Weapon Used in Alabama Jailbreak? Peanut Butter

Inmates used the substance like paint to trick a greenhorn jailer into opening a door that led outside. “It may sound crazy, but these people are crazy like a fox,” said the county sheriff.

A dozen inmates escaped from an Alabama county jail on Sunday by using peanut butter as a paint substitute to change the numbers above a door and trick a new employee into opening another door that led outside, reports the Associated Press. “It may sound crazy, but these people are crazy like a fox,” said Walker County Sheriff James Underwood. He said the inmates changed the number above a cell to the number that identified the door leading outside the jail. When an inmate asked an inexperienced jailer to let him into his cell, the jailer was fooled into opening the outside door instead. The 12 then fled, throwing off orange uniforms and using blankets to climb over a razor-wire fence.

Inmates “scheme all the time to con us and our employees at the jail,” Underwood said. “You have to stay on your toes. This is one time we slipped up. I’m not going to make any excuses.” All but one of the inmates was arrested without incident within eight hours, Underwood said. The only serious injury was to an inmate who sliced his thumb climbing the fence, the sheriff said. The escapees were between ages 18 and 30 and faced charges ranging from disorderly conduct to attempted murder. The missing escapee, Bradley Andrew Kilpatrick, 24, had been jailed on drug charges.

from https://thecrimereport.org

Disputed Alabama Rape Allegation Leads to Suicide

University of Alabama student Megan Rondini, 20, complained that she was treated as a criminal after reporting that a prominent local man had raped her. After months of anxiety, she killed herself.

BuzzFeed explores the troubling case of Megan Rondini, an honors student at the University of Alabama who killed herself after reporting to police that she had been raped by an older man from a prominent Tuscaloosa family. The alleged crime occurred in July 2015, when T.J. Bunn Jr., 34, offered 20-year-old Rondini a ride home when he saw her leaving downtown Tuscaloosa alone. Rondini couldn’t remember how she ended up in his white Mercedes and then in his home. But she later told police that she was sober enough to know she didn’t want to have sex with him — and, she said, Bunn should’ve known it, too.

She went a hospital for a forensic exam and met with police after climbing out a window of Bunn’s home. BuzzFeed said Rondini never imagined that she would be cast as a criminal, or that investigators would view Bunn as the true victim. But that’s what happened. Bunn insisted he and Megan had consensual sex. Under Alabama’s archaic rape law, victims must prove they “earnestly” resisted their attackers, and the investigator who interviewed Rondini quickly decided she hadn’t fought back against Bunn — she hadn’t “kicked him or hit him,” he explained. His investigation would conclude that no rape occurred. After months of growing anxiety over the case, Rondini committed suicide in February 2016.

from https://thecrimereport.org

Wayne Douglas Bryan: Missing since 1995

Husband and father of two, Wayne Douglas Bryan was last seen on Coffee County Road 511 near New Brockton, Alabama on December 15, 1995. No one has seen or heard from his since. About the Case According to law enforcement officials, Wayne had eaten lunch with his wife at home the day of his disappearance … Continue reading “Wayne Douglas Bryan: Missing since 1995”

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Husband and father of two, Wayne Douglas Bryan was last seen on Coffee County Road 511 near New Brockton, Alabama on December 15, 1995. No one has seen or heard from his since. About the Case According to law enforcement officials, Wayne had eaten lunch with his wife at home the day of his disappearance … Continue reading "Wayne Douglas Bryan: Missing since 1995"

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from http://truecrimediva.com

Missing Person of the Week: James Aaron Toole

Each week True Crime Diva highlights a missing persons case that has little or no information available regarding the circumstances of disappearance. It is important that we also remember these victims regardless of how much time has passed.  This was supposed to be up on June 5, 2017, but for some reason when I scheduled it, the post … Continue reading “Missing Person of the Week: James Aaron Toole”

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Each week True Crime Diva highlights a missing persons case that has little or no information available regarding the circumstances of disappearance. It is important that we also remember these victims regardless of how much time has passed.  This was supposed to be up on June 5, 2017, but for some reason when I scheduled it, the post … Continue reading "Missing Person of the Week: James Aaron Toole"

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from http://truecrimediva.com

Alabama Bill May Test Legal Limits on Church Police Forces

Citing fear over church and school shootings, a megachurch near Birmingham seeks the right to “appoint and employ one or more persons to act as police officers to protect the safety and integrity of the church and its ministries.” The ACLU predicts that any law allowing a church-based police force would be struck down as unconstitutional.

Alabama may soon find out whether there are constitutional restraints against creation of church-based police forces, says the New York Times. A bill passed Tuesday by the State Senate would grant Briarwood Presbyterian Church near Birmingham the right to “appoint and employ one or more persons to act as police officers to protect the safety and integrity of the church and its ministries.” Supporters say the measure is necessary in increasingly dangerous times. Critics argue it is gratuitous and unconstitutional. If passed by the Alabama House, the bill would land on the desk of a brand new governor whose predecessor’s term came to a scandalous end this week. A 2015 version of the bill was left unsigned by Gov. Robert Bentley.

Briarwood has more than 4,000 members and schools for students from preschool through grade 12. A news release from the church noted that under state law, private universities already have the right to hire police officers, a provision the church aims to “mirror” with this new legislation. It cited fear over recent shootings at schools and churches. “What this bill would do is to grant to a church — a religious organization — what is quintessentially governmental police power,” said Randall C. Marshall of the ACLU of Alabama. He predicted the law, if enacted, would be struck down in federal courts.

from https://thecrimereport.org

Renewed Alabama Food Fight Pits Sheriff vs. Hungry Inmates

Alabama sheriffs are allowed to keep any excess money used to feed inmates. But the Morgan County sheriff, Ana Franklin, has been excluded under a 2009 consent decree after her predecessor, nicknamed “Sheriff Corndog,” was jailed for contempt for feeding inmates the hotdogs on a stick twice a day–and pocketing $200,000. Franklin will make her case in federal court on Friday.

Morgan County, Ala., Sheriff Ana Franklin wants a federal judge to let her keep as personal money any unspent funds that she receives for feeding inmates, reports AL.com. Although Alabama sheriffs in general are allowed to keep leftover food fund money, the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office has been excluded because of claims Franklin’s predecessor underfed the inmates in his care. Franklin, who is embroiled in a legal battle with the Southern Center for Human Rights, is scheduled for a hearing at the federal courthouse in Decatur on Friday. The sheriff’s attorneys are expected to argue that a 2009 consent decree in a lawsuit against the county does not apply to Franklin and she shouldn’t be held in contempt.

The decree says the Morgan County Sheriff must spend all food funds on inmate meals. It was issued after Franklin’s predecessor was jailed for contempt. Former Sheriff Greg Bartlett was dubbed “Sheriff Corndog” because he profited more than $200,000 while inmates ate corndogs twice a day for weeks. The consent decree stemmed from a 2001 lawsuit against the county by inmates decrying conditions inside the jail. The Southern Center is arguing Franklin should not be allowed to keep any of the food funds and has included in court documents statements from inmates who describe inadequate food portions and unappetizing or hazardous servings. Inmates reported finding rocks, a nail and mold in food served at the jail.

from https://thecrimereport.org

AL Takes a Step Toward Ending Contentious ‘Judicial Override’

Alabama is the only state that permits judges to overrule a jury’s recommendation and sentence a defendant to death, a practice sharply criticized by the Equal Justice Initiative, an advocacy group based in the state. After gaining bipartisan approval by a House committee, a proposal to end the overrides moves on to broader legislative consideration.

In a rare show of bipartisanship, the Alabama House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday approved a proposal to end the state’s controversial sanction of the death penalty judicial override, says the Alabama Political Reporter. Alabama is the only state that permits judges to overrule a jury’s recommendation and sentence a defendant to death. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Chris England, D-Tuscaloosa, also jury unanimity in deciding on the death penalty – a change from the current law, which requires at least 10 members of the 12-person jury. “If it has to be unanimous to convict, it should be unanimous to sentence a person to die,” England said.

The bill now moves to the full House for consideration. A similar bill in the Senate – which doesn’t contain the unanimity language – was approved by committee last week and awaits a Senate vote. The Equal Justice Initiative, a Montgomery, Ala.-based advocacy group led by Bryan Stevenson, has been a sharp critic of Alabama’s judicial override. It found that Alabama judges had overridden jury recommendations in capital cases 112 times since 1976. In nine out of 10 instances, judges have overridden jury verdicts of life imprisonment to impose death sentences. The group says about 20 percent of all death row inmates in Alabama got there by a judicial override.

from http://thecrimereport.org

No Joke: ‘Creepy Clowns’ Are Freaking Out Southerners

A series of incidents featuring someone wearing a clown mask have been reported this week in Alabama, prompting school lockdowns. Authorities say the clown phenomenon began in the Carolinas and has migrated to elsewhere in the South. Police are not laughing.

Threats of clowns luring kids into woods or attacking students at school have been spreading fear on social media and causing school lockdowns across Alabama for the past several weeks, reports AL.com. There is little evidence sinister clowns are anywhere to be found in Alabama, and officials across the state are trying to put an end to the “creepy clown” sightings. Some police departments have arrested suspects who have used the clown persona to make threats. Other law enforcement agencies are still trying to catch those behind the threats and pranks. In Montgomery this week, top police, city and school officials held a press conference to warn clowns, “We are going to find you.”

The sightings started last month in South Carolina and North Carolina. Now the problem has hit in Alabama. Security was heightened at many Alabama schools. Clown incidents were reported in Brighton, Pleasant Valley, Etowah County and several communities in the Birmingham area. The incidents appear to be teen pranks, but authorities are treating them seriously. “It’s really disturbing in today’s world that people are doing this to scare others,” said Calhoun County Chief Deputy Matthew Wade. “There are consequences when you make threats.”

from http://thecrimereport.org

Tabitha Lynn Franklin: Missing since 2009 from Alabama

Tabitha Lynn FranklinI came across this case on Facebook, and decided to post it here because the person who is clearly responsible has not been arrested for a crime due to lack of evidence. Still, it’s irritating. Tabitha Lynn Franklin, 28, was a victim of domestic violence, survivor of sexual abuse, loving mother of three children, and now a … Continue reading “Tabitha Lynn Franklin: Missing since 2009 from Alabama”

The post Tabitha Lynn Franklin: Missing since 2009 from Alabama appeared first on True Crime Diva.

Tabitha Lynn FranklinI came across this case on Facebook, and decided to post it here because the person who is clearly responsible has not been arrested for a crime due to lack of evidence. Still, it’s irritating. Tabitha Lynn Franklin, 28, was a victim of domestic violence, survivor of sexual abuse, loving mother of three children, and now a … Continue reading "Tabitha Lynn Franklin: Missing since 2009 from Alabama"

The post Tabitha Lynn Franklin: Missing since 2009 from Alabama appeared first on True Crime Diva.

from http://truecrimediva.com