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Newman touts felony convictions

A murder conviction and guilty pleas resulting in prison time for a variety of felonies highlighted recent Superior Court terms in Henderson and Transylvania counties, District Attorney Greg Newman said.

In the Superior Court term:

  • Michael Wilkie was found guilty by a Henderson County jury of first degree murder and sentenced to a prison term of life without parole. The State of North Carolina was represented by District Attorney Greg Newman and Assistant District Attorney Doug Mundy. The defendant was represented by Brevard lawyer Tony Dalton.
  • Collins Gibbs plead guilty to first degree burglary and was sentenced to prison for a period of 44 to 65 months.
  • Melvin McCraw pleaded guilty to receiving stolen goods, fleeing to elude arrest and to being an habitual felon. He was sentenced to an active prison term of 78 to 106 months.
  • Brittani Paris pleaded guilty to the unlawful use of a social website by a convicted sex offender and was sentenced to prison for 15 to 27 months.
  • Jose Gomez Sanchez pleaded guilty to possessing methamphetamine with the intent to manufacture, sell or deliver the controlled narcotic. He was sent to prison for 6 to 17 months.
  • Antonio Barbosa pleaded guilty to trafficking in cocaine and received a prison sentence of 35 to 42 months.
  • Raul Aceves–Rizo pleaded guilty to trafficking in methamphetamine and was given a prison sentence of 90 to 120 months.
  • Francisco Gomez-Jaramillo pleaded guilty to trafficking in methamphetamine and was sentenced to prison for a period of 70 to 93 months.
  • Amanda Pressley pleaded guilty to larceny of a firearm and trafficking in methamphetamine and was sentenced to a prison term of 34 to 69 months.
  • Jeffrey Christofferson plead guilty to assaulting a handicapped person and was sent to prison for 22 to 36 months.
  • Brandon Biddix pleaded guilty to assault on a law enforcement officer and possession of methamphetamine and was sentenced to prison for 29 to 47 months.
  • Les Peak pleaded guilty to assault by strangulation and was sentenced to prison for 12 to 24 months.
  • Robert Lindner pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm by a felon and possession of cocaine and was sent to prison for 18 to 31 months.

"These cases reflect active prison sentences and do not include the other cases where defendants plead guilty and were placed on probation," Newman said in a news release. "I appreciate the work of the assistant district attorneys in my office that worked hard to prosecute these crimes, as well as the officers and detectives in the Sheriff's Office, Hendersonville Police, Fletcher Police and Laurel Park Police Departments who investigated these cases." Marvin Pope was the presiding Superior Court judge for the Henderson County cases.

In Transylvania County, the following active sentences were ordered:

  • Mary Janice Smith pleaded guilty to assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury and was sentenced to a prison sentence of 73 to 100 months.
  • Bryan Matthew Ferguson pleaded guilty to indecent liberties with a child and was given a prison sentence of 16 to 76 months.
  • Minnie Bell Smith pleaded guilty to trafficking in opium and heroin and was sentenced to prison for 70 to 84 months.
  • James Dean Stewart was found guilty by a Transylvania County jury of assault inflicting serious bodily injury and was sentenced to a prison term of 16 to 29 months. The State of North Carolina was represented by Assistant District Attorneys Nikki Shafer and Justin Steen. The defendant was represented by attorney Scott Sheffron.

Mary Smith and Bryan Ferguson were sentenced by Superior Court Judge Mark Powell. Minnie Smith and James Stewart were sentenced by Superior Court Judge Alan Z. Thornburg. Newman thanked all officers of the Transylvania County Sheriff's Office and the Brevard Police Department for their efforts in investigating these cases. The next trial term for Superior Court is March 9 in Polk County and March 16 in Henderson County.