Thursday, February 25, 2016

2/25-16 News

JSU Hack

Jacksonville State University says a subject has been arrested in connection with a suspected data breach at the university..  An individual has been arrested by order of the District Court of Calhoun County and is being detained by the Coosa Valley Regional Detention Center. JSU says they were not victim to a hacker, but instead an internal security violation comprised student info. Authorities were reportedly questioning a person earlier who may be responsible for the alleged hacking incident that had students worried that their personal information was on a website for the world to see.   As early as Tuesday morning, a website allowed any user to search any Jacksonville State student in the university’s database.  The website warned those who may try to shut it down. It said they lived in Russia, the VPS is in Bulgaria and the domain is in Switzerland, and challenged “start buying tickets.”  The university released a statement encouraging students to change their student log-in and email passwords.  The university’s vice-president of information technology also said in the statement that the school’s internet security is a top priority.

Fire chief indicted

A St. Clair County grand jury has indicted the former chief of the Wattsville Volunteer Fire Department with first degree theft of property.

St. Clair County Deputy Sheriff Billy Murray said authorities arrested 48 year old Larry G. Underwood,  of Pell City, on Feb. 16 after his indictment. The indictment came after the sheriff's office received a report of "suspicious activity" at the fire department involving allegations of funds from the department being used for personal gain.

Underwood was the chief at the time the incident occurred, Murray said.

He was released on $2,500 bond.

 Talladega drug conviction

A Talladega County jury of of six men and six women Tuesday convicted 55 year old Robert Keith Catchings,  of manufacture of a controlled substance in the second degree and felony drug paraphernalia charges.
Catchings and Ginger Lynn Crawford, both of Sylacauga, were caught in a routine traffic stop by Sylacauga police in February 2014 with components of a methamphetamine lab inside the car.
Catchings now faces two to 20 years in prison on the manufacturing charge, and one year and one day to 10 years on the paraphernalia charge. He will be sentenced by Circuit Judge Bo Hollingsworth April 12.

Munford man charged with forgery

A 20 year old Munford man is being held on a $10,000 bond after being charged with one count of possession of a forged instrument in the second degree with More charges pending.
Cody Michael Huddleston, was arrested Friday. His initial court appearance was before District Court Judge Jeb Fannin, who set bond in the case.
Huddleston was accused of writing a stolen check at the Munford Food Mart on Jan. 23. Investigators believe this is not the only check he forged, but it is the only one he has been charged with as of Tuesday.

 Margaret approves Sunday sales

Voter turnout was right at 5 percent Tuesday, but the residents in Margaret who did cast ballots overwhelmingly said they wanted Sunday alcohol sales in the city.
Although Margaret has 2,500 registered voters, only 130 showed up at the polls. There were two provisional ballots cast.
 (78 percent) voted in favor of the sales
Mayor Isaac Howard said the main thing – whether it passed or failed – was keeping tax dollars within the city.

Altoona man arrested

A 28 year old Altoona man has been arrested in connection to stolen property, according to Etowah County Sheriff Todd Entrekin.

Jeffery Scott Eugene Bearden,  is charged with one count of first-degree receiving stolen property, which is a felony, Lt. Robin Grant said.

Bearden allegedly was in possession of several stolen items including five Michelin motorcycle tires, a Motorola handheld radio and charger, a rolling metal toolbox, a Vanguard propane gas heater and a leather jacket and pants (riding clothes).

He was booked into the Etowah County Detention Center and later released on $5,000 bond.

Dial ethics bill

State Senator Gerald Dial, a Republican from Lineville has filed a bill – SB279 – that would allow politicians or public workers to go to the Ethics Commission director or its lawyers and ask for an informal opinion about an ethics question. Under the bill those "informal" opinions would give actual immunity to the person who asked.  The bill would also make corrupt public officials almost untouchable to state prosecutors.  It says the Attorney General's office and county district attorneys' offices can no longer step up and step in to investigate violations of the ethics law.nnIt says the AG, and the DAs, who investigate most of the corruption when it gets investigated at all, can only get involved after the Ethics Commission determines a violation of the ethics law has occurred.  Dial has acknowledged problems with the bill. He said he has met with Ethics Commission officials and will seek input from others "to clear up ambiguities." He said The bill is likely to change, he said.

Suspects arrested in Gadsden robbery

Gadsden police have arrested three young men in connection with the robbery of two teens in East Gadsden, and they are looking for three more suspects.mmPolice were called Friday after six young men went to an East Gadsden residence and robbed a 17-year-old and an 18-year-old there, taking cash and electronic devices. No injuries were reported in the robbery. Investigators developed information in the case and Tuesday, 18 year old Jeffery Lee Higgins,  and 17 year old  Demarcus Nashune Mostella, were arrested on two counts of first-degree robbery. Mostella was charged as an adult in the case.  A third suspect, 19 year old Tyrice Deveon Baise, was arrested Wednesday, and also is charged with two counts of first-degree robbery.  All three suspects are in the Etowah County Detention Center on $10,000 bonds.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

2/24/16 News

Civil rights investigation underway in Calhoun Shooting

A spokesman for the Birmingham FBI office has confirmed they're investigating the death of a Saks man as a civil rights case.  Paul Daymond confirmed Tuesday that The Birmingham FBI Field Office has opened a civil rights investigation into the shooting death of Deatrice Barclay saying that The FBI will collect all available facts and evidence and will ensure that the investigation is conducted in a fair, thorough and impartial matter.  The state investigation is being done by the Alabama State Bureau of Investigation. Barclay was black and the two suspects were white, and family members claim a Confederate flag may have been involved in the dispute that led to the January fatal shooting of Barclay in his own yard, on Permita Court just outside Anniston.  Parker and Abbott are being held on $500,000 bond each on murder charges. A Calhoun County judge refused to lower the bond after Monday's hearing.

 Fake ID arrest

A 24 year old  Hokes Bluff woman has been arrested in connection to drug use and giving a false identity, according to Etowah County Sheriff Todd Entrekin. Deputies went to a residence in Pine Hill Place in an attempt to serve Hayley Lynn Gary with two outstanding warrants. One for possession of a controlled substance and another for possession of drug paraphernalia.  The officers found Gary hiding behind a chair inside the house. When they asked her name, Gary gave the deputies a false identification.
Gary has been charged with one felony count of using false identity to obstruct justice, and a misdemeanor charge of resisting arrest.
Gary is currently being detained in the Etowah County Detention Center on $6,500 bond.

Ashville family arrested on drug charges

An Ashville family is now facing charges in St. Clair County for drug trafficking. Sixty-year-olds Ruth and John Brock were arrested, along with who appears to be their son, 28 year old John H. Brock. The Sheriff's Department says 105 marijuana plants, a large amount of marijuana and numerous paraphernalia  items were seized from the residence on Davis Drive in Ashville.  All three were taken to the St. Clair County Jail in Ashville. The trio were charged with drug trafficking, and have bonded out on $100,000.00 each.  The next court date for subjects will be March 16th.

 School delays for Wednesday 2-24-16

Below is a list of school delays for Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2016:

Anniston City  2 hour delay
Calhoun County 2 hour delay
Jacksonville City  2 hour delay
Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic School in Anniston  2 hour delay

Gadsden arrest

Police arrested a Gadsden man on misdemeanor charges after he ran from an officer in his vehicle, then tried to hide under a mattress. A Gadsden officer noticed a man sitting in an illegally parked car in the 800 block of Rogers Street about 10 p.m. Sunday. He asked the man for his driver’s license to check to see if it was valid before letting him move the vehicle. The driver told him “no.” The officer again asked for the license and the man again told him “no,” then put his car into drive and pulled away. The officer lost sight of the silver Lexus and asked other officers in the area to look for it. It was spotted, parked in a driveway on Avenue D. Two officers discovered the alarm was coming from a church in the 500 block of Evan Street. They found an unsecured, open door in a building directly behind the church. As officers cleared the building, they found the subject, a 28-year-old man, hiding under a mattress in the building. The officer who first contacted him identified him as the Lexus’ driver.
According to the police report, he told officers he ran because he didn’t have his driver’s license and he was scared.

Dega Jam cancelled

Festival Productions Ventures, LLC, the producers of Dega Jam, announced Tuesday that the event has been cancelled.  All customers will receive a full refund for their purchase and all future payment plans will be cancelled, according to a press release from the company. Refunds will begin to be issued immediately.

Further information can be found at or at 855-464-3342.

Main street director search to begin

The Anniston City Council discussed redefining the leadership job for the downtown development organization, Main Street Anniston, during its Monday work session. The council is expected to vote on the change at a later meeting.
The discussion was triggered after Brian Watson, director of Main Street, vacated the position more than a week ago to take a job in Washington D.C., where he’s from, according to City Manager Brian Johnson.
Watson, hired in June, was the fourth director Main Street has had in the past four years. Main Street .

Talladega to take state prisoners

The Talladega County Commission approved by a 4-0 vote Monday extending an intergovernmental agreement between itself, the Talladega County sheriff and the state Department of Corrections to house 60 females from Julia Tutwiler Prison in Wetumpka.
The extension was made with the Alabama department of corrections due to the upcoming closure of the prison for women.

Gadsden Homicide

Gadsden police are investigating a homicide after a man’s body was found in a vacant house Monday on Henry Street.
Police were called about noon Monday to a vacant residence where there was an unresponsive black male. Subsequently, investigators determined the man was the victim of homicide, according to Gadsden Police Sgt. John Hallman.
The man has been identified as 34 year old Derrick Lydell Cherry,  of Gadsden.
Police have not released information about the cause of death and have no one in custody. The investigation continues.
Anyone with information about Cherry’s death is urged to call the Gadsden Police Department’s tip line at 256-543-2444 or the Gadsden Police Department’s Detective Division at 256-549-4630.

02-23-16 News

Gadsden state manhunt

State troopers have called off a search for a chase suspect in east Gadsden that followed a brief manhunt that resulted in a lockdown at Gadsden State Community College on Monday morning.  ALEA regional public information officer Gary Daniel said a trooper chased a vehicle and when the vehicle stopped, the suspect fled on foot. He did not say where it started or how long it lasted, but it appears to have stopped on a shoulder at the I-759 off-ramp onto George Wallace Drive in east Gadsden.  Marked units of the state troopers, Gadsden police and the Etowah County Sheriff's Office were seen coming and going from the campus and searching surrounding neighborhoods. At the main entrance, law enforcement officers were seen stopping and speaking with Gadsden State security. the search appeared concentrated around Gadsden State and the residential neighborhoods to the east of it.  Some 40 minutes after the first Alert, GSCC sent out a second one issuing an "All Clear." A later news release from spokesperson Jackie Edmondson indicated staff and students were allowed to resume classes as normal at 8:38 a.m.  Gadsden police said the suspect in the chase apparently fled on foot toward the campus, and that Gadsden police were only involved as backup.

Law enforcement memorial

Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange is scheduled to be the keynote speaker at Friday's groundbreaking and dedication ceremony for the Alabama Law Enforcement Memorial in Anniston.
The event will take place at 1 p.m. Feb. 26 at Anniston's Centennial Memorial Park at 17th Street and Quintard Avenue.
 The memorial, which costs about $40,000, will feature seven granite panels engraved with the names of the more than 500 Alabama law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty.
 Oxford Police Chief Bill Partridge said the ceremony is the culmination of about six years of work and planning. The memorial could be finished in time for the annual law enforcement candlelight vigil on May 13.

Studdard passes

Jerry Studdard, one of Alabama’s longest-serving high sheriffs, passed away Sunday night after battling Parkinson’s disease.
Studdard was first elected sheriff in 1978 and was sworn in early the following year. He won reelection nine more times, until his illness forced him to retire in 2013. He was sworn in as supernumerary sheriff immediately after Jimmy Kilgore was sworn in as his successor.
Studdard was Talladega’s county’s longest-serving sheriff by a comfortable margin and possibly tied as the longest serving in the state. Among his numerous accomplishments in office were an expansion of the Talladega County Jail, expanding the number of deputies and patrol vehicles, his participation in the establishment of the Talladega County Drug and Violent Crime Task Force and the countywide central dispatch system.

St clair teen indicted on terrorism charge

A 19-year-old St. Clair County man has been indicted on charges of soliciting support for a terrorist act.
St. Clair County District Attorney Richard Minor confirmed today that Peyton Pruitt, 19, of Wattsville, was indicted by a Southern Division grand jury.
Because of the ongoing criminal investigation, Minor could not comment further about the case.
Pruitt was arrested in November 2015 and has remained in the St. Clair County Jail on a $1 million bond.
St. Clair County District Judge Alan Furr denied a reduction in bond after a preliminary hearing was held in January.
Authorities said the terrorist support came from a link Pruitt allegedly provided on the internet, a link to the instructions for making a pressure cooker bomb and information pertaining to making a car bomb.

Law firms offering free gun locks

Two north Alabama law firms are offering free trigger locks to gun owners.  Lawrence T. King and Lindsey Simmons, of Birmingham's King Simmons, P.C., and the Gadsden firm of Rhea, Boyd & Rhea say they are offering the gun locks to anyone, no questions asked and no strings attached, according to a statement from the two firms. The firms say they'll even pay the postage.  Don Rhea, of the Gadsden firm, stated that in 2014 the medical journal Pediatrics published statistics showing that 10,000 children are injured or killed in America each years by guns - nearly a third from accidental shootings.  He said It happens in Alabama too much, and we should all be outraged by this.  The lawyers stated that offering trigger locks won't stop gun violence or make all children safe but believe it's a step towards getting gun owners and elected officials to think more about gun safety. Those wanting a trigger lock locally can call Rhea, Boyd & Rhea in Gadsden at (256) 547-6805

 Launchpad finalists

Five startups from Birmingham, Mobile and Anniston will vie for up to $250,000 this spring during an Alabama Launchpad competition in Florence.  The Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, which hosts the event, will allow teams to participate in a startup finale April 7 on 500 N. Pine Street in Florence. Select companies will take home funding at the competition to grow their small businesses.  The following teams were chosen to advance in the competition last week during a live-pitch event in Birmingham:  Locally, White's Environmental Solutions, based in Anniston was selected,  The company takes organic wastes and transforms them into a solution for farmers and landscapers.

Bond for murder suspects

 A Calhoun County district judge Monday ordered bond kept at $500,000 for two men charged with murder in a case that prosecutors said is also being investigated by the federal government. 
District Judge Chris McIntyre listened to defense attorneys, prosecutors and testimony from family members during an hour-long hearing. The hearing, scheduled at 1:30 p.m. was postponed until 3:30 p.m. McIntyre’s order was filed at 5:49 p.m.

Lindsay murder trial begins

Jury selection is underway for Stephon Lindsay's murder trial in Gadsden.

Lindsay is accused of killing his 1-year-old daughter, allegedly as part of a ritual back in 2013. Maliyah Lindsay's partially decapitated body was found in an area off Plainview Street in Gadsden.   jury selection will continue Today. Opening statements are expected to begin Wednesday.

Friday, February 12, 2016

2-12-16 News

Oxford drug warning

Oxford police are warning convenience stores in their area about a dangerous synthetic drug called “kratom” that they say is being used by teens and drug users.  Kratom is a tree related to coffee and grown in parts of Southeast Asia, and officials say it has an addictive property to it, one that imitates an opiate. Kratom is an ingredient in some energy drinks.  Last November, Talladega County officials issued a warning about it after parents said energy drinks with kratom as an ingredient was causing their children to get high.  Oxford police said the product falls within Alabama’s criminal code, and they are serving a notice about the drug to convenience stores.   The notice states that Oxford retail stores are ordered to remove any products that have mitragyne speciosa korth, known as kratom. It also goes by the street names of “thang,” “kakuam,” “thom,” “ketum,” and “biak.”  The notice also orders stores to remove any incense that is labeled “not for human consumption." The stores have 24 hours to remove the products from their shelves.   Chief Bill Partridge said if store owners are found still selling products with kratom after the notice goes out, they will be arrested on a felony charge.

Anniston drug bust

A 25-year-old Anniston man was arrested on Wednesday on heroin charges.  The 7th Judicial Major Crimes Unit arrested Tijuan Deldre Moore at the Knight’s Inn at 6220 McClellan Blvd. He faces attempted unlawful distribution of a controlled substance. He also faces the same charge for a separate incident.  Authorities say they found Moore with 10 dosage units of heroin at the time of his arrest.  An ongoing investigation into heroin distribution in Anniston led to Moore’s arrest.  Investigators say six deaths in the area were attributed to heroin overdoses in 2015.

Authorities seeking suspect in camper theft

The Etowah County Sheriff’s Office is looking for a man suspected of stealing a camper trailer from a property in Attalla.
The 32-foot camper also had two floor buffing machines and two floor stripping machines for businesses inside. The theft happened on Tuesday, Feb. 9 around 12:15 p.m. at a property on Benefield Drive in Attalla.
Security cameras caught images of the suspect, a white male, driving a white flatbed truck. 
Anyone with information about the suspect’s identity is asked to call Etowah County Sheriff’s investigator Tara Bates at 256-546-2825.

Woman charged with counterfeit check

A24 year old Attalla woman is behind bars after allegedly passing a counterfeit check while purchasing a $500 vehicle.  Courtney Ann Bell, is charged with one felony  count of third-degree possession of a forged instrument.  The victim told authorities the check was refused by the bank after they attempted to deposit it.  Bell is being held at the Etowah County Detention Center on a $1,500 bond.

Man arrested in truck theft

The Etowah County Sheriff's Office has arrested and charged a 58 year old Gadsden man in connection to a vehicle theft.  Barry Keith Drenner,  is charged with one count of first degree theft of property and one count of third degree theft of property.  Authorities say Drenner stole a truck in December and drove to New Orleans. He also stole the victim's identity to cash checks.
Drenner was taken into custody in Hattiesburg, Miss. and brought back to Etowah County. He is being held on a $6,000 bond.

Tobacco store raid

Calhoun County Sheriffs deputies raided a tobacco store on Tuesday. It happened at Smokin' Joes, located on Highway 21 at the Weaver city limits.  Chief Deputy Matthew Wade says investigators served a search warrant and seized what he called a number of "substances." Wade says the substances will have to be tested before he can identify them.  The search warrant used in the midday raid indicates investigators were looking for cannaboids, or marijuana oil.

Oxford Police searching for theft suspect

The Oxford Police Department has turned to social media to catch a  theft suspect who was captured on surveillance video returning stolen items to a store to get a refund.  According to police, the man is wanted in connection with an incident on Jan. 29 in the on Hillyer Robinson Parkway, where a thief broke into a car and stole items purchased at T.J. Maxx.  Video released by police on their facebook page shows a man returning items taken during the car break-in. Anyone with information regarding his identity or this case is urged to contact Oxford police at 256-835-6122. Authorities said you can leave a tip anonymously.

Artillery firing at Pelham range

The Alabama National Guard is warning residents near Fort McClellan and Pelham Range that they will hear artillery fire for two days beginning next week.

According to a release from the National guard, soldiers training on the range will begin live-fire exercises Thursday, Feb. 18. Those exercises will continue until Feb. 20th.

Friday, February 5, 2016

2-5-16 News

Public housing
Hundreds of Alabamians currently living in public housing may have to find a new place to live. The Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of the Inspector General is now proposing reducing the number of over income families living in public housing.  The almost 30 page report says in the U.S. there are currently 25,226 families receiving public housing assistance whose income exceeds the eligibility requirements. Right now the Department of Housing and Urban Development only requires families to meet certain income limits when they are admitted to the public housing program. If a family's income increases while living there, they can stay. The report calls these families "over income" families.  The report says there are currently 811 over income families in Alabama that are living in public housing. Alabama ranks as the fourth highest in the nation when it comes to the number of over income families living in public housing.  The report says reducing the number of over income families in public housing will put over 100 million dollars to "better use" by providing that money to eligible low-income families who need housing. It recommends that housing authorities be directed to establish policies to reduce the number of over income families in public housing.

Florida fugitive arrested in Cherokee County
Cherokee County authorities arrested a Florida man yesterday wanted in the Tampa-St. Petersburg area.  Sheriff Jeff Shaver said 35 year old  Rikki L. Speakman, of Dover, Fla. was arrested in Sand Rock Wednesday.  Shaver said that Investigators received information about the Florida fugitive and were able to locate him. Speakman is wanted by Hillsborough County, Fla. authorities on a probation violation involving grand theft. He remains in the Cherokee County Detention Center awaiting extradition to Florida.

Anniston cocaine arrests
Two Anniston residents are being held in the Calhoun County Jail awaiting a preliminary hearing after they were charged with trafficking cocaine.
47 year old Claressa Williams,  and  23 year old Michael Mathews,  were arrested Jan. 26 on charges of trafficking about 35 grams of cocaine.

Rainbow city fatal
Alabama State Troopers have not released the name of a Rainbow City woman killed in a midday collision at the intersection of Blount County Roads 39 and 47 Thursday.  Blount County Coroner John Mark Vaughn confirmed that the 26-year-old woman was pronounced dead Thursday at the scene of the collision between her Ford Fusion and a transfer truck.  Vaughn said there were no other injuries in the crash, which happened about 11:45 a.m. Thursday morning.

Criminal mischief arrest
An Attalla man has been arrested in connection to criminal mischief, according to Etowah County Sheriff Todd Entrekin.  42 year old James Timothy Kitchens, has been charged with one misdemeanor count of third-degree criminal mischief, public intoxication; and a felony charge of unlawful breaking and entering of a vehicle.
Deputies responded to a suspicious person at a residence on Sand Valley Road. The homeowner called 911 after finding Kitchens, who he did not know, inside a vehicle at the property. Deputies found Kitchens tossing and turning inside the vehicle. Kitchens told the deputies he was trying to get comfortable so he could sleep.
Kitchens is in the Etowah County Detention Center on $3,100 bond.

Rainbow city drug arrest
A Rainbow City man has been arrested on drug possession charges.  36 year old Donovan Remeir Rutledge, has been charged with unlawful possession of a controlled substance and unlawful possession of salvia.  Etowah County Drug Enforcement Unit agents went to an address on Chestnut Street in Gadsden Thursday in reference to a complaint of drug activity. As agents drove up, Rutledge took off running behind the residence. Agents pursued him on foot and saw Rutledge toss a gun to the ground as he was running.  Rutledge was apprehended a short distance later, without further incident. Further investigation resulted in the seizure of heroin and salvia from his pockets. A loaded 9mm handgun was recovered from the yard.  Rutledge was arrested and transported to the Etowah County Detention Center. Further charges may be forthcoming related to the firearm.

Boaz fatal
A single-vehicle crash early Wednesday morning  claimed the life of a 28 year old Boaz man.  Preston Cole Lovell, was killed when the 2004 GMC Sierra he was driving left DeKalb County Road 1 one mile south of Aroney, struck an embankment and overturned.  Lovell, who was not using a seat belt, was ejected from the vehicle.  He was pronounced dead at the scene.  Alabama State Troopers continue to investigate the crash.

Voter registration requirements

Residents of Kansas, Alabama and Georgia are no longer able to register to vote using a federal form without providing proof of U.S. citizenship after a federal elections official added the requirement without public notice or review by the agency's commissioners. The move by Brian Newby, the new executive director of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, has sparked a backlash from one of its commissioners, who is asking the changes be withdrawn. The American Civil Liberties Union says it's a brazen move that will create additional barriers. Newby defended his decision as a routine administrative action taken at the request of the states. He took over the agency's top job last November and came from Kansas, where the secretary of state has pushed for such laws for years.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

2-4-16 News

Dekalb drug arrest
A pair of burglary suspects in DeKalb County were arrested Tuesday thanks to a concerned citizen's call to the sheriff's office.  According to a release, the DeKalb County Sheriff's Office responded to a report of a possible burglary at a residence on County Road 179 in Crossville's Painter community. Upon arriving, they discovered a break-in had occurred. A witness at the scene told deputies that they saw a man and woman carrying property of the residence and taking it to a home next door.Authorities later executed a search warrant at the neighboring home and found man and woman inside, as well as the property allegedly stolen from next door and two one-post meth labs. The suspects -- who were later identified as 33-year-old Benjamin Jay McClain and 31-year-old Jami Nicole Spain -- were arrested and each charged with burglary, unlawful possession of a controlled substance and unlawful manufacturing of a controlled substance. They both also face a charge of possession of drug paraphernalia.

Leesburg man charged with Georgia robberies
A Leesburg man is in jail in Georgia along with another man in connection with a string of armed robberies in four counties.  The Chattooga County (Ga.) Sheriff's Office announced that 26 year old Jake Lee Skuse,  of Leesburg, has been charged with armed robbery, methamphetamine possession and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Also facing charges is 42 year old James Tyrone Carmichael,  of Rome, Ga., on two counts of armed robbery, along with meth possession and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. More charges are likely.

Piedmont gas tax
The Piedmont City Council decided for a second time Tuesday that there will be no gas tax increase in the city..
Councilman Frank Cobb has for months asked other council members to consider imposing a two-cent tax increase on fuel pumped at Piedmont stations to help pay for road paving in the city.

Talladega shootings
The Talladega County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a shooting that wounded two people in the Grassmere community Monday night. The incident took place around 10:30 p.m. on Sunrise Circle in Alpine, but deputies were never called to the scene.Both of the injured parties were adult males. One was transported by personal vehicle to the emergency room of Citizens Baptist Medical Center in Talladega, and was then transferred to University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospital. This person would have been airlifted, but the LifeSaver helicopter was not available. The other injured party was also put into a private vehicle and driven over Logan Martin Dam, where he was met by an ambulance that took him to UAB.  Investigators were notified by hospital staff that the shooting had taken place. Investigators were able to locate what they believe to be the crime scene hours after the shooting occurred. A handful of witnesses have been interviewed, but most of them do not seem to have first-hand knowledge of what actually happened.
Anyone with any information about this incident should contact the Talladega County Sheriff’s Office at 256-761-2141.

Lindsey hearing
Attorneys for Stephon Lindsay argued Tuesday that a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that Florida’s capital sentencing process is unconstitutional means Alabama’s capital statute also is unconstitutional, so the death penalty should be off the table in the Gadsden man’s upcoming trial.  Lindsay is charged in the 2013 murder of his daughter, 20-month-old Maliyah Lindsay.  The girl’s body was found March 12, 2013, in a wooded area at the corner of Plainview Street and Block Avenue. She had been reported missing a day earlier by her mother, Tasmine Thomas. Court documents indicate the child was killed with a hatchet or sword-like blade. At the time of her slaying, family members said it was a ritualistic killing.  Lindsay’s trial is scheduled to begin Feb. 22. He has pleaded not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect, and has undergone a second mental evaluation. A portion of the doctor’s opinion from that evaluation has been submitted to the court under seal; attorneys are awaiting the rest of the opinion.  In the ruling in Hurst vs. Florida, “the Court held that the Sixth Amendment requires a jury, not a judge, to find each element necessary to impose the death sentence.”

Piedmont man detained
A Piedmont man was detained Saturday  after allegedly shoplifting at Wal-Mart in East Gadsden. But when police arrived, he provided false information about who he was.  There was an outstanding unrelated drug charge against the man whose name he gave, so he ended up going to jail anyway and was booked under the incorrect name on the wrong charge.  According to a Gadsden police report, the man whose name was falsely given alerted the Etowah County Detention Center of the discrepancy. An Etowah County Drug Task Force agent notified Gadsden police, but by that time the 33-year-old Piedmont man had been released. He faces a potential felony charge for giving false information.

Childersburg tower
The Childersburg City Council responded Tuesday night to Norfolk Southern Railroad’s proposal to build a 170-foot tower downtown.
The council, in an effort to preserve the historical character of Childersburg and the downtown area, agreed to send a letter to the company requesting it consider another location The proposed location for the tower is at the intersection of Alabama Highway 76 and Bates Addition.
Norfolk is proposing to install a self-supporting lattice railroad communication tower, according to a letter sent to the Childersburg Historic Preservation Commission. It will be placed within the right-of-way of Norfolk Southern.
The letter said the proposed tower will serve as a base station for the federally mandated Positive Train Control (PTC) system. The PTC system is mandated by the U.S. Congress to enhance train safety and is being implemented by all Class 1 railways in the United States.
Mayor James Payne and Council members Ralph Rich and Billy Lester said they hoped the railway would look for another site, but none expressed any confidence the site will change.

St clair amendment
A constitutional amendment that would allow the St. Clair County Commission to amend court costs by local legislation will be on the March 1 election ballot.
County attorney James Hill III said the proceeds could be used for expenses within the county.
Hill said“About two-thirds of all the counties in the state have that ability, and it is important that we do as well, and is an opportunity for st. clair county to have the same benefits and options that other counties have right now.”

Hill said there is a piece of legislation that has been passed that would allow a $30 court cost to be collected from defendants who use the county jails.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

2-3-16 News

School Delays for Wednesday
Severe weather in Alabama has forced several school systems to delay classes Wednesday.
Alabama Institute Deaf and Blind : Buses will be on 2 hour delay Wednesday
Attalla City Schools : Delayed 2 hours
Calhoun County Schools : Delayed 2 hours Wednesday
Cherokee County Schools : Delayed 2 hours; Wednesday
Cleburne County Schools : Delayed 2 hours; Wednesday
Etowah county schools Delayed 2 hours Wednesday
Gadsden City Schools : Delayed 2 hours Wednesday
Jacksonville Christian Academy : Delayed 2 hours Wednesday
Jacksonville City Schools : Delayed 2 hours Wednesday
Oxford City Schools : Delayed 2 hours Wednesday
Pell City Schools : Delayed 2 hours Wednesday
Piedmont City Schools : Delayed 2 hours Wednesday
Randolph County Schools : Delayed 2 hours; Wednesday morning
St Clair County Schools : Delayed 2 hours
Sylacauga City Schools : 2 Hour Delay Wednesday
Talladega City Schools : Delayed 2 hours Wednesday
Talladega County Schools : Delayed 2 hours Wednesday

Piedmont fatal
Alabama State Troopers report that a Piedmont man's injuries from a weekend vehicle crash have proven fatal.  The two-vehicle wreck occurred Saturday on Alabama 68 inside the city limits of Sand Rock. Troopers said a 2007 Chevrolet struck a 2006 Honda. James Lawrence Calvert, of Piedmont, was a passenger in the Honda. He was transported from the scene to UAB Hospital with severe injuries. Troopers said he succumbed to those injuries at the hospital on Tuesday. He was 43 years old.  Both of the drivers were treated at local hospitals.

Gadsden divorce capital of Alabama recently identified the city in each state with the highest percentage of divorced people. The data comes from the Census Bureau's American Community Survey's five-year estimates for the period ending in 2014 and, just a note, only cities with a population of at least 25,000 were included.  According to the data, Alabama's divorce capital is Gadsden. The city has 36,621 residents with 16.1 percent of them being divorced at least once. That's high enough to make the city 21st in the country for the highest number of divorced residents.

Gadsden plane crash report released
Spin, I'm trying to get out of here." These were the last words air traffic controllers heard from a plane which took off from Gadsden and crashed in a Colorado reservoir in 2014, killing five people on board. The National Transportation and Safety Board has issued a preliminary narrative account of the 2014 crash, and is expected to issue a final report within a few weeks. The narrative is the result of a nearly two-year investigation into the crash, which took place on March 22, 2014 in a reservoir in Ridgway, Colo. The crash killed five people –pilot 48 year old  Jimmy Hill, 40 year old  Katrina Barksdale, 11 year old  Kobe Barksdale, 8 year old Xander Barksdale, and 14 year old  Seth McDuffie. A preliminary report was filed in April 2014, but the final report, which usually determines the cause of an accident, can take more than a year to compile. The NTSB took possession of the plane wreckage shortly after it was recovered from the reservoir on March 27. According to the narrative, the plane took off from Gadsden's Northeast Alabama Regional Airport about 7:39 a.m. that day and arrived at Bartlesville Municipal Airport in Bartlesville, Okla. about 10 a.m. The report says Hill had the plane's fuel topped off there while he and the plane's passengers grabbed lunch at the airport. Hill also received a weather briefing before the plane took off again 11:11 a.m. Everything appeared normal with both plane and pilot. The plane cruised for awhile at 26,000 feet, before lowering to 17,000 and then 16,000 before its scheduled approach to Montrose Regional Airport. The narrative notes that Hill had accumulated a total flight time of about 908 hours in single-engine airplanes, 839 hours as a pilot-in-command, and had no apparent health issues. An autopsy of Hill only revealed the presence of an over-the-counter dietary supplement in his blood.

Talladega murder cases
Two Talladega County capital murder cases from 2013 moved closer to trial this week. 20 year old Demarcus James Samuels,  and 21 year old  Justin Dawayne Hamilton, are both accused of killing Timothy McGlothlin of Shelby County during a robbery in March of that year.  16 year old Dawson Scott Miller, is accused of killing 75 year old  Earnest Jenkins, in October, also during a robbery.  According to Talladega County District Attorney Steve Giddens, Samuels and Hamilton had asked to be tried as youthful offenders. Both were refused.  Miller applied for juvenile status, but the process for him is somewhat more complicated. A person older than 16 accused of a violent crime is automatically certified as an adult for trial purposes, but, because Miller was younger than 16, it was necessary to have a hearing in district court, where the results of an extensive investigation by the probation department is considered.  District Judge Robert Rumsey certified Miller as an adult in July 2014, but that ruling was appealed.  Giddens said Monday that Miller’s appeals for juvenile status had been exhausted and Rumsey’s ruling stood. Miller has been arraigned on a capital murder charge and, presumably, has asked King to be tried as a youthful offender.

Parolee charged in Talladega robbery
A Kellyton man out of prison on parole has been charged with armed robbery in south Talladega County.
36 year old Ricky Allen Crawford,  was charged with first-degree robbery Saturday and was being held Monday in the Talladega County Jail on a $500,000 bond set by District Judge Jeb Fannin, according to Sheriff Jimmy Kilgore.
Crawford is accused of waiting for the Shop N Fill Number 2 on U.S. 280 to open at 5:10 a.m. Saturday while armed with a knife. He held the knife to the cashier’s throat and demanded money. When the cashier complied, Crawford allegedly fled with less than $200.

Stolen truck recovered
A truck hauling a trailer load of lumber fled Monday evening when a Gadsden police officer tried to stop it after discovering that it had been reported stolen in Lowndes County. The pursuing officer called for assistance about 5:45 p.m. as he was chasing the truck. The truck’s driver lost the trailer and the load of wood it was carrying in the 500 block of North 32nd Street, but continued his run in the stolen truck. An officer saw a truck fitting the description of the stolen vehicle  behind a house on Tuscaloosa Avenue. After he helped get the trailer towed, he went back to the residence to investigate the truck. The owner of the residence told him his wife said a man pulled up in the yard from a back alley, acting like he was in a hurry and asking the wife for a ride. She refused and left in her car. The resident said he was acquainted with the suspect but knew him only by his first name — Jonathan. He said the man also was known as “Big Tat” because he was covered in tattoos, even on his eyelids. The wife said another neighbor gave the man a ride away from the area. The stolen truck is the property of Lindsey Roofing, a company based in Columbus, Miss.

Etowah commission buys warehouse
The Etowah County Commission on Tuesday voted to buy a large warehouse facility to be used for storage.
The building is 54,367 square feet with a small office space and a large warehouse. It is on 5.28 acres of land on Thomas Drive, off Alabama Highway 77 near the Etowah County Drug Enforcement Unit facility.
Its space will be split between the sheriff’s office and the commission on a 75 percent to 25 percent basis, respectively.

Chief Deputy Michael Barton said the building has sufficient space for all the sheriff office’s equipment and room for growth as needed, such as the addition of a helipad for the office’s helicopter. The county’s voting machines also will be kept there.