Soles found not guilty of assault; Jernigan denies previous claims of sexual relationship


TABOR CITY, NC (WWAY) — The saga surrounding former state senator R.C. Soles continues. Today, a judge found Soles not guilty of assault with a deadly weapon, a charge stemming from an incident at his home back in September.

“The court finds you not guilty,” District Judge Judith Daniels said.

- Advertisement -

The verdict came after two hours of testimony about claims former senator R.C. Soles beat Frankie Jernigan of Tabor City with a cane. Weeks after the incident, Jernigan wanted to drop the charge, saying Soles was like a father to him.

He also told media outlets he and Soles had a sexual relationship, a claim Jernigan admitted lying about on the witness stand.

“Did you tell them that,” asked Soles’s attorney Joe Cheshire.

“Yeah,” Jernigan said.

“Is that true,” Cheshire asked.

“No,” Jernigan said.

Jernigan admitted he and his wife went to Soles’s home uninvited in September to ask for money. He said Soles told them to leave, but they refused and Soles pepper sprayed him.

“Did Mr. Soles ask you to leave prior to him spraying you with mace,” state prosecutor Heath Nance said.

“Yeah,” Jernigan answered.

“And did you leave,” Nance asked.

“No,” Jernigan said.

“What did you say when he requested that you leave,” Nance asked.

“Give me some money, and I’ll leave,” Jernigan said.

When Jernigan still wouldn’t leave, Soles allegedly hit Jernigan once with a metal cane belonging to Jernigan’s uncle Jason Fowler, who had been arguing in the garage with Soles.

Soles did not testify, but his team never denied that he hit Jernigan. His attorney said that the then 76-year-old Soles felt trapped in his garage between the two younger men and acted in self-defense. They also said Soles had filed papers months earlier saying he did not want Jernigan and others coming around his home and office.

As far as allegations about Soles having sexual relations with multiple Tabor City men, Cheshire said no.

“It’s absolutely a complete and total lie,” Cheshire said. “It’s been investigated by law enforcement. There have never been any charges brought in any way shape or form. It is a pure lie.”

Since the original incident on September tenth, Jernigan has been caught hanging around Soles’s home and law office and charged with trespassing.

Cheshire said he hopes this case will help to stop the group of people he says preys on Soles and his huge heart.