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Courts

  • Man serves 25 years of life sentence

    Less than 25 years after being sentenced to life in prison in Brunswick County Superior Court, a man convicted of a first-degree sexual offense has been approved for parole.

    David Alton Bullard, 62, was convicted on June 6, 1988, of a first-degree sexual offense for his role in a sexual assault on July 2, 1987.

    According to court appeal documents filed in 1988, Bullard was found guilty along with a co-defendant for assaulting a female victim. Both men forced the victim to perform fellatio on them by force and against her will.

  • Man gets life sentence for rape, kidnap and murder

    A Brunswick County man has escaped the death penalty by pleading guilty to the 2008 murder of a Leland woman.

    Now Carl Alston, 39, will spend the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of parole.

    Last Friday was to be the third day of jury selection in Alston’s murder trial. Instead, he pleaded guilty to first-degree murder, first-degree rape and first-degree kidnapping of 49-year-old Valerie Burns.

    Both the prosecution and the judge said her murder was “brutal.”

  • District court docket

    The following cases were adjudicated over five days of District Criminal Court on Feb. 27 and 28 and March 1, 4 and 5 in Bolivia.

    Codes: PG, pleaded guilty; PNG/NG, pleaded not guilty, found not guilty; PNG/G, pleaded not guilty, found guilty; BCDC, Brunswick County Detention Center; NCDOC, North Carolina Department of Corrections.

    Wednesday, Feb. 27

    Judge Jerry A. Jolly presided over the following cases with prosecutor Quintin McGee and courtroom clerk Courtney Graham:

    Brockton Bradley Aherns, PG speeding 70/55.

  • Alston pleads guilty to first-degree murder; sentenced to life in prison

    Carl Alston, 39, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder, first-degree rape and first-degree kidnapping in the 2008 murder of 49-year-old Valerie Burns.

    Alston accepted a plea deal on Friday morning—it was to be the third day of jury selection in the trial. District Attorney John David and his office were seeking the death penalty for Alston.

  • District court docket

    The following cases were adjudicated over four days of District Criminal Court on Feb. 20, 22, 25 and 26 in Bolivia.

    Codes: PG, pleaded guilty; PNG/NG, pleaded not guilty, found not guilty; PNG/G, pleaded not guilty, found guilty; BCDC, Brunswick County Detention Center; NCDOC, North Carolina Department of Corrections.

    Wednesday, Feb. 20

    Judge Pauline Hankins presided over the following cases with prosecutor Glen Emory and courtroom clerk Courtney Graham:

    Phebie Smith Alderson, reckless driving to endanger, voluntarily dismissed.

  • Ash man sentenced to more than 9 years for selling crack

    An Ash man has been sentenced to more than nine years in jail for selling crack.

    Frederick Williams, 29, of Ash, was sentenced by Chief United States District Judge James C. Dever III in federal court in Raleigh on Wednesday, Feb. 27. He received 112 months imprisonment followed by three years of supervised release.

    Williams pleaded guilty on July 11, 2012, to six counts of distribution of a quantity of cocaine base (crack).

  • Jury selection under way for capital murder trial

    More than a hundred people reported to the Brunswick County courthouse for jury duty Monday morning.

    The prosecution and defense are seeking 12 qualified jurors and two alternates to decide the fate of Carl Henry Alston in the county’s first capital punishment case since 2006.

    Qualified jurors must not oppose the death penalty and must also be willing to consider life in prison if the defendant is found guilty.

    Jury selection is expected to continue next week with opening statements to be presented late in the week.

  • District court docket

    The following cases were adjudicated over two days of District Criminal Court on Feb. 15 and 18 in Bolivia.

    Codes: PG, pleaded guilty; PNG/NG, pleaded not guilty, found not guilty; PNG/G, pleaded not guilty, found guilty; BCDC, Brunswick County Detention Center; NCDOC, North Carolina Department of Corrections.

    Friday, Feb. 15

    Judges Jerry A. Jolly and Nancy C. Phillips presided over the following cases with prosecutors Quintin McGee and Jamie Turnage and courtroom clerks Courtney Graham and Heather Jesina:

  • Capital punishment trial set to begin March 4

    A Leland man’s death penalty trial gets under way Monday, March 4, in a Brunswick County courtroom.

    Carl Henry Alston, 39, faces charges of felony murder, felony first-degree rape and felony first-degree kidnapping for the 2008 murder of 49-year-old Valerie Burns.

    According to reports published in the Beacon in 2008, Burns’ body was found inside the trunk of her gray 1994 Buick Regal about 10 miles from her Bluff Drive residence in Leland on July 30, 2008. She had last been seen in downtown Wilmington on the night of July 29, 2008.

  • District court docket

    The following cases were adjudicated over three days of District Criminal Court on Feb. 6, 7 and 11 in Bolivia.

    Codes: PG, pleaded guilty; PNG/NG, pleaded not guilty, found not guilty; PNG/G, pleaded not guilty, found guilty; BCDC, Brunswick County Detention Center; NCDOC, North Carolina Department of Corrections.

    Wednesday, Feb. 6

    Judge Scott L. Ussery presided over the following cases with prosecutor Quintin McGee and courtroom clerk Courtney Graham:

    Dustin Lee Abrams, PG expired registration card/tag.