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CORINTH – Two suspects were arrested Wednesday by Alcorn County narcotics officers and charged with sale of a controlled substance.
Bridgette Dixon, 23, of 136 C.R. 325, Glen, and Sammy Brinkley Sr., 55, of the same address, were charged with sale of Xanax, stemming from a ongoing investigation into complaints of drug sales in the Cummings Town Commmunity.
Bond was set at $5,000 each.
NETTLETON – Two people are dead and one is critically wounded after a shooting in Nettleton Wednesday just before noon.
Highway Patrol Trooper Ray Hall said as of 12:45 p.m. they knew the shooting began with an altercation United Furniture in Nettleton. Following the altercation, the people involved made their way downtown at which point shots were fired around 11:45 p.m.
A Nettleton Police officer responded to the shots and was engaged by a shooter, near the intersection of Highway 6 and Mullen Avenue. The officer returned fire.
At the crime scene, a silver Chevy Trailblazer was in the middle of Main Street and halfway into the intersection. Behind it was a Nettleton Police Department patrol car with the back window apparently shot out.
The body of one of the victims was nearby and the body of the other was on the side of Main Street near the intersection of Elliot Avenue. Investigators at the scene were marking the number of shell casings.
Hall said, after the initial investigation, it appeared the officer was being shot at and justified in returning fire. The officer was not injured.
Investigators do not yet know if the officer was responsible for any of the gunshot wounds or how many of the suspects were actively shooting.
Hall said they are not releasing any personal information on the suspects at this time and could not confirm whether any of the three worked at United Furniture.
The one surviving suspect was airlifted to the North Mississippi Medical Center in critical condition. Monroe County Sheriff Cecil Cantrell said the suspect appeared to have a chest wound.
Cantrell said the suspects were family.
Everyone involved in the shooting is accounted for or in custody according to Lee County Sheriff Jim Johnson.
“Rumors got out there was a suspect on the loose but there is no truth to that,” he said. “I’d like to convey to the community this was contained to a small area and the community is safe.”
Nearby schools were put on lockdown at the time of the shooting but had returned to normal operations by 12:45.
Johnson said anyone traveling on Highway 6 through Nettleton should look for an alternate route as they continue the investigation.
Investigators will work to piece together what happened at the crime scene, as well as interview witnesses from the scene of the shooting and the altercation at United Furniture this afternoon.
Anyone who witnessed the incident is encouraged to contact CrimeStoppers (1-800-773-TIPS), the Lee County Sheriff (662-841-9041) or Monroe County Sheriff (662-369-2468).
By Jack Elliott Jr.
JACKSON – The Mississippi Supreme Court has set out a timetable for attorneys for a death row inmate to file briefs by late May supporting his appeal of a 1994 rape conviction.
In refusing to set an execution date for Charles Ray Crawford in March, the Supreme Court said it would resolve the appeal of prior rape conviction first.
That conviction was cited as an aggravating factor by prosecutors in justifying the death sentence Crawford received in 1994 for the slaying of a junior college student.
The Supreme Court filed an order Monday setting out the briefing scheduled. Prosecutors will have 30 days after Crawford’s lawyers file his arguments to file a response.
If the Supreme Court upholds Crawford’s conviction in the earlier case, Attorney General Jim Hood could again petition the court to set an execution date.
Crawford’s attorneys have argued in court documents that if the rape conviction is reversed, the jury would have considered “an invalid aggravator in imposing the death sentence.” They argued reversal would mean Crawford would have the right to have his death sentence thrown out and a new sentencing hearing scheduled in Tippah County.
Prosecutors have said a reversal of the earlier rape conviction would be a harmless error because of the abundance of evidence supporting the death penalty in the capital murder case. They said Crawford was also convicted of aggravated assault in the early trial, another aggravating factor used to justify the death penalty.
Few details of the prior rape and aggravated assault convictions are discussed in the earlier briefs in the death penalty case.
Crawford, now 43, was sentenced to death for the murder of Northeast Mississippi Community College student Kristy Ray in rural Tippah County.
In 1993, Crawford was out on bond awaiting trial on charges of aggravated assault and rape. Four days before his trial, the 20-year-old Ray was abducted from her parents’ home in Chalybeate. After his family and attorney notified police that they feared Crawford was committing another crime, he was arrested. Crawford told authorities he did not remember the incident but later led them to the body buried in leaves in a wooded area.
Crawford later was tried and convicted on the original charges in the rape and aggravated assault case and sentenced to 66 years in prison.
CORINTH – The Corinth school district will have an increase in MAEP state funding in 2014-2015, the superintendent reported to the school board Monday.
Superintendent Lee Childress said the average daily attendance for October and November 2013, on which the funding allocation is based, will result in the school district receiving $11,621,006 for 2014-2015, an increase of $1,362,283 over the 2013-2014 allocation of $10,258,723.
The school district also will receive a slight increase in the appropriation for school bus maintenance.
All of the National Guard’s AH-64 Apache helicopters are scheduled to go to the active Army, apparently including Apaches based at the Army Aviation Support Facility in Tupelo, but the decision is not a popular one, several national news sources report.
There’s nothing the Guard’s top brass can do about it.
“None of us like what we’re having to do,” National Guard Chief Gen. Frank Grass told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee on April 8, the military website Defense One reported. “My big concern right now is figuring out how I’m going to move, and how many states I’m going to have an impact on, and what’s the cost of facilities and to retrain pilots. I’ve got to tackle that because the decision’s been made.”
The Apaches lost to the active Army, it was reported, will be replaced by Black Hawk and Lakota helicopters redeployed from the active Army.
Phone calls to the Tupelo facility about the decision were not immediately returned, and the state spokesman for National Guard affairs was not immediately available for comment.
The Mississippi Department of Transportation has planned a “regional dialogue” at The Link Centre in Tupelo on April 22 to discuss “mobility” issues – more precisely defined as various kinds of bus service that might be needed in the area.
The event at the Link Centre Reception Hall, 1800 W. Main St., begins at 10 a.m. and continues in several 90-minute intervals until 6 p.m. The public transit division of Mississippi Department of Transportation will be available 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., 12:15 p.m. to 1:30 p.m., and 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.
The target participants include local elected officials, business owners, human service organizations, students and other people who have interest in those transportation/mobility issues.
The session is designed to provide information about regional community/public transportation and give the public a chance to discuss mobility options with MDOT transit professionals. The meeting will not deal with highway or railroad issues.
MDOT’s Kenny Foote said, “The meeting will be centered around a needs assessment of the region through the community’s input. That input will help build visibility of the geographical areas where public transportation can be improved and where MDOT can assist; e.g., helping a transit organization build a new maintenance facility for repairing transit vehicles or bringing transit routes to areas where it was previously unavailable. There are a few examples where meetings such as these have had a huge impact on communities – such as Oxford, Natchez and Choctaw, Miss.”
Foote said funding “is not part of these discussions.”
Several cited programs in the division’s brochure include specialized functions for smaller cities like Tupelo, which has an active working group dealing with bus transit but which has not made concrete recommendations.
The brochure also describes programs that could help older people and those with disabilities.
Other programs cited deal with purchase of equipment, transit management and rural transit.
It also lists an Appalachian Regional Commission program for public transit assistance, but ARC Mississippi executive Mike Armour in Tupelo said he is not familiar with the program.
MDOT is doing its job in scheduling the series of meetings about mobility/transit issues, but the general problem nationwide is that government funds for transit programs don’t stretch far enough or often don’t last long enough.
Finding out about the programs, however, is the only way to access them.
If the lingering cloud cover prevented you from seeing Tuesday morning’s “blood moon,” a total lunar eclipse where the moon turns a copper color due to sunlight filtering through the Earth’s atmosphere before going completely dark, there’s plenty of video of it to be found online. Granted it’s not the same as being there but, quite frankly, if you’ve seen one total lunar eclipse you’ve pretty much seen them all.
And you’ll have three more chances to catch a repeat over the next year, an unusual occurrence known as a tetrad where four “blood moons” happen within a year. The next occurs Oct. 8 and then two more on April 4 and Sept. 28 of next year. The next tetrad won’t come around until 2032.
If you’ve never seen a total lunar eclipse before, it’s worth staying up for. The videos don’t do them justice. However, if you have, there are lots more things even more interesting to see “out there.”
For instance, while most people start their day by booting up their computer and checking their email, Facebook page or catching up on the latest news, I start my day by going to Mars. I know what you’re thinking, “Why don’t you just stay there?” Well, because I have to visit Mars vicariously each morning through the rover Curiosity, which just completed its first year of driving around the Red Planet.
I start each day by clicking on the raw images link on the Mars Science Laboratory’s website, mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/.
Then, as I enjoy that first cup of coffee of the day I get to peruse the images Curiosity has sent back from the previous day, usually hundreds of them in black and white and color and often in 3D. I get to play explorer, checking out the latest views the small SUV-sized rover is seeing as it makes it way toward its ultimate destination, Mt. Sharp. Each morning I think I’ll be the first to catch that first glimpse of a Martian hiding behind a rock or a gas station Curiosity can pull into for some new wheels, the old ones are getting pretty worn. When I don’t – and I haven’t – I’ll Photoshop a picture of Marvin the Martian from Looney Tunes into an image just for fun.
But it’s something new and different every day from Mars. And just the thought that someone here on Earth is driving that thing is incredible given that the terrain it’s in has more hazards than Augusta. I sometime play backseat driver thinking I’ve spotted a shortcut to Mt. Sharp although it’s probably lucky I’m not driving since I’d likely get the thing stuck in some dead end.
So if this week’s lunar eclipse piqued your curiosity in the cosmic neighborhood and, unlike lunar eclipses which have been viewed and photographed for years, add the Curiosity website to your morning checklist. Who knows, you might be the first to spot Marvin.
Marty Russell writes a Wednesday column for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Special to the Journal
PONTOTOC – The division-leading Pontotoc Warriors were not getting the hits they felt they should be getting in the early innings Tuesday.
But some late inning heroics by Delvin Zinn, Will Howard, and Jacob White turned base runners into runs and the Warriors pulled out a 5-4 victory over Amory.
The Warriors scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to maintain its Division 1-4A top spot.
“We’d had base runners early, but couldn’t get the hit,” Pontotoc head coach Casey James said. “The boys never gave up.”
In the midst of a rebuilding season, the Panthers (6-17, 3-4) were trying to insert themselves in the playoff hunt early. Amory plated four runs in the fourth inning, which included a bases loaded walk to Austin Grubbs and an RBI hit by Drake Wallace for a 4-0 lead.
“To sum up the season, we do not do anything easy,” Amory head coach Chad Williams said.
Pontotoc (13-7, 6-1) bats became effective in the fifth inning, with Zinn producing a two-run hit to cut the Amory lead in half. Amory starting pitcher Cole Robinson basically held the Warriors in check for six innings, striking out 11 over that span.
But in the bottom of the seventh, Pontotoc loaded the bases with one out, and Howard delivered a two-run hit to tie the score. Then with the bases loaded again, Whte delivered the game-winner past a diving third baseman.
That made a winner of Hayden Kennedy for Pontotoc, who relieved Ryan Watts in the fifth inning.
“I thought Hayden Kennedy stepped in a pressure spot for us,” James said.
Both teams continue division play Thursday at Amory.
MADISON – Mississippi State successfully defended its BancorpSouth Intercollegiate tournament championship with a strong finish on Tuesday at the Reunion Golf Course.
The Bulldogs jumped over 12 teams by shooting 1-under par on the back nine.
“I am so proud of this team for the way they battled today,” Coach Clay Homan said. “On a day where it was so easy to get frustrated and lose focus, we showed a tremendous amount of determination.”
MSU finished at 12-over 588. No. 15 Vanderbilt was second at 592 and No., 10 Houston was third at 593. Ole Miss finished fourth at 596.
Bulldogs senior Axel Boasson (74-71–145) finished in a tie for fourth. Fellow senior Joe Sakulpolphaisan (73-73–146) tied for seventh.
Also: senior Chad Ramey (Fulton; 73-79–152), sophomore Ben Wood (81-71–152) and senior Barrett Edens (76-77–153).
“I believe our maturity and senior leadership made a huge difference today,” Homan said of the comeback.
Pep Angles (73-68–141) was the medalist. For Ole Miss, Blake Morris (71-73–144) finished in a tie for second.
Southern Miss finished in a tie for seventh at 604.
Heavy rains postponed the opening round until noon on Monday, forcing tournament officials to shorten the Intercollegiate into 36 holes.
The SEC championship is next week at St. Simons Island, Ga.
Los Angeles Times (MCT)
Not a perfect finish for the anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings.
On Tuesday evening, Boston police evacuated Boylston Street near the marathon’s usual finish line and took an unidentified man into custody after two suspicious backpacks were left lying on the street.
Shortly before the evacuation, local media posted video of a barefoot male wearing a black veil and a floppy black hat marching toward the marathon’s finish line carrying a large, heavy-looking backpack while shouting, “Boston strong! Boston strong!”
“Boston strong” is, of course, the slogan popularized after last year’s April 15 bombings at the marathon, which killed three people and wounded at least 260; the two bombs used in that attack were pressure cookers concealed in backpacks.
Earlier Tuesday, the finish line had been packed with mourners marking the anniversary of the attack.
But as of Tuesday evening, police had cleared the site to examine the backpacks.
The bomb squad was on the scene, and police asked the news media not to show live images of the backpacks, citing officer safety.
After investigating, Boston police decided to safely blow up the bags “for precautionary reasons,” according to a statement made on the police’s Twitter account. It was not immediately clear whether the bags contained any explosives.