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Hubbard dies before murder case concludes

RALEIGH — Jessie R. Hubbard died Sunday, Nov. 29, at 2:15 a.m., while in safekeeping in Raleigh, according to Ashe County Sheriff B. Phil Howell.

Hubbard, 62, of Crumpler, was charged with the Aug. 19, 2018, murder of Diane Goss and four counts of possession of a firearm by a felon.

According Chief Deputy Danny Houck, Hubbard had been in Raleigh since September, due to liver cancer and a gastrointestinal issue. Safekeeping is when a prisoner is moved from a county jail, such as the Ashe County Detention Center, to a larger, state-run facility as a way to keep either them or those around them from harm.

Hubbard was previously taken to Raleigh for safekeeping in September 2019 due to a medical issue. A month prior, Hubbard was deemed incapable to stand trial by doctors from Central Regional Hospital, a state-run psychiatric hospital in Butner. The Hon. Eric Morgan later deemed him capable in court Feb. 10.

Hubbard was being represented by attorney Brandon York, who was appointed after Jak Reeves withdrew from the case in September citing a conflict of interest.

According to the medical examiner’s report, written by Ashe County medical examiner Stephen Adams and released in March 2019, Goss died due to blunt force trauma to the back of her head. Adams listed the butt stock of a shotgun found on the scene as the murder weapon.

The murder took place in Hubbard’s apartment on Nathans Creek School Road in Crumpler. According to then-Ashe County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy J.E. “Bucky” Absher, Hubbard was the one who called 911, regarding a break-in at his apartment.

The shotgun at the scene has been identified through a warrant for one of Hubbard’s possession of a firearm by a felon charges.

No activity in the case was made at the legal level until Hubbard was indicted by a grand jury and the case was moved to the superior court level in November 2018.

Ashe Post & Times will continue to provide updates for this story as they are made available.

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Santa visits Ashe County Civic Center

WEST JEFFERSON — It was a blustery morning on Dec. 5 at the North Pole-extension, that is the Ashe County Civic Center, as Ashe County children and their families visited Santa Claus.

Due to COVID-19, this year’s event was greatly different from previous years but certainly was not lacking in excitement or holiday splendor.

“The Arts Council is just glad to be able to host an event to bring Santa back to the community and give the kids a safe and socially-distanced way to interact with Santa Claus and bring some holiday cheer to hopefully a lot of families,” said Executive Director Jeff Fissel.

From 8:30 to 11 a.m. children and their families were able to see Santa in a drive-through format while his elves provided them with goody bags and they shared what they wanted for Christmas.

Fissel, along with Director of Operations Linda Dreyer and Program Director Rebecca Williams were all present to help ensure the event ran smoothly.

Per usual, the event was put on by the Ashe County Arts Council who were assisted by members of the National Beta Club from Ashe County High School.

Beta Club members who signed up to volunteer their time at the event and assist Santa (Jeff Dreyer) on Dec. 5 were Gia Gerald, Makayla Turnmire, Hailey Vandergraff, Lindsey Greer, Emilee Williams, Emma Jones, Madison Eller, Miranda Finney, Abby Carpenter, Alexis Blevins, Lindsey Phipps, Makenna Holman, Tatum Brown and Blake Levi.

Two students in the Junior Appalachian Musicians program, Grayson Shepherd and Karlee Hamm played Christmas music for all to enjoy.

“We did not want the children of Ashe County not to have the opportunity to visit with Santa,” Committee Chair Barbara Sears said.

Sears added that it was a good option because although Santa was kept at a distance, he was still able to safely interact with the children.

Typically, children attending the event would receive age-appropriate books which are selected for them by Beta Club volunteers. However, this year all of the bags were assembled the same way with the same materials which included holiday-themed Bingo card and a coloring book on fire safety from Ashe County Emergency Management.

Donations were received by Hardees of Jefferson, Edward Jones, Ashe County Public Library, Chick-fil-A, Florence Thomas Art School, local government offices, Lowe’s Hardware, Imagination Ashe,

Arts Council Santa Committee members Larry Massey, Michael Malloy and Wesley Barker helped with the Santa stage and decorations for the event. Richard Edmondson was responsible for sound production during the event.

“I love doing this for the kids and seeing the looks on their faces,” Massey said.

JEFFERSON — On the morning of Dec. 7 at 8 a.m. newly elected officials who will serve on the Ashe County Board of Commissioners and Ashe Count…