News In Brief - February 24, 2008

Watts denied bond on Rock Hill charges

YORK -- Phillip Fleming Watts Jr., the man police said confessed to seven robberies during which four people were shot, was denied bond Saturday in connection with a series of Rock Hill robberies.

Those robberies include one at Saltwater Seafood Market, where owner Ping Chen was shot twice. She has since returned to work.

It was the third time last week that Watts' bond was denied. Watts, 20, was denied bond in an attempted robbery and shooting Feb. 14 at Cash on the Spot, where customer Ida Neal Lord was shot in the head and torso. Lord remained in critical condition Saturday at Carolina Medical Center in Charlotte, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Watts also was denied bond in a robbery at John Boy's Valero, where former Fort Mill Mayor Charlie Powers and clerk Yen Nguyen were shot. Both survived.

Watts faces 18 charges stemming from the Rock Hill robberies. He remained in custody Saturday at York County Detention Center.

Ex-Charlotte Mayor Vinroot to speak at Winthrop

Former Charlotte Mayor Richard Vinroot will be the first person to address students through the Winthrop University Distinction in Leadership speaker series.

Vinroot will share leadership lessons during a talk at 7 p.m. Monday in the J. Spratt and Sandra Hagler White Lecture Room in Owens Hall. Vinroot was mayor of Charlotte from 1991 to 1995 and serves as an attorney with the Charlotte law firm Robinson Bradshaw & Hinson.

The talk is free and open to the public.

Winthrop's new Distinction in Leadership program is designed to give students of all majors a chance to gain leadership skills while in college.