Superior Court Rulings
The following press release has been issued by the District Attorney's Office.
Macon County Superior Court Administrative Term
Newman R. Sigman, 55, of Franklin, North Carolina pled guilty to First Degree Arson and Driving While
Impaired and was sentenced to a maximum term of 94 months in the Division of Adult Corrections. He
will serve at least 51 months before he is eligible for release. These convictions stem from an August 2017
incident on Bryson City Road responded to by the Franklin Fire Department, Franklin Police Department,
and Macon County EMS with mutual aid provided by Clark’s Chapel and Cowee Fire Departments as well
as the State Bureau of Investigation.
Catlin N. Davis, 30, of Franklin, North Carolina pled guilty to Voluntary Manslaughter and was sentenced
to a maximum term of 31 months in the Division of Adult Corrections. He will serve at least 18 months
before he is eligible for release. This conviction arises from an October 2016 vehicle collision at the
intersection of US 23 and Addington Bridge Road investigated by the North Carolina State Highway
Gerald W. Shope, 58, of Franklin, North Carolina pled guilty to Trafficking Methamphetamine and was
sentenced to a maximum term of 93 months in the Division of Adult Corrections. He will serve at least 70
months before he is eligible for release. This conviction is the result of a traffic stop initiated by the
Franklin Police Department with assistance from the Macon County Sheriff’s Office.
Charles G. Spain, 43, of Franklin, North Carolina pled guilty to two counts of Possessing a Firearm as a
Convicted Felon, Breaking or Entering, Larceny, and Flee to Elude Arrest With a Motor Vehicle. He was
sentenced to a maximum term of 51 months and will serve at least 17 months before he is eligible for
release. These convictions arise from two separate incidents in Macon County; a July 2018 call to service
on Sloan Street responded to by the Franklin Police Department and an October 2018 high speed chase
involving the Dillard Police Department and Macon County Sheriff’s Office.
“A productive week of Superior Administrative Court produced over twenty guilty pleas highlighted by the
disposition of several high profile cases. This is a testament to not only the hard work of our law
enforcement officers but the court system as a whole; the Macon County Clerk’s Office, our Court
Reporters, and Bailiffs make this process work efficiently every session.”
Haywood County Superior Court Trial Term
Drug Trafficking Conviction – Over 37 Years and a Million Dollar Fine Imposed
On November 28, 2018, Matthew William Ray, 25, of Waynesville, was found guilty of trafficking in
opiates by possessing and transporting illicit hydrocodone pills after a two-day trial in Haywood County
On April 30, 2018, members of the Unified Narcotics Investigative Team observed a Century Appliance
work truck speeding, driving left of the center line, and driving with a broken tail light as it left the Allens
Creek area and travelled to Riverbend Street in Waynesville. Detectives approached the vehicle as it came
to a stop back at the business.
Matthew Ray was behind the wheel. Officers immediately noticed a .38 caliber handgun in plain view and
were granted consent to search the vehicle where they recovered a modified plastic straw with a powder
residue, a small cooler containing a brown bag containing a plastic bag which in turn contained ninety
hydrocodone pills. Hydrocodone is an opiate derivative and a Schedule II controlled substance under the
North Carolina Controlled Substances Act.
“Opiate abuse is rampant in our communities throughout Western North Carolina,” said District Attorney
Ashley Hornsby Welch. “My office aggressively prosecutes defendants who possess and peddle these
drugs in our mountains. These cases can be difficult to detect due to the clandestine nature of the drug
trade, and I commend the officers for their vigilance and hard work.”
Assistant District Attorney Kaleb Wingate tried the case for the State. “I’m so proud of Kaleb,” Welch
continued. “He’s out there doing his best for Haywood County and I want the community to know it.”
Ray received two consecutive sentences in the total amount of 450 to 564 months in prison and a one
million dollar fine, as dictated by law. “The penalty is stiff, and I’m sending the message to other dealers.
If we catch you, you are going to prison,” said Welch. “If we can save one addict from an overdose, then
we’ve done our jobs. Making a profit on people who struggle with addiction is perverse and our officers
and prosecutors are making cases and getting convictions to the best of our abilities.”
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