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News General

Judge Wijewickrama finds probable cause

The case involving a Dillsboro woman who allegedly assaulted her granddaughter earlier this month progressed to Superior Court after District Court Judge Roy Wijewickrama found probable cause for all charges last week.

Lisa Plank Hart, 45, of Cat Tail Drive, faces felony counts of child abuse with serious bodily injury, assault inflicting serious bodily injury, and negligent child abuse with serious bodily injury. Prosecutors were able to gather enough evidence last week to bind Hart to a Superior Court probable cause hearing on Oct. 26.

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After being informed of the mandatory state cut of 1.5 magistrate positions in Macon County by Clerk of Court Vic Perry, Macon County Sheriff Robert L. Holland and Highlands Chief of Police Bill Harrell approached the Board of Commissioners during their monthly meeting last week and asked for help in their attempt to retain the part-time magistrate position in Highlands, currently held by Pat Taylor.

Officials on the state level have also banded together to send a message to the state emphasizing the importance of the Highlands position. Senator Jim Davis supports Macon County’s leadership and is joining the effort to help save the magistrate position. “I am already working to save the magistrate position,” assured Davis. “I fully support the resolution passed by the commissioners, and now it is just about finding the money.”

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Western North Carolina authorities arrested Sylva business owner, Partick Lee Ewart on Sept. 19 on a sex charge at his Haywood County home.

After more than a year of investigation, deputies with the Haywood and Jackson County Sheriff’s Offices arrested 38-yearold Ewart in Waynesville for taking indecent liberties with a minor. According to reports, Ewart is the owner and operator of the popular Sylva and Waynesville- based restaurant Nick and Nate’s Pizza.

According to reports, the arrest stems from an incident that occurred at the suspect’s home on May 11, 2010. At the time of the offense, Ewart lived in Jackson County, but has moved to Haywood County since then.

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Jackson authorities are investigating the case of a 14-year-old white female who was reportedly raped earlier this month.

The incident occurred on Sept. 8 in the Sylva area, according to reports, which resulted in the subsequent arrest of suspect, 19-year-old Jonathan Tyler Pitts on Sept. 15.

“In this case, the investigation has determined the suspect made friends with the victim via the internet social networking site, Facebook,” reads a statement released by the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office last Friday. “Further investigation has determined the name used during this correspondence was an alias used by the suspect to avoid detection.”

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published: 10/18/2013
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