Local Politics

Soles booked on assault charge

Posted January 8, 2010

— The state's longest-serving lawmaker went to the Columbus County Jail Friday morning to be booked on an assault charge in connection with an August shooting at his Tabor City home.

A grand jury indicted Sen. R.C. Soles, D-Columbus, on Thursday on a charge of assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury.

R.C. Soles at Columbus County jail Attorney: Soles was defending himself

He and lawyer Brad Bannon arrived at the jail in a black Mercedes and declined to comment as they walked inside.

Soles was released on a $5,000 unsecured bond, and a magistrate set his next court date for Feb. 10.

Authorities have said Soles shot Thomas Kyle Blackburn, a former legal client, after two intruders kicked in the front door of the lawmaker's home. Blackburn wasn't badly hurt in the incident.

Bannon and law partner Joe Cheshire have maintained that Soles fired in self-defense.

"We'd like to reiterate that we're disappointed with the grand jury indictment," Bannon said Friday as he and Soles left the courthouse. "We continue to maintain that Sen. Soles' house was under attack on Aug. 23, and he was acting in defense of himself and in defense of his home."

The state Attorney General's Office assumed control of the case in September after local prosecutors said their close ties to Soles would preclude them from handling the investigation.

A grand jury last month found probable cause that Soles acted criminally when he shot Blackburn.

A different grand jury returned the indictment Thursday. If convicted, Soles could face 15 to 31 months in prison.

Some Columbus County residents said they still support the 75-year-old lawmaker, despite the indictment.

"I think he did a lot for Columbus County. He brought in a lot of jobs. He brought in the prison system here for us. It created a lot of jobs in the county, and the county was in need of jobs," Sue McPherson said.

"I think it's baloney," Cynthia Nickelson said of the criminal charge. "Those boys were in the wrong place. They had no business at the senator's house."

Soles has served in the General Assembly for 42 years. He said last week that he won't seek re-election in November.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • JustOneGodLessThanU Jan 11, 2010

    reese9902, your injured-robber-suing story highly unlikely. How about a reference?

    Yahoo says these kind of stories are bogus and asks for even one example:

    Here are several fake frivilous stories like yours:

  • reese9902 Jan 8, 2010

    Even though I am missing some facts. There are a few things I do know.
    1. If someone kicks down your door. They are their to do you harm.
    2. laws regarding self defense are a bit messed up, as well as criminal rights.

    Quite a few years ago a man attempted to break in to the skylight of an elderly womans house. He fell through the skylight and landed on a kitchen knife she had left on her kitchen Island. Long story short. The woman was found neglegent and the Man who was breaking into her house was awarded a civil settlement. The exact ammount I currently cannot recall. SHE WAS FORCED TO PAY THE MAN WHO BECAME INJURED WHILE BREAKING INTO HER HOUSE!!! We as people need to force the government (Which By the way works for US not the other way around) To pass reasonable laws and Protect The PEOPLE, not the criminal. Our government is broken and only we as people can fix it.

  • batricia1 Jan 8, 2010

    So the moral of the story kill who you shoot so there is only one story

  • holycow - lover of Pi Jan 8, 2010

    He should be convicted of not *eliminating* the intruders. The penalty should be a moderate whack on the hand with a wooden 12" ruler.

  • xandevalinour Jan 8, 2010

    i find it funny how many of you say the man did nothing wrong,

    if someone kicks in your door, and you shoot them....you call 911 ....you dont wait 30-45 minutes to do it either(oh wait he didnt dial 911....he called his good buddy at the LEO office and say hey man you gotta help me our

    being a senator for as long as he was in this state how could he not know the self defense law also requires you to call 911 immediately to report it

    whether it was self defense or not, soles didnt follow the law, and that is why he is being charged...things he did look strange and suspicious, whether they are or not, will be up to a judge and jury

    as many other people have stated, this is not the whole story.

  • poorman Jan 8, 2010

    He needs gun control;in other words, target practice!! I'm sure there is more to this ,but kick in my door and hopefully they would be carried out in a bag.
    Why do you folks block everything , I haven't put a post in here similar to this!

  • poorman Jan 8, 2010

    He needs gun control;in other words, target practice!! I'm sure there is more to this ,but kick in my door and hopefully they would be carried out in a bag.

  • FireFaerie88 aka snugglebunny Jan 8, 2010

    Soles is, and has always been involved in some real shady business down in Columbus County that folks don't know about. There is a real good reason WHY those guys were coming after him and there is alot left unsaid in this matter. But I will say this much in his defense, I feel that he had all right to shoot them if they were breaking down his door to get to him. I feel anyone should have the right to protect their home. Had they been breaking down my door, I'd be on trial for murder. This guy got off easy.

  • NotFromHere Jan 8, 2010

    You people seem to just believe and assume a lot of things. Soles says the other guys kicked in the door. Maybe the evidence doesn't support what he says. The only witness is another boy who was a client of Soles and Soles had paid that boy $8,000 while he was in jail. Now why would a NC Legislator and lawyer pay $8,000 to some kid's jail spending account while the kid is sitting in jail. And now the kid is supporting Soles. C'mon people this has nothing to do with self defense. Here is 25 cents please go buy yourself a clue.

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Jan 8, 2010

    oops, typo...

    Anyone making statements **against** Soles stance on guns want to explain how he can have an "A" rating from the NRA?