Monthly Archives: June 2012

Dothan Woman Convicted of Child Endangerment

Charlene Sutherland claimed that her children love to read, and that they asked to be dropped off at Barnes and Noble while she ran other errands. District Judge Benjamin Lewis was not convinced.

Sutherland was found guilty on one of six counts of child endangerment for leaving her children alone at a Dothan book store. Sutherland was accused of leaving her 6-year-old daughter and 11-year-old son unattended at Barnes and Noble three days in a row, for several hours each time. But Sutherland argued that point, saying that it was “only an hour or so,” and that her 16-year-old son was there, too.  Her 16-year-old, Nigel, testified in court that he was there the first two days with his siblings. All three were on summer break at the time.

On the third day, when he saw that the kids were alone again, store manager Steve Cagle called police to report … Read the rest

Two Women Arrested for LSD Trafficking in Dothan

Drug arrests in Dothan aren’t front page news, but LSD trafficking arrests cause quite a stir.

Dothan Police Sgt. Jason Adkins, who heads the Dothan narcotics unit, said that the LSD trafficking arrests made on June 26 were a first for his department. He stated, “It’s very much out of the ordinary. That’s the first time we’ve ever charged anybody with trafficking in LSD. We’ve seen it before once or twice, but we’ve never had a trafficking amount.”

23-year old Kasondra Kay Strickland and 26-year-old Abby Gail Newton both face charges of trafficking LSD and unlawful possession of a controlled substance. According to the police report, the women are accused of trafficking 45.5 grams of the drug. The arrests took place at Newton’s home in Dothan. Officers also arrested another individual in the home, 41-year-old Leigh Dehannon Manning, for possession of LSD.

Adkins claims, “What they did in this case … Read the rest

Alabama Court Fee Increase

Effective June 21, 2012, Alabama court filing fees will increase for most case types.

According to the Administrative Office of Courts, the fee increase is necessary to prevent the already understaffed court system from being forced to layoff an additional 500 employees. Over the past few years, staffing levels have been reduced due to budget cuts, and many circuit clerks’ offices are now operating below 50 percent of the required staffing levels as called for by the National Center for State Courts. The legislative fiscal office believes the increased fees will bring in nearly $9 million for the rest of the fiscal year.

The only cases that will not see a filing fee increase are child support cases and juvenile cases. Under the new law, docket fees will increase by $45 for circuit and district civil cases. Criminal cases, excluding juvenile cases, will see a filing fee increase of $40. … Read the rest

Southern States Divorce Rates

It would appear that states in the South, including Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas, have higher divorce rates than their Northeastern counterparts. That’s what is reported by the United States Census.

Is it really a demographic statistic or is it something more than just the location of the married couples? Do couples in the Northeast happen to find wedded bliss more frequently than couples in the South?

As it turns out, the only demographic role that’s played here is simply that there are more couples marrying in the southern portion of the country. That would naturally make it seem as though there are more divorces, but the comparison is really apples to oranges if we’re looking at numbers alone.

“Divorce rates tend to be higher in the South because marriage rates are also higher in the South,” said Diana Elliott, a family demographer at … Read the rest

Houston County Teacher Arrested on Meth Charges

A 10th-grade science teacher at Ashford High School has been arrested by the Houston County Sheriff’s Department on drug charges.

32-year-old Jason Allen Andrews was arrested on May 29 after being stopped by officers. Upon searching his home, deputies found methamphetamine, prescription medication, precursor chemicals, and moonshine. Andrews was charged with two counts of unlawful possession of a controlled substance, one count of unlawful possession of precursor chemicals, and one count of possession of moonshine. Andrews’ traffic stop was part of an investigation being conducted by the Houston County Sheriff’s Department, with assistance from the Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board.

According to Houston County School Superintendent Tim Pitchford, there is no evidence that Andrews was dealing drugs or alcohol at Ashford High. He claims that Andrews passed a recent random drug test he was given as part of his coaching duties. Police agree with Pitchford, stating that they do … Read the rest

Shooting in Tuscaloosa

A gunman opened fire in a crowded bar early Tuesday, sending bullets flying into crowds of people, glass shards and chunks of brick fell all around the bar, at least 17 were injured.

Police think that the gunman fired through the glass of the double French doors at the front of the building and from a door on the side of the building. Witnesses said it sounded like automatic gunfire and thought the shooting would never end, they said there would be a pause and then it would start again.

Before he went on a shooting spree at the bar Nathan Van Wilkins wounded his first victim at the house he lives in with three other roommates. Brian Felton said he heard gunshots and found one of his roommates with a gunshot wound. The wounded roommate, who is white, and said Wilkins was looking for their black roommate, and … Read the rest

Second Birmingham Police Officer Jailed in Arson Investigation

Police officers take risks and suffer inconveniences to protect the lives, defend civil liberties, and secure the safety of fellow citizens, which, thus, makes police work one of the more noble and selfless occupations in society.  A Law Enforcement Oath of Honor is taken by each police officer, which is a public affirmation that the officer will adhere to ethical standards.  Unfortunately, two police officers in Alabama were definitely not adhering to ethical standards when they allegedly burned homes in the west Birmingham area.

Last month, Curtis Jeffrey Thornton, 27, was charged in at least 12 arson fires at unoccupied homes in western Birmingham, and on Thursday, a second officer is also being charged in connection with the same fires.  Thornton is charged with two counts of second-degree arson, one count of attempted second-degree arson and one count of criminal mischief in connection with fires in the town of … Read the rest