Macon County Superior Court was held from Jan. 12-14. The session was held after being delayed by inclement weather. The honorable Judge James L. Baker presided during the proceedings, and handed down several felony sentences.
— Kyle Allen Morgan, 23, pled guilty to driving while impaired, reckless driving, failure to stop at stop sign, fleeing and eluding arrest, speeding and injury to real property. Morgan was given 36 months of supervised probation, six months of which will be on intensive probation, and must complete alcohol assessment classes. Morgan is not to operate a motor vehicle within 90 days after his judgment.
On March 6, 2010, Morgan was paralyzed after being ejected from a vehicle in an accident that occurred when he attempted to elude law enforcement officers. The vehicle travelled northwest at approximately 60 miles per hour, on Wide Horizon Road.
— Malcom Lynn Adams, 21, pled guilty to two charges of trafficking MDMA and MDA. Adams was given an active sentence of 35 to 42 months in North Carolina Department of Corrections custody, but was given credit for the 224 days he had spent at a faith-based rehabilitation program called “No Longer Bound” shortly after his arrest. He was also ordered to pay a $25,000 fine and $3,425 in restitution fees to the court.
Adams was one of six others charged with felony drug crimes, and ultimately arrested by sheriff’s deputies on June 6 of last year.
— Louis Henry Atwood, 29, pled guilty to manufacturing marijuana and was given 30 months of supervised probation in Atlanta, Georgia, where he now resides. Atwood must also submit to DNA testing and substance abuse assessments. He must also pay $2,000 in restitution fees and complete 72 hours of community service. The horticultural equipment confiscated by authorities will be donated to Macon Middle School for its horticultural department.
Atwood professed before the judge that he was a horticulturalist at heart and that he appreciated the aesthetics of growing cannabis. “You might want to consider growing daisies or violets instead,” said Judge Baker, to which Atwood readily agreed. Atwood was arrested on Aug. 12 of last year, after officers initially arrived at his residence and detected the odor of marijuana. After searching the home, officers found between 175 to 200 marijuana plants, in various stages of growth.
— Juan Carlos Ortega, 19, pled guilty to possessing a firearm on educational property. He was given 36 months of supervised probation, six months of which will be intensive probation.
Ortega must submit to DNA tests, 72 hours of community service and anger management classes. He is also prohibited from having any contact with the victim or entering Macon County Schools property. Restitution and community service fees amounting to $600 must also be paid.
Ortega was arrested on April 25, after he had fired several shots from a .22 pistol at the Franklin High School track. He reportedly tried to persuade two females that were walking the track to leave with him, and after they refused, he angrily fired the gun into the air, eventually fleeing the scene, only to be found soon after by officers with the Franklin Police Department.
— Tracy Eugene Hooper, 34, pled guilty to two charges of attempted breaking and entering. Hooper was given 36 months of supervised probation, six months of which will be intensive probation, and must submit to DNA testing. Hooper must perform 72 hours of community service and pay $393.82 in restitution fees and $1,442 in fines, along with attorney fees. A sentence of 12-16 months of DOC custody will ensue if found in violation.
Hooper was arrested on Aug. 12 of last year, after he had broken into three Macon County businesses. He was a part-time jailer and Deputy Sheriff with the Macon County Sheriff’s Office from 1998 to 2001 and also worked as a law enforcement officer in Jackson County. Hooper’s lawyer, Bradley Tisdale said that Hooper was “the worst burglar” he had ever seen in his career as an attorney, adding that Hooper’s conscience had come into play after he entered the businesses.