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This Week in History: Man beats, kills former Wake commissioner; Boy and horse capture awards; Woman shoots husband

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The Wake Weekly is bringing back a modified version of an old recurring feature. Instead of highlighting stories that happened this week throughout the years, we will re-explore events that took place during a particular year. This week, we turn the clock back 30 years to the week of June 29, 1989 ...

Zebulon man charged after beating, killing former Wake commissioner

A Zebulon man was charged in the “savagery beating” death of a former Wake County commissioner.

Larry O’Neal, 28, was arrested and charged with murder and armed robbery after the body of Billy Hopkins was found in a pool of blood in his country store in the Hopkins community, The Wake Weekly reported. According to Sheriff John Baker, O’Neal “confessed that he did it.”

The motive, Baker told The Wake Weekly, was robbery. Hopkins, a former Wake County commissioner, was the owner of a country store east of N.C. 96 in Wake County. O’Neal reportedly hit Hopkins 14 times in the head with a blunt object, which was believed to be a pool stick.

Baker cited the Hopkins community’s cooperation for the quick arrest, which was made three days after the killing.

Award-winning pals: Boy and horse take home 3 medals.

Nine-year-old Thad Woodlief and his horse friend won three bronze medals during the States Games in Raleigh.

Thad, the son of L.T. and Barbara Woodlief of the New Light community of Wake Forest, snagged equestrian medals for short stirrup, showmanship, and 4-H Go-As-You-Please with his horse, Scout. Scout was a 6-year-old quarter horse that Thad trained. He was not professionally trained like many of the horses he was competing against.

“This horse is his buddy,” Barbara told The Wake Weekly.

Showing his medals to Scout, Thad said, “This is what we did, Scout.”

Woman shoots husband, tells police to ‘kill her’

A Wake Forest woman was charged after she shot her husband of 42 years during an altercation, according to a police report.

Clara Gill shot William Gill three times and police later found William sitting in the living room wearing a shirt believed to be stained with blood, according to a report by Sgt. John Martin.

According to Martin’s report, Clara told police that she shot her husband everytime he slapped her. She also told police that “she wasn’t going anywhere and that the police could go ahead and kill her.”

Clara was charged the day after the shooting with assault with a deadly weapon with intent to inflict serious injury, and she was released under a “written promise to appear.” William was treated and released from Wake Medical Center.

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