LUMBERTON — Three people who are running for municipal office in Robeson County in November have been convicted of felonies, including one from Pembroke who spent time in jail for murder.
Charles F. Oxendine, 65, was convicted of second-degree murder and assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill on Sept. 27, 1979, for shooting and killing a patron at a restaurant in Greensboro.
Oxendine says that he has maintained a clean record since the incident and had no criminal record until the day of the murder. He is running for a seat on the Pembroke Town Council against three other candidates.
“If the citizens of Pembroke ask me I will explain it to them because they’re the citizens of Pembroke, they’re the only ones that would need to know … and I think I will make a great city councilman,” Oxendine said.
The Robesonian conducted a criminal search on all the candidates running for municipal office in November. Three were identified as felons in the North Carolina Department of Public Safety’s database.
According to several articles published by Greensboro Daily News, Oxendine got into a dispute on July 15, 1979, while at Jan’s House Restaurant. According to one of the waitresses, Oxendine approached the man who broke the glass, Danny McLaughlin, demanding that he pay a dollar for the broken glass because the restaurant was a “decent place to eat.”
According to the newspaper, McLaughlin or one of the people with him challenged Oxendine to step outside for a physical confrontation. That’s when Oxendine, according to the Greensboro Daily News, drew a gun, saying he would teach McLaughlin a lesson.
Police said “Oxendine drew a pistol and fired two shots.” One bullet caused a superficial head wound to McLaughlin, and the other struck Bradley Jay Miles, a 25-year-old who was dining at the restaurant, in the cheek, killing him. Miles was in the restaurant with his wife Eileen.
Oxendine was sentenced to a maximum of 25 years for second-degree murder, and a maximum of 10 years for the assault with intent to kill. He served eight years and was released on July 31, 1987.
When Oxendine spoke with The Robesonian, he said that he didn’t want to comment because “it’s been so long ago I don’t think that’s necessary.”
In North Carolina, a person convicted of felony loses his right to vote or run for office. But G.L. Pridgen, director of the Robeson County Board of Elections, said that person can regain those rights after serving their sentence, which may include time in prison and probation.
Oxendine registered to vote with the State Board of Elections on Aug. 28, 1987, about a month after his release from prison. He volunteered the information of his conviction to the Robeson County Board of Elections when he filed and disclosed it on his paperwork.
According to information from George McCue, public relations officer with the State Board of Elections, Oxendine followed all of the necessary steps to run for office.
“Candidates are required, when they file their paperwork, to disclose if they have been previously convicted of a felony,” McCue said. “They do need to disclose that they have a felony charge and to not disclose that is also a felony.”
Allen Dial, one of four Pembroke candidates running for mayor, was also convicted of a felony when he was charged with discharging a firearm into an occupied property on Oct. 10, 1985, and served a year in prison. Dial is a former councilman for Pembroke.
The Robesonian has decided not to publish information on the third candidate because the felony was a non-violent drug offense and occurred in 1976 when the person was in his mid-20s.