A1 A1
Z-no-digital
Police ID teen killed in apartment shooting on Anson Street in Winston-Salem

A 16-year-old boy was killed Tuesday night in a shooting at an Anson Street apartment, authorities said Wednesday.

The teen, Jaymyian George Stinson, was sitting in his apartment with two other people, including an older sibling, when a group of people started shooting into the residence from the parking lot, Winston-Salem police said Wednesday.

Officers went to the apartment complex, The Residences at Diamond Ridge, around 11:21 p.m. after getting a call about the shooting. The officers found Stinson lying in the apartment, suffering from a gunshot wound. Emergency medical services took him to an area hospital where he died.

On Wednesday morning, the Winston-Salem Police Department’s forensics unit blocked off a large portion of the parking lot outside the apartment and the neighboring playground. Some witnesses said they thought the shooters might have run through the playground, while others said they ran down the hill from Anson Street toward Peters Creek Parkway, according to police Lt. Gregory Dorn.

The apartment where the shooting happened, Unit J-23, is toward the back of the long, two-story brick complex.

A man who lives at the front of the building, Arthur Davis, told the Winston-Salem Journal that he heard rapid gunfire at the time of the shooting. He estimated that about 25 shots were fired.

Investigators recovered more than 10 shell casings that appeared to have come from a handgun, Dorn said. He declined to say exactly how many shots were fired, only saying there were several.

While it’s unclear whether the slain teen was the intended target of the shooting, Dorn said the apartment was.

Neighboring the apartment complex are several abandoned, boarded-up apartment buildings covered in the blue gang tags of CLS or Cuaji-13. The graffiti, which has appeared as “Cuaji,” “Cuaji-13” or “CLS,” is the work of the gang Cuaji-13, a local affiliate of the notorious Sureños, or Sur-13, gang.

Traditionally, Winston-Salem has been a Sur-13 city, according to the police department.

Dorn said there is no evidence that the shooting was gang-related but called the heavy presence of the tags “interesting.”

Dorn said Stinson was no longer going to school and had most recently attended Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School’s Main Street Academy, a school for at-risk youth.


Z-no-digital
ACC, NCAA men's basketball tournaments to go on at Greensboro Coliseum — but without fans

GREENSBORO — The games will go on. But the fans can go home.

Starting today, the ACC Tournament will play its games at the 20,000-plus capacity Greensboro Coliseum with no rank-and-file fans allowed in the seats in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Same thing next week when the Coliseum hosts first- and second-round games of the NCAA Tournament.

“After consultation with the league’s presidents and athletic directors,” the ACC said in a statement, “it was determined that beginning Thursday, March 12, all games will be played with only essential tournament personnel, limited school administrators and student-athlete guests, broadcast television and credentialed media members present.”

For now, that’s the situation.

And with the developing, ever-changing COVID-19 outbreak, the key words in that sentence are: “For now.”

Because things have changed from moment to moment this week.

No fans

Earlier, the Big Ten and Big 12 both curtailed fan attendance at their conference tournaments, and the NBA’s board of governors voted to suspend its season until further notice after a Utah Jazz player tested positive for the coronavirus.

NCAA President Mark Emmert announced its no-fans policy Wednesday afternoon, shortly after the NCAA’s medical advisory panel recommended it.

“I have made the decision,” Emmert wrote, “to conduct our upcoming championship events, including the Division I men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, with only essential staff and limited family attendance.

“While I understand how disappointing this is for all fans of our sports, my decision is based on the current understanding of how COVID-19 is progressing in the United States.”

Bottom line: The Coliseum will host high-caliber college basketball in a vacuum the next two weeks.

And that’s going to hurt the bottom line.

Henri Fourrier, the president of Greensboro’s Convention & Visitors Bureau, was still hopeful about an hour before Emmert’s announcement, about four hours before the ACC’s announcement.

“The economic impact of the event is right at $5.1 million,” Fourrier said. “The majority of that comes directly from the fans. So we were hoping it wouldn’t come to that.

“I really haven’t ever dealt with anything like this virus situation in my career. We’re just encouraging people to be smart. Follow the guidelines of the (Centers for Disease Control) to keep sanitized and safe. Hopefully, these events will go on unchanged.”

They won’t.

‘Out of our hands’

Late Tuesday, Greensboro lost a $6.5 million event when Y-USA canceled its annual YMCA Short-Course National Championships swim meet, which had been scheduled for March 30 through April 3 at the Greensboro Aquatics Center.

The Y’s short-course event is open to boys and girls ages 12 to 18. The single-biggest national youth swim meet in the country, each year it draws more than 1,400 swimmers on 200-plus teams from at least 30 states.

Greensboro has hosted it every year since 2012, and signed a contract extension through 2023 this year.

Matt Brown, managing director of the Coliseum Complex, politely declined to comment on the coronavirus situation Wednesday afternoon.

“Everything,” Brown said, “is out of our hands. It’s beyond our control.”

The outbreak has sabotaged a big basketball month in Tournament Town. The Coliseum hosted the ACC Women’s Tournament last week. It has the ACC Men’s Tournament this week, and next week it will have six NCAA Tournament games.

Given the speed of the virus’ spread, the next three days of the ACC Tournament are far from certain, with or without fans.

“Look,” N.C. State coach Kevin Keatts said after the Wolfpack’s victory over Pitt, “we’ve got to — it’s a serious problem, and it’s not an athletics problem. It’s a problem all across the country, and so I don’t think anybody here or anybody in the sports world should obviously complain about what the people that know what’s going on will decide to do.

“In our situation, we’ll play wherever they tell us, but we also want to make sure that our kids and our coaches are all protected and are safe. I don’t really have a true answer other than I’m not the smartest guy when it comes to this. I’m going to listen to the people above us, and wherever they tell us to go, wherever they tell us to play, or if it’s fans or not fans, we’ll do it.”

The scene

Outside the Coliseum, cars continued pulling into the parking lot just after Emmert’s NCAA announcement.

Hawkers continued pushing tickets, not knowing if their buyers would even get to use them, before the ACC settled nerves and confirmed that Wednesday night’s two games would be business as usual with people in the seats.

A collection of fans in the RV lot watched everything unfold on a portable TV. Everyone reacted in real time as next week’s basketball was being taken away. They shared their confusion, frustration and everything else.

One man offered the suggestion to at least let younger fans go: “Let the students enjoy it,” he said as he stepped back to watch the news again, waiting for a batch of chicken wings to come off the grill.

High schools

Meanwhile, the state’s high school playoffs remain unaffected.

For now.

A schedule of four boys and girls state championship basketball games Saturday in Raleigh and Chapel Hill remains unaltered.

“At this moment, we have not spoken with our contacts at North Carolina and N.C. State,” NCHSAA commissioner Que Tucker wrote in an email. “Thus, we do not know if we have to cancel the games or if we can play — with a limited number of spectators or without spectators.

“Once we get the official word, we will communicate that information to our schools first and then to the general public.”

The Southeast Guilford girls in Class 3-A and the Winston-Salem Prep boys in Class 1-A are the Triad’s only two teams in championship games, both scheduled for Valvano Arena at Reynolds Coliseum.

For now.


Local
Coronavirus disrupts public schools, colleges across North Carolina

Education officials at the local, state and national level have announced a variety of measures in an effort to contain the fast-moving new coronavirus, from postponing field trips to extending spring break for some college students to, most stunning of all, deciding to bar most fans from attending NCAA Basketball Tournament games.

Wake Forest University announced Wednesday night that it suspended all in-person classes at the Winston-Salem and Charlotte campuses, WFU said on its website.

“Our first priority has been to safeguard the health of the Wake Forest community and our neighbors, even as we sustain our vital educational mission,” WFU President Nathan Hatch said in a statement.

Classes at Wake Forest are canceled from March 16 to March 22 so faculty and staff members “can plan for academic continuity and prepare for remote delivery of course instruction,” the university said. WFU classes will resume online on March 23.

University officials said it’s unknown when classes will return to an in-person format.

The Wake Forest campus will remain open, but students should not return to campus, if possible, WFU said. Housing will remain available on campus for students with appropriate circumstances, the university said.

The 17 campuses in the UNC system will remain open, but with several precautions taken, including a switch from in-person instruction to what the system called “alternate course delivery,” the cancellation of events where 100 or more people may gather and extending spring break another week, to March 22. The alternate courses will last indefinitely, according to a news release from the UNC system.

Winston-Salem State University, UNC School of the Arts and Appalachian State University are all in the UNC system.

Some labs and other classes may be taught, with those decisions coming from individual universities.

Elon University also decided to remain open but switch to online learning.

Lauren Whitaker, a spokesperson for the UNC School of the Arts, said that no classes, rehearsals, performances or events will be held next week, and that students are encouraged to return to or remain at home.

“As early as March 23, we will move to predominantly online course delivery. The provost will determine which academic and arts classes will continue to require in-person instruction and attendance. Faculty should plan to work March 16-20 to prepare for this transition,” Whitaker said in a statement.

Also Wednesday, the NCAA, which governs college sports, announced that most fans will not allowed to attend games in its annual basketball tournament, scheduled to begin next week. Known as March Madness, the tournament is among the country’s most popular and beloved sports traditions.

NCAA President Mark Emmert said that he made the decision to conduct both the men’s and women’s tournaments with only essential staff and limited family in attendance. The decision comes after the NCAA’s COVID-19 advisory panel of medical experts recommended against playing sporting events open to the general public.

Emmert told The Associated Press that canceling the tournament was considered.

“The decision was based on a combination of the information provided by national and state officials, by the advisory team that we put together of medical experts from across the country, and looking at what was going to be in the best interest of our student-athletes, of course,” Emmert told the Associated Press in a phone interview. “But also the public health implications of all of this. We recognize our tournaments bring people from all around the country together. They’re not just regional events. They’re big national events. It’s a very, very hard decision for all the obvious reasons.”

Locally, Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools said that school field trips and out-of-district training for staff members have been suspended in an effort to reduce exposure to the coronavirus, which was labeled a global pandemic by the World Health Organization.

Some trips and programs may need to be canceled. “But if they can be rescheduled, we will make efforts to have that happen. However, at this point we can’t say how long this will last, so for now it is really a trip-by-trip situation. We have encouraged principals to talk with locations, venues, etc., and determine if they can be postponed or if they need to be canceled,” said school spokesman Brent Campbell.

That does not include official school athletic contests and other group competitions. The North Carolina High School Athletic Association’s basketball championships will be this Saturday in the Triangle. Winston-Salem Prep is competing for the 1-A state title.

The suspension of field trips and staff development is effective immediately, according to the news release.

“All school-sponsored trips will remain on hold until further notice,” the release said.

Students from across the district travel in the spring to such cities as Atlanta, Washington, D.C., and Wilmington. Each student may pay a few hundred dollars to go on the trips, money that covers travel, lodging and tour operator fees. It is not clear yet what sort of refunds might be available to the students if the trips are canceled.

No decision has been made on another big part of the school experience, the prom. High-school proms are spread through the spring, from early April to early May.

Other school districts are monitoring the spread of the new coronavirus.

“We don’t have an out-of-state trip for awhile,” said Todd Martin, the superintendent of Yadkin County Schools. “We’re in the monitoring stage at this point. We’re certainly taking the issue very seriously.”

Thomasville City Schools canceled all out of state travel for students and staff; and Davidson County Schools are discussing possible travel restrictions, but no decision has been made as of Wednesday afternoon. Lexington City Schools has not made a decision.

Gov. Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency in North Carolina yesterday in response to the potential spread of the new coronavirus.

The state has eight confirmed coronavirus cases: seven in Wake County and one in Chatham County. None had required hospitalization as of Tuesday afternoon.

Those infected are in isolation at home, officials said.


Local
N.C. innocence panel testimony: Winston-Salem police falsely told two teens suspects in slaying of Chris Paul's grandfather that death penalty possible

Cauthen

Winston-Salem detectives falsely told two 15-year-old boys that they could get the death penalty for their alleged role in the beating death of Nathaniel Jones, NBA star Chris Paul’s grandfather, according to testimony at Wednesday’s hearing of the N.C. Innocence Inquiry Commission.

One of the detectives told commission investigators that he regretted mentioning the death penalty during his interrogation of one of the 15-year-old boys, who was later convicted in Jones’ murder, Julie Bridenstine, a staff attorney with the commission, testified late Wednesday. Juveniles cannot get the death penalty.

Both police detectives told commission investigators that they omitted in their reports that they talked to the boys about the death penalty, saying it either was not relevant or was simply part of an interview technique.

The detectives were Sean Flynn and Stan Nieves. Flynn interviewed Jermal Tolliver and Nieves interviewed Christopher Bryant. In general, police officers are allowed, with certain limits, to use deception in interviews. At trial, attorneys for the boys unsuccessfully tried to get the boys’ statements thrown out based on arguments that their rights were violated.

Bryant, Tolliver and three other boys, Nathaniel Cauthen; his brother, Rayshawn Banner, and Dorrell Brayboy, were all convicted of murder in two separate trials in 2004 and 2005. Except for Banner, all of them were 15 when they were arrested for Jones’ murder; Banner was 14.

Jones, 61, was a friendly church-going man who owned a gas station. On Nov. 15, 2002, he was found lying in his carport at his house on Moravia Street. He was gagged and bound, and prosecutors alleged that the five boys had beaten Jones until he died from heart arrhythmia. Paul, then a basketball star at West Forsyth High School, scored 61 points in a game after his grandfather’s death. He now plays for the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Four of the boys, now men in their 30s, have filed claims of innocence with the N.C. Innocence Inquiry Commission, which is holding a five-day hearing in Raleigh this week to determine if there is sufficient evidence of factual innocence. Brayboy didn’t get a chance to file a claim; he was stabbed to death in front of the Food Lion on New Walkertown Road in August 2019.

At the heart of those claims of innocence are allegations that Winston-Salem police coerced the five boys into making confessions. A key witness, Jessicah Black, has recanted her testimony that she drove the boys to and from the area around Jones’ house and that she heard Jones screaming while she sat on a nearby picnic table. She testified at trial that some of the boys had talked about robbing Jones. She said Tuesday that her testimony was a lie and that Winston-Salem police officers coerced her into making false statements.

There is no forensic evidence — fingerprints, blood and DNA — that links the boys to the crime scene. Police did find partial shoe impressions on the hood of Jones’ car that were the size and shape of Air Force 1 sneakers. A pair of that same sized sneaker was found at the house where Cauthen and Banner lived. An expert testified Wednesday that the sneaker that police seized could have made that impression but he could not say for certain.

Bridenstine said Nieves told commission investigators that he did talk to Bryant about the death penalty and that it was administered by lethal injection.

“He said it was not said as a threat,” Bridenstine said. “He said he was incorrect and it was poor judgment on his part. He did not put it in his report because it was not relevant.”

Nieves told commission investigators that he had no concerns about Bryant’s statements because they were consistent with other statements police had gathered.

Flynn also told commission members that he talked to Tolliver about the death penalty. Flynn said he knew Tolliver was too young to get the death penalty and he believed he had pointed to a vein in his own arm to demonstrate how a lethal injection would be administered, Bridenstine said.

He said he did not mention the death penalty in his report about his interview with Tolliver.

He and other officers that the commissioner interviewed said that Winston-Salem police did not make it a practice of talking to juveniles about the death penalty.

All of the police officers, except one, expressed confidence in the original investigation. Chuck Byrom, a retired detective with the Winston-Salem Police Department, told commission members that he had concerns about the investigation after talking to Hunter Atkins, a former reporter with the Houston Chronicle (Paul previously played with the Houston Rockets). Jessicah Black first recanted her testimony in an interview with Atkins. Atkins has not published a piece on the case.

The commission rarely holds a hearing on claims of innocence. Since it started operating in 2007, it has held 15 hearings. Twelve people have been exonerated through the commission process. The hearing is expected to last through Friday.