NC Senator Pleads Guilty To Misdemeanor Charge

North Carolina's longest-serving lawmaker won't serve jail time for pleading guilty to a misdemeanor assault charge a month after being indicted on a felony for shooting his former client at the legislator's home.

A judge in Columbus County accepted on Thursday the guilty plea of Sen. R.C. Soles, D-Columbus, who was first elected to the General Assembly in 1968, making him the state's longest continuously serving lawmaker. The state constitution would have disqualified Soles from public office had he been convicted of a felony.

Judge D. Jack Hooks fined Soles $1,000.

Authorities said Soles shot 22-year-old Thomas Kyle Blackburn after two intruders kicked in the front door of the lawmaker's secluded Tabor City home last August. Blackburn wasn't badly hurt.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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North Carolina's longest-serving legislator is in court to face charges that he shot a former client who was kicking his front door.

State Sen. R.C. Soles is due in Superior Court in Whiteville on Thursday as he stands accused of assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury.

The Columbus County Democrat admitted to shooting 22-year-old Kyle Blackburn in the leg at the senator's Tabor City home last August. The 75-year-old Soles said he was acting in self-defense after Blackburn and 23-year-old Billie Wright kicked at the door.

Blackburn wasn't badly hurt. He and Wright have since been arrested on unrelated drug charges.

Soles has been a legislator for 41 years. He said he won't seek re-election in November.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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