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Published: Thursday, November 09, 2017 @ 11:56 PM
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — A retired Navy veteran was arrested Wednesday in connection with the murder of Ashanti Billie, 19, whose body was found on the lawn of a church in northwest Charlotte in September.
Eric Brown, 45, is suspected of having abducted Billie, of Virginia Beach, Virginia, on Sept. 18 as she arrived for work at a Blimpie’s restaurant on Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek in Virginia Beach, according to court documents.
Brown has been charged with murder and kidnapping. He faces a maximum penalty of life in prison if convicted.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg police also charged Brown with murder.
Brown was first arrested for separate charges in Virginia last month before detectives linked him to Billie’s death, officials said.
Charlotte resident Warren Stukes said that his children grew up with Brown and he was shocked at the age of the woman he is accused of murdering.
"Nineteen? That's even worse," Stukes said. “That's a young girl who has not lived her life. He lived his life."
On Sept. 29, Billie’s body was found in a wooded area behind East Stonewall AME Zion Church about 300 yards from Brown’s childhood home.
Police said Billie was the subject of a missing persons investigation in Norfolk, Virginia. She had been missing since Sept. 18.
"She was happy here,” Ashanti Billie’s mother, Brandy Billie, said about Virginia Beach. “She liked it here and to think this is where it ended for her."
Brown, who spent 21 years in the Navy, worked as a day laborer and helped with the construction of the Blimpie’s this past summer.
Brown was homeless and lived in random facilities and buildings on and off the naval bases, police said.
Billie’s coworkers said that Brown would visit the Blimpie’s almost every day, and that he was seen so often in the neighboring buildings, that they believed Brown worked there.
Video surveillance recorded Billie’s car entering the base at 4:58 a.m. Sept. 18 and circling the Blimpie’s at 5 a.m.
The driver of the vehicle in both videos was a person wearing dark-colored clothing, consistent with the clothing Billie was reportedly wearing.
Video surveillance recorded a person in light-colored clothing in Billie’s car driving out of the base at about 5:33 a.m.
At about 5:44 a.m., residential video surveillance recorded a person wearing light-colored clothing, driving a car consistent with Billie’s, stop at a construction dumpster in Norfolk.
A few hours later, construction workers found Billie’s cellphone in the dumpster.
Billie’s car was found in Norfolk on Sept. 23.
Inside the car, agents recovered Billie’s pants, which contained dirt and debris. The undercarriage of the car also contained dirt and vegetative debris.
Several witnesses described seeing a car like Billie’s during the week of Sept. 18 parked at various locations in Charlotte neighborhoods, near where Billie’s body was found. The property where the body was found is owned by and located next to the church where Brown attended vacation Bible school as a child.
"To know that this man took the time out to go back to the church where he went to Bible study at when he was a child, like how do you do that? That's sickening," said Kimberly Wimbish, a spokeswoman for Billie’s family.
Brown’s wireless internet usage data indicated that he used his mobile devices nearly every day from Sept. 1 to Sept. 29.
The only day in that time period that there was no usage data is Sept. 18, which is the day Billie went missing, police said.
Brown’s wireless internet usage data also indicated that he was on the base from Sept. 14 until late in the evening of Sept. 17, which is when all usage data stopped until starting again Sept. 19.
A review of security camera video from all of the gates on the base revealed no evidence of Brown ever leaving the base from Sept. 14 through Sept. 18.
A records check of base entry logs indicated that Brown re-entered Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek on the afternoon of Sept. 19.
During an Oct. 27 interview with law enforcement, Brown told agents he was on the base in Little Creek on the evening of Sept. 17, and that at one point, he blacked out and had no recollection of what he did for several days after that.
When discussing the abduction and murder of Billie, Brown confirmed that he could not remember if he did anything to Billie, according to law enforcement.
In federal documents, a witness said Brown told them he hated African-American women.
"It is disgraceful and I will not accept PTSD," Wimbish said of Brown’s claims regarding his memory.
Brown appeared in court Wednesday and is being held in Norfolk.
"For me, I'm looking to stack every charge that we can put on him," said Ashanti Billie’s father, Meltony Billie.
Eric Brown’s family member, DeVona Brown Alleyne, released the following statement Wednesday evening:
Published: Wednesday, April 18, 2018 @ 10:00 AM
Updated: Friday, April 20, 2018 @ 2:14 AM
WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE — A major gateway will close at Wright-Patterson today for maintenance, impacting the travel of thousands of commuters.
Gate 19B off National Road will be closed from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m., according to base spokesman Daryl Mayer.
More than 5,700 inbound drivers travel through the entrance and nearly 6,300 drive off base through the gate every work day.
Crews will work on “routine maintenance” at the gateway, Mayer said.
“Since that (gate) is open 24/7 normally, they never have a chance to work on it,” he said.
Motorists may use Gates 1B off Springfield Street and Gate 22B off Interstate 675 as alternatives, according to Wright-Patterson.
Gate 19B had a major makeover last year with $1.3 million in upgrades that added overhead canopies, more guard booths and a barrier system, Wright-Patterson has said.
The base closed Gate 26A off Ohio 235 because of security concerns this month. The gate, which had more than 5,000 vehicles a day, remains closed.
Published: Friday, April 20, 2018 @ 2:06 AM
DAYTON — A man already jailed on suspicion of murder in a Dayton homicide that occurred in January, was indicted Thursday on more charges.
ORIGINAL REPORT: Arrest made in Dayton man’s death over the weekend
Kalvin K. Jones, 23, was indicted for aggravated possession of drugs and possession of cocaine, after a April 2017 case against him was reopened, according to online court documents.
Jones was already being held in Montgomery County Jail on a count of murder after he was accused in the death of Michael Cook, 21, found dead in an alley on Brooklyn Avenue.
He is being held on a $1 million bond on the murder charge, with a hearing set for June 22 in that case, court documents show.
Published: Friday, April 20, 2018 @ 12:22 AM
Updated: Friday, April 20, 2018 @ 1:49 AM
TRENTON, Fla. — Two Florida sheriff’s deputies were killed Thursday, shot through the window of a Chinese restaurant as they shared a meal, The Gainesville Sun reported. The man who allegedly shot the Gilchrist County deputies was found dead in a car outside the restaurant, authorities said.
Deputy Taylor Lindsey, 25, and Sgt. Noel Ramirez, 29, were eating at the Ace China restaurant in Trenton at 3 p.m. when they were shot, according to a Sheriff’s Office statement.
The Sheriff’s Office identified the shooter as John Hubert Highnote, 59, of Bell, Florida. Deputies responding to the shooting found Highnote dead from a gunshot wound, the statement said.
Lindsey had a girlfriend, while Ramirez was a seven-year veteran and was married with two children, Gilchrist County Sheriff Bobby Schultz said.
Schultz called the shooter “a coward,” while Bill Cervone, state attorney for Florida’s 8th Judicial Circuit, called the act “inexplicable.”
"It appears (the shooter) just walked up and shot them, then went to his car and shot himself. It’s inexplicable ... people will want to know why and we may never have an answer for them," Cervone told the Sun.
“Sgt. Ramirez and Deputy Lindsay were the best of the best,” Schultz said at a news conference. “They’re men of integrity, they’re men of loyalty, they are God-fearing and they loved what they did. We are very proud of them.”
Schultz added that he did not want to make his remarks political, but said “What do you expect when you demonize law enforcement to the extent it has been demonized?”
The shooting was not prompted by any incident in the restaurant, the Sun reported.
In a statement, Florida Gov. Rick Scott said he was “heartbroken.”
"It is true evil for anyone to hurt a law enforcement officer, and in Florida, we have zero tolerance for violence, especially against the police," Scott said.
President Donald Trump and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio tweeted their condolences.
My thoughts, prayers and condolences are with the families, friends and colleagues of the two @GCSOFlorida deputies (HEROES) who lost their lives in the line of duty today.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 19, 2018
Just landed and received the terrible news that 2 #Florida deputies fatally shot in Gilchrist County. Please pray for their families. Reminder of the #ThinBlueLine protecting us every single day. https://t.co/KuZFmNA55C #sayfie— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) April 20, 2018
Published: Friday, April 20, 2018 @ 1:46 AM
PITTSBURGH — A man who was stabbed early Thursday morning while at a Pittsburgh bar remained at the establishment for 30 minutes before leaving, investigators said.
Police were called about 2 a.m. to a residential area near Pollock’s Cafe.
Investigators said the 40-year-old victim was stabbed in the shoulder after he apparently got into a fight with another person.
The man did not seek medical attention and stayed in the bar for about 30 minutes after he was stabbed before going to the residential area, police said.
The man was taken to a hospital, police said.