LAURINBURG — Scotland County District Attorney Kristy Newton has dropped charges against Mayor Matthew Block that allege that he removed his opponent’s campaign signs in 2015.
Former Laurinburg Mayor Tommy Parker took out a warrant on Monday against Block for misdemeanor larceny that accused the Laurinburg cardiologist of taking 10 election signs two years ago. Parker and Block were in a heated race for mayor.
The DA’s office reviewed a report and video from Laurinburg police and found that prosecutors could not make a case, according to Newton.
“I have concluded that there is insufficient evidence to support a prosecution of Mr. Block for this alleged offense. Therefore, the charge has been dismissed,” Newton said in a statement on Friday.
With the charge coming two years after the accused crime, the DA’s office also reviewed the case and reason for delay, according to Newton. Parker had until Monday to file the warrant.
“When a misdemeanor crime has been committed and the victim knows who committed it, the vast majority of victims seek a warrant immediately… ,” Newton said. “In every case where there is a lengthy delay in an alleged victim seeking a warrant for a misdemeanor offense, my office reviews those matters with great scrutiny to determine if there is a valid reason for the delay. if not those matters are routinely dismissed.”
Newton said she has informed Parker that the charges would be dismissed. Block’s attorney, Mike Schmidt was also advised.
According to Newton, the DA’s office will not prosecute people as a result of bias, emotion, personal gain or political advantage.
“As a minister of the public’s trust, I also will avoid prosecutions that appear to be motivated by any purpose other than a desire for justice and truth,” she said.
Reach Nolan Gilmour at 910-506-3171