Murphy High principal arrested, suspended amid allegations of misconduct


MURPHY, N.C. – According to a statement from Cherokee County (N.C.) Schools (CCS) issued Saturday morning, Feb. 10, Thomas Graham, principal of Murphy High School, has been suspended with pay from school duties in response to allegations of misconduct and Graham’s subsequent arrest Thursday, Feb. 8.

In the statement, Graham’s suspension came from CCS Jan. 26. “Mr. Jason Forrister has been acting principal during this time and will continue in that role as long as necessary,” CCS stated.

The statement from the school system continued to say:

“Cherokee County Schools has been working with local and state law enforcement agencies and has fully cooperated with their investigation. Because personnel matters are considered confidential under state law, CCS cannot make any further comment regarding Mr. Graham. Further it is imperative that CCS strive alongside law enforcement agencies to seek the truth and impart fairness to all parties involved … Student safety is the first priority of Cherokee County Schools and CCS takes the appropriate measures necessary to provide a welcoming and safe atmosphere for all students, staff, parents and volunteers. Cherokee County Schools would like to thank the state and local law enforcement officials for the professionalism they have demonstrated thus far. CCS will continue to work with law enforcement throughout the entire process.”

According to CCS, the law requires any suspension taking place during an investigation to be paid.

Graham, 45, was arrested by the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) Thursday afternoon, Feb. 8, and later released from the Cherokee County Detention Center on a $2,500 bond.

According the booking report from CCSO, Graham is charged with two counts of indecent liberties with a student stemming from incidents occurring in January and February of 2016. Graham is scheduled to appear in Superior Court in Murphy March 5, at 9 a.m.



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Jason Beck

Born in Merrillville, Indiana, raised in Cleveland, Tennessee, and currently resides in Copperhill, Tennessee. Graduated from Bradley Central High School in 1996 and attended the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, eventually earning a B.A. and M.A. in English. Hobbies include hiking, camping and fly-fishing. Interests include baseball, hockey and cliff jumping.




Murphy, NC— Sheriff Derrick Palmer announced the January 20, 2017 arrest of 20 year old Christian Pelicie-Mederos, 23 year old Selburn Abraham Ridley, 19 year old Monte Terrell Stewart, 19 year old Chevez Jamar Herron, and 23 year old Marquez Deshaun Hall, all who reported Atlanta Georgia addresses, for charges stemming from a home invasion in the Andrews Community on January 19th, 2017.

At about 9:45 pm January 19th, 2017 the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office responded to a residence north of Andrews North Carolina to a report of shots fired. As the responding deputy was arriving in the area the vehicle that had been described containing the individuals that had broken into a residence was found disabled on the roadway. The vehicle was occupied by the five individuals and upon the approach of the responding deputy two of the individuals fled on foot. Two officers with the Andrews Police Department, additional deputies and investigators with the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office arrived and all five of the individuals were apprehended. Among the items seized at the scene was firearms, illegal controlled substances and a large amount of U.S. currency.

Pelicie-Medros, Ridley, Stewart, Herron and Hall were all booked into the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office for ROBBERY WITH DANGEROUS WEAPON, ASSAULT WITH A DEADLY WEAPON, FIRST DEGREE BURGLARY, and RESISTING PUBLIC OFFICER. All five are currently housed at the Cherokee County Detention Center under $100,000.00 secure bond. Herron has an additional $100,000.00 secure bond for charges from another incident in Clay County during 2016.

Sheriff Palmer stated “We have not completed our investigation but have some good indication why these individuals were in Cherokee County. We are continuing our investigation and are checking additional leads and information. I want to thank the officers of the Andrews Police Department for their assistance. I would like to remind the public that we appreciate any assistance they can provide but highly discourage any activities that would place them in harm’s way!”

Sheriff Palmer encourages any one that has information on this crime or any other to report it. To report crime in Cherokee County you can call the anonymous tip line at 828-837-1344 or email a tip at or call 911 if you observe a crime in progress.

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