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FIRST ON 3 UPDATE: District Attorney will appeal Fire Chief's DWI dismissal; Read the DA's news release

READ MORE: FIRST ON 3 UPDATE: District Attorney will appeal Fire Chief's DWI dismissal; Read the DA's news release

BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) - New developments about Oak Island's fire chief who walked away from his DWI conviction. WWAY has been demanding accountability. Tonight, we're getting results.

Brunswick County DA Rex Gore is correcting wrong information he's been giving to us and the public. Gore now admits his office made mistakes and will take this case to the state court of appeals.

Since we started covering this story a week ago the Brunswick County DA's office told us the wrong trooper was subpoenaed for a hearing June 8 in John House's DWI case. Judge Ola Lewis dismissed the charge after prosecutor Erin Holden came to court ill-prepared to proceed with the case. Wednesday Gore announced he is appealing Lewis's ruling to suppress evidence in the case and her subsequent dismissal of House's charge.

A court clerk and Gore both told WWAY that the wrong trooper was subpoenaed. In fact no trooper was ever subpoenaed for the hearing.

Gore says there's been many versions of this story because of miscommunication in his office. In a statement sent to news outlets with a copy of the appeal Gore says his staff is committed to pursuing every avenue available to get House back into court so that a full hearing can be held.

Gore says the dismissal of the DWI charge against the fire chief is a result of a mistake made by his "young assistant" Holden. Gore denied our request to talk on camera. He also refused to let us speak with Holden.

View Press Release



Today, my office filed notice of appeal over the granting of a motion
to suppress evidence in the State vs. Raymond House (08 CRS 6990). (See
copy of notice)

The Motion to Suppress in this case was scheduled for the morning
session of Superior Court on June 8, 2010. When the Assistant District
Attorney in charge of the hearing called in sick, my staff asked for the case
to be continued. When that request was denied, the Assistant District
Attorney was contacted and came in for the hearing. While preparing for the
hearing with officers there for that purpose, the Assistant realized that she
did not have a vital witness from the Highway Patrol. The witness had not
been subpoenaed and did not know to be in court. The witness was promptly
located, but he was in a meeting ninety miles away and it was apparent that
the State could not proceed with the hearing during the morning session of
court. At 12:33, when the Court called the motion for hearing, another
motion for continuance was sought and that motion was denied. The State
then sought a delay until the afternoon session of court, but no later than
3:30. That motion was denied and the Judge granted the Motion to Suppress
when the State was unable to proceed.

The failure to have the witnesses in place for the morning session was
the fault of the State. Following the denial of the motion to continue there
were no further efforts to contact the witness to come into court that day.
The witness would have been available once he had been given notice of a
time to appear for the afternoon session.

The laws of North Carolina provide for an appeal of the granting of a
Motion to Suppress in these matters. We are taking the steps necessary to
have such a review conducted.

At no time on June 8, 2010, was this matter scheduled for trial. The
laws of North Carolina provide procedures for an appeal of a dismissal of a
case by a judge. We are taking the steps necessary to review the dismissal
entered by the judge in this matter.

My Staff is committed to pursuing every avenue available to the State
to get the Defendant back into court so that a full hearing on the merits can
be held. We will await the outcome of the appeals process.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.


Fire chiefs dwi dismissal

Personally Iam glad his case was dismissed. Iam also a Nc Firefighter that has been wrongfully charged with a dwi charge and I wasnt even drinking!!!! My job depends on a not guilty verdict What I dont understand is the dwi courts in columbus and brunswick county and bladen counties are fixed! the judge has a personal vendetta against impaired drivers because her daughter was killed by a impaired driver and they dont get a fair trial. The only chance a person has at a fair trial is trial by jury. Iam going through this and awaiting my trial or hanging rather! Its stressful feeling like everything is cut and dry before you even get into court. I can sympathize with the chief sleepless nights wondering whether or not he will have a job!!!

Hate to break it to ya

I have spent 20 years of my life in public service and law enforcement. Basic fact; if you were not drinking, then you have nothing to worry about. Unless, you were on narcotics, and hopefully being a firefighter that is not the case. I assume you were given roadside sobriety and offered a breath test at the jail. No alchol means .00 means no probable cause at the magistrate's office. A refusal means the DMV takes your license for 12 months and the county takes it for 30 days, just because you refused. That has nothing to do with the conviction.

As far as the DWI court being "fixed", you have no idea what we have to prove to her to get a conviction. Because she lost a family member, she makes sure the officers did it right. No exceptions.

I understand you are stressed. If you took the test and blew .00, you wouldn't even be commenting so you either blew something or refused.

i thank that she should not be the judge

i thank we need a new judge in town because she is not doing her jobbbbb




Whether or not any actual paper subpoena was issued for a trooper, that doesn't mean that there wasn't a trooper 'under subpoena' and required to be there for the hearing. From having relatives who are attorneys in other DA's offices, I know that ADA's often know the troopers or officers personally to the point of maybe even having them on speed dial on their phones. If that's the case here, then it is very possible that ADA Holden had spoken to the trooper that she thought was needed for the hearing and told him to be there, and if he was available, there would have been no need to issue an actual subpoena. He would still be required to be in court. The press release from Gore says that Holden realized the error when she was meeting with officers in the case on the day of the hearing, and I would bet that whatever trooper she thought was needed was probably there, even though she hadn't officially subpoenaed him, and he was probably the one who helped her figure out that someone else was needed to testify. How else would she have known that she needed the other witness who was in Fayetteville? So, what difference does it make if the first trooper wasn't under a paper subpoena if he was actually there that day anyway? It seems like a matter of symantics to me and not a newsworthy difference that should be focused on in a case where there are clearly so many other real problems, like why this fire chief still has a job.



Not So Nuts

You clearly don't know anything about the court system if you think that officers only come to court if they have a paper subpoena. I have family members in the court system, and from what they tell me, officers rarely actually get paper subpoenas. They either have set court dates when they always come to court, or the attorneys just call them up and tell them when to be there, and they show up out of professional courtesy. As long as their supervisors know that they are going to court for something having to do with one of their cases, why would an attorney ever need to force an officer to come to court by holding a subpoena over their head? Not to mention that having to subpoena every single officer that is needed every day in Brunswick County would probably create a huge amount of paperwork for whoever was doing the subpoenas, not to mention the Sheriff's Department, who would spend all day every day serving subpoenas on their own officers.


I did hear it correctly. The reporter did say the DA's "young assistant" was at fault. Can you say "Pass the Buck?"

I actually tried to call WWAY last night to clarify what I had heard. You know, when you call 411 to get the number for the station, you get the fax number. Strange.......

Needless to say, something fishy is going on. Seems the use of the buddy system has blown up in their faces and now, heads are gonna have to roll. Hope you had a good run of it at the DA's office Mr. "Young Assistant." You may lose your job so that others save face.

To WWAY: I have been


I have been following this story on the station and this board since it broke. Thank you all for the active and persistent coverage you have given this.

Said it before

Repeat it again

The NC State Bar should be brought in to review the professional or less thah professional conduct of the members of the DA Department as well as the Judge.

Clearly members of the DA Department dropped the ball and then misrepresented the true facts. That alone merits State review & possible sanctions.

Look at the Judge's actions to either clear her reputation or to caution her on proper proceedural methods.

With all the publicity in Columbus and Brunswick County over past activities, I'm amazed no one sought an outside review.

With a new DA coming in after the election, maybe it's time to clean house and clear the slate.


After all the stuttering in the news interview the other day, Rex comes back with a letter to appeal this. I hope the appeal goes through as this case needs to be dealt with. Had any other fireman, police officer , EMT or such working for the county had this charge against them it would never have been dismissed like this. I still think there is a lot of "CYA" going on, but hope it has the right conclusion with a conviction and loss of his job as it should be. He had no concern about the public when he was out driving drunk, so the public should have no concern about his job.

Time for all the people to keep on all these politicians and their under the table dealings with the good ole boy network and such. We need good, clear headed leadership that stands for the people and not just the few, or the well connected, or the wealthy....but for the average tax paying citizen!!!!!!


Okay, so the DA's letter indicates a lack of preparedness, but STILL confirms, in writing, that his office contacted the Trooper and that he was unable to attend the scheduled hearing because he was in Fayetteville. The trooper met and spoke personally with WWAY and indicated that he DID NOT speak with anyone at the DA's office and was not contacted in any fashion. So, am I missing something?

check your pay stubs, maybe you're missing a paycheck

from Brunswick County...

Yes, you are missing something.

The press release from Gore says that the correct trooper was LOCATED, not that he was personally contacted, by the DA's office. The trooper was a First Sergeant who has staff and other people working for him, not just a regular trooper on patrol. They probably talked to someone in his office, so they were able to determine where he was and whether he would be able to get to court by talking to that person instead of the First Sergeant himself. He might not have even known yet that they were trying to get up with him. One of the previous articles said that no further attempts were made to get up with him after the motion to continue was denied, so he probably never knew any of this was going on, because it was no longer necessary to get him to come to court, but that doesn't mean that no one in his office knew.

Here we go again.!!!!!!!!

Can't wait to see how this turns out.
So many crooks in office these days.
Glad to see we are going to weed them out.(one by one)
Glad to see our system at work. The way it should be.
If this would have been a reg. joe he would be under the jail. high bond.No driveing for a year. fines, classes,mabe something to blow in to start the car.
our laws are writen for every one. not just your avrage joe's. every one...That includes , police, fire, army, navey, marines, doc, sent. judges, or any one else in a state or local office---every one. even our governers or President.... every one...our laws are writen for the people to protect our people from our people, not to line your pockets. the lineing of your pocket should just be a bonus. And the people should allways come first.Being just as fare as one can be giving the situation.regardless of race, color, creed, or office held.
that is the way it should be. that is the way it is writen.
mabe i cant spell....but im not stupid...

Well, Well, Well

Seems like Mr. Gore is listening to the voices of the people now that the fire is licking at his butt. This case should have been handled properly and in the case of DWI at a .14, this should have never been allowed to be appealed regardless of the lack of LEO in the courtroom. This is the time to take a stand and stop being soft and allowing so many rights to be stretched. This was not a murder case, it was a case of stupid actions by one person who should have been fired when convicted the first time.
This also exposes the "good ole boy" network in Oak Island that has been there for many years now. When will it stop?
Mr. Walters, step up to the plate and relieve House of his position as he should have been fired when he first was convicted. Would you have allowed a public works employee or someone of lower rank to remain on payroll with just a suspension? I think not!
Working in a safety sensitive position such as Fire Chief DEMANDS a mature thinking person who would not have endangered lives on the road that night or any other time by drinking and driving. The comments made by House are stupid and show he does not take this issue seriously. I guess he is in the "GOB" network.
Sad state of affairs

What everyone is forgetting,

What everyone is forgetting, the case was appealed. Alot of people are saying that the fire chief was convicted. However, when someone goes to court in District Court, is convicted then appeals the case to Superior Court, the conviction is thrown out and the case starts over from scratch in Superior Court. Therefore, the fire chief was not convicted. I think that the court transcript should be obtained by wway tv3 and published so that the public can hear and read what actually happened in court that day. If ADA Holden (aka Princess) lied to the judge then she should punished for lying. If anyone else lies to the court, they are punished. Maybe Princess should spend some time in the Brunswick County Hilton to think about the error of her ways. After that, she needs to go back to law school and learn how to prosecute cases. From what I heard, the ADA was given the opportunity to dismiss the case herself. This would have allowed for the DA's office to come back and charge the fire again. However, Princess wasn't smart enough to figure it out.


heat must really be on at the DA's office. Now while they are preparing the appeal Oak Island needs to do the right thing and fire John House. The man does not deserve another red cent from the taxpayers. He showed a blantant disregard for the law and the safety of others. And his wonderful statement he gave was a slap in the face to everyone. See ya House. Dont let the door hit ya on the way out!