2 months ago

Judge orders DNA testing in Alabama teen’s disappearance

OPELIKA, Ala. (AP) — A judge ordered DNA testing Wednesday for a man suspected in the kidnapping of an Alabama college student missing since last month.

Lee County District Judge Russell Bush granted a prosecution request to force Ibraheem Yazeed to submit DNA, which prosecutors said they wanted because male DNA was found in the missing teen’s car.

Yazeed, 29, is charged in the disappearance of 19-year-old Aniah Blanchard, the stepdaughter of UFC heavyweight Walt Harris. She was last seen Oct. 23 at a convenience store in Auburn.

Blanchard’s father, mother and stepfather appeared tense as they watched a preliminary hearing for Yazeed, who sat shackled a few rows in the front of them wearing a white jail uniform.

The judge ruled there was probable cause for the case to proceed and said it will go to a grand jury.

Recounting evidence, Auburn police Detective Josh Mixon testified that convenience store video footage showed a man later identified by tipsters as Yazeed look at Blanchard in the store. A man at the store told investigators he saw Yazeed force Blanchard into her car and drive away.

“He observes Yazeed forcing Blanchard into her vehicle against her will,” Mixon said.

Mixon said the witness, who was staying at a hotel near the convenience store, didn’t immediately tell police what he saw after his girlfriend told him not to get involved. He said the witness cried over his delay in talking to police.

Blanchard’s car was found abandoned more than 50 miles (90 kilometers) away. Mixon said Blanchard’s blood was in the car, and it appeared she had suffered a life-threatening injury.

Bush denied a defense request to grant Yazeed bail.

He also denied a defense request to have prosecutors disclose the identity of the witness whose testimony is the main evidence linking Yazeed to the girl’s disappearance. Prosecutors said they wanted to keep his identity closely guarded for his safety.

Defense lawyer Elijah Beaver noted the girl’s parents had done media interviews, including an appearance on the “Dr. Phil” television show despite a gag order that bars lawyers and potential witnesses from speaking with the media.

“Folks are going to remember stuff like that,” Beaver said. Beaver said that although he supports a gag order, it should be evenly enforced or the defense should also get to talk to the media.

District Attorney Brandon Hughes said the teens’ parents are just trying to find their daughter.

“They are grieving parents. They are trying to find their little girl,” Hughes said.

The judge said he would hold a hearing next month on a request from news organizations to lift the gag order.

(Associated Press, copyright 2019)

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21 mins ago

God almighty, take the vote and get it over with

During the impeachment trial of former President Bill Clinton for perjury, which he totally and obviously committed, an unemployed carpenter from Wisconsin rose from the gallery and demanded the U.S. Senate get the show on the road.

“God almighty, take the vote and get it over with!” Richard Douglas Llamas bellowed to the assembled members of Congress, telling them to do their job of holding their vote and moving on with America’s business.

He ended up spending 24 hours in jail for his outburst and was ordered to stay away from the impeachment hearings.

The media referred to him as “the voice of the people” and a “hero.”

Would they treat him as one today?

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Absolutely not. They would destroy his career and life. They would call him racist, comb through his social media and seek a way to connect him to the Russians.

But, make no mistake, this man would be a hero.

It doesn’t matter how many hours they spend on this farce, how many people watch or how outraged the media and their Democrats get over it, there will be no minds changed and President Donald Trump will still be the president when this is over.

Congress needs to hold their stupid show vote, fail to get their two-thirds votes and get on with the people’s business.

Where is our Richard Douglas Llamas?

America needs a hero like him right now.

Watch media coverage of this outburst (42 second mark):

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

41 mins ago

Jerry Carl releases first TV ad in AL-01 GOP primary, significant buy forthcoming

MOBILE — The race to succeed Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL-01) in Coastal Alabama is heating up.

Yellowhammer News on Wednesday obtained Mobile County Commissioner Jerry Carl’s first television ad of the cycle.

Entitled, “Just Jerry,” the video ad utilizes an off-screen narrator throughout its 30 seconds of run time.

Transcript as follows:

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Raised by a single mother, Jerry Carl headed to college but left to start a business. Then another. And another.

He married and raised a family and was saved by grace.

A tough upbringing and business struggles made Jerry the man he is.

Like President Trump, Jerry Carl’s got a backbone. He’s tired of political correctness and will fight ‘The Squad.’

He’s never the loudest, but he’s the toughest.

He’s just Jerry.

A source directly familiar informed Yellowhammer that the ad buy will be “substantial,” falling “well into the six figure range.”

The ad will run across several standard mediums in the district, including both cable and broadcast television, as well as digital. The buy is expected to last 10 days.

Carl has built a significant cash advantage in the race, both through money raised and money he has loaned to his own campaign. As of the end of the third quarter of 2019, Carl had $741,307 cash-on-hand. This compared favorably to the other top contenders in Alabama’s First Congressional District. Former State Sen. Bill Hightower (R-Mobile) had $447,611 on hand, while State Rep. Chris Pringle (R-Mobile) reported $215,437 available. Fundraising reports covering the final quarter of 2019 are due January 31.

Watch:

In a statement to Yellowhammer News, Carl campaign manager Zach Weidlich said, “Jerry Carl was raised by a single mother and that upbringing made him the man he is today. He’s built several businesses by relying on his Christian faith and rolling up his sleeves and getting down to work.”

“Like Trump, Jerry is tough, he has a backbone, and he won’t back down to political correctness. If south Alabama wants someone who will protect our values and stand with Trump, Jerry Carl is their guy,” he concluded.

The primary will be held on March 3.

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

3 hours ago

UAB, St. Vincent’s enter into ‘strategic alliance’ to better serve patients

The University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Health System is entering into a partnership with its across-town neighbor Ascension St. Vincent’s to provide better outcomes for patients. The two hospital systems announced the news jointly via a press release on Wednesday.

Details are still scarce as to the particularities of what this will mean for patients, and the deal is still pending approval from the University of Alabama System Board of Trustees.

The information available indicates that patients at one institution will have access to some services and doctors at the other without the normal amount of red tape in between. The two hospitals are touting the alliance’s ability to open up opportunities for “those who need highly specialized care.”

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“Through closer alignment of each organization’s many locations, specialties and expertise, the health systems will strive to better accommodate patients,” said UAB Health System CEO Will Ferniany.

According to the website set up to inform the public about the alliance, the two hospitals’ medical records will stay separate, and no doctor will be changing locations as part of the new alliance.

“Ascension St. Vincent’s and the UAB Health System have a longstanding, very positive relationship,” said Jason Alexander, CEO, Ascension St. Vincent’s and Ascension Providence, and senior vice president, Ascension. “We look forward to continuing to build on the complementary strengths of both organizations to serve the increasing needs of residents across our state.

As follows are the facilities that will be a part of the alliance: 

UABHS:

UAB Hospital
University of Alabama Health Services Foundation
Medical West Hospital
Callahan Eye Hospital, Clinics and Ophthalmology Services Foundation
Gardendale Freestanding Emergency Department (FED) and Clinics
Highway 150 Clinics and Medical West Freestanding Emergency Department
Acton Road
Primary Care Network

Ascension St. Vincent’s:

Ascension St. Vincent’s Birmingham
Ascension St. Vincent’s East
Ascension St. Vincent’s One Nineteen
Ascension St. Vincent’s St. Clair
Ascension St. Vincent’s Chilton
Ascension St. Vincent’s Blount
Ascension St. Vincent’s Trussville
Ascension St. Vincent’s Medical Group

Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: henry@yellowhammernews.com or on Twitter @HenryThornton95.

5 hours ago

Watch: Republican Women of Huntsville’s U.S. Senate candidate forum

On Tuesday, the Republican Women of Huntsville hosted a U.S. Senate candidates forum at the Huntsville Botanical Gardens.

The forum featured former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Fairhope), former Auburn head football coach Tommy Tuberville and State Rep. Arnold Mooney (R-Indian Springs). It was moderated by Yellowhammer News’ Jeff Poor.

The candidates were given two minutes to open, followed by questions regarding various topics including trade, foreign policy, marijuana, debts and deficits, term limits and abortion with minute-and-a-half responses, and a two-minute close.

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Video stream courtesy of Alabama Straw Poll:

5 hours ago

Byrne: ‘Would be surprised’ if Trump doesn’t comment on Senate race; Sessions should have resigned AG post if he thought recusal was necessary

On Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Fairhope) said former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, one of his opponents vying for the Republican nomination for Alabama’s U.S. Senate election in November, was fair game regarding his stint as the nation’s top law enforcement officer in the Trump administration.

In a wide-ranging interview with Huntsville radio’s WVNN, Byrne explained that although President Donald Trump has largely remained publicly quiet about their U.S. Senate race, he anticipates Trump will eventually reveal his feelings on the contest and about Sessions.

“I would be surprised if he doesn’t,” Byrne said on “The Jeff Poor Show.” “Every time I’m with him, he wants to talk about the Senate race in Alabama. Even when we’re in a big group of people, he wants to talk about it. He’s paying very close attention. He cares a lot. He cares about Alabama, number one. But he’s got some really hard feelings about Jeff [Sessions]. He really does. Even if he doesn’t say another word, take these two quotes: ‘The biggest mistake I ever made as president is appointing Jeff Sessions U.S. Attorney General.’ Or this quote, ‘Jeff Sessions is a disgrace to the great state of Alabama.’ Those two quotes that he made several months ago — I don’t see how Jeff gets over those.”

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Byrne said he disagreed with Sessions’ decision to recuse himself from any Department of Justice investigations into the 2016 elections and added that if Sessions believed his recusal was necessary, he should have resigned his post at attorney general given the scope of the investigation into the 2016 election.

“I don’t think he needed to recuse himself,” he said. “But if he felt like he needed to recuse himself, he should have resigned because he took himself out of a big chunk of what the attorney general is supposed to be doing. Look at all the things we learned in the inspector general’s report. Because he took himself off the playing field, months went by before we dealt with that. And now Attorney General Barr is dealing with that, thank God. If he couldn’t do his job, he should have said, ‘Look, I can’t do my job. I’m going to have to resign,’ and didn’t do that.”

Byrne’s sentiments echo those of another one of the candidates in the run for the 2020 GOP U.S. senatorial nod, former Auburn head football coach Tommy Tuberville, who a day earlier raised similar concerns about Sessions.

According to Byrne, Sessions should have seen the controversy looming on the horizon and not have accepted the appointment as attorney general during the 2016-2017 presidential transition.

“I don’t see how he didn’t see it was coming,” Byrne said. “But assuming that he didn’t — still, once he determined ‘I cannot be involved in this. I have to recuse myself,’ he should have resigned and let somebody else do that job. The president would have put him somewhere else. The president would have said, ‘OK, Jeff — you can’t do that. I’ll make you Secretary of Homeland Security.’ He would have done that. But that’s not what Jeff did. The people of Alabama have got to decide how they feel about that. But I think it is perfectly legitimate to bring that up. I think it is perfectly legitimate for Tommy Tuberville to bring that up. If Jeff is not ready to talk about, he needs to understand he is in a political campaign.”

Sessions has previously told Yellowhammer News the controversy regarding his tenure as attorney general had not come up on the campaign trail. However, Byrne said it comes up regularly for him.

“They bring it up with me all the time,” he said. “If I’ve heard this once, I’ve heard this 300 or 400 times in the last few weeks alone — they’re angry with him. They’re angry he even got in the race. That’s something he has got to deal with. And you know, you look at his television commercial — that’s his effort to try to deal with it. I think that’s fair game. When you get into a campaign like this, you’ve got to expect that. We’re going to hear more about that. You’ll be hearing more about that from voters or whoever. I’m sticking with what I’m talking about right now. You know, we’ve hit a real thread with the voters here. They like what’s in that commercial I’m showing right now, the personal touch with it. So I’m going to stay with that. It’s working for me, and I’m just going to stay right there.”

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University, the editor of Breitbart TV and host of “The Jeff Poor Show” from 2-5 p.m. on WVNN in Huntsville.