Latest Alabama news, sports, business and entertainment:
West Nile cases increase in Ala. despite drought, fewer
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) -- You'd think a drought and fewer
mosquitoes would mean there'd be fewer victims of West Nile virus
this year, but that's not the case.
There have been 13 cases reported so far in 2007 and that's
already double the five cases that Alabama had in 2006.
Health and insect experts say the many factors involved make it
hard to gauge outbreaks of the mosquito-borne virus and it could
get even worse in the coming weeks.
West Nile is spread when mosquitoes feed on the blood of
infected birds and then bite humans.
Three people have died from the disease this year and eight of
the cases have been in Montgomery.
State epidemiologist J-P- Lofgren said outbreaks are
unpredictable, so people should just assume there are going to be
infected birds in their areas and take precautions.
Officials suggest applying bug repellent and wearing long
sleeves and light colored clothing.
Gulf Shores infant dies from Eastern Equine Encephalitis
(APCREDIT: Ron Reams, WPMI-TV)
GULF SHORES, Ala. (AP) -- Officials say a Gulf Shores infant who
contracted Eastern Equine Encephalitis died yesterday in a
Six-month-old Dylan Chapparo, whose family lives in Gulf Shores,
contracted the disease about two weeks ago.
His case was the first confirmed human case of the
mosquito-borne disease this year.
Baldwin County health officials urged residents to take steps to
protect themselves against mosquitos. Those measures include
wearing protective clothing, using mosquito repellents and limiting
exposure to mosquitos.
Lauderdale Co. authorities try to identify beating victim
(APCREDIT: WHNT-TV and WAFF-TV)
GREENHILL, Ala. (AP) -- Authorities in Lauderdale County are
trying to identify a man who was badly beaten and apparently left
Authorities don't know the man's name or where he's from because
he did not have any identification on him. They've had trouble
talking to him because he is on heavy medication at Huntsville
He was found Tuesday afternoon lying in the middle of the
intersection of County Roads 37 and 63.
Investigators say he had a knot on the back of his head and was
bleeding from the ears.
They took photos of him and said he has a distinctive tattoo on
his left arm. It appears to be a werewolf or coyote with blood
dripping from its claws. There is a shadowy moon above the animal's
Authorities described the victim as a white male with dark hair,
probably in his 40s. He is about six feet tall and about 180
Anyone with information is asked to call the Lauderdale County
Sheriff's Office at (256) 760-5757.
Student who made teacher assault video to return to school
(APCREDIT: Jessica Taloney, WKRG-TV)
MOBILE, Ala. (AP) -- Mobile City Councilman Fred Richardson said
a student accused of using his cell phone to videotape an assault
on a Murphy High School teacher by a classmate will enroll in an
Richardson said 17-year-old Dominick Harris will attend at the
Continuous Learning Center.
Richardson wrote letters last month to the Mobile County School
Board asking that Harris be allowed to return to school.
Harris was expelled following a May 18 attack that injured
English teacher Melinda Rudesill in a school hallway. Another
student, 16-year-old Randolph Parker, is accused of punching the
61-year-old teacher in the face.
A school district spokesperson said Harris' expulsion had a
provision in it allowing him to go to an alternative school. The
spokesperson said it was up to Harris' mother to set up a meeting
with school officials.
Harris and Parker are charged as adults in the case.
Commission seeks more info on Alabama legislators grants
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) -- Alabama legislators planning to send
state grants to educational projects in their districts will now
have to provide more information before a check is written.
The Executive Commission on Community Service Grants voted
yesterday to require more information from legislators. That
includes more information about what the grant will purchase or
what services it will provide.
One commission member -- State Treasurer Kay Ivey -- had wanted
to require even more information, but she was voted down by the
other commission members.
The Legislature has provided nearly $15 million for the grants
in the fiscal year starting October 1. Each legislator's choice for
a grant must be approved by the commission before the state issues
The commission has been stepping up the information it requires
since former state Representative Bryant Melton pleaded guilty in
2006 to misusing a grant to pay personal expenses.
A-G strips Shelby Co. D-A of capital case
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) -- Attorney General Troy King says he has
stripped a capital murder case from a local prosecutor who gave
testimony that helped a condemned inmate win a new sentencing
hearing to get his death penalty lifted.
King said Shelby County District Attorney Robby Owens should not
have spoken on behalf of LaSamuel Gamble, who was convicted along
with Marcus Presley of killing two people during a pawn shop
robbery in July 1996.
Originally condemned to die, Gamble's sentence was ordered
reduced after Owens testified it would be unfair to execute him
since Presley, the triggerman, had his death penalty reduced under
a U.S. Supreme Court ruling.
Owens, a veteran prosecutor, is a Republican like King but
supported John Tyson Junior, the Democratic nominee who ran against
King for attorney general last year. Owens was unavailable for
Presley and Gamble originally were sentenced to death for the
murders of John Burleson and Janice Littleton, who were shot
execution-style during a robbery at John's 280 Pawn Shop.
King called it "incredible and outrageous" for Owens to speak
on behalf of Gamble, who was 19 at the time of the murders. King
said he would try to have Gamble's death penalty reinstated since
Owens "acted on the side of the criminal."
ARMY CHOPPER CRASH
3 dead in Army chopper crash in Ala.
SKYLINE, Ala. (AP) -- An Army helicopter flying in foggy weather
struck a power line and crashed in a pasture Tuesday night in
northeast Alabama, killing all three people on board.
The chopper was based at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, where base
spokesman Sgt. Mark Swart said the military had yet to release the
names of the victims or the type of helicopter involved in the
Jackson County Coroner John David Jordan said the helicopter hit
a power line and crashed into a field near a house about 6:15 p.m.
He said debris was scattered over a large area.
Terry Johnson, a spokesman with the Tennessee Valley Authority,
said the helicopter struck a high-voltage line connecting a
generating plant with a power substation near Huntsville. The wires
were not carrying electricity at the time of the crash because of
Swart declined comment on the cause of the accident.
The crash site is about 190 miles southeast of Fort Campbell.
Last of 3 charged in Bay Minette gay murder pleads guilty
BAY MINETTE, Ala. (AP) -- Nichole Bryars Kelsay has pleaded
guilty to conspiracy to commit murder for her part in the July 2004
slaying of a gay teenager and was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Baldwin County District Attorney Judy Newcome said the
21-year-old Kelsay had no comment at yesterday's sentencing.
The victim, 18-year-old Scotty Joe Weaver was strangled and
beaten inside his Bay Minette trailer. His burned and mutilated
body was found in nearby woods.
Co-defendants Christopher Gaines and Robert Porter already were
sentenced. Gaines got life without parole for capital murder;
Porter got two consecutive life terms for intentional murder and
LA judge: 'Dr. Phil' can get documents
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- A judge ruled yesterday that "Dr. Phil" can
have access to documents about two brothers who were once suspected
in the case of Natalee Holloway. The Alabama teenager vanished
while on vacation in Aruba.
The documents were sought as part of the talk show's defense
against the brothers who sued last year, claiming defamation, fraud
and invasion of privacy.
Deepak and Satish Kalpoe claim the "Dr. Phil" show altered
portions of a secretly recorded conversation between Deepak Kalpoe
and a private investigator. The Kalpoes claim the show was trying
to --quote-- "create false, incriminating, and defamatory
statements" against them.
The suit contends the September 15th, 2005, episode of the show
alleged the brothers gave Holloway a date-rape drug and had group
sex with her.
In granting access, Superior Court Judge Edward A. Ferns said
the documents --quote-- "are relevant to the most fundamental
issues in this case."
Holloway, a high school student, was 18 when she vanished on May