Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Anniston police shoot man armed with airsoft gun


Chief Shane Denham

Anniston police officers fatally shot a man who refused to drop his weapon, which later turned out to be an airsoft gun, on Tuesday morning. A caller who identified himself as "Frank" called 911 around 9:30 a.m. to report a male walking round the area of Net Street and Twine Street with a firearm. Two officers responded to the area in the Blue Mountain community and saw a white male holding a weapon.  Police Captain Allen George says the officers gave "multiple commands" for the man to drop his weapon, but he refused.  Police chief Shane Denham confirmed the man's identity as 53 year old Frank Charles Johnston.  Denham said that not only did he refuse to drop the weapon but he raised the weapon and took up a shooting stance, and pointed it at the officers.  Both of the officers fired shots on Johnston. Police haven't said how many shots were fired, but a neighbor said he heard five shots.  The Calhoun County Coroner's Office pronounced Johnston dead on the scene. Investigators later discovered that the man's weapon was an airsoft-type gun designed to look like an Airsoft 1911 pistol. Denham said You couldn't tell that it was not a real weapon. So for the officers, the Chief said it was a real weapon. They were in fear for their lives and they responded appropriately.

Man injured in hunting accident



The Etowah County sheriff's office and Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources are investigating a hunting accident that took place Tuesday morning.
The 26-year-old victim was turkey hunting with friends when the accident occurred. He was taken to a local hospital.
His injuries are said to be non life-threatening. The accident happened at a property located on Centre Road in the Ball Play community.

Gadsden police investigating shooting outside community center



Gadsden Police are investigating a shooting at a community center in East Gadsden. Police were dispatched to the 1100 block of Litchfield Avenue Monday afternoon where an 18-year-old woman was sitting outside the community center in her car, talking with three other women. Police say another woman came up to the group, fired two shots in the air and then three shots at the woman. Two fire marshals in the area heard the shots. The woman was not hit by the gunfire, but her car was struck on the passenger side door. Officials say that there are not any suspects at this time.

Oxford council approves tax abatement



The Oxford City Council agreed Tuesday to offer tax breaks to an expanding company looking to create 10 new jobs. The council approved a 10 year tax abatement to Manufacturing Technology and Services and JARA Properties, a Talladega real estate investment company, exempting them from paying non-educational ad valorem and property taxes for 10 years. Ronnie Smith, owner of Manufacturing Technology and Services and JARA Properties, plans to relocate to a new 10,000-square-foot facility on Bama Drive in Oxford.  The company makes orthopedic equipment, and is currently operating in a leased building on Alabama 21 in Oxford.  The tax abatements will cost the city between $18,000 and $20,000. Council President Steven Waits called it a good investment for the creation of 10 jobs.

Judges step aside in Barron case


Lowell Barron

Two of the three appeals court judges who stepped aside from former Sen. Lowell Barron's case say they did it because of family or staff ties to Barron and co-defendant Jill Johnson.  Three of the five judges on the Court of Criminal Appeals recused themselves Monday without giving reasons. On Tuesday, two followed up with explanations.  Judge Liles Burke wrote that his father's wife, Sharon Barron Burke, was previously married to Barron, and his two step-siblings are Barron's children.  Judge Michael Joiner says his senior staff attorney's cousin was married to Barron for many years and his senior staff attorney's brother is Johnson's lawyer.  Barron and Johnson faces six charges accusing them of misusing $58,000 in campaign donations to Barron's unsuccessful re-election campaign in 2010.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Piedmont man sentenced in assault of 4 year old


Raleigh Steven Rowan

A 29 year old Piedmont man was sentenced Monday to three life terms without the possibility of parole after being convicted on two counts    Calhoun County Circuit Judge Debra Jones also sentenced Raleigh Steven Rowan, to 99 years for kidnapping the girl and 20 years for sexual abuse of a child younger than 12. Rowan admitted to sexually abusing the girl, and told the court during his March trial that he abducted the victim from her Piedmont home on Feb. 5, 2013.  Prosecutors told the jury during the trial that the girl suffered bite marks, scrapes and bruises all over her body. Investigators found DNA evidence that linked Rowan to the victim.  Defense attorney Bill Broome disagreed with Jones’ ruling, telling the court that he expects to file a motion soon for a new trial. Broome said Alabama law only allows for a maximum sentence of not more than 99 years for the sodomy and rape convictions. State law does allow life sentences without parole for those crimes if the person convicted was 21 years of age or older, and the victim was younger than 12 at the time of the crimes, but Broome said the prosecution didn’t address that part of the statute in the indictment.
of first degree sodomy and one count of first degree rape involving the sexual abuse of a 4 year old girl in 2013.