Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 5:20 p.m. EST


Teen's adoptive father pleads guilty to second-degree murder

SALISBURY, N.C. (AP) — The adoptive father of a North Carolina teenager who was missing for years before her body was found in South Carolina has pleaded guilty to murder and other charges. News sources report Sandy Parsons, the adoptive father of Erica Parsons, pleaded guilty in Rowan County Superior Court on Tuesday to second-degree murder, child abuse, concealment of death and obstruction. Casey and Sandy Parsons were charged in the death of Erica Parsons, who was reported missing in July 2013, two years after she had last been seen alive. In August, Casey Parsons was sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty to first-degree murder and other charges.


US senator proposes money, oversight to boost dam safety

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is proposing to boost federal efforts to fortify the nation's dams following an Associated Press investigation that found scores of potentially troubling dams around the country. Gillibrand said Tuesday that new legislation should ensure that federal standards are in place to make dams more resilient to extreme weather stemming from climate change. She also called on her colleagues in Congress to increase federal funding to fix unsafe dams. An AP report last month identified at least 1,688 high-hazard dams rated in poor or unsatisfactory condition as of last year in 44 states and Puerto Rico.


Microsoft keeps building in N Carolina with 500 more jobs

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Microsoft Corp. is ready to grow its North Carolina workforce even further with 500 new jobs in the Raleigh-Durham area.  Gov. Roy Cooper and Microsoft executives made the announcement Tuesday,  less than two months after the software and cloud-computing giant unveiled 430 additional positions for Charlotte. The latest round of jobs predominantly will go to software engineers and developers, with average wages of $125,000. Microsoft can receive state cash incentives for both the Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham expansions if the company meets job-creation and investment goals. Microsoft already has nearly 2,000 employees in North Carolina. Houston was also in the running for the jobs announced Tuesday.


N Carolina Rep. Walker won’t run in ‘20, eyes Senate in ‘22

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina Rep. Mark Walker isn't running at all in the 2020 election, as recent redistricting made his current U.S. House seat very difficult for him to win. The three-term House member and recent head of the conservative Republican Study Committee announced his decision late Monday. He’s the second North Carolina Republican congressman to stand aside next year because their districts have shifted to the left politically. Walker had considered mounting primary challenges to GOP colleagues in the state. Now Walker says he’ll look at running in 2022 for the U.S. Senate seat that will be vacated by retiring Republican Richard Burr.


Emails: NAACP leader chided women who made harassment claim

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Emails and recordings obtained by The Associated Press show that the NAACP's national president chastised women who went public with a sexual harassment claim. The records also show that President Derrick Johnson was reluctant to swiftly deal with accusations against a former North Carolina officer in the civil rights organization. Johnson spoke in early October at the North Carolina state convention, less than two weeks after Jazmyne Childs said at a news conference that she had been sexually harassed in 2017.  Some women who attended say the comments are indicative of the NAACP's misogynistic culture. Johnson and an NAACP didn't respond to emails seeking comment.


North Carolina officer charged in body-slamming incident

HENDERSON, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina district attorney says misdemeanor charges have been filed against a school resource officer seen on video body-slamming a middle school student. News sources report the officer, identified as Warren Durham, was fired earlier this week. District Attorney Mike Waters said Tuesday that Durham will be charged with assault on a child under 12, misdemeanor child abuse and willful failure to discharge his duties. An officer was seen on surveillance video Dec. 12 violently slamming a boy to the floor twice and then dragging him out of camera range. The child was not seriously injured.


Charlotte lands Major League Soccer expansion team

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Charlotte has been awarded an Major League Soccer expansion team. The MLS commissioner announced that Charlotte will begin play in the 2021. The team will be allowed to begin signing players immediately. New Charlotte team owner David Tepper says he hopes to have a general manager and coach in place in about a month. Tepper also owns the NFL's Carolina Panthers. The team will play its MLS games at the home of the Panthers at Bank of America Stadium in downtown Charlotte. The name of the Charlotte franchise will be announced at a later date.


State: Artifact found in 1973 may be more than 3K years old

MONROE, N.C. (AP) — The North Carolina Office of State Archaeology says that an item found in 1973 may be thousands of years old. The Charlotte Observer reports the office says the 7-inch carved artifact is suspected to be a grooved adz, a tool used for smoothing or trimming wood. It could have been used to carve bowls, dugout canoes or other objects. The office says the item's age is unclear, but it may have been made at about the time when many grooved axes were being made and used. That means it likely dates to the Late Archaic period between 3,000 and 1,000 B.C.