5 things you need to know Thursday

1. Judge expected to decide fate of the Charlotte man accused of raping his wife and killing her parents

A judge is expected to make a decision Thursday about the fate of the man accused of sexually assaulting his wife and killing her parents in July.

Vurnel Smith Jr. was arrested on August 1 when he surrendered to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police, ending a nearly week-long manhunt. On Thursday, he’ll learn if the state will seek the death penalty against him.

CMPD first learned of the crime while responding to a call at CMC-University on July 27 regarding a woman that was attacked. The victim told police that Smith attacked her and said her parents were in grave danger. Investigators later determined that Smith murdered Jacqueline White-Gordon, 65, and Rufus Gordon, 69, on July 25, two days before the surviving victim alerted police. “She physically is going to be OK. Mentally, emotionally, this is something she’s going to have to work through and live with the rest of her life,” said one CMPD official.

Police made the shocking discovery of Rufus Gordon’s body in the trunk of the car driven to the hospital by his daughter. White-Gordon’s body was found inside the couple’s home on Red Clay Lane in north Charlotte. Members of the community were relieved when Smith was taken into custody. Click here to read more.

2. Trump goes to Florida to view Irma damage

President Trump will travel to Florida on Thursday to survey the damage from Hurricane Irma. Trump tweeted Wednesday that he will "meet with our great Coast Guard, FEMA and many of the brave first responders & others."

Trump, eager to be seen as in charge of disaster response, also traveled twice to Texas in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. At least 17 people in Florida have died under Irma-related circumstances, and police are investigating the deaths of eight nursing home patients who died of heat-related causes following the loss of air conditioning after Irma.

3. Plane collides with vehicle on Charlotte airport tarmac

An American Airlines plane arriving at Charlotte-Douglas Airport collided with a 'tug' vehicle outside of Terminal E, hospitalizing one person Wednesday afternoon.

An American Airlines flight 5233 coming from Yeager Airport in Charleston, West Virginia landed around 3:40 p.m., when it began taxiing to gate E-35. Shortly after, it ran into an airplane tug vehicle not working with the plane.

4. Seasonal allergies made worst by Irma

 If you have allergies, or know someone who does, then you know. It's bad out there, and now made worse by Hurricane Irma.

"Over the next couple of days, you'll see the pollen numbers go up." said NBC Charlotte Meteorologist John Wendel. "But as you see this storm coming across the Caribbean, those pollens in some of those Islands get spread out across the Southeast. We're seeing pollen here that we haven't seen before."

"We're seeing a lot of people everyday that are coming in with watery eyes, itchy eyes, runny nose, sneezing, just the upper repertory misery of seasonal allergies." said Dr. Charles Bregier, Medical Director for Novant Health.

Dr. Bregier recommends people who need relief limit outdoor activities on windy days, wear a mask to limit pollen intake, and consider taking medication after taking with their doctors.

5. CMPD launches new anti-crime initiative

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police is starting a new program to work with nonprofits and families from across the city in trying to decrease the violent crime rate.

At a news conference today, Chief Kerr Putney said the program would start in the Hidden Valley neighborhood, one of the most violent areas of the city.

"We need to fix people," Putney said. "We need to fix parents." Click here to read about what the new program entails.

© 2017 WCNC.COM


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