Today in Swain County Superior Court Joshua Daniel Calhoun, 22, of Cherokee, North Carolina was sentenced to a maximum of 38 years and 5 months in prison for his role in the 2013 murder of Calup “Joe” Caston. He will serve at least 30 years before he is eligible for consideration for parole. Calhoun is the third of eight co-defendants sentenced to not less than 30 years nor more than 38 years 5 months in prison for this crime. Two of the ringleaders, Joshua Tyler Price and Marcos Cardonne, have previously been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Today’s conviction is the second murder conviction to be recorded this week in Swain County. Yesterday Nicholas Berlatsky, 35, was sentenced to a maximum of 22 years and 11 months in prison for the November 30, 2012 murder and robbery of James Williams. Prior to the homicide there had been a significant history of conflict between the victim and the defendant, and the defendant claimed that he acted in self-defense. A thorough and professional investigation by the Swain County Sheriff’s Office provided the evidence necessary to convict Mr. Berlatsky.
“When I took office in January of 2015 there was a backlog of 14 pending murder cases in Swain County. That’s one murder case for every 1,000 residents. My office has worked hard since then and has resolved 10 of those cases. I commend the dedicated law enforcement professionals at the Swain County Sheriff’s Office, the Bryson City Police Department and the NC State Bureau of Investigation whose hard work and cooperation has made these successful prosecutions possible. With every conviction we take a big step closer to restoring public confidence that Swain County is a beautiful and safe place to live and vacation” said District Attorney Ashley Welch.