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Thursday, January 13, 2011 | 50¢ Court rules: Underwood won’t get a new trial Staff report UNDERWOOD A former Salisbury police officer serving life in prison for murder will not get a new trial, a federal appeals court has ruled. In a ruling filed Wednesday, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a year-old order by a federal judge to vacate the conviction of Lamont Claxton “L.C.” Underwood in the 1993 kidnapping and murder of Viktor Gunnarsson. An opinion written to accompany the order, Fourth Circuit judges said the state had “overwhelming evidence” against Underwood and that even if his defense attorneys were ineffective as he argued, that would not have changed the outcome of the case. The trial drew international attention since Gunnarsson had been accused and cleared in the 1986 assassination of Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme. The Discovery Channel aired a documentary on the investigation after Underwood was convicted. Underwood, now 59, is serving a life sentence plus 40 years. He is currently in the Marion Correctional Center. Prosecutors contended that Underwood was jealous of Gunnarsson, seeing him as a romantic rival for Kay Weden, Underwood’s former fiance. Prosecutors contended that Underwood NO BREAK AT HOME SCHOOL stalked, spied on and harassed Weden before kidnapping Gunnarsson from his home, locking him in the trunk of his 1979 Chevrolet Monte Carlo and driving him to a secluded area 109 miles away along the Blue Ridge See UNDERWOOD, 6A Murdered student had ties to Salisbury Family says police are making University of Maryland senior out to be criminal, not victim BY SHELLEY SMITH WaYne hinshaW/FOR THe sALIsBURY POsT Bevin Fink instructs her children at the dining room table in their home school lesson about the human body Wednesday. Bad weather doesn’t mean time off for some students BY SARAH CAMPBELL Snow and ice didn’t halt learning for some area children this week. Although the county’s public school systems called off classes, the treacherous roads didn’t faze parents who home school their children. “The weather doesn’t stop us,” Bevin Fink said Wednesday after going over a human anatomy lesson with her children. “I think sometimes public schools do have a disadvantage as far as that goes.” Fink said teaching her three children Sara Lynn, 12, Noah, 11, and Seth, 8, from their Cleveland residence allows flexibility in scheduling. “I think one of the great things about home schooling is that life still happens and I think that children have to learn that,” she said. “Not everything is going to fit in a Monday through Friday schedule from 8 in the morning until 3. Things come up.” Gordon Furr, who home school’s his high school son Kelse, said although he generally follows the public school’s schedule, he also conducted class Wednesday. He said home schooling gives him See STUDENTS, 2A As days at home pile up, some parents running out of ideas BY SARAH CAMPBELL Although students may be relishing the days off brought on by this week’s winter weather, many parents say it’s time to head back to class. “I’ve enjoyed having them home, but I’m ready for them to go back to school,” Keenen Witherspoon said Wednesday as he picked up his daughters Ty’Asia Hunt, 5, and Alexandra Witherspoon, 3, from the J.F. Hurley Family YMCA’s child care after working out. “We’ve had a great time playing in the snow, but being stuck inside the house is a different story.” Today marks the fourth day this week that Rowan-Salisbury School System and Kannapolis City Schools have canceled classes due to icy road conditions. It’s the fifth day out this academic year. Sabrina Black said she’ll be glad when school starts back as she’s running out of ways to keep her children occupied. “They’ve mostly been watching movies and eating,” she said. Black packed the kids up and headed to the Rowan Public Library on Wednesday to check out some books and let the kids play some of the educational computer See DAYS, 2A sarah campbell/sALIsBURY POsT samantha shimberg takes her turn in Wii bowling Wednesday as Cameron Hyde watches at the J.F. Hurley Family YMCA. Justin DeSha-Overcash knew he wanted to be a physicist when he was a 7-year-old student at Overton Elementary. “And he never changed his mind,” said Karen DeSha, Justin’s mother. A physics and astronomy major with a minor in geophysics and math, Overcash was a senior at the University of Maryland, getting ready to begin his last semester as an undergrad student. Several times a month for the past three years, he operated the telescope at the observatory on campus during the public nights, pointing out different stars and constellations. He was a teacher’s assistant (T.A.) in the physics department — asked to help out as early as his second year of col- OVERCASH lege — and he also tutored student athletes. Tuesday morning at 11:12, he posted a link to an upcoming band’s performance on his Facebook account, something he updated nearly every day, and 15 minutes later, he was dead. Overcash was shot in his College Park, Md., home. Family members say someone approached him outside, held a gun to his back, and forced him inside. He was shot at least once, and there was only one witness, his family said. The Prince George’s County Police Department reported to media at the scene Tuesday afternoon that Overcash, who lived at the home with at least two other males, may have been selling drugs, and that marijuana, digital scales and drug packaging materials were found in the shared home. Overcash’s friends and family are outraged, saying the police profiled him as a criminal, and not the victim. “That is one of the most infuriating and disgusting things with this whole situation — the police have characterized him as a drug dealer,” said Elizabeth Warner, who is the University of Maryland’s Observatory Coordinator. Overcash’s mother said she is speaking out to as many media outlets as possible to give her son the justice he deserves. “They’re trying to kill my son twice,” she See MURDERED, 6A Warmer days on the way, but don’t stash away overcoats just yet Rowan County will continue thawing out today, and by the weekend, residents will be shedding their heavy coats in warmer temperatures under sunny skies. The N.C. Department of Transportation spent Wednesday again scraping and treating roads through- [|xbIAHD y0 0 1rzu out the county and sunshine helped melt ice off roads, parking lots and sidewalks. Temperatures dropped into the teens overnight, though, and black ice remained a hazard this morning and will be a threat for the next day or two. Today’s forecast 36º/16º Sunny, cold Deaths Today will again be sunny, but highs will be only in the upper 30s today and Friday, according to the National Weather Service forecast. Lows will be in the teens. On Saturday and Sunday, however, highs will climb into the mid-40s under mostly sunny skies, with pre- C. J. Shive Allen Reid Arey Marjorie Eich Orinson Simeon Lot Hicks Dorothy Almond Maner dicted lows of 24 Saturday night and 30 Sunday night. Monday, the Martin Luther King holiday, brings another chance of precipitation. While that could take the form of rain or freezing rain, forecasters expect a high near 50 degrees so anything frozen shouldn’t Henry Crawford Corriher Alma Deal Reba Overman Charles “June” Miller Jr. Caroline Burgin Brittain Contents Bridge Classifieds Comics Crossword 11B 5B 10B 10B linger. Monday’s low of 36 will be higher than some of the high temperatures this week. And on Tuesday, temperatures could break the 50-degree mark. Those temperatures are close to normal for this time of year. Deaths 5A Travel 1B Entertainment11B Entertainment11B Horoscope 11B Opinion 4A Second Front 3A Sports 1C Weather 12B

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