The Wire

  • Poverty rates still high in Shoals

    Excerpt from Times Daily:

    Alabama ranks as the sixth poorest state in the U.S. with 17.2 percent of its residents living below the federal poverty line. That’s 3 percent above the national average.

    Other states rounding out the top five are West Virginia, Kentucky, New Mexico, Louisiana and Mississippi. Arkansas tied with Alabama for sixth place.

    Lauderdale and Colbert counties fall just below the state figure, hardly a bragging point, officials say.

    In the Shoals, Franklin County has the highest percentage of residents living below the poverty line at 20.1 percent.

  • Half-naked man violently attacks woman inside Mississippi Target

    Excerpt from WHNT:

    A woman was left bloodied after witnesses say a man entered a Mississippi Target and beat her with a piece of metal before taking off his pants and underwear in what appears to be a random attack.

    Michael Jerome German of Memphis is charged with aggravated assault and is being held in the DeSoto County Jail without bond. Police found him walking in the Horn Lake Target parking lot partially nude and took him into custody without incident.

  • Grandfather and son survive private plane crash in Alexander City, Alabama Sunday morning

    Excerpt from WTVM:

    Airport managers are calling it a miracle after two people walked away from a private plane crash in Alexander City, Alabama Sunday morning without any injuries.

    “They walked away. That’s just absolutely the miracle of the day,” says Airport Manager Mike Smith.

    Mike Smith says around nine o’clock Sunday morning, a grandfather and his grandson were in a private plane crash after the pilot lost power to the engine. He says the pilot flew through trees and landed a quarter of a mile away from the Alexander City Airport behind a Taco Bell.

    “He experienced an engine failure, realized he wasn’t going to make it to the airport, saw this patch of grass here and he turned to go to it. He clipped some trees and the power line. It knocked out the power in the area,” says Smith.

    Smith says shortly after the crash, the plane burst into flames prompting fire crews to the scene.

54 mins ago

Ex-NFL, Alabama player Keith McCants arrested on drug charge

(Mobile Metro Jail)

A former defensive end for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the University of Alabama has been arrested on drug charges in Florida.

Pinellas County Jail records show 50-year-old Keith McCants was arrested early Monday near St. Petersburg.

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He’s charged with a felony count of possession of crack cocaine and driving with a revoked or suspended license.

He bonded out of jail, but records don’t list a lawyer.

Jail records show multiple arrests since 2010. His most recent arrest was in January, for driving with a suspended license.

Court records show he faces a July 10 court date.

McCants made the All-America Team at Alabama and was selected fourth overall by the Buccaneers in the 1990 NFL Draft.

His career ended in 1995. He also played for the Oilers and Cardinals.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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2 hours ago

Former news production building in Birmingham sells for $1.5 million

(Google Maps)

The former Birmingham News production building has been sold for $1.5 million.

Al.com reports the buyer is looking to transform the 97,000-square-foot building into a self-storage facility.

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The Birmingham Design Review Committee approved the concept in February.

“As a Birmingham native we are excited to be a part of the continued revitalization of downtown Birmingham.

We look forward to providing first class service in this self-storage project for the business community and the growing residential population in the city center,” Brent Fields, one of the owners of News Properties LCC, said in a statement.

The former news production building was built in 1982 on 1.60 acres.

Alabama Media Group moved the printing of the Birmingham News to Atlanta last year.

Eddie Greenhalgh, first vice president of investments, for Marcus & Millichap’s Birmingham office, says the conversion of the building to self-storage represents a wider revitalization of Birmingham’s downtown area.

Birchfield Penuel & Associates is the architect.

Christy Roddy and William Ledbetter of Cushman & Wakefield-EGS Commercial Real Estate represented the seller, Advance Local Media, the parent company of Alabama Media Group. Greenhalgh also represented the seller.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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3 hours ago

Alabama college ending aquaculture program after 27 years

(Gadsden State)

An Alabama college is citing declining enrollment for a decision to ends its aquaculture program after 27 years.

Gadsden State Community College says it will discontinue the courses next spring.

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School spokeswoman Jackie Edmondson tells The Gadsden Times the program was one of the few of its kind in the nation.

The program teaches students to care for aquatic life in natural and captive environments.

Enrollees work with fresh- and saltwater fish and plants in tanks and ponds.

But the program can’t support itself any longer because enrollment is down.

Statistics show 27 students have completed the program in the last five years, or slightly more than five per year.

The teacher, Hugh Hammer, says only one of the last 10 graduates is employed in the area.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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1 day ago

Tired of Facebook censoring what you read? Here’s how to fix that

(YHN/Pixabay)

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3 days ago

Tired of Facebook censoring what you read? Here’s how to fix that

(YHN/Pixabay)

Yellowhammer News can send our most important and popular articles straight to your inbox and bypass the censors at Facebook who now limit the number of posts you see from conservative-leaning organizations like ours.

To get the news you need and the conservative opinion and analysis you want, sign up for one, two or all three of our email newsletters right now!

— Yellowhammer AM: Sent at 8:45 a.m. every weekday containing the morning news and our popular “7 Things You’ll be Talking About Today” feature.

— Yellowhammer PM: Sent at 5:30 p.m. every day containing the day’s top stories.

— Yellowhammer Week in Review: Sent every Saturday morning containing the week’s best stories.


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3 days ago

Amazon to locate $325M distribution center near Birmingham

(Amazon)

Amazon says it’s building a distribution center near Birmingham that will employ 1,500 people.

A company statement issued Friday says the 855,000-square foot facility will be located west of Alabama’s largest city in Bessemer.

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Jefferson County Commission President Jimmie Stephens tells news outlets the operation could eventually employ as many as 3,000 people.

Local officials say the project is worth about $325 million.

Employees will receive full benefits and an average hourly wage of $14.65.

Birmingham is one of the last U.S. cities its size without an Amazon facility to fulfill orders.

The region previously submitted a proposal for Amazon’s new headquarters but wasn’t selected.

Amazon already has a sorting center on the Gulf Coast at Mobile.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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3 days ago

Trump lets bygones be bygones as he backs Roby in Alabama

(WH, Roby/Facebook)

President Donald Trump is letting bygones be bygones as he endorses embattled Alabama Republican Rep. Martha Roby for re-election.

Trump tweeted on Friday: “Congresswoman Martha Roby of Alabama has been a consistent and reliable vote for our Make America Great Again Agenda.”

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Roby had publicly withdrawn her endorsement of Trump in the final days of the 2016 election after the release of the infamous “Access Hollywood” tape.

Roby had said that the tape made Trump “unacceptable” as a candidate for president.

Roby was forced earlier this month into a runoff with Democrat-turned-Republican Bobby Bright.

Bright, a former congressman, has embraced the president and charged Roby with being insufficiently supportive of Trump.

Trump is rejecting Bright as “a recent Nancy Pelosi voting Democrat” ahead of the July 17 runoff.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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3 days ago

Prattville woman accused of stealing from city’s youth baseball program

(Autauga County Sheriff)

Police say a board member of an Alabama city’s youth baseball program is accused of stealing $15,000 to $20,000 from the program.

Prattville Police Chief Mark Thompson tells The Montgomery Advertiser that 38-year-old Lindsey Leigh Martin turned herself in on a theft of property charge on Tuesday.

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She was released after posting a $10,000 bond.

Courthouse records show the Prattville woman is accused of stealing $15,000 to $20,000 from the Dixie Youth baseball program.

Court records show that she doesn’t have an attorney.

The newspaper could not reach board members of the Dixie Youth organization for comment.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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3 days ago

Southern Alabama county placing police in all schools

(Pixabay)

One of Alabama’s most populous counties has a plan to put armed police officers in each of its public schools.

Officials in coastal Baldwin County say agencies are partnering to provide permanent school resource officers at each of its 46 campuses beginning this August.

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Currently, only some county schools have officers on duty constantly.

Sheriff Huey “Hoss” Mack says Baldwin already has 30 school resource officers, meaning 16 more are needed.

The sheriff’s office and city police departments will have to fill those positions.

Officials haven’t provided details on how all the new jobs will be funded, but they say new taxes aren’t needed.

School board members will consider the plan during a meeting Thursday.

Baldwin County has more than 200,000 residents, and it’s located across Mobile Bay from Mobile.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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3 days ago

2 Alabama men sentenced in sex trafficking scheme

(Prattville PD)

A federal judge has sentenced two men to prison in what prosecutors describe as a sex-trafficking scheme in central Alabama.

A statement from prosecutors says 25-year-old Michael Graham Lowe of Prattville was sentenced to more than 18 years in prison during a hearing Thursday.

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Thirty-year-old Joshua David Rose of Prattville got almost 17 years in prison.

Authorities say Rose used an internet site to advertise a girl as being available for sex acts, and Lowe helped.

Authorities say the men then stood guard outside a motel room while the young victim engaged in sex for money.

Rose pleaded guilty last year, and jurors convicted Lowe earlier this year.

Both men must spend 15 years on probation after prison, and U.S. District Judge Scott Coogler ordered each to pay restitution.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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3 days ago

Severe storms could strike parts of central, southern US

(Pixabay)

Forecasters say much of the central and southeast U.S. will be at risk of severe storms as the weekend approaches.

The national Storm Prediction Center says two regions will be at most risk of strong to severe thunderstorms Friday.

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They include an area that encompasses parts of western Oklahoma, western Kansas and eastern Colorado.

Also Friday, storms could be severe in the Deep South, especially in parts of southern Arkansas; northern Louisiana; northern Mississippi, northern Alabama; and parts of Tennessee.

Forecasters say high winds and hail will be the primary threats, though some tornadoes will also be possible.

On Saturday, there’s a threat of severe storms in parts of Oklahoma, Missouri and Arkansas that includes the cities of Oklahoma City; Tulsa, Oklahoma; and Springfield, Missouri.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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4 days ago

Birmingham doesn’t make the cut for 2020 DNC Convention

(Pixabay)

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner says Houston, Milwaukee and the Miami area are the finalists to host the 2020 Democratic National Convention.

The mayor says Denver also made the party’s short list but has withdrawn its bid.

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A Denver city spokeswoman, Amber Miller, tells the Houston Chronicle that scheduling conflicts forced Denver to bow out.

Turner, a Democrat, told City Council members Wednesday the trimmed field makes Houston’s chances for hosting Democrats “exponentially better.”

The city last hosted a Democratic National Convention in 1928. Republicans gathered in Houston in 1992.

Toyota Center, home to pro basketball’s Houston Rockets, would be the main convention site.

Atlanta, New York City, San Francisco and Birmingham, Alabama, also were seeking the convention.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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4 days ago

Huntsville man sentenced to 15 years for Islamic State-inspired plot

(Madison County Jail)

A judge has sentenced an Alabama man to 15 years in federal prison for plotting to carry out Islamic State-inspired attacks in the United States.

Prosecutors say 23-year-old Aziz Ihab Sayyed of Huntsville must spend the rest of his life on probation following his release.

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Sayyed pleaded guilty in March to attempting to provide material support for the Islamic State terrorist group.

He admitted buying bomb components last year with plans to attack police stations and Redstone Arsenal.

Authorities say he also tried to form a group to carry out domestic attacks.

Prosecutors say Sayeed made the plans after watching videos by the Islamic State.

U.S. District Judge Abdul Kallon sentenced the North Carolina native during a hearing Wednesday.

Sayeed was attending college in Alabama at the time of his arrest.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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4 days ago

Mobile council asks Alabama governor for Amtrak money

(Governor Kay Ivey/Flickr)

Members of the Mobile City Council are asking Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey to approve funding to help restart passenger train service between New Orleans and the port city.

WALA-TV reports members sent Ivey a letter Wednesday saying renewed Amtrak service would help increase tourism and economic development in Mobile.

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The governor’s office didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi must commit almost $35 million total over three years by Thursday to be eligible for the same amount in federal funds that would let Amtrak trains travel the northern Gulf Coast for the first time since Hurricane Katrina.

Officials say Louisiana and Mississippi have committed money, but Alabama is refusing.

Ivey’s office says she supports renewed rail service but isn’t committing money to the project.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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4 days ago

Alabama man charged in government-computer scam

(Pixabay)

A federal grand jury has indicted an Alabama man in an alleged 10-year scam involving surplus federal computers.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of Illinois reported Wednesday that the indictment accuses 50-year-old Steven Mays of defrauding the federal “Computers for Learning” program.

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The General Services Administration program transfers computers and related equipment that the government doesn’t need directly to schools and nonprofit organizations at no cost.

The indictment alleges that Mays obtained $22 million worth of computer equipment and sold it.

He registered in the name of a church school in Dwight and told school officials he would refurbish the equipment he obtained for them.

Mays does not have a listed phone number and it was unclear whether he has an attorney.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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5 days ago

Methodists and prosecutors scold AG Sessions over border policy

(CBS News/YouTube)

More than 600 members of Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ church have denounced him over the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy that has led to children being separated from their parents at the border.

Members of the United Methodist Church from across the country signed a letter Monday accusing Sessions of child abuse, immorality and racial discrimination.

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They also chided Sessions for using biblical scripture to defend the policy, saying it runs counter to the church’s doctrine.

Sessions also was blasted in a separate letter signed by 75 former U.S. attorneys from both parties, who want Sessions to end the family separation policy at the border.

Their letter, published Monday on Medium, said the policy results in families and children being greeted “with unexpected cruelty at the doorstep of the United States.”

“Traumatizing children by separating them from their parents as a deterrent for adult conduct is, in our view, sufficient reason to halt your policy,” they wrote, adding that the legal work required to prosecute misdemeanor illegal entry cases takes away from more significant offenses like terror-related plots, corruption and human and drug trafficking.

“As former U.S. attorneys, we know that none of these consequences — nor the policy itself — is required by law.

Rather, its implementation and its execution are taking place solely at your direction, and the unfolding tragedy falls squarely on your shoulders.”

The hundreds of United Methodist Church pastors and parishioners said holding thousands of young children in mass incarceration facilities and directing staff members to take children from their parents violates the Methodists’ Book of Discipline.

Addressing “church friends” in a speech last week, Sessions said: “I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13, to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained the government for his purposes. Orderly and lawful processes are good in themselves.

Consistent, fair application of the law is in itself a good and moral thing, and that protects the weak and protects the lawful.”

The Rev. David Wright, who spearheaded the complaint against Sessions, told USA Today that he hoped Methodist pastors could get Sessions to see the harm he is doing to immigrant children and persuade him to change his mind.

“My ideal outcome is that his pastors in church leadership who know him will speak with him,” he said, “and that in those conversations he will be challenged to think through the level of harm he is causing and have a change of heart — which is about as Methodist as you can get.”

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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5 days ago

Birmingham Musician loses work after anti-immigrant post on Facebook

(Ashley McCain/YouTube)

An Alabama musician who said on social media that he’d like to shoot immigrants attempting to enter the United States says he’s losing work because of the post.

Birmingham guitarist Phillip McCain said on Facebook that he doesn’t have any sympathy for immigrants trying to enter the country, even those seeking asylum.

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In the same post, he called liberalism a “mental disorder.”

The post went viral. McCain tells al.com he has since lost his job with a band, plus $3,000 in future performance fees and three solo shows.

McCain says he was only expressing his opinion that he wants to protect the United States’ borders at any cost.

A Mexican restaurant was one of the venues that canceled a McCain show.

The manager says he’s an immigrant and has a diverse clientele, and he feared McCain’s presence would hurt business.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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5 days ago

Tennessee adds Alabama graduate transfer Brandon Kennedy

(University of Alabama)

Tennessee has boosted its offensive line by adding Alabama graduate transfer Brandon Kennedy.

Tennessee announced the additions of Kennedy and former Michigan State running back Madre London on Tuesday.

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Because they’re graduate transfers, both are eligible to play for Tennessee this fall. Kennedy has two seasons of eligibility remaining.

London has one season left.

Kennedy tweeted a picture of himself in a Tennessee uniform on Saturday with the message, “A new approach to an old dream.”

London had announced on social media in March that he was transferring to Tennessee.

Kennedy played a total of 10 games for Alabama as a reserve center over the 2016 and 2017 seasons after redshirting in 2015.

Kennedy and London join former Stanford quarterback Keller Chryst as graduate transfers on Tennessee’s roster.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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5 days ago

Alabama balks at funding for restored coastal Amtrak service

(Pixabay)

Alabama is balking at pledging millions of dollars to help restart passenger train service along the northern Gulf Coast for the first time since Hurricane Katrina.

Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi must commit almost $35 million altogether over three years by Thursday to be eligible for the same amount in federal funds that would enable Amtrak trains to run from New Orleans eastward to Mobile, Alabama.

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Louisiana has agreed to supply about $9.5 million, while Mississippi agreed to $3 million and is considering much more, said Knox Ross of the Southern Rail Commission, which is promoting the project.

But Alabama hasn’t promised any money toward the project, he said, and time is running out.

“If we don’t do it we’ve left money on the table, which would be very unfortunate,” said Ross.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey’s office issued a statement saying she supports efforts to restore passenger rail service on the coast but isn’t committing state funding.

An Alabama representative on the Southern Rail Commission, Jerry Gehman, said Ivey’s words don’t do anything to move the project forward.

“That’s good for the ink and paper it’s written on. But it does nothing … to make it a reality,” said Gehman.

Amtrak suspended service east of New Orleans along the Gulf Coast after Katrina, which heavily damaged rails, crossings and other infrastructure in 2006.
Ross said the current effort is the most serious one yet to revive passenger rail in the region.

Supporters see the New Orleans-to-Mobile proposal as a first step toward expanding Amtrak service elsewhere on the coast, Ross said.

The proposed train would run twice a day each way, stopping at cities on the Mississippi coast, he said.

Mississippi’s costs for the project are higher than those of the other states because “that’s where the tracks are,” he said.

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant is considering a request for $14.7 million over three years for capital costs, but a spokesman said no decision has been made.

The project can move forward if Alabama doesn’t contribute, Ross said, and actual costs could be less.

The eastbound train would simply stop at Pascagoula, Mississippi, rather than continuing into Alabama, he said.

“If we get Mississippi to commit we can move forward without Alabama,” said Ross.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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5 days ago

At least 3 withdraw from Business Council of Alabama

(Alabama Power/ Facebook, Wikicommons, Powersouth)

A day after Alabama’s largest electrical utility quit a business group that tries to influence policy and politics in Montgomery, two other companies confirmed they’ve also departed.

Regions Bank and PowerSouth Energy Cooperative announced they’ve also exited the Business Council of Alabama.

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News outlets report that Alabama Power Co. left in a disagreement over its leadership and other issues.

Regions Senior Vice President Evelyn Mitchell said their departure came after careful review and is effective immediately.

Tax documents filed by the business group show that most of its money comes from dues and assessments, so losing a large member like Alabama Power could affect its future operations.

The Business Council released a letter in response to Alabama Power’s move, saying the utility hasn’t been a member since April because of nonpayment of dues.

It has not commented on Regions’ or PowerSouth’s exit.

PowerSouth withdrew on Monday. Spokeswoman Christi Scruggs said they have lost confidence in the council’s leadership and feel the council has “lost direction and no longer provides us value.”

The BCA said the organization is working on a plan to have a new chief executive in place by Jan. 1.

Bill Canary has been CEO of the nonprofit since 2003.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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6 days ago

3 dead after shooting outside Alabama Walmart

(YHN/Pixabay)

Three people are dead after a shooting outside a Walmart store in Alabama.

Tallassee Mayor Johnny Hammock tells news outlets the alleged shooter crashed a car into a vehicle in the store parking lot, then opened fire.

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He says two women inside the vehicle were fatally wounded.

Hammock says the shooter then turned the gun on himself.

Authorities haven’t released the names or any other details about what happened.

A police department employee says investigators are busy at the scene of the shootings, which happened Tuesday morning.

Tallassee is located about 30 miles (50 kilometers) east of Montgomery.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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6 days ago

2 brothers charged with murder in woman’s killing in Alabama

(Calhoun County Sheriff)

Authorities say two brothers have been charged with murder in a woman’s death in Alabama.

News outlets report 33-year-old Timothy Putman and 39-year-old Tony Putman were arrested Monday by Glencoe police in the killing of 26-year-old Kelsey Abigail Williams.

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Police Detective Kenon McKenzie tells The Gadsden Times that Timothy Putman was in a relationship with Williams.

Authorities say she died of blunt force trauma.

Her body was discovered burned beyond recognition on June 2 off a highway near the Calhoun-Etowah county line.

A week later, police in Wellington found Williams’ van, which was also burned.

Calhoun County Coroner Pat Brown says remains found inside are expected to be hers.

Both men were being held on $500,000 bond. It is unclear if they have lawyers.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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6 days ago

Woman shot to death inside Birmingham home

(YHN)

Police say a 35-year-old woman has been shot to death after an argument in a Birmingham home.

Birmingham police Sgt. Johnny Williams says officers were called to the residence shortly after 6 p.m. Monday.

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Officers found the victim, Tiffany Cooper, suffering from a gunshot wound.

Police said Cooper had been arguing with a family member shortly before the gunfire.

Al.com reports that police have not publicly identified a suspect in the case.

Few other details were immediately released.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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6 days ago

Former Birmingham police spokesman held in sexual abuse case

(Birmingham PD)

A former spokesman for the Birmingham Police Department is jailed on allegations that he sexually abused a teenage relative.

Police Lt. Pete Williston was arrested Monday afternoon after police in Morris charged him with rape.

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Al.com reports that Williston checked himself into a hospital over the weekend, and District Attorney Mike Anderson says Williston was taken into custody following his release.

Willison previously served as the department spokesman, and he was most recently an interim precinct commander.

Court records aren’t available to show whether Williston has a lawyer to speak on his behalf.

Police in Morris say a female relative of Williston reported being sexually abused by the officer over a three-year period ending in 2011.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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