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CORINTH – Two men reportedly arguing over a parking spot resulted in gunfire at the Corinth Slugburger Festival around 10 p.m. Friday.
Corinth police said an altercation turned physical and one man fired a shot into the air from a small-caliber firearm. No one was injured. The name of the shooter has not been released, but he will face a misdemeanor charge of discharging a firearm within city limits.
Corinth Main Street Director Taylor Coombs said the incident was highly unusual, and she did not expect it to impact the festival.
“That kind of thing doesn’t happen around here. Two guys just got caught up in the moment. It was a bad place, bad time sort of thing,” she said. “The police department reacted very quickly, and have done a great job of handling the situation.”
VICKSBURG - A new Miss Mississippi was crowned Saturday night in Vicksburg. Miss Riverland Jasmine Murray of Columbus took home the crown. Murray is a broadcast communication major at Mississippi State University and, with her first place award, won a $10,000 scholarship.
First runner-up went to Miss Mississippi State University Laura Lee Lewis, who is from hometown Brookhaven. She’s also a MSU student with a major in elementary education with an emphasis in math and science. She took home a $7,500 scholarship.
Second runner-up went to Miss Historic South Randi Kathryn Harmon of Amory. Third runner-up went to Miss Deep South Caroline Connerly of Hattiesburg. Fourth runner-up went to Miss North Central Mississippi Jessica Terrill of Starkville.
VAIDEN – Pit bull owners in Carroll County may keep their dogs, but they will have to obey stricter regulations.
The Greenwood Commonwealth reports a new ordinance will take effect Aug. 9 that will not allow pit bulls to be chained outdoors or run loose in yards.
The ordinance, approved in a 3-2 vote this week by supervisors, said the dogs must be securely confined indoors or, if outdoors, kept in steel cages of a certain size on concrete foundations. A pit bull must be muzzled when out on a leash and anyone walking the dog must be at least 21 years old.
Pit bull owners must also carry $100,000 liability insurance policies or post $100,000 cash bond with a reputable bonding company, and they must have their dogs spayed or neutered.
No dwelling may have more than three of the dogs, and they can’t be within 50 feet of a public school, park or church when activities are being held.
Penalties for violations include fines of $250 to $500 for a first offense, $500 to $999 for a second offense and $1,000 to $1,499 for third and subsequent offenses.
Cases will be heard in the justice court.
The call for a pit bull ordinance came in the wake of a fatal attack on a child by two pit bulls in Holmes County on March 31.
Sheriff Jerry Carver supported the ordinance. Carver said his office gets calls every day about loose dogs causing problems.
VICKSBURG – A Louisiana physician who faces prescription drug fraud charges after his Mississippi home was raided by narcotics agents in 2011 is asking a judge to delay his trial.
The Vicksburg Post reports (http://bit.ly/1tzP0KU ) Dr. Lawrence Francis Chenier III says in court papers that he has hired a new attorney who needs time to prepare for trial.
Trial is currently set for July 21 before Warren County Circuit Judge M. James Chaney. Chenier recently hired attorney Lisa Ross of Jackson after being represented by Marshal Sanders.
Chaney has scheduled a hearing for Monday on the request.
The 61-year-old Chenier lives in Vicksburg and has a medical practice in Tallulah, Louisiana. He is charged with 74 counts of prescription forgery and a count of conspiracy.
Prosecutors argue Chenier wrote prescriptions for 13,000 pills under assumed names to his co-defendant and live-in girlfriend Patti Carr of Vicksburg.
Authorities said Carr picked up painkillers hydrocodone and Lyrica at a Vicksburg pharmacy using prescriptions from Chenier. More than 300 empty pill bottles were found inside a bedroom closet at the home the couple shared in Viocklsburg.
In June, Chaney declined to dismiss charges against Chenier. The judge dismissed Chenier’s argument that if the prescriptions were written in Louisiana, Mississippi courts had no jurisdiction over the case.
The two were arrested in September of 2011. Chenier and Carr are each free on $100,000 bond.
Chenier is currently listed on the roster at Madison Parish Hospital. According to the hospital’s website, however, the state of Louisiana has placed his medical license on probation.
Chenier received his medical degree in 1980 at Meharry Medical College in Nashville and has been in practice since 1982, records show.
GREENVILLE –Two men have been arrested on charges related to a July 5 fatal shooting in Greenville.
Police tell the Delta Democrat-Times that 28-year-old Ronnie Thomas and 25-year-old Willie Clark are each charged with murder and four counts each of aggravated assault. They were arrested Wednesday.
They are being held in the Washington County jail.
Assistant Police Chief Delando Wilson says 20-year-old Erman Wright Jr. was shot in the head when the SUV in which he was a passenger was fired on. Four other people were in the car.
Wilson says Wright died Wednesday at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson.
Information from: Delta Democrat-Times, http://www.ddtonline.com
NEW ORLEANS – Federal prosecutors are appealing a judge’s decision to grant a new trial to a former BP engineer convicted of obstructing justice in an investigation of the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
The notice of appeal in the case of Kurt Mix was filed Friday in U.S. District Court, where Mix was tried, and at the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Prosecutors accused Mix of deliberately deleting text messages to and from a supervisor and a BP contractor about the amount of oil flowing from BP’s Macondo well after the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion.
In June, U.S. District Judge Stanwood Duval threw out Mix’s December 2013 conviction and granted him a new trial. He ruled that a jury forewoman tainted the deliberations by mentioning to a deadlocked jury that she had heard something outside the trial that affirmed her view of Mix’s guilt.
Mix’s new trial currently is set for Aug. 18, although the appeal could change that.
Prosecutors say Mix deleted the text messages in order to stymie a grand jury investigation of the spill.
Mix’s attorneys have argued there is ample evidence he shared information about the flow rate throughout the government investigation. They also said prosecutors failed to prove that Mix knew the information he deleted would be pertinent to a grand jury investigation — an investigation they said he did not know about and that had not yet even begun.
JACKSON –The Mississippi State Department of Health has confirmed two more cases of chikungunya (chih-kihn-GUHN’-yuh) virus, a mosquito-borne illness traditionally found in Africa and Asia.
State health officials say in a news release the cases occurred in residents who recently returned from the Dominican Republic and Haiti. In June, a case was reported in a Mississippi resident who had traveled to Haiti.
Symptoms include fever, muscle and joint pain and joint swelling. Deaths are rare, but officials say anyone with a compromised immune system is at a higher risk of complications from the infection.
Officials say the virus recently appeared in the Caribbean, and could possibly infect Mississippians who travel there.
Health officials say individuals who think they might be infected with chikungunya virus should see their health care provider.
WALNUT GROVE – Nine inmates suffered cuts and stab wounds during a fight at a privately run prison in central Mississippi, and the facility was on lockdown Friday, officials said.
A fight broke out about 10 p.m. Thursday among a group of inmates in one of the six housing units, said spokesman Issa Arnita of Management and Training Corporation, which runs the Walnut Grove Correctional Facility through a state contract.
“Officers attempted to stop the disturbance, but it quickly escalated,” he said. “The facility’s emergency response team was activated. The team used chemical agents to gain control of the inmates. The incident lasted one hour. The local police and sheriff’s departments were on site as a backup.”
Arnita said the prison was on lockdown Friday.
“We’re trying to determine how many offenders were actually involved the incident. The unit where the disturbance took place houses 240 inmates,” he said.
Nine inmates were injured. Arnita said seven were transported by ambulance to the local hospital. Three were then airlifted to the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson. One inmate has since been returned to the prison.
“We don’t have details on their conditions, and no names are being released at this time. No correctional officers were injured,” he said.
The prison, the Mississippi Department of Corrections and local authorities are investigating the fight.
The Walnut Grove prison has a history of troubles.
In April, a federal prison monitor reported violence was out of control, drugs were being smuggled in and guards are not adequately trained.
The documents were filed by monitors who oversee the prison and plaintiffs who sued over conditions there.
MTC, who took over operation of the prison in 2012, disputed most of the findings. MTC said the prison “has made great progress in creating a safer environment for offenders and staff.”
A Dec. 31 fight between two gangs left 16 inmates hurt and showed more improvements were needed, the monitor said.
An MTC report said the fight went on for about an hour, with inmates using homemade knives and other weapons.
Six prison guards and one supervisor were fired or resigned after the December fight, court papers said. Another staff member was placed on administrative leave.
The monitor’s report said, among other findings, that contraband was being smuggled into the prison and security personnel were ignoring rules violations and fraternizing with prisoners.
The prison is under legal scrutiny because of earlier misdeeds. The state removed youth offenders from Walnut Grove after U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves described conditions as “a cesspool of unconstitutional and inhuman acts” while it was being managed by Florida-based GEO Group.
Reeves’ order came after a Justice Department report charged the state was “deliberately indifferent” to sexual abuse, overuse of force and inadequate medical care for young inmates.
The state agreed to improve conditions. GEO Group gave up its contract and the Department of Corrections hired MTC to house adult inmates at Walnut Grove. Since then, all parties agree conditions have improved.
The court monitors said half the security staff in December had less than one year’s experience. Vail said the staff doesn’t have “the necessary skill, experience, and custody expertise” to manage high-risk inmates and called on the state to limit the prison to medium- and minimum-security inmates.
MTC, though, said staff meets state training standards.
Utah-based MTC operates the East Mississippi Correctional Facility near Meridian, the Walnut Grove Correctional Facility in Walnut Grove, the Marshall County Correctional Facility in Holly Springs and the Wilkinson County Correctional Facility in Woodville.
BOONEVILLE – Prentiss County deputies arrested two men this week at a roadside checkpoint on suspicion of manufacturing meth.
Sheriff Randy Tolar said the checkpoint was at the intersection of County Road 7100 and County Road 7131. Those arrested were Evan Andrew Cox, 27, of County Road 7131 in Booneville and Steven Tyler Champion, 24, of County Road 7149 in Booneville.
The pair were charged with felony possession of precursors with the intent to manufacture methamphetamine and other misdemeanor charges.
Bond was not set as of Friday morning.