Monday, April 14, 2014

Barron Trial Delayed

Lowell Barron

The trial scheduled to begin today  in Fort Payne for a former state Senate leader and campaign aide was postponed Friday while the state attorney general’s office appeals a judge’s ruling that it says is fatal to its case.  Attorney General Luther Strange’s office has asked the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals to review a decision made Thursday by the trial judge, Circuit Judge Randall Cole. Cole ruled prosecutors could present evidence of a personal relationship between former state Sen. Lowell Barron and campaign aide Jill Johnson, but they couldn’t present evidence about whether it was a romantic relationship because that created a danger of unfair prejudice.  In the appeal, Assistant Attorney General Bill Lisenby said the judge’s ruling “will be fatal to the prosecution of these charges.” Barron’s attorneys insist the relationship was professional and they opposed a delay.  But under state court rules, the appeal carried an automatic delay, and Cole issued an order late Friday afternoon canceling todays trial start. Barron and Johnson face six counts of ethics and campaign finance charges accusing them of converting $58,000 in campaign donations from Barron’s 2010 campaign to their personal use. Barron, a 71-year-old Democrat from Fyffe, served 28 years in the Senate representing the northeast corner of the state. He spent four years as the Senate’s top officer and four years as head of the committee that determines the Senate’s work agenda. He lost in 2010, when Republicans took control of the Legislature after 136 years of Democratic dominance. Johnson, worked on Barron’s Senate staff before switching to his campaign staff in 2010.

Two teens shot in Albertville

Two teenagers on horseback were shot by another teenager Saturday night in the Asbury community near Albertville. According to Marshall County Sheriff Scott Walls The shooting occurred on Williams Bend Road. The two unidentified victims were riding a horse when another teenager, identified as 18 year old Jason Preston Oliver,  of Albertville, shot both of them with a shotgun. Both victims were taken to an area hospital, where they were treated for non-life threatening injuries.  Marshall County deputies arrested Oliver and placed him in the Marshall County Jail. He was charged with two counts of second-degree assault in the second degree. He has since posted bond. The case remains under investigation.

Gadsden man shot, refuses to press charges

Police say A Gadsden man was shot Wednesday night, but didn't know who shot him and declined to press charges.  Police were called to Gadsden Regional Medical Center about a man who had been shot in the leg. The 21-year-old told police he was hanging out with some friends on Riley Street, just off of Tuscaloosa Avenue, when he got shot.  The man said all he remembers was a car pulling up and a bright flash before the car sped off. He told police he then noticed blood running down his leg into his shoe and discovered he had been shot. His friends took him to the hospital and dropped him off.

Body of missing Sylacauga woman found

Angela Owings Whitworth

Talladega authorities have found the body of a missing Sylacauga woman.  Sheriff Jimmy Kilgore says a state troopers located Angela Owings Whitworth's body Friday evening in a ravine close to where an off-duty Sylacauga officer found her van Thursday night. Kilgore doesn't suspect foul play and the investigation continues to determine cause of death.

Oxford council awards bid to complete recreation complex

The Oxford City Council met in a special meeting, Friday to award the bid to the general contractor who will be helping to complete the Oxford Recreational Complex project. The general contractor will be Eugene Turner Construction of Anniston. City officials say the decision has been a tedious and long process, but now their excitement is renewed with this latest action by the council. The president of Eugene Turner Construction, Danny Turner says that the benefits of the project to Oxford’s local economy and also to the economies of surrounding communities will be quickly felt. Eugene Turner Construction hopes to move onto the site within the next week.

Georgia fugitive arrested in Dekalb county

DeKalb County Sheriff’s deputies assisted the U.S. Marshals Service in the arrest of Georgia fugitive.  43 year old Kevin Clay Parker, of Ringgold, Ga., was wanted by the Catoosa County Sheriff’s Office for aggravated assault. He was arrested at the Koch Foods job site, then taken to the Henagar Police Department before he was transported to the DeKalb County Detention Center, where he awaits extradition to Georgia.  Parker is facing an aggravated assault charge in Georgia.