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2010-10-31T00:00:00Z news from home Arizona Daily Star
October 31, 2010 12:00 am


Woman gets 20 years in husband's death

TUSCUMBIA - A Colbert County Circuit Court judge sentenced 27-year-old Brandi Willingham to 20 years in prison for the shooting death of her husband.

Judge Jackie Hatcher chastised Willingham for her lack of remorse before sentencing her on Thursday for the shooting death of her husband, Devin.

Willingham was convicted Aug. 30 of manslaughter. She was originally charged with murder in the Jan. 25 death.

During the trial, Willingham contended the shooting was an accident that occurred as 31-year-old Devin Willingham attempted to take a .22-caliber handgun from her after she threatened suicide.


Facebook gamer guilty in death of baby

JACKSONVILLE - A north Florida woman pleaded guilty to shaking her baby to death after the boy's crying interrupted her game on Facebook.

Alexandra V. Tobias pleaded guilty to second-degree murder on Wednesday and remains jailed.

The Florida Times-Union reported that she told investigators she was angered because the boy was crying while she was playing the game FarmVille.

The paper also said she told investigators she shook the boy, smoked a cigarette to compose herself and then shook him again.

She will be sentenced in December. State guidelines call for 25 to 50 years, but a prosecutor said the sentence could be shorter than that.


Video of dead woman gets firefighter fired

ATLANTA - A firefighter is being dismissed after taking cell-phone video footage of a woman killed in a SUV crash that the dead woman's parents later received, authorities said.

Officials said Terrence Reid in Spalding County, central Georgia, was notified Thursday he was being fired.

Authorities said Reid took graphic footage of Dayna Kempson-Schacht, 23, from the SUV crash into trees July 17. Officials said the video was texted by a firefighter to others and eventually forwarded to the parents by an acquaintance.

The county said Reid was being fired for giving misleading or false statements to investigators and for conduct unbecoming a public employee.


Student lineman dies in pole accident

SORRENTO - A student in a community college's electric-line-technician program died when a utility pole safety arm fell on his head as he climbed the pole, police said.

Officer Owen Ockham said 19-year-old Joshua Wallace of Ascension Parish died shortly before 9 a.m. Friday at River Parishes Community College.

He told The Advocate that Wallace was 2 to 5 feet from the ground when the 200-pound safety arm fell from the top of the pole.


US money awarded for snow removal

FREDERICK - Federal funding for last winter's record snow has come through for Frederick County, towns and agencies.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency approved a total of more than $980,000 in reimbursement for costs incurred in dealing with the snow.

Seamus Mooney, director of the county's Department of Emergency Preparedness, said Frederick's reimbursement will go toward snow removal, equipment costs, overtime and damage resulting from the snow.

The county received more than 50 inches of snow last winter.


Fraud charge filed in cancer fundraiser

JACKSON - Michael W. Jones raised money in Mississippi and Louisiana for his cancer-stricken son, but spent the cash on illegal drugs for himself, authorities said.

Jones, a 42-year-old man from Liberty, Miss., was being held Friday in Louisiana on a $10,000 bond. Concordia Parish authorities charged him with felony theft by fraud Oct. 18.

Jones' public defender did not respond to a message Friday.

Investigators said Jones sold tickets for lunches in Concordia Parish, St. Francisville and Kentwood in Louisiana and in Natchez, Miss., but never delivered the food. Some residents said they gave cash donations.

The Sheriff's Office is working to extradite 41-year-old Jillinda Leggett of Gloster, Miss. She's being held in Mississippi on a false-pretense charge. Authorities said they believe Leggett was involved with the scam, but they haven't said how.

North Carolina

Lawyers get guide on representing gays

RALEIGH - The regulatory body for North Carolina's lawyers gave final approval to language designed to discourage attorneys from having personal bias against representing gays and transgender people.

The North Carolina State Bar Council voted 35-20 Friday in favor of changes to the preamble of their rules of professional conduct.

Some attorneys and interest groups were concerned because the proposal contained "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" in a list of eight characteristics that shouldn't lead to biased conduct. They said that could prevent lawyers from declining to take cases on moral grounds.

Council member Mark Merritt said lawyers can still withdraw from a case if they believe they are unable to defend someone vigorously.

South Carolina

Guard unit home after year in Afghanistan

COLUMBIA - About 100 soldiers from a Fort Mill unit of the South Carolina Army National Guard are home after a yearlong deployment in Afghanistan.

The members of the 1222nd Engineer Company were greeted on Friday by family and friends at a welcome-home event at the airport in Columbia.

Guard spokesman Col. Pete Brooks said other welcoming events were to take place later in Fort Mill.

The unit is part of the 178th Engineer Battalion headquartered in Rock Hill.

Brooks said the unit's job was to clear roadways for military convoys.

The unit specializes in construction and bomb disposal.


Jury in Outlaws trial recesses for weekend

RICHMOND - The jury in the Outlaws motorcycle gang racketeering trial in Richmond went home for the weekend after a full day of deliberations.

Outlaws national president Jack Rosga of Milwaukee and three of his associates are accused of participating in a criminal enterprise responsible for a variety of violent crimes, most of them part of a turf war with the rival Hells Angels and its allies.

A federal jury listened to testimony and arguments for a week before beginning deliberations Friday morning.

The jury asked U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson for clarification on one legal issue in the afternoon before recessing until Monday morning.

West Virginia

3 vegetables break state farm records

CHARLESTON - Three West Virginia farms have produced gigantic vegetables that set new state records.

The Department of Agriculture said Howard Hager and Ann Buffington of Peytona grew a 41-inch cucumber this summer, while Glen Knox of Wheeling grew a 3.65-pound tomato.

The third record went to Connie and Terry Dillon of Arnett, who grew a sweet potato that weighed in just a hair under 11 pounds.

Commissioner Gus Douglass said Friday it proves West Virginia has some top-notch gardeners.

The state has kept records on the largest fruits and vegetables since 1996.

The Associated Press

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