatening stab wounds to the body.  Both Patton and Costner were transported to CHS Morganton where they were treated for their wounds.  Hidalgo was transported to CHS Morganton, where he was found to have gunshot wounds and a broken jaw. He was later transported to CHS Charlotte where he continues to receive medical treatment. Officers recovered a firearm that was tossed from the vehicle near Riverview Apartments.

 

Costner was released on May 19th from CHS Morganton where she was arrested on charges for Felonious Flee to Elude, Reckless Driving to Endanger, and a Stoplight Violation. Patton was later released from CHS Morganton on May 20, 2019.

 

Morganton Public Safety Investigators continue to speak with those involved and follow up on leads. Investigators with the State Bureau of Investigation assisted with the crime scene processing.  Anyone having information regarding this incident should contact Morganton/Burke Crime Stoppers.

 

On May 9 2019 at 6:18 pm, Morganton Public Safety Offices responded to a 911 call of a missing four year old male child.  Authorities responded to 105 Redbud Drive located inside the Council Oaks Development and began to search in and around the residence. 

The child’s mother, Victoria Howell, reported she had not seen the child in the residence for about 5-10 minutes when she began to look for him.  She then searched the area for a short time before calling 911.  When officers arrived at the development several adult and teens from the neighborhood were already searching the streets around the development.

Morganton Public Safety utilized the reverse 911 system to alert neighbors of the missing child and requested the assistance of Burke County Search and Rescue, On-duty NC Probation Officers and EMS to assist in the search. 

Officers were informed that the child had walked off before and usually walks toward Maplewood Drive which is about 200 feet from the residence. 

Approximately 30 minutes after the initial call was received Sgt. Carswell of Morganton Public Safety located the child floating face down in the pool behind 304 Maplewood Drive.  Officers began CPR and when EMS arrived the child was transported to CHS Morganton.  EMS and hospital staff attempted to revive the child without success.  The child was pronounced deceased at 7:52 pm. 

The Morganton Criminal Investigations Division is continuing with the investigation.