Suspect charged with murder in death of Cordarus Leake

16-year-old Jimmy Jaquavis Parker of Albemarle was arrested Sept. 14, 2015, and charged with first-degree murder in the death of Cordarus Maurice Leake of Mount Gilead. (photo from Albemarle Police Dept.)

16-year-old Jimmy Jaquavis Parker of Albemarle was charged with first-degree murder in the death of Cordarus Maurice Leake of Mount Gilead. (photo from Albemarle Police Dept.)

Albemarle Police have arrested a suspect in the murder of Cordarus Maurice Leake.

Information shared with media says 16-year-old Jimmy Jaquavis Parker of Albemarle was arrested Monday and charged with first-degree murder. Authorities have not released details about a possible motive.

Parker was arrested in Cabarrus County and transported to the Stanly County Jail, where he will remain without bond while awaiting a court appearance Mon., Sept. 22.

28-year-old Cordarus Leake, of Mount Gilead, was fatally shot Sept. 2 in Albemarle. Earlier reports say the shooting occurred on Inger St., off Leonard Ave. between Hwy. 24/27 and E. Main St. Authorities said Leake drove a short distance, ending when his car ran into the building at Holiday Inn Express on Leonard Ave.

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Mount Gilead town manager resigns, severance package awarded

Mount Gilead Town Manager Katrina Tatum has officially resigned her position, effective at the end of the day Fri., Aug. 28.

Katrina Tatum (Town of Mount Gilead photo)

Katrina Tatum resigned as Mount Gilead Town Manager, effective Aug. 28, 2015. (Town of Mount Gilead photo)

The action, taken at a special called meeting of Mount Gilead Town Commissioners Aug. 27, ends more than a week of speculation about Tatum’s employment status with the town. During that time, rumors circulated about both a termination by commissioners and a resignation said to have taken place Aug. 21.

While there have been reports of various conditions set forth in Tatum’s most recent employment contract and the possibility that the town could have to remunerate her for more than 900 hours of compensatory time, the actual conditions of the formal agreement call for total compensation of $59,391.48, designated as follows:

  • Tatum will receive $45,000 as “full and final compensation” for all salary due.
  • Tatum will receive $14,391.48 to cover medical insurance costs for the next 12 months.

No details were given as to how the salary amount was calculated, but the Montgomery Herald reported this week that Tatum’s most recent contract with the town called for “a minimum severance payout equal to 12 months salary at the current rate of pay; provided, however, only the first six months of severance is guaranteed. In the event the employee (Tatum) obtains other employment during the 12 month term, all severance beyond date of new employment shall be terminated.” The Herald also reported that town attorney Max Garner was said to have been “working with Tatum to reach an agreement on her compensatory package.”

The agreement reached last night stipulates that town officials will give Tatum a favorable recommendation if asked by a prospective employer. She will also provide detailed status updates on projects, working with the mayor or a future manager to resolve any issues remaining after her resignation.

Additionally, the agreement included Tatum’s acceptance of this severance as “full and final compensation” and her acknowledgment that she holds no outstanding claims for compensation, no claims for worker’s compensation and that she will not file an unemployment claim in the next six months.

(The full text of the agreement can be seen below.)

Following a closed session at tonight’s meeting, commissioners approved naming Town Clerk Mary Lucas as Acting Town Manager for an unspecified period of time.


Following is the text of the resignation agreement between Katrina Tatum and the Town of Mount Gilead, adopted Aug. 27, 2015:

This agreement made and entered into this the ____ day of August, 2015 by and between The Town of Mount Gilead, North Carolina, a North Carolina municipal corporation (herein Employer) and Katrina Y. Tatum, (herein Employee)

Whereas, Employer and Employee entered into several employment agreements the last as modified and dated July 1, 2015,

And Whereas, Employee desires to resign and Employer will accept said resignation upon terms and conditions set out below,

NOW THEREFORE in consideration of the terms set out herein the sufficiency of which is hereby acknowledged by both parties, the parties hereto agree as follows:
1. Employee will resign from her position as Town Manager of the Town of Mount Gilead, North Carolina effective August 28, 2015.
2. In lieu of the compensation permitted under the employment agreement presently in place in the event of Employee termination or offer to accept resignation, Employee and Employer agree to a severance upon terms as follows:

A. Employer will pay to Employee the sum of ($45,000.00) forty-five thousand dollars as full and final compensation for all salary due under the severance provision of her contract. Included in that sum is all regular salary, all compensatory time, all vacation time, and any other compensation earned or to be earned under her employment contract.

B. Employer shall further pay to employee in advance the sum of ($14,391.48) fourteen thousand three hundred ninety-one and 48/100 dollars as twelve months medical insurance at the current rate. Employee understands that she is responsible for her medical insurance beginning September 1, 2015.

C. Employer will give Employee a favorable recommendation is asked by future potential employers of Employee.

D. Employee will fully cooperate with Employer to assist in the change of management of the Town specifically including but not limited to providing a status report of all ongoing projects with deadlines, deficiencies, and needed tasks to be completed on each project, working with the Mayor or any town manager (permanent or temporary) to resolve any questions or issues left after Employee’s resignation, or any other Town issues remaining after August 28, 2015.

3. Employee agrees that the severance package set out above is full and final compensation for the contract entered into the date above stated and that she will agree to the termination of said Employment contract upon the above state terms. Employee hereby waives any further rights under the employment contract. Other than the compensation set out above, Employee has no outstanding claims for compensation. Employee and Employer agree that the compensation set out in Paragraph 2 represents, at minimum, six (6) months of compensation such that Employee shall nor (sic) attempt to receive unemployment compensation for the six (6) months period following her resignation. Further, Employee agrees that there are no claims or potential claims for worker’s compensation outstanding as of August 2015.

This the ____ Day of August, 2015.




Earl Poplin, Mayor

Katrina Y. Tatum

Mary Lucas, Town Clerk/Finance Officer

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Mount Gilead commissioners to hold ‘special called meeting’

130520_Mount_Gilead_Town_LogoMount Gilead Town Commissioners will meet tonight (Aug. 27). It’s a special called meeting, and the stated purpose is to discuss a personnel issue and a budget amendment.

No official confirmation has been received, but sources tell WMTG the personnel issue involves town manager Katrina Tatum, whose employment status has been questioned over the past week. Some rumors and reports have indicated Tatum has resigned her position, while others say she is being terminated.

We will continue to following the story.

Tonight’s meeting is set to start at 7 p.m. at the Mount Gilead Library on W. Allenton St.

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Fans encouraged to wear orange to honor Misenheimer

West Montgomery teacher and coach Ben Misenheimer died Jul. 15, 2015, following a brief illness. (family photo via Facebook)

West Montgomery teacher and coach Ben Misenheimer died Jul. 15, 2015, following a brief illness. (family photo via Facebook)

Those planning to attend the West Montgomery High School football game Friday night at West Stanly are being encouraged to wear orange. The so-called “orange out” has been organized to raise awareness about leukemia and to honor the memory of Ben Misenheimer, the teacher and coach who died last month following a short battle with leukemia.

The 30-year-old Misenheimer suffered a brain hemorrhage Jul. 10 and was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia. He remained hospitalized and underwent surgery in Charlotte, where he died Jul. 15.

Ben Misenheimer was a Stanly County native and a teacher and coach at West Stanly High School from 2011 to 2014. He began working at West Montgomery just last year, teaching math and serving as the head coach of the varsity baseball team. He was also the interim varsity basketball coach this past season.

In addition to the “orange out”, fund raising activities at Friday’s game will help support a scholarship established in Misenheimer’s name.


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