State News

District attorney asks for special prosecutor in Soles shooting case

Posted September 2, 2009 9:40 p.m. EDT
Updated September 3, 2009 9:16 a.m. EDT

— The district attorney investigating a shooting at the home of a state senator has asked a special prosecutor to take over the case because of his ties to the lawmaker.

Multiple media outlets reported Wednesday that District Attorney Rex Gore has asked the special prosecution unit of the state Attorney General's office to take full responsibility for the investigation into the shooting at state Sen. R.C. Soles' home last month.

Columbus County Sheriff Chris Batten said that Soles shot a former legal client, Kyle Blackburn, 22. A witness has said Blackburn was breaking into the senator's house and Soles acted in self-defense. Charges have not been filed.

Gore had been criticized because of his friendship and political ties with Soles.

The announcement came on the same day that a 17-year-old who said Soles helped him build a house and buy a Corvette was released from jail on $500,000 bond. Allen Strickland is accused of trying to elude police during a car chase last Sunday.

The State Bureau of Investigation has charged Strickland with setting the July 29 fire that burned the Tabor City home built with money from Soles.

Two weeks after the house fire, Soles became the subject of SBI investigation based on allegations from a 27-year-old man that Sole molested him more than a decade ago. Stacy Scott later recanted, saying he was under the influence of drugs when he made the allegations.