PINEHURST, N.C. — One Moore County resident died during the massive power outage that occurred Saturday night after the substations were attacked.
Officials confirmed that the resident was at their Pinehurst home and without power when they died; however, investigators are still working to determine whether the death was related to the power outage or if it was just a normal medical condition that caused the death.
If the blackout is to blame for the death, the criminal case and charges could be different for whoever is found responsible for attacking the substations.
“There are a lot of different angles law enforcement will have in front of them,” said Irving Joyner, a law professor at NC Central University.
He explains what the prosecution would look like for the responsible suspects.
“The person can prosecuted on federal law, and there’s a sentencing exposure, which is any terms of years and up to life,” he said.
The Federal Law states:
- I the outage caused at least $100,000 in damage, a person could face 20 years in prison.
- If someone dies as a result of it, perpetrators could face life in prison.
Joyner says there’s also the possibility of state charges if evidence shows a connection between the death and the power outage.
“If the facts show this conduct supports that type of determination and the death resulted from it, then the person could also be prosecuted under nc law for second degree murder,” said Joyner.
Investigators with the Moore County sheriff’s office indicated the investigation continues to move at a fast pace, with the tip line having been highly active over the past 24 hours
Chris Swecker, former special agent in charge of the state’s FBI, believes the signs from the investigation will help investigators close in on who is responsible.
“I don’t see this case being unsolved for a long period of time,” he said.
Investigators want to find out if the person’s death is connected to outage or pre-existing conditions.
Joyner said a pre-existing condition still wouldn’t exonerate the suspect, if the outage made their pre-existing condition worsen.