News, news, news

Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

  • 1

Seems that Thursday was a newsy day. Let’s have a look, through the lens of our TV friends:

Couple killed
In the parlance of WLOSers, a murder investigation has begun for a Fairview couple killed “on the other side of the world.” They make is sound like the other side of the universe. Anyway, police in Thailand are investigating the shooting deaths of Phillip and Ashley McRowan, also known as Prince Anouvong Sethathirath IV and his wife Princess Oulayvanh Sethathirath. The couple, who claim to be part of an ancient royal family from Laos, were shot to death this week while visiting Thailand (near the Laos border) with a couple of other folks from Ashvegas.

Cherub Charu told us last night at 11 that Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College President K. Ray Bailey had been invited on the trip but didn’t go. Charu never asks why Bailey didn’t go. But we hear from Bailey that the community college was interested in working with the McRowans to set up some sort of international connection, through the school, between the Lao people in that region of Thailand and the U.S. Ashley McRown had been an A-B Tech student, Bailey says, and the couple were nice people.

Charu then spirals off to talk to our local FBI agent, who says the FBI will only investigate if it’s asked to investigate. That’s about it. There’s no word as to why no other higher-ups in the U.S. government seem too upset about a North Carolina couple shot dead in another country. No word as to why someone in Thailand would want to kill this couple – though Diva Darcel did mention something about police saying the communist government in Laos may have been threatened by the couple, which was helping the poor by building schools and sponsoring English teachers there. Here’s a twist – one of those English teachers that the McRowans was sponsoring was Gabriel Cade, a cast member from the second season of Survivor. Cade originally hails from Yancey County, thus the local connection.

Crackhead’s testimony doesn’t hold water, murder suspect walks free
After about a two-week murder trial, a man charged with shooting an Ashvegas pharmacist to death walked free when a jury found him not guilty in the nearly three-year-old case.

The pharmacist was found dead in his car along Hendersonville Road a couple of days after he was first reported missing. The case initially stumped police, who stopped traffic along the busy roadway to pass out fliers asking for help and using a phone-calling system to ask for help.

Police finally arrested a drug addict and charged him with the killing, saying the addict wanted the pharmacist dead because the pharmacist planned to testify against him in an upcoming drug case. But police had no physical evidence to tie the man to the murder.

All prosecutors came up with was alleged eye-witness testimony from a crackhead, who said she saw it all. On the stand, she admitted that she was high as a kite on Mount Mitchell and, through the drug-induced haze, couldn’t really be sure of anything.

The defense didn’t put up a single witness.

After three hours of deliberation, the jury told the suspected killer he was a free man.

More blood and gore
If it bleeds it leads, right? Well, not when you have a ton of it. Here’s a roundup:

WLOSers updated us about a dead teen from Cherokee who was found dead this week – grandma said there probably wouldn’t be an open casket because she’d been shot in the head. Police are investigating.

A McDowell County man got his sleeve caught in a woodsplitter. A rescuer, who was also a friend, said he had “severe lacerations” to the left arm, chest and face.” Ooof.

An elderly woman died in a house fire in Barnardsville. An old, uncleaned chimney was likely the cause, said fire investigators.

The soapbox
People either love or hate McDonald’s. ‘Nuff said.

Is that a gun in your pants, or are you just happy to see me?
You know that old comedy chestnut where someone is asked to disarm, and they toss a gun on the floor. Then they toss another one. Then they pull out a shotgun. Then a machete. Then a baseball bat. Soon the floor is pile high enough gear to outfit a platoon. Ha, ha! How could that little guy hold all that?

Well, somebody has taken that joke and runied it all for us by taking it into schools to teach teachers, and students, how much shit you really can hid in your drawers. All this to show people that you have to be careful. WLOS had the video. And guess what. Despite the serious subject, it was still funny as shit watching him carefully pull a Samurai sword from between his legs.

Paper ballots for all
Buncombe County will use paper ballots in May for the primary election because of new state regulations about a requirement to have a paper trail for a vote. Vote early and often, people.

Fitness freak
Jon “Punnyman Le, wearing a suit again, interviewed an 86-year-old who doesn’t put any weight on machines but still goes to workout at some gym in Hooterville. The farmer had a stroke four years ago, but he’s coming back. All for one goal – to ride his tractor again.

He goes to the gym with his wife of 58 years. Other people working out say the old geezer is an inspiration. The wife says, “I think he comes here for the pretty girls, really.”

Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

  • 1
Next Article


  1. Edgy Mama January 20, 2006

    How much shit can you HIDE in your drawers?

  2. david January 20, 2006

    you clearly didn’t listen to the story, fbi won’t comment on the case details. the ab-tech guy said his schedule won’t allow it.

  3. D January 20, 2006

    So I wasn’t the only one that thought there was alot of killin’ around here the last couple of weeks. Sheesh.

  4. david January 20, 2006

    And let’s don’t forget how our good friends at WLOS dropped the ball again, at least from a competitive standpoint, getting their arses handed to them by WSPA. The body of Mitch Carver, the Army helicopter pilot from Leicester who was killed in Iraq, was flown to GSP last night. Channel 7 led with it, a live shot and PKG, including a good sound bite from the grieving father. What did "Western North Carolina’s News Leader" do with the story? A full-screen graphic/reader at 11:05. Way to go, guys — from brief mention to lead story and back to brief mention, while the South Carolina station is all over it. It’s not always technologically easy to get a live shot out of the Upstate, but this was a story for which it would have been worth making the effort, or sending "NewsSat 13, bringing you live immediate coverage from across the Carolinas." What would Mark "Wrap Myself in the Red, White and Blue" Hyman think of missing this opportunity to honor a hero?


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.