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2 months ago

BREAKING: Alabama AG speaks about Bridgette Marshall’s suicide

This story has been updated. 

Albertville — Slamming what he called “reckless” reporting and rumors that required his response, Attorney General Steve Marshall confirmed to reporters and community members Wednesday morning that his wife Bridgette Marshall died in Tennessee on Sunday from a self-inflicted gunshot wound and that he was on the phone with her before she committed suicide.

Marshall tearfully shared the circumstances he said he believes led to Bridgette’s suicide, including opioid addiction, mental illness, chronic pain and a fear that she was a burden to others.

“I got on the phone with her, and I just talked to a person that had no hope,” Marshall said to those gathered at Oak Grove Missionary Baptist Church in Albertville.

“She said, ‘I don’t have a purpose, and I’m tired. My body is failing me and I don’t know why. I’ve had pain for a long time and I don’t want to endure it anymore, and I’m just a burden,'” he said.

“And I told her how she wasn’t and how she was loved, and as a guy who, professionally, is supposed to be able to convince people with words to do something, I couldn’t reach her,” he said, choking up as he added that his wife asked him on the phone if he wanted to hear her commit suicide, to which he said he responded no, and that she then hung up the phone. Marshall said he called the police and tried to call her back over and over, but she didn’t answer.

WATCH Marshall share the entire story:


His wife’s addiction to opioids, Marshall said, began when she was given prescriptions to help ease the pain of her migraine headaches, which she had suffered from since childhood.

Marshall also detailed his wife’s struggle with manic-depressive disorder and anxiety, which he said was made worse by fears of being in the public eye, where Marshall said she didn’t want to be.

She told him and her parents earlier this year, “‘I can’t take this, I can’t take this,'” Marshall said, “because she felt like, at that point, she was being followed, that folks were watching where she went and where she was going.” Marshall said she was also plagued by worry that malicious writers would find out the extent of her struggle with mental illness and spread it on blogs.

Marshall said these worries caused her to leave Alabama for Murfreesboro, Tenn., “not because she didn’t love her family and that she didn’t love her husband, but because of the way she perceived her life, that was her only option.”

Marshall said he and his wife talked every day and that “every day that conversation ended with ‘I love you,'” adding that she constantly reminded Marshall of the opportunity he had to make a difference as Attorney General.

The Marshalls were together in June for Election night and for her birthday and he said that was the happiest he had seen her in a long time, but for an unknown reason something changed. It became difficult to get in touch with her.

Her health problems began to flare up, including strange new ones such as blisters on her feet, and this past weekend, she agreed to let her parents drive up to her Tenn. apartment to take her to the hospital. At some point Sunday morning, Marshall said she told them, “I won’t be alive when you get here,” which is when they called Marshall and he was able to get on the phone with his wife.

Marshall said he will forever be haunted by wondering what he could have done to prevent his wife’s suicide and whether she would still be alive had he not become attorney general, even though he said when he interviewed for the job, he asked her if she wanted him to do this and that, “She said, ‘Yeah, I do.’ Because she was my biggest supporter and my biggest fan.”

Marshall said his wife was beautiful on the outside and inside, that she was well loved by those who knew her, and that the opportunity to celebrate her life and tell her story was “robbed from us,” even though he and his family hope his speaking out will help others who are suffering.

“Y’all, it’s times like this that I wonder why anybody wants to be in public service, why anybody wants to run for office,” Marshall said. “Because somehow or another it makes others in their lives public, and that’s not fair to them. She didn’t deserve this.”

In closing, Marshall shared a touching letter Bridgette left for him the last time they were together after the June election, in which she wrote: “Steve, I knew you would pull this off and was a great birthday gift I knew was coming. You are the man for the job in Alabama. I love you more than you’ll ever know and I know you’ll handle it as you always do, with grace. I love you. Love, Bridgette.”

Bridgette’s funeral will be held at McRae Funeral Home Chapel in Boaz this Friday at 10 a.m. with visitation at the same location Thursday from 5-8 p.m.

The Marshall family is asking that, in lieu of flowers, donations be sent to Shepherd’s Cove Hospice, 408 Martling Road, Albertville, AL 35951 where Mrs. Marshall was a volunteer.

Marshall did not take questions and did not talk about his run-off campaign for attorney general; however, Yellowhammer News has confirmed with a senior member of his office that Marshall will stay in the race.

Rachel Blackmon Bryars is a writer living in Alabama

Jeremy Beaman contributed to this report.

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36 mins ago

Decatur High School teacher accused of having sex with students resigns

An Alabama high school teacher who was paid nearly $130,000 while on leave fighting charges that she had sex with students has resigned.

The Decatur city school board accepted the resignation of Carrie Cabri Witt on Monday.

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Superintendent Michael Douglas tells the Decatur Daily that Witt quit the day before the board was scheduled to hold a hearing on her employment.

The 45-year-old Witt is charged with two counts of having sex with a student.

She’s been on paid leave since March 2016 while fighting the accusations.

Witt’s resignation letter says she “vehemently” denies committing any crime or having any inappropriate relationship with a student.

The school district has spent more than $128,000 on salary and benefits on Witt since placing her on leave.

She worked at Decatur High School.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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1 hour ago

How an incoming freshman overcame inner-city Chicago to get to Alabama State University – ‘This is the start of a new life’

Ivry Hall has a tale to tell – one that is too unbelievable and too tragic to be anything but real. But it is who life’s challenges have made him, and where Hall is going from here, that he wants to be his life’s story.

Chicago born-and-raised, Hall just turned 18 last month.

“I grew up on the South Side. Englewood, 64th and Laflin,”  he told WLS-TV. “My mom did a lot of moving, but that’s where I spent most of my childhood.”

His upbringing, like that of most in this infamous part of the Windy City, was filled with serious trouble.

“Gang banging,” Hall admitted. “I used to smoke when I was little.”

He also dropped out of school, saying that is what was expected of children like him in that urban neighborhood.

Hall said, “I did a lot of stuff. That’s just from the image I was seeing so I wanted to do it, too.”

And that was all before his mom, who was raising him as a single mother, got cancer when Hall was only 12.

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“When my mom passed away, I was so hurt,” he reflected. “And I just wanted to do better.”

This tragedy inspired Hall to go back to school, and after some time, attend Tilden High School.

While in a positive frame of mind again, his life did not necessarily get easier when he went back to get his education. Hall was living with a cousin who moved nearly two hours from where he went to class.

“I had to get on three buses and one train,” Hall explained.

However, through hard work and the right attitude, he always kept going.

“I don’t believe in giving up, and I think that failure is not an option,” said Hall.

Not only did his mom pass away when he was 12, but when he was a senior in high school, Hall’s dad died of lung failure.

“Of course, I lost my mom. I lost my dad,” he told WLS-TV in Chicago. “I wish they were still here to see what I’ve accomplished now, but they’re not. Everything is not going to come as you want it.”

Hall’s faith in Jesus Christ, sports and a local boxing gym got him through the hard times. He also had mentors at his church who never stopped encouraging him.

Hall said, “They are like, ‘Ivry, you’re going to be something. You’re so smart.’ And that stuff encouraged me to do good.”

“No pity party,” explained Father Michael Pfleger of St. Sabina Church, where Hall attends. “No ‘poor me.’ He was just a young brother who wanted the best for himself and others.”

Hall set a goal for himself when his mother died, and he never took his eye off achieving it.

“I always wish that I could graduate valedictorian, and look, I did,” he recounted. “I was beyond happy.”

Now, Hall is beginning his freshman year at Alabama State University in Montgomery, a triumph made possible in part by a $10,000 scholarship from his church.

The teen from the South Side of Chicago is just getting started on writing his life’s story, but he has a good plan for what comes next.

“Major in business, so I can open up my own business,” Hall forecasted.

He added, “I’m not for sure what I want to open up, but I want to help people.”

Hall now has his sights set on a new goal, and he is determined to succeed.

“I’m going to go to college and graduate, so I’m going to find a way to study,” Hall said. “I’m going to find a way to do everything without giving up.”

“If I give up, I will be just like everybody that I know,” he continued.

The young man also shared his key to overcoming the challenges life has thrown at him again and again.

“You have to give 100 percent in everything you do,” Hall emphasized. “Once you give up, you’ll only be used to giving up. At least try. If you can’t do it, continue to try.”

He has been through a lot in his short time on earth, but to him, a blank canvas awaits.

“This is the start of a new life,” Hall concluded.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

2 hours ago

Former Prattville police officer gets 10 years for fraud, theft

A former police officer in Alabama who pleaded guilty to insurance fraud and burglary has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.

The Montgomery Advertiser reports 51-year-old Leon Todd Townson was sentenced Monday.

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The former U.S. Marine is one of two former Prattville Police Department lieutenants charged with breaking into a home in 2015.

The other lieutenant, 48-year-old John Wayne McDaniel, is set to be sentenced Friday.

Townson also was charged in 2017 with defrauding an insurance agency by filing a claim containing false information.

The fraudulent claim prompted the agency to award Townson more than $190,000.

He resigned from the police department in 2005 before pleading guilty to trying to sell a modified rifle seized by the department’s drug unit.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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2 hours ago

GATR Technologies Inc. of Huntsville gets $522M Army contract for inflatable antennas

An Alabama company has a five-year, $522 million extension to an Army contract for inflatable satellite antenna systems.

GATR Technologies Inc. of Huntsville first won the contract in 2013.

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It said in early 2014 that the contract made the antennas more broadly available to the armed services, which already were using them in special operations units.

GATR’s ground-mounted antennas look like giant beach balls with tie-downs to point them in the right direction.

The antenna inside is reflective fabric.

Fans keep the air pressure in the top half slightly higher than in the bottom half, pushing the fabric down into the right shape.

The extension brings the contract’s total maximum value to more than $960 million.

It was announced Friday in the Pentagon’s daily list of military contracts.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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