9 months ago

Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles returns to mission, keeps violent criminals off the streets

The Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles on Tuesday denied parole for 14 violent convicts who are in prison for armed robbery.

This came after a news conference Monday announcing the official resumption of parole hearings. During this press conference, Bureau of Pardons and Paroles Director Charlie Graddick had strongly urged board members to use prudence in considering whether to grant each individual parole.

“Inmates do not have an innate right to be paroled, they must earn such a privilege,” Graddick emphasized. “Our first priority must be the safety of every man, woman and child in Alabama.”

The board apparently decided that one such inmate has earned his parole.

William Cameron Cliatt, sentenced in 2006 to 25 years in prison for the first-degree robbery of Crum’s Deli in Henry County, on Tuesday was granted the privilege.

The list of the violent criminals who were denied parole on Tuesday is as follows:

Antonio Jackson was sentenced in 2009 to life in prison for two first-degree robberies in St. Clair County. Jackson has been convicted of robbery four times in Jefferson and St Clair counties, and was previously convicted of murder in Georgia. He is serving his fourth prison term. He was granted probation in 1995 and has already been paroled twice only to wind up back in prison

Steven Wade Hamilton was sentenced in 2010 to 20 years in prison for a first-degree robbery in Calera in Shelby County in which he robbed a convenience store clerk at knifepoint. His other convictions include theft, three burglaries and domestic violence assault. He has been incarcerated five times.

Akeem Benison was sentenced in 2013 to 20 years in prison for armed robbery. He was charged with seven counts of first-degree armed robbery. The Demopolis Police Department said the robberies all took place at the same BP service station over a period, and that each time, Benison would flee after the robbery back to Greene County. Police called him a serial robber. He was sentenced in 2013 to 20 years in prison for robbery.

Charleston George was sentenced in 2009 to 25 years in prison for first-degree robbery in Lee County. He was an employee of Momma Goldberg’s Deli in Auburn and was involved in a robbery in which two masked gunmen held up the restaurant at closing time. George is serving his third prison term. He was sentenced in 2000 to three years in prison and 12 years of probation for two first-degree robberies in Tuskegee.

Alonzo John Goines has committed multiple robberies. Goines was sentenced in 2013 to 20 years in prison for two counts of first-degree robbery in Russell County after he and an accomplice robbed a store at gunpoint. Goines had already been sentenced to three years in prison in Lee County back in 2008 for another first-degree robbery.

Donte Lamar Harris was sentenced in 2014 to six years, eight months in prison for first-degree robbery in Millbrook, Elmore County. He robbed at gunpoint three different Dollar General stores over a three-week period.

Antron Marquez Jackson was sentenced in 2003 to 30 years in prison for first-degree robbery in Pike County, his third incarceration. Jackson robbed Ward’s Grocery Store at gunpoint.

Benjamin James Bradley of Covington County was sentenced in 2008 to 21 years, three months in prison for first-degree robbery. He used a gun to rob the A.W. Herndon store in Andalusia. He has escaped from prison twice during his criminal career.

Richardo Eason of Foley in Baldwin County was sentenced in 2009 to 20 years in prison for the first-degree armed robbery of a gas station clerk. He entered a Bebos gas station armed with a gun and demanded money from the clerk.

Omar Wilik McQueen was sentenced in 1990 to 30 years in prison for first-degree robbery and theft of property in Montgomery County. He robbed a store at gunpoint. McQueen has already been paroled once – back in 2003 – but he wound up right back in prison.

James Leo Williams was convicted of four armed robberies in Jefferson County in 1996-97 and sentenced to 25 years in prison. In each of the robberies, Williams and two accomplices threatened and held guns to the heads of store employees. Williams was paroled once before, in 2006, but wound up right back in prison.

Thomas Edward Howard was sentenced in 2008 to 21 years in prison for first-degree robbery after he robbed a Chevron store in Auburn, Lee County, with a gun on March 3, 2008.

Lonnie Painter is a violent, multi-state offender who was sentenced in 2005 to 20 years in prison for first-degree robbery and two counts of illegal possession/fraudulent use of a credit card in Gardendale, Jefferson County. He lured the robbery victim by asking for a battery jump and then used a knife and threatened to kill the victim. He has been released from prison on parole three times and each time he violated parole.

Jarius Israel Robinson was sentenced in 2009 to 25 years in prison for a 2008 robbery in Dothan, Houston County. The Dothan Eagle reported that Robinson, from Henry County, was among three teenagers charged with robbing a Dothan KFC restaurant where he had once been an employee. Robinson and his two accomplices wore masks and brandished guns during the robbery.

Tuesday’s hearings came after a tumultuous time for the Bureau, which was called “badly broken” before a structural overhaul supported by the governor and attorney general overwhelmingly passed the Alabama legislature this spring.

Once a new leadership team led by Graddick came into the organization in recent months, they discovered that hearings needed to be postponed because the old leaders had not put the Bureau in compliance with the new law. Graddick lamented the situation as a “hot mess,” but Tuesday should signal things are back on stable footing.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

11 hours ago

Tuberville supports #WeWantToPlay movement — ‘Let them play’

Count former Auburn University head football coach Tommy Tuberville as a supporter of the player-led #WeWantToPlay movement to save the 2020 college football season.

Prominent elected officials from across the country, including President Donald Trump, and major leaders in the college football world, including University of Alabama head coach Nick Saban, on Monday voiced their support for the movement.

In a video message posted to social media, Tuberville added his voice to the mix.


The current Alabama Republican senatorial nominee said, “You know, college football is the lifeblood of the South, and allowing teams to play this season will bring a much-needed sense of calm to these strange times.”

Tuberville then echoed a key sentiment that Saban outlined earlier in the day.

“With proper medical supervision, college players are likely safer on the field than they are if they’re sent home. And most programs are implementing stricter guidelines than the CDC recommends,” Tuberville added. “If a player wants to opt out, that’s fine. But don’t take this opportunity away from thousands of young men who have worked their entire lives for this moment.”

“I support the players who want to take the field this season, and I hope you will join me. Let them play,” he concluded.


Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

12 hours ago

Sierra Club endorses Joe Biden, calls him ‘champion for climate justice’

Emphasizing its agenda of “climate justice,” the California-based environmental group Sierra Club announced its endorsement of presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Monday.

In a release touting its intent to elect what it termed “climate champions up and down the ticket,” Sierra Club’s executive director Michael Brune outlined the desire of his group to defeat President Donald Trump.

“We are confident that Joe Biden will be the champion for climate justice that America needs in the White House,” Brune stated. “As Americans head to the polls in November, our country will be facing crises on multiple fronts, including a climate emergency that disproportionately harms communities of color. This may be the most consequential election of our lives, and it is critical that we replace Donald Trump with a leader who understands the scale and urgency of the climate crisis and is ready to take bold action to solve it.”

Sierra Club has maintained an active presence in Alabama this year.


In May, Secretary of State John Merrill declared Sierra Club an organization “threatening the economic livelihood of Alabama’s own businesses” through what he called a “shortsighted political agenda.”

Merrill cited lawsuits initiated by Sierra Club to restrict Alabama energy production as part of his contention that the group’s effort in the state would kill jobs.

“The Sierra Club, which is based out of San Francisco, California, does not represent Alabama thinking or values,” Merrill wrote. “It is troubling to see out-of-state activist groups working to influence our state’s power supply and its workers.”

In March, Sierra Club was among the environmentalist groups which descended upon the Alabama Public Service Commission to oppose natural gas usage for power generation.

Sierra Club endorsed Democrat Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential election.

Tim Howe is an owner of Yellowhammer Multimedia

12 hours ago

Madison County Commission says it will not break the law to remove a Confederate monument

Alabama is obviously not immune from the racial strife gripping the United States. In recent months, we have seen statues come down, a state representative attended a birthday party for Nathan Bedford Forrest, small riots and acts of vandalism.

Like most Americans, Alabamians have generally accepted that the Confederate memorials all over the state on courthouse squares and in public parks are going to come down. Some are headed to cemeteries, some are headed to storage, and the fate of many is still unknown.

In Madison County, the Huntsville City Council and the Madison County Commission have both voted to move its controversial Confederate statue, and a new resting place at Maple Hill Cemetery has been selected. However, the monument still remains.


That monument was vandalized last week, and Madison County Commission Chairman Dale Strong did not want to use taxpayer resources to clean it up, so it stands defaced and ugly near the steps of the Madison County Courthouse.

Strong appeared on WVNN’s “The Dale Jackson Show” on Monday and made it clear he wasn’t going to clean it up or force county employees to do so, but he hinted that if someone wanted to clean it up in the dead-of-night, like when it was vandalized, they should have at it.

In the interview, Strong voiced frustration with recent reporting that indicated he and the Madison County Commission have not reached out to Attorney General Steve Marshall’s office seeking a way to remove the statue and pay a $25,000 fine.

The commission views this as a non-starter. Strong believes attempting to “negotiate” breaking the law is a violation of his oath of office. Instead, he “filed an application of waiver with the committee based on a law that was written in 2017,” he advised.

Strong is worried about precedent, saying, “[T]here’s a lot of hesitation in contacting the attorney general. What happens if the next time someone that somebody desires to remove the name Jefferson Street, Washington Street or they don’t like the name on a building? What do we do? Just go in here and let somebody set a fee, pay the fee, and say hey just remove whatever you want to?”

My takeaway:

This is what should be done. The Alabama Memorial Preservation Act is the law of the land and it has been upheld.

Obviously, Chairman Strong is right. The law needs to be followed, and if it is unwieldy, change the law. If you don’t, we will be seeing attempts to move historic markers, veterans memorials and the like that are followed by the presentation of a cartoonish $25,000 check.

Society cannot just ignore the laws we dislike and pay a fine and move on. The precedent is bad, and the Madison County Commission and its chairman want no part of it.


Dale Jackson is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts a talk show from 7-11 AM weekdays on WVNN.

13 hours ago

ICE announces arrests of two illegal aliens in Alabama, including for attempted murder

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on Monday announced two recent Alabama arrests by its Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) division.

According to a release, HSI made the pair of arrests in the Yellowhammer State on July 22.

Agents of the HSI Birmingham office reportedly arrested Christian Martinez, 32, a Salvadoran national and U.S. fugitive, on two state charges of attempted murder, as well as a charge of shooting into an occupied dwelling and another for being an alien in unlawful possession of a firearm.


HSI Birmingham worked with the United States Marshals Service on Martinez’s arrest on a fugitive warrant at a work site in Mountain Brook. ICE is also pursuing federal charges for unlawful firearm possession. Martinez was booked into the Jefferson County jail and given a $150,000 bond. This is an ongoing, HSI-led investigation, according to the release.

Additionally, HSI Huntsville arrested Iris Ferreira-Cardoso, 49, a Brazilian national, for alleged violations of federal immigration law.

Agents from HSI Huntsville and ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations were part of a federal-local law enforcement collaboration that reportedly arrested Ferreira-Cardoso at a residence in Owens Cross Roads in Madison County. He will remain in ICE custody pending removal proceedings.

ICE advised that both Martinez and Ferreira-Cardoso are aliens who were in the United States illegally.

Martinez is alleged to have illegally entered the country without being inspected or paroled by an immigration officer on an unknown date and at an unknown location.

Ferreira-Cardoso was previously removed from the United States in 2005. He is believed to have returned after that time, allegedly illegally entering without being inspected or paroled by an immigration officer on an unknown date and at an unknown location.

“People in these communities can rest easier knowing that these two violent criminals are not roaming the streets in search of their next victims,” commented Acting HSI Special Agent in Charge Robert Hammer, who oversees HSI operations in Georgia and Alabama.

“The United States should not be viewed as a safe haven for violent criminals fleeing justice in their own countries,” he concluded.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

13 hours ago

Saban: ‘Players are a lot safer with us than they are running around at home’

University of Alabama head football coach Nick Saban on Monday afternoon weighed in on the player-led #WeWantToPlay movement to save the 2020 college football season.

In an interview with ESPN, Saban commented on the movement that is in part led by Crimson Tide star running back Najee Harris.

The movement, less than a day old, has quickly gained steam, garnering public reactions already by President Donald Trump, other prominent elected officials across the nation and many in and around college football.


Speaking to ESPN, Saban pushed back on the notion that student-athletes will inherently be safer if the season is not played.

“I want to play, but I want to play for the players’ sake, the value they can create for themselves,” Saban said.

“I know I’ll be criticized no matter what I say, that I don’t care about player safety,” he outlined. “Look, players are a lot safer with us than they are running around at home. We have around a 2% positive ratio on our team since the Fourth of the July. It’s a lot higher than that in society. We act like these guys can’t get this unless they play football. They can get it anywhere, whether they’re in a bar or just hanging out.”

The legendary coach noted that the SEC has already pushed back the start of its season to September 26 to allow the fall semester to resume before final decisions are made on football.

“It’s going to be a challenge when the other students get on campus, and I get that,” Saban remarked. “But we really don’t know what that entails until it happens. It’s a big reason we pushed the season back, to assess that, which is the prudent way to do it.”

Bama senior All-American offensive tackle Alex Leatherwood also spoke with ESPN, strongly stating his position. He underscored that players need to have a voice as conferences and schools make decisions.

“There’s a lot of noise and bad stuff out there about playing football with the virus going on, but I haven’t really seen anything about what the players want,” Leatherwood told ESPN. “We’ve been grinding all summer, and you don’t want it to be all for nothing.

“The story that needs to be written is that we want to play,” he added. “We take risks every single day, especially in this sport, and life shouldn’t stop. If there is a chance for long-term effects if you get it and people don’t feel comfortable, then don’t play. Everybody is entitled to their right. But we want to play, and we’re going to play.”

Harris, speaking to ESPN, praised Saban’s leadership.

“Coach Saban listens to his players and wants to hear from us first,” the running back advised. “He told us that none of this is about him, but it’s about us. He wants to hear our concerns, and we made it clear that we want to play and feel like Alabama is doing everything they can to make sure we can play safely.”

Lt. Governor Will Ainsworth backed Saban on the matter in a tweet.

“I’m with Coach Saban on this one. The player are much safer on campus and at practice than back home. For the players sake, let them play,” he commented.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn