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County clerk of court appointed to district judgeship

Kim Gasperson-Justice speaks to the Kiwanis Club in January 2019. Kim Gasperson-Justice speaks to the Kiwanis Club in January 2019.

Gov. Roy Cooper on Monday appointed Clerk of Superior Court Kim Gasperson-Justice to a District Court judgeship serving Henderson Polk and Transylvania counties, the third of three judgeships to be filled in District 29B since last October.

Gasperson-Justice, a Republican, will fill the vacant seat previously held by the Honorable Peter Knight, now a Superior Court Judge in District 29B. Knight was appointed to replace Resident Superior Court Judge Mark Powell, who retired last Oct. 1.

Gasperson-Justice has served as Clerk of Superior Court in Henderson County since 2006 and before that had nearly 17 years of experience in private practice. She is also a retired major in the U.S. Army Reserves Judge Advocate General Corps. A graduate of West Henderson High School, Gasperson-Justice received a Bachelor of Arts from Mars Hill College and her Juris Doctor from Campbell University School of Law.

Knight, who is now resident Superior Court judge for District 29B, will appoint the next Henderson County Clerk of Superior Court. The new Clerk of Superior Court will have to run for election next year and again in 2022, the regular cycle of Henderson County constitutional officers.

Last October, Cooper appointed C.W. “Mack” McKeller, a Democrat, to the District Court judgeship that became vacant after he appointed Chief District Court Judge Athena Fox Brooks as a special Superior Court judge. McKeller served in the U. S. Navy for 13 years as a lieutenant commander and commanding officer. He is also the founding member of McKeller Law Firm, P.C., representing clients in civil and criminal matters at the trial and appellate level. McKeller received his Juris Doctor from Campbell University School of Law, and his Bachelor of Arts degree from Wake Forest University. 

Cooper also appointed Ellen Shelley of Marion as District Court Judge in Judicial District 29A, serving McDowell and Rutherford counties. Shelley fills the vacancy created when Judge Laura Powell resigned to take a position as the District 29A public defender. He appointed Bob R. Cherry of Newport as District Court judge in Judicial District 3B, serving Craven, Carteret and Pamlico counties.

"These experienced attorneys bring valuable knowledge of the law and their communities to the bench, and I’m thankful for their willingness to serve North Carolina,” Cooper said in a news release.