State briefs: Man charged with murder in 3-year-old’s death in Lexington

Published 11:55 pm Wednesday, March 9, 2022

LEXINGTON (AP) — A North Carolina man has been charged with three counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of two men and a 3-year-old girl last week, authorities said Tuesday.

Lexington police said Brian Keith Moses, 54, of Winston-Salem is accused of killing the toddler, who died Friday, two days after she was found severely injured in a Lexington apartment where two men were killed, news outlets reported.

Moses also is charged with two counts of first-degree murder, robbery with a dangerous weapon, possession of a firearm by a felon and first-degree arson, according to arrest warrants. He is specifically accused of killing Lionel Coker, 56, of Lexington, and Robert Lee Stowe, 61, of Winston-Salem. He’s also accused of setting fire to a house occupied by Coker in Lexington.

Coker and Stowe were found dead inside an apartment after officers were called on March 2 for a report of smoke, police said. Officers also found the girl inside with life-threatening injuries.

Moses was arrested at his home without incident, police said.

Child dies, 3 hospitalized in North Carolina apartment fire

CARY (AP) — One child was killed and three other people were taken to the hospital after fire roared through a North Carolina apartment building, officials said.

The fire broke out in a three-story apartment building in Cary, news outlets reported. Firefighters responding to the complex after 2:30 p.m. Monday found “heavy fire and smoke,” said Deanna Hawkes, Cary’s public safety spokeswoman.

The Cary Fire Department rescued three people and found a fourth person outside of the fire. All were taken to a local hospital, Hawkes said. One of the victims was a child and Hawkes didn’t know the child’s age. No firefighters were hurt, officials said.

It’s the second time in several weeks that a child died in a fire in Wake County. Last month, a fire at a condominium complex in Raleigh killed a child and her grandmother.

Ex-North Carolina bookkeeper pleads guilty to embezzlement

WASHINGTON (AP) — A former bookkeeper for a North Carolina sewer district has pleaded guilty to embezzling nearly half a million dollars over a seven-year period from her employer, a prosecutor said Tuesday.

District Attorney Scott Thomas said Debra Conway, 57, of New Bern pleaded guilty on Monday to six felony counts of embezzlement, news outlets reported. She was sentenced to between five and seven years in prison followed by five years of probation, Thomas said. Conway also must pay $543,000 in restitution.

An auditor discovered money was being withdrawn from certain accounts of the Bay River Metropolitan Sewer District in excess of what the books showed, according to a news release.

Between 2013 and 2020, records from the payroll company showed multiple unauthorized deposits were made from the company into a bank account in Conway’s name for more than $289,000. The news release said Conway secured a gas card and made over $12,000 in unauthorized purchases, and caused unauthorized payments totaling almost $70,000 into her retirement account.

Also, the news release said Conway altered her payroll to stop withholding taxes from being removed from her paycheck, and she got the district to provide health insurance for her family despite not having a contribution withheld.