Roberts Law Group, PLLC
North Carolina Criminal Defense Attorneys

On March 13, the North Carolina Supreme Court announced that courts throughout the state would close for at least 30 days, in an effort to protect public safety amid the Covid-19 outbreak. Roberts Law Group will remain open during this time. We are available to meet with new and existing clients in-person or on the phone. Please call our law office to schedule a time to meet.

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North Carolina Criminal Defense Law Blog

Charlotte man charged with sex trafficking of a minor and child pornography

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department has arrested and charged a 43-year-old man with sex trafficking of a minor and child pornography. A grand jury sitting in federal court unsealed the indictment.

The indictment alleges that Bryan Lee Ragon was involved in the production of visual materials depicting the minor "engaging in sexually explicit conduct." Mr. Ragon allegedly transported the minor across state lines - the Western District of North Carolina, Wisconsin, and elsewhere - to engage in illegal sexual activity sometime in December 2015. Mr. Ragon is also accused of allegedly receiving pornographic material involving children.

Charlotte limo driver charged for alleged rape and assault of passenger

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CHARLOTTE N.C. - Officers of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department have arrested a limo driver for allegedly raping and strangling a female passenger.

CMPD said that 37-year-old limo driver, Albeno Maywal, allegedly picked up a 45-year-old woman along North Tryon Street in uptown Charlotte on December 23, 2019. According to police, Maywal then allegedly raped and assaulted the woman inside the limo. The warrant stated that the alleged assault involved strangulation. The woman also allegedly suffered serious burns to her lower extremities from a propane-fueled device, a report said. Police were informed four days after the alleged incident took place.

Northern Guilford Middle School teacher charged for the alleged rape of a student under 15

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GREENSBORO N.C. - A former teacher at Northern Guilford Middle School was arrested by police for allegedly committing statutory rape against a 15-year-old student while she was a teacher at the school.

Deputies of the Guilford County Sherrif's office arrested 41-year-old Carly Smith after investigating the allegations. According to reports, Ms. Smith allegedly had an inappropriate relationship with the student for six months since December 2018.

Trial By Zoom: What Are The Implications For Criminal Cases?

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As it becomes more apparent that the coronavirus is here to stay - at least for the foreseeable future - the pandemic raises questions about court proceedings and jury trials. Will defendants awaiting trial remain stuck in limbo? What about those in prison, unable to make bail? How do they enforce their right to a speedy trial at a time when courts around the country are shut down? Some courts have experimented with court proceedings via Zoom, the popular videoconferencing software.

Texas recently began its first Zoom jury trial, although the case was a civil, not criminal, and the verdict won't be binding. A Florida court considered a child abduction case under the Hague Convention via videoconferencing - a more common format in the international context. With criminal proceedings, however, it's not so straightforward.

Commotion ensues as police search 18-year-old Raleigh man suspected of drug possession

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RALEIGH N.C. - A police search operation turned into a high-stress situation that has left one officer injured and placed two young men in custody.

According to a report, Raleigh Police officers arrived on Talserwood Drive in Southeast Raleigh on May 10th with a search warrant that named 18-year-old Willie Harvey Witherspoon Jr., and a 17-year-old male. Police reportedly found the two individuals along with two companions inside a vehicle. When the officers approached the young men, they allegedly detected the smell of marijuana coming from the vehicle. All four occupants were temporarily detained.

High school teacher from Greensboro charged with alleged rape of 17-year-old student

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GREENSBORO, N.C. - A 57-year-old teacher at Smith High School has been arrested by police for allegedly raping a 17-year-old female student. The victim claimed that she was forced to have sex against her will.

The suspect, Daniel Webster Smith Jr., an air force retiree, was the schools' JROTC instructor. The victim told police that she and Mr. Smith had what she described as a father-daughter relationship. She alleged that she was raped by Mr. Smith during one of her visits to his office sometime in November 2019. She immediately reported the incident to school authorities, prompting an investigation. Mr. Smith claimed that it was consensual sex, a report said.

Raleigh parents arrested for alleged child abuse of four-month old baby

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RALEIGH N.C. - On October 25, 2019, police executed a warrant to arrest Verdine Dunn, 24, for allegedly abusing his four-month-old daughter. The baby's mother, Nicole Latorre, 34, was also arrested for failing to report the alleged repeated abuse, which according to investigators, had been going on for several months.

According to a report, the child sustained arm and rib fractures, a collarbone fracture, liver injury, and bruises on the body and face. There was an indication that the fractures were sustained at different times, and there were also signs of blunt force trauma. The baby is now in the care of Child Protective Services.

Wilmington man charged for alleged distribution of child pornography

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Police have charged a 43-year-old man with sexual exploitation of a minor for the alleged possession and distribution of explicit material that involved children.

The suspect, Ala Areef Abukhalaf, was taken into custody in connection with an assault incident on Pineville-Matthews Road in south Charlotte. When police responded to the assault call, they found a teenage girl who claimed that Mr. Abukhalaf touched her without consent. Upon further investigation by the CMPD's Cyber Crimes Unit, evidence allegedly linking the suspect to child exploitative material was uncovered. (source: WBTV).

Wilmington man charged for the alleged killing of 57-year-old

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WILMINGTON, N.C. - Police responded to a shooting on Pinecrest Parkway hours before midnight on March 4, 2020. At the scene, they found a man with a gunshot wound -- 57-year-old Donald Wayne Gurganious, who died of his injuries the following morning. Days later, police arrested 39-year-old James Girlee Hardy and charged him with First Degree Murder for his alleged involvement in the shooting incident.

According to a news report, a witness told police that they saw two men approach Gurganious' house just before 10:30 p.m. and fired shots. Video footage obtained from neighboring houses showed the two suspects leaving in a Toyota Highlander after gunshots were heard.

Wilmington man charged for allegedly shooting a woman to death

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WILMINGTON, N.C. - Police have arrested 36-year-old resident of Wilmington, Ray Anthony Southers, who is now facing the charge of First Degree Murder after a deadly shooting near Greenfield Lake. Police said that Mr. Southers allegedly shot a woman to death in the early hours of April 15.

According to reports, police responded to a shooting on April 15, 2020 just after midnight. A spokesperson for the Wilmington Police said that when officers arrived at the scene, they found the victim, 36-year-old Jody Marie Lopez, who was suffering from a gunshot wound. Officers performed life-saving measures until the victim could be transported by EMS to New Hanover Regional Medical Center, where she later died of her injuries, the spokesperson said. (sources: Port City Daily | WWAY TV).

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