North Carolina State Senator R.C. Soles, Jr. has been indicted on a felony firearms charge of assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious bodily injury. Soles is the State’s longest serving lawmaker. The 74 year old Democrat could serve up to two years in prison if convicted.
He is accused of shooting Thomas Blackburn, a 22 year old Raleigh resident, in the leg last August. Soles has characterized the shooting as self defense. The local District Attorney removed himself from the case because of close personal ties with Soles. The Attorney General will handle the case.
Soles decided not to run for re-election because of the case making re-election more difficult.
The shooting is the latest in many confrontations between Soles and young men who used to be his former clients. Blackburn was freed from prison earlier in 2008 after violating his probation for a felony, a breaking and entering.
Witnesses in the Soles case say that Blackburn and another person tried to break down Soles’ door, but were unsuccessful.
Police say that they have been called to Soles’ law office and residence 40 times since 2006. Some were routine calls, but others involved allegations of neighbors hearing screams, gunshots, loud arguments, and complaints about young people circling around his his residence on motor cycles.
Soles denies all claims of improper relationships with the young men.