Rice Sentenced As Habitual Felon

DISTRICT ATTORNEY PRESS RELEASE

In May of 2019, Donia Rice was charged with Larceny from Price’s Creek General Store.  When the District Attorney’s Office reviewed the case, the charges were upgraded to Felony Habitual Larceny and Habitual Felon because of Ms. Rice’s prior criminal record.  Ms. Rice had 15 prior convictions for larceny and 24 prior felony convictions.

On Easter Weekend of 2021, Ms. Rice put on plastic gloves and broke into the Yancey County Courthouse in the middle of the night.  Once inside the Courthouse, Ms. Rice broke into the District Attorney’s Office and stole her case file.  Ms. Rice was then charged with two counts of Felony Breaking or Entering, Felony Larceny after Breaking or Entering, Felony Obstruction of Justice, and an additional charge of Habitual Felon.  Ms. Rice also contacted witnesses while her case was pending in an effort to dissuade them from testifying against her at trial.  As a result, Ms. Rice was also charged with Felony Intimidation of a Witness.

Ms. Rice was convicted of all 8 felonies on October 13, 2021.  Senior Resident Superior Court Judge Gary Gavenus sentenced Ms. Rice to prison for a minimum 21 years and 4 months (256 months) and a maximum of 26 years and 8 months (320 months).

“My office remains committed to the identification and prosecution of habitual offenders,” District Attorney Seth Banks said in a statement.  “I would like to thank Assistant District Attorney Milton Fletcher, the Executive Director of the North Carolina Conference of District Attorneys, Kimberly Spahos, the Yancey County Sheriff’s Office, and the Mars Hill Police Department, for their efforts in prosecuting those who continually terrorize our community through the commission of crime.”