Monday, December 31, 2012

2012's Hottest Ten Stories



10. Navistar puts new Barton truck plant on hold. The company remains in the process of selling off unwanted plants, properties, and subsidiaries. The Colbert County facility's fate is still unknown.

9. Jim Fisher resigns as Florence School Board member. Jim felt he had misspoken publicly; we didn't. Florence loses.

8. Sweetwater Mansion shuts down renovations. The owner of the Weeden Home finally had enough of the board's hijinks and pulled the plug on them.

7. Mitchell Blake Terry is identified as the North Florence Bedroom Intruder. His trial is scheduled for 2013.

6. UNA parking deck is the scene of at least two sex crimes. The university has promised to update security. Rapist is still as large while the alleged exhibitionist was arrested.

5. Brian Keith McGuire wins a reprieve on his teaching license revocation. The former Lexington barber is still undergoing state ordered rehabilitation.

4. Ashley Fawn Greenhill is indicted. Months after she identified the whereabouts of Amanda Taylor's remains, the Brooks graduate and former North Florence resident was arrested for her part in the crime. Trial will be in 2013.

3. Andrew Daniel Scott is arrested four times for various crimes of theft. The Killen resident and his father still have 946 supporters on their Causes page. Do 946 individuals really think Hottie Scottie is a fit father?

2. Elbert Davis is murdered in Tuscumbia. No one has ever been arrested for the crime, but a juvenile once thought to be involved remains in custody.

1. Kids murder kids. In March, Autumn Wood, 15, admitted to stabbing 13 year-old Brooklyn Hollins to death at an unsupervised party. In June, 13 year-old Dakota Holt admitted he shot and killed Dylan Milam, also 13, after an argument at Holt's home. In October, an unnamed youth shot and killed 15 year-old Jesse Carl Rainey at an unsupervised house party. Wood and Holt face trials in 2013, and the Rainey killing should be presented to a grand jury in January.

*****

Everyone please be safe and responsible tonight. We'll see you in 2013!



Shoalanda

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Judging, Animal Abuse, & Coaches


"Wow, Shoalanda, that's quite a potpourri of topics you have there!"

Yes, but they are connected. We've spoken on judging before. Everyone judges everyday. We hire and fire employees, decide whom to date/marry, and even if the person driving the Range Rover/Pinto will actually stop at the red light. We arrest, try, and sentence people who break laws. If we didn't judge, our society would be in shambles.

Family and friends can stand by a person accused of a crime, but they can't legally sit on that person's jury. We appreciate those who stand by their friends. We even choose to allow those who support Ronald Weems to post here if they so desire. Those who seek to denigrate our friends or current/past members of this blogging group do their friends no favors when they attempt to post insults here or on Facebook. If I personally don't like your opinion, I'm quite capable of pointing out the flaws in your judgment without insulting your friends who may not even feel as you do. Think about it.

*****

Whether you've read this blog for our four-year run or are reading today for the first time, you may not have scanned our columns enough to know what crimes/actions we really hate. Please remember, we hate the actions, not those who perform those actions.

If we despise any actions, it's first and foremost the attempt to take a child away from its loving parents (see Hottie Scottie). A close second is animal abuse.

Yes, former Muscle Shoals patrol officer Greg Scoggins killed a half-tame deer, not for food, but for fun, while on the clock. You can be assured it was hard enough to see his "side" when we believed it was for food. It wasn't some spur of the moment crime. Scoggins had seen the group of deer playing close to the road many times and took along his personal high-powered rifle to kill the deer.

From confidential reports sent to us, we believe Scoggins then recruited a family member (a legal adult) to assist in disposing of the deer's body. Can we tell you more? We could, but our friend Trader has done all the investigative work on this and will be publishing an account of the whole horrible crime on Pen-N-Sword. We'll add if all we wanted to do was malign Scoggins' name, we've been sent plenty of stories about his conduct over the years. We choose to focus on this crime alone.

Kicking someone when they're down isn't enumerating the facts of an ongoing case involving both animal abuse and misuse of taxpayer funds. We're sorry his family is involved in the crime, but we didn't involve them. He did. Remember that.

*****

Ahh, coaches, should we judge them--at least publicly? We've recently seen quite a bit of speculation on local forums concerning the Edward Jenkins attack on Rogers Coach Chris Krieger. If any readers aren't familiar with Rogers School, it's a relatively small Lauderdale County School located in the unincorporated area of Greenhill in the northern part of the county. The school serves K-12--quite a diverse student population.

Let's say a first grade teacher calls your six-year old daughter a twit. You ask around and find that the teacher has been verbally abusing other students and you then go to the principal. Hopefully, things are sorted out and your daughter will get a better teacher the next year.

What if it's a coach who called your first grade son a name, who denigrated his abilities, intelligence, breeding, etc.? What if you knew your son would have the same coach two more years in the future and even more if he decides to play on the high school basketball team? Not so easy to decide now, is it?

For those who have reasoned that few, or even none, have come forward to criticize the Rogers coach, we ask you to remember that with any coach in a small school, criticism may come with a large price tag.

*****

One final observation: We continually receive e-mails suggesting the misuse of public funds and sexual abuse should not be pointed out or judged. If we ignore it, it will go away. No, sadly it won't if we do nothing to deter it.



Shoalanda

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Greg Scoggins: No Wife, No Job, No Deer




Gregory Allen Scoggins, 47, a resident of Muscle Shoals, was terminated Thursday from that city's police department where he had worked since 2001. End of story?

It doesn't seem so. Scoggins will have the right to appeal, but our expert on police matters (infractions) says the Deshler High graduate's conduct was so unbecoming of an officer that there would be no chance of winning. Apparently, after the misdemeanor charges relating to killing the deer on TVA property have been adjudicated, the ABI could assist Muscle Shoals in charging Scoggins with a felony.

We've been inundated with e-mails concerning Scoggins, running 15 to one in favor of, well, up to doing bodily harm to the man. We're not ever in favor of violence, but we have to admit those who are seeking to reclaim money given to Scoggins last summer are very vocal about it.

We usually consider a gift a gift, but we didn't contribute to the shamed officer. Yet most of us have given to someone who claimed to be in need only to find out we'd been scammed. Isn't it better to do that than not to give to someone who's in desperate need? If anyone does wish to pursue any charges in connection to Scoggins' plea for money after his home burned, you should contact either the Colbert County District Attorney or the Attorney General's office in Montgomery.

We are still receiving a few communications stating Scoggins shot the deer for food. It seems Scoggins' wife left him two months ago, ostensibly citing cruelty, and the deer slayer had to set up housekeeping anew for the second time this year.

So, was he hungry? Since Scoggins now has only himself to feed, we doubt it. Many restaurants offer large discounts to armed police officers, some even providing free meals in exchange for the presence of such a crime deterrent.

What next for former Food World employee Greg Scoggins? Since he has approximately 23 years before he can claim a full retirement, we foresee a future asking about either choice of bags or french fries.



Shoalanda

Friday, December 28, 2012

Elizabeth E. Romine/Get Yo' Money Back?


Several media have made note of the passing of Elizabeth Ernestine Romine, once a prominent critic of the Florence City Council. Here are links to two very revealing, yet very different, tributes to Miss Romine:



*****

Which One Isn't a Cold-Blooded Killer?

A reader writes: Since Greg Scoggins has a high powered deer rifle in his squad car he must not be hurting too much for money. Maybe those who gave when his house burned could get their money back? Seriously you gotta wonder if it's first a half tame deer then the stray skateboarder or two. I wouldn't wanna be a jaywalker in Muscle Shoals with him around. I know Scoggins is entitled to a hearing, but if he keeps his job he bears watching.

Interesting thought, but we understand the 47 year-old Scoggins and his wife Billie have at least one child. The fire obviously affected them also. Let's hope most of the money went to things they needed. As for his future at the Muscle Shoals Police Department? Some people deserve second chances and some don't. No matter which way you feel, if you live in Muscle Shoals you're entitled to make your voice heard by the mayor and city council.



Shoalanda

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Andrew Daniel Scott--No Benefit of Doubt


Progressive Faces of a Life of Drugs and Crime


Hottie Scottie spent Christmas in jail...but don't feel too sorry for him, folks. It's not like Judge Gil Self and the citizens of Lauderdale County haven't given him more chances than George Clooney at a Sadie Hawkins Day dance.

Our sources at the Florence-Lauderdale Detention Center tell us Scott came in on December 11th, presumably after failing another drug test. As of 1:00 p.m. today, he's still in custody. What does this mean for Andrew Scott? It doesn't look good for him as far as prison goes. We'll have an update on his legal status after the first of the year when the clerk's office is functioning at full force.

What about his future? At one time Scott wanted to become a Registered Nurse. Will that ever be possible? We've asked Nurse Nan who now toils at Pen-N-Sword.

"Each case is different. I had to undergo background checks at Calhoun, UAH, the Alabama Board of Nursing (license), and my place of employment. With each arrest and/or conviction Andrew gets, it makes it harder for him to pursue any career where licensing is required.

"It's really not just for nursing, but any career he may choose. Unless he works for himself or a company that's willing to look beyond his convictions, he will have a super hard time ever supporting himself in any real fashion. Most boards and companies use the five year rule, but the number of convictions Andrew gets will also be looked at. In other words, it's not just a one time lapse of judgment for him.

"Financially? There's also a waiting period for financial aid for those convicted of drug crimes. That might not apply here since Andrew's parents have means and contacts."

And what of Andrew's parents? Mr. Scott, please listen to us. You are doing Andrew no favors by not insisting he get help. Please cease your campaign to take a child away from his parents and focus your efforts on helping your son. It's not what we or anyone else think of Andrew's chances. It's what God thinks and can do for him, but you have to do your part. Please at least think about it.

Editor's Note: Our friend Nurse Nan had an interesting Christmas. We'll add our thanks to the Colbert County Commission's fight for guard rails on Hwy 43: Ben's Okay, but the Truck?



Shoalanda

Special Report: Greg Scoggins Planned Shoot?


Yesterday we blogged on Muscle Shoals Police officer Greg Scoggins, currently on administrative leave pending an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the shooting of a deer on Federal property. At approximately noon today we received solid information that Scoggins had planned to shoot the deer. This act is alleged to have been one of "sport."

We previously went with information provided us by a member of the Muscle Shoals Police force. We're sure our informant at the police department is a friend of Scoggins, and while meaning well, saw only his side.

Officer Scoggins, excuse me, former Officer Scoggins, did the deer have a high-powered rifle pointing back at you? No? We didn't think so. There was no sport involved. No need for food was involved.

In situations like this, it's hard enough to give the miscreant the benefit of the doubt in the first place. We can understand hunger and poverty. We cannot understand the mentality of shooting a beautiful creature for "fun," especially while on the taxpayers' dime.

Look for an in depth story on Pen-N-Sword.


The Staff of Shoalanda Speaks

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Greg Scoggins: He'll Pay "Deerly"


Officer Greg Scoggins
Greg Scoggins is a Deshler High graduate, a resident of Muscle Shoals, and a member of the town's police department--at least he was. Now Scoggins is on administrative leave pending an investigation by the Alabama Department of Conservation.

Scoggins is accused of shooting and killing a deer on property belonging to the Federal government--specifically the TVA Reservation--while on duty. We're not sure just how many laws Scoggins violated, but we have to ask why he would have violated even one.

Does Scoggins just hate deer? Is he like Roger Pitts who doesn't care what he kills just for the thrills and accolades from a certain segment of our society? Did he risk killing the deer for food?

As odd as it may sound, the answer may be number three. Scoggins' house burned last July, and sources with the police department say the patrol officer's family members lost most of their possessions. At least two organizations reportedly took up donations for the Scogginses at that time.

Obviously that fact won't matter to the Department of Conservation when it comes time to charge Scoggins. We hope it will matter to the City of Muscle Shoals when the powers that be decide how to handle Officer Scoggins employment; desperate people will often do much to support their families.

However, that may be a moot point. Another source tells us Greg Scoggins could be charged with a felony. If that should happen, and he's convicted, Scoggins will no longer meet the requirements for a police officer.

Look around and see who's hurting this holiday season. You never know just how much someone might need your help.



Shoalanda

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Monday, December 24, 2012

Sand Bags & Bullets/Ed Jenkins Update


John Smith lives with his family in Muscle Shoals. He paid a small fortune for his home, intending to live there for the rest of his life. When John first looked at the home, he asked the realtor about flooding. No worry, the savvy realtor replied. Muscle Shoals has that under control with retention ponds and other high-tech drainage methods.

Things went well for a few years; then the rains came, and with the rains, the floods. John contacted his councilperson and the mayor. Oh, they said, we're working on it. Another three years or so, and John's home was again flooded via the back door.  Now John had an epiphany. The government was working on it, okay, but either they weren't working on it the right way or their plans were taking too long to be of any help to John and his family.

John and his wife were artists by nature. Even the back entrance of their home was esthetically pleasing. Well and good, but if all their hard work was lost every few years, what did it matter? John purchased sand bags and now has them at the ready. When it rained torrents last spring, John duly produced the sand bags, ugly as they were, and no water entered John's home.

John still hopes the city will find a solution to the flooding problem, but in the mean time, he's found an answer that, while not attractive, works for him.

What does John's story tell us? We've recently stated, as much as we hate guns by nature, we feel there should be a trained and armed officer at each local school. It won't be pretty, but until someone in Washington comes up with the answer to school shootings, it's the best we can do.

*****

We recently commented on Edward Clarence Jenkins' sentence for assault on Rogers teacher/coach Chris Krieger. It wasn't lost on us that Judge Mike Jones required that Jenkins be immediately arrested and taken to jail, only a few days before Christmas. Jones had it in his power to allow Jenkins to begin his sentence after the holidays, but chose not to.

According to court records, Mr. Jenkins has posted an appeal bond and is now home with his wife and five children. Will he win his appeal? We think it's highly likely that he will. If he doesn't, Mr. Jenkins' next Christmas will be spent in prison.

We support swift and sure justice, but two things come to mind here. From news accounts, we're not sure Jenkins committed the crime for which he was convicted and sentenced--interrupting a teacher while doing his/her duty. Second, if Allan Wilson and others can receive a 90 day sentence for the same crime, why does Mr. Jenkins deserve 12 months with 48 months of probation to follow?

Again we say, justice in Alabama leaves much to be desired.



Shoalanda

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Winner Is...TD Editor Scott Morris!




SS: Congratulations, Mr. Morris. We were extremely impressed by your parody of Dr. Seuss' Grinch.

SM: It was really nothing at all. Parodies are extremely easy to write. Dr. Seuss did the groundwork. I just changed the words around a little.

SS: Be that as it may, we were greatly impressed, and you're the winner of our 2012 Holiday writing contest.

SM: Me? Cool. What did I win?

SS: A reception. Totally paid for from our bottomless coffers here at Shoalanda Speaks. The entire Shoals area is invited. It will be an event that will go down in history. Just imagine thousands of local citizens coming together at one time to honor you...Scott Morris.

SM: I'm in shock. When and where?

SS: Let's say January 1st. At your house, of course.

SM: Uh, wait a minute. My house? It's only 3000 sq. ft. or so. Who's going to provide security? Who's going to clean up?

SS: Piffle, Scott. Logistics, smogistics. We're paying for the party. You mean if we provide the caviar and champagne, you can't pay for the security and clean up?

SM: Well...no. I don't have that kind of money. In fact, I don't have that kind of room. This whole reception idea may have been well-intentioned, but I don't think you've really thought it out.

SS: Really, Mr. Morris? Do you possibly think that's exactly what Governor Bentley thought about the wonderful idea of free insurance for everyone in the state? Now, who's the Grinch?

Editor's Note: Obviously the above interview is our own parody. We have no idea how big Mr. Morris' house is or isn't, but we doubt he wants the entire Shoals area to converge on it. We support better health care for the indigent, but also support just a little common sense going into the process of bringing it to the citizens. Governor Bentley may not be perfect like Scott Morris, but we hardly think he's a Grinch simply because he has the financial well-being of the state (read: taxpayers) in mind.



Shoalanda

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Paradise Drive Citizens Bring Joy To Waterloo


Waterloo, Alabama
For the second year in a row the citizens living on Paradise Drive give back to the Waterloo community. In keeping with the spirit of Christmas, the citizens of Paradise Drive are providing 25
Christmas baskets to families living in and around Waterloo. With the assistance of the Waterloo School and the Volunteer Fire Department of Waterloo, these families will receive a Christmas basket with a turkey and all the trimmings this Friday.

Also the Ladies of Paradise Drive who run the free library in Waterloo have donated books to be given with the baskets. Many Waterloo citizens and businesses have also participated with donations and food products. The Senior Citizens also assisted with making available space at their center to gather and assemble the baskets.

Special thanks also goes out to Publix, which just opened in the area, for great pricing on the turkeys and being kind enough to store them until needed. This has truly been a blessing for the community and citizens involved.


*****

We've frequently mentioned that all who work with this blog usually agree, but not always. When it comes to college sports, we now stand at three Alabama fans and two Auburn. Any Auburn fans out there may feel free to apply and even things up around here.

However, when it doesn't involve Alabama v. Auburn, we're all Alabama fans. D.K. has asked us to run this poem in honor of the championship game. 

'Twas The Night Of The Championship

'Twas the night of the Championship, and all through South Beach, Notre Dame fans were saying, "Another title's in reach!"
The luck of the Irish had carried them through, with wins over Pittsburgh and even Purdue.
The Domers were nestled all snug in their seats, with visions of crystal...just one team to beat!
And I in my hounds tooth and crimson and white, knew for the Irish, it could be a long night.
When out of the tunnel there arose such a thunder, fans stood to their feet with amazement and wonder.
The ground shook like an earthquake had just hit the field, and I felt Irish fear beginning to build.
They scattered and looked for some place to hide, as the announcer proclaimed, "And here comes the Tide!"
I sang "Yea Alabama," yes I sang every word, as Notre Dame marveled at the elephant herd.
Led by a man both lively and quick, everyone knew that he was St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles, his coursers they came. He whistled and shouted and called them by name.
"Now Lacy! Now Milliner, McCarron and Fluker! On Barrett! On Mosely! On Warmack and Cooper!
Miami is where Notre Dame's luck shall end. The BCS trophy is ours to defend!"
Then after the kickoff, a beating began. The Irish now knew that they were out manned.
They tried to get going, but never could start. They were just simply no match for the defense of Smart.
Brian Kelly cried out, "This just isn't fair! Saban was given a month to prepare!"
But his cries were not heard, they fell on deaf ears. "We have to adjust! We have to switch gears!"
Then Notre Dame ran what nobody expected. They faked the reverse, but the pass was deflected.
The ball was picked off! The crowd let out a roar, as the Bama defender walked in for the score.
Saban spoke not a word to his crimson machine. As the seconds ticked off, to number 15.
If one thing was learned in Miami that night, it's that you don't bring a leprechaun to an elephant fight.
And I heard the crowd yell to the losers in blue, "We just beat the hell outta you!"

*****

Special thanks to Hank Thomas for the Waterloo article and a nod to Magic 96.5 which originally published the poem.



Shoalanda

Friday, December 21, 2012

Still Here? Make it Count!




It's after eight o'clock in the evening on the first day of winter 2012, and we're still here. We're not particularly surprised about being here, but are surprised some school systems across the U.S. shut down today in order to avoid violence from those who didn't think we'd make it this far.

Hibbett Middle School may not have been shut down today, but it was on lockdown. We have to ask what kind of parent buys a 13 and 14 year-old a paint ball gun/s (they run $100.00 to $300.00) and then doesn't tell them not to brandish it about in front of a school...while wearing a ski mask no less?

*****

Now that we've made it to the winter solstice, the days will be getting longer again. A new year is almost here; let's make it count, but first we need to finish out Christmas for those who haven't been blessed as we have. You still have time to give to these two great causes:



*****

Tomorrow: The story of how one community is making a difference.



Shoalanda

Thursday, December 20, 2012

What About Edward Jenkins' Family?


Chris Krieger
Obviously anyone who would hit an elementary school coach has an anger problem--even a coach yelling at an eight year-old. Reports indicate Edward Clarence Jenkins Jr. is receiving anger management counseling, and Jenkins' defense attorney has stated the Killen father regrets attacking Chris Krieger last March. We're not sure why Krieger yelled at Jenkins' eight year-old son, but the Rogers coach may need some anger counseling for himself. Krieger teaches kindergarten, fifth, and sixth grade physical education.

Now Jenkins has been convicted of Second Degree Assault and sentenced to serve 12 months in prison. Jenkins' wife Stephanie is disabled, and the couple has five children. We'll assume Stephanie Jenkins does receive some sort of SSI on a monthly basis, but we doubt it's enough to support her entire family.

That means Stephanie Jenkins will be forced to visit Lauderdale DHR to seek help. Our tax dollars will be providing partial support for the Jenkins children. That is unless Edward Jenkins wins his appeal of Judge Mike Jones' sentence. Should Jenkins be punished? Certainly. He now has a felony conviction and his name has made Shoals news for several days. Isn't that enough in this case?



Shoalanda

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Guns for Resource Officers/How the World Sees Us


Rusty Glover is an educator and a state senator from Semmes, Alabama. He will again next year introduce a bill into the senate that, if passed, will allow Mobile County school resource officers to carry a firearm. Glover feels the time is right for this bill to be passed. The Alabama Department of Education is expected to oppose the bill, threatening to suspend funding to any school system that arms their officers.

As much as we deplore the necessity for guns, Sen. Glover may be right about the advantages in this particular case. We have to ask why his bill can't be extended to all 67 counties? If the people issue a mandate, can the DOE legally oppose it?

*****

Want to know what others in the U.S. and across the world are saying about Bradley Patterson, UNA, the South, and the U.S. in general? Okay...you asked.

* It's not even 'Bama or Auburn! - Out West

* He "aint" too smart at all. I guess that's why he's going to skool at NA. 3rd string -whatever. What kind of "students" are you people accepting there. The south lost remember? - Colorado Springs

* Tweeted like true-blue rednecks. They needed to finish up the game so they could get back to dueling banjos and marrying their sisters! - London

* Of course he's an ***hole. He's from Alabama and he's wearing a New York Stankee's hat. - Unknown

* Oh he's from Alabama , makes sense. - Los Angeles

* Isn't this normal in North Alabama? - Gary, IN

* Business as usual in Alabama. - Philadelphia, PA

* 3rd string from a NOTHING team. Why is he even newsworthy? He'll end up bagging groceries in the Piggly Wiggly. - Holmdel, NJ

*****


The latest Franklin County indictments are out, and we see our old pal J.J. Common has again been arrested. When last we visited J.J., he was looking at 25 years for drug trafficking. Common refused to accept the plea bargain, and so far his case hasn't come to trial.

Trials are routinely delayed, but there are reports of evidence in J.J.'s case disappearing from an evidence locker. (J.J. was indicted in 2008 for Bribing a Public Servant). Whether true or not, he remains incarcerated until his next court date.

Don't you wish law abiding citizens could have this much resilience?



Shoalanda

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Bradley Patterson Not Encouraged at UNA?


Bradley Patterson with former Red Bay Coach


So Red Bay's Bradley Patterson was not encouraged to "walk-on" at UNA? Okay, he not only wasn't good enough to win one of a limited number of scholarships, but he wasn't good enough to be encouraged by the UNA coaching staff to give the football team a try? Seems odd. Bradley was well thought of at Red Bay and in fact won accolades.

UNA wouldn't be guilty of a little revisionist history, would it? From a press release earlier this year:

(Bradley) Patterson was named Class 2A Lineman of the Year for a season in which the senior helped Red Bay to a 10-2 record and a No. 5 ranking. Patterson garnered 58 points to nudge American Christian’s Kyle Sappington, who had 54 points. Reeltown’s Kemond Gauntt was third with 44 points. 

Patterson said he was surprised by the honor. “It was shocking,” said Patterson, who had a serious look on his face throughout the ceremony. “I’ve always got a straight face. My teammates did terrific job this year. We were 10-2 and the linebackers and the other defensive linemen did a great job. This is a good way to go out.”

Patterson, who said he hopes to sign with a Mississippi community college to continue his career, said just being invited to the banquet as a finalist “put a smile on my face.” “There were some great guys down here,” he said. “It was just an honor to be down here.” Patterson finished with 87 tackles, including 19 for loss and 9 sacks as the Tigers finished 10-2.

Wonder just which Mississippi community college Patterson had in mind? Wonder who would take Patterson? Lower Slobovia sounds good right about now.

*****

Pen-N-Sword has the full text of Dr. William Cale's statement concerning Patterson: Link



Shoalanda

Monday, December 17, 2012

What UNA's Bradley Patterson Said/School Resource Officers


What did UNA football player Bradley Patterson (2A_HogOfTheYear) tweet last night? We'll censor it slightly:

"Take that (N-word) off the tv, we wanna watch football!" 

Now Bradley is no longer a third string walk-on. Is anyone worried about UNA's 2013 season? And what of Twitter's loss? It seems the long snapper from Red Bay has deleted his account. Any one think the girlfriend may have deleted Bradley?

*****

If you reside in Alabama, your school has a resource officer...or maybe not. Ideally your school has one. Schools outside Alabama probably have a similar position with perhaps a slightly different name.

So, does your school have one on duty at all times? Over the past two years we've heard Lauderdale County schools have had resource officers removed due to budget constraints. Yes, we've been informed of this in communications that were critical of Sheriff Ronnie Willis. We'll readily admit we didn't think this was much of an issue.

So, a football player runs amok during practice; there are plenty of coaches who can handle him. Another student brings drugs to school; we have an idea there's an assistant principal (read: part-time coach) who can handle the situation. Now we have to ask if we've been mistaken in our beliefs concerning school resource officers.

Can one, armed usually with only pepper spray, save a school from a mass-murderer? That's something that also needs to be reevaluated. These resource officers are trained members of law enforcement--they can handle a firearm and know how to react in emergency situations.

If you have children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, or are just close to a child, please call his/her school today. Ask if a resource officer is always on duty. If one isn't, make it you mission to be sure this is corrected.

Note: Florence City Schools are already reevaluating that system's security policies.



Shoalanda

Sunday, December 16, 2012

September 29, 2012: The Good & the Bad


As we have said of many previous incidents, only three entities have any first-hand information as to the events on Fennell Road on the morning of September 29th--Joel P. Moyers, Ryan Hydrick, and God. There are others who have commented on various facts relating to these events, and we're going to present our research here, without comment. The only purpose of this particular blog is to clear up several misconceptions that have been reported in social media.

Where did the shooting take place? The press has alternately referred to the Fennell Road/Fennell Lane location as being in either Belle Mina or Tanner.



The area in question is on a Tanner post office route, but is closer to Mooresville, Greenbriar, and Belle Mina (a community not even large enough to merit a listing in the above map).



Above is an enlarged map of the area showing actual placement of Moyer's trailer and approximate placement of the Murray property (not to scale). Long segment is Fennell Road; short segment is Fennell Lane.

What kind of event took place on Friday, September 29th?: There was an early Halloween party given on the Fennell Lane property belonging to Bronwen Murray's parents. At the party were Bronwen, Brandon and Ryan Hydrick, and an unknown number of friends. The party involved a campfire near Piney Creek and concluded a little before midnight.

What did the three do after the party ended? Brandon Hydrick, 26, took his girlfriend Bronwen, 33, the short distance to her parents' home where she was spending the night. Brandon was driving his own small truck and was alone after leaving the Murray residence. At 3:00 on Saturday morning, Ryan, 25, was driving his brother's truck, and Brandon was a passenger.

Where did Brandon and Ryan spend the three hours?: Bronwen has stated she doesn't know, and no one has come forward with any explanation.

How well did the two brothers know the area?: Brandon was very familiar with the area, having visited the Murray home many times. Ryan was only slightly familiar with the area.

Was the area crime-ridden?: Limestone Sheriff Mike Blakely has stated he didn't consider the area  prone to crime. In the 15 months before the shooting, there had been two felony thefts, one assault, and one drug trafficking arrest on Fennell Road/Lane. This does not take into account misdemeanor crimes involving vandalism and petty theft. None of those arrested lived in the immediate area.

Where did Joel P. Moyers live?: Moyers, 52, lived alone in a trailer at the corner of Fennell Road and Fennell Lane. He was reportedly raised there and has been documented as living there the past 40 years.

How many neighbors lived in the area?: A writer for the Decatur Daily, Ben Montgomery, has described the area as having only "a handful" of houses scattered on the two roads.

Did the neighbors know each other?: Montgomery has stated all the neighbors knew each other, but not necessarily well.

What did the neighbors think of Joel P. Moyers?: Neighbor Jeannette Troupe has stated, "he never gave us no kind of trouble." Neighbor Ida Milon called Moyers "a real nice guy," and stated she never felt threatened by him. Bronwen Murray has stated, "I have heard throughout the years that he is a dangerous person and that he is unstable." Murray didn't offer any names for the report.

What kind of gun did Moyers have?: The last update from the Limestone District Attorney's office lists the gun that killed Brandon Hydrick as an SKS-45, an assault rifle originally produced in the Soviet Union in 1945. Older models with a chrome bore are known for inaccuracy in hitting the intended target.

Did Ryan Hydrick see Moyers when he tried to stop them?: Yes. Both Moyers and Hydrick have stated Moyers used only a flashlight to get the brothers' attention. When Ryan Hydrick saw Moyers' gun, he stepped on the accelerator and didn't stop until he wrecked a short distance away on Fennell Road.

Is Joel Moyers' mother wealthy?: Until recently, Moyers' mother lived with him in the trailer on Fennell Road. She had also reportedly lived in the small dwelling for over 40 years. Individuals using social media and comments on Shoalanda have asserted the value of her home in Cullman on County Road 226 is between 400K and one million dollars. The home is not on Smith Lake, but near Simpson Creek, a tributary of Smith Lake. A Bing map shows the home as being located away from the creek and having no frontage to any body of water.

Who tipped off Joel Moyers that he had been indicted?: It's now believed a local Huntsville station obtained news of the indictment from Alacourt.com. This incident has spurred calls for a change in site security.

When will Moyers be tried?: Moyers is scheduled to be arraigned later this week. At that time a court date will be set. The trial can then be postponed by either the prosecution or the defense.


Shoalanda

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Capital Punishment Laws Not Administered Fairly?


Yesterday we looked at the 18 crimes that qualify for capital punishment in Alabama and how they are hardly fair in themselves. Still such laws are necessary and will never be perfect. How about how they're administered?

Commit murder while in the process of raping your stepdaughter? Shaun Shapley got 25 years, agreed to it, and is now still contesting his plea bargain. Fair? Hardly.

Shoot into your estranged wife's vehicle as she's fleeing after a heated argument? Tony Woods wasn't convicted for Capital Murder but for only Felony Murder. Where's the logic?

Strangle your ex-sister-in-law during an argument, pull both pairs of pants down (we translate this as a rape attempt), and dismember her body? Ronald Weems was indicted for only Felony Murder--there just aren't words for this.

Now a man who may or may not have mental problems, one who's been the victim of several crimes, shoots into what he deems a suspicious car he's attempting to stop at 3:00 in the morning, accidentally kills an occupant, and he's indicted for Capital Murder. We're guessing it won't play in court, and we'll have some new information on this tomorrow.

So, to the point, what can we do to correct the problems with Alabama's capital murder laws? Short of completely starting over, it's not going to be easy...

*****


Jerry Don Crowden? What can you say about this 40 year-old man who's been in trouble since before he was 10 years old? When he was about 10 his father was killed in a horrible car crash. I don't know anything else about Jerry Don's dad, but at least one Facebook commenter has posted he wasn't such a law abiding citizen himself.


When I first saw Jerry Don's name in the paper, the Law and Order section, many years ago, I hoped someone would get him some help. Over the years he's threatened to burn down his mother's house and to tie his truck to a teacher's house and pull it down, committed statutory rape (he was 30; she was 14), and been involved in as much crime as John Dillinger ever was. And he's just been arrested again.

I'm not sure there's any hope for Jerry Don now. I'm also not sure if he's been convicted of any violent crimes, so the best/worst he can get is a life sentence with the possibility of parole. It's what he deserves, but I still have to ask if anyone ever really tried to help him.

*****

Congratulations to Valdosta State in their Division II championship victory today!



Shoalanda

Friday, December 14, 2012

Why Does Alabama Have 18 Capital Crimes?


"Capital Punishment"--The Caput is Severed
There was a time in Alabama when one could be executed for arson, rape, or robbery. Then in 1972 the Supreme Court declared such laws "extreme" and "unusual" punishment. The State subsequently overhauled its stance on capital punishment, and in 1976 began a string of executions that continues until this day. No longer called First Degree Murder in Alabama, we have a warehouse of criminals who have been convicted of Capital Murder and sentenced to either Life Without Parole or Death.

This blog isn't about the fairness of executions in general, but about how the State has codified a laundry list of crimes which now qualify for capital punishment. There are currently 18:

(1) Murder by the defendant during a kidnapping in the first degree or an attempt thereof committed by the defendant.
(2) Murder by the defendant during a robbery in the first degree or an attempt thereof committed by the defendant.
(3) Murder by the defendant during a rape in the first or second degree or an attempt thereof committed by the defendant; or murder by the defendant during sodomy in the first or second degree or an attempt thereof committed by the defendant.
(4) Murder by the defendant during a burglary in the first or second degree or an attempt thereof committed by the defendant.
(5) Murder of any police officer, sheriff, deputy, state trooper, federal law enforcement officer, or any other state or federal peace officer of any kind, or prison or jail guard, while such officer or guard is on duty, regardless of whether the defendant knew or should have known the victim was an officer or guard on duty, or because of some official or job-related act or performance of such officer or guard.
(6) Murder committed while the defendant is under sentence of life imprisonment.
(7) Murder done for a pecuniary or other valuable consideration or pursuant to a contract or for hire.
(8) Murder by the defendant during sexual abuse in the first or second degree or an attempt thereof committed by the defendant.
(9) Murder by the defendant during arson in the first or second degree committed by the defendant; or murder by the defendant by means of explosives or explosion.
(10) Murder wherein two or more persons are murdered by the defendant by one act or pursuant to one scheme or course of conduct.
(11) Murder by the defendant when the victim is a state or federal public official or former public official and the murder stems from or is caused by or is related to his official position, act, or capacity.
(12) Murder by the defendant during the act of unlawfully assuming control of any aircraft by use of threats or force with intent to obtain any valuable consideration for the release of said aircraft or any passenger or crewmen thereon or to direct the route or movement of said aircraft, or otherwise exert control over said aircraft.
(13) Murder by a defendant who has been convicted of any other murder in the 20 years preceding the crime; provided that the murder which constitutes the capital crime shall be murder as defined in subsection (b) of this section; and provided further that the prior murder conviction referred to shall include murder in any degree as defined at the time and place of the prior conviction.
(14) Murder when the victim is subpoenaed, or has been subpoenaed, to testify, or the victim had testified, in any preliminary hearing, grand jury proceeding, criminal trial or criminal proceeding of whatever nature, or civil trial or civil proceeding of whatever nature, in any municipal, state, or federal court, when the murder stems from, is caused by, or is related to the capacity or role of the victim as a witness.
(15) Murder when the victim is less than fourteen years of age.
(16) Murder committed by or through the use of a deadly weapon fired or otherwise used from outside a dwelling while the victim is in a dwelling.
(17) Murder committed by or through the use of a deadly weapon while the victim is in a vehicle.
(18) Murder committed by or through the use of a deadly weapon fired or otherwise used within or from a vehicle.

Are some more logical than others? Steal a five dollar item and kill the clerk? It's Felony Murder. Steal a 50K diamond necklace and kill the clerk? It's Capital Murder. We're sure the families of the victims don't see a difference.

Shoot a city license inspector and it's Felony Murder. Shoot a State inspector and it's Capital Murder. Is the State employee's life worth more than the city employee's?

Two brothers shoot it out at a family reunion. One kills a 14 year-old cousin while the other kills a 13 year-old. Should only one be tried for Capital Murder? Tell that to the children's mothers.

Yes, we know there has to be an objective line of demarcation in any statute. No matter how well these laws are cleaned up, there will still be some disparity. What really matters is how these 18 are utilized to protect the citizens of Alabama, right? Let's look at that tomorrow.

*****

From D.K.:

The way the brother reacted, when he heard of the capital murder charge,  wasn't cool, and to have it posted where ever he posted it for anyone to see, sure was not smart. But we are not in his shoes, after all it was his brother who died in his arms.

They may have been drinking and out at that time of night would make some wonder what they where up to. Sheriff Blakely made a statement his investigators found the boys had not done anything wrong. The tox report will only show if Brandon was drinking or involved in anything else or not, and Oh yes that will come out at time of trial. The Defense Attorney will be all over that!

We live out in the county, many times thru the years for what ever reasons cars or trucks stop close to our house. I don't grab my gun and run out shooting. Trust me if I saw someone running out with a gun I would be getting out of Dodge!

As you can tell,  I side with the victims' side until something comes out otherwise.  Even in drug deals gone bad, no one deserves to be killed.


We're going to disagree slightly with D.K. We have much less sense of loss at the death of a drug dealer than we would someone like Brandon Hydrick, but on the opposite side of the coin, we can't support anyone (Ryan Hydrick in this case) feeling a man with possible mental problems who's been victimized himself many times should be raped in prison each day of his life.

There's an ancient Chinese proverb that states: We can't stop a bird from landing on our head, but we can stop it from making a nest in our hair...



Shoalanda

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Florence Needs John Odem


We recently expressed our opinion concerning what kind of municipal judge John Odem will make for the City of Florence. We're aware of at least two others who have also applied for the job. One is our friend Janice Keeton. You may read a short bio of Janice at this Pen-N-Sword site: Link

While we're not familiar with the third candidate, we're sure he has many good qualities. We welcome biographies from any candidates for this position.

However, after looking at the requirements for this position and the attributes of these three as posted on their homepages and other sites, we feel Mr. Odem is the far better choice among them. John has experience at the Municipal, District, and Circuit Court levels, as well as experience as a special prosecutor and in a vast number of defense cases.

It is our understanding that the city council will make a decision between now and the end of the year. There is only one council meeting remaining during this term (December 18, 2012 @ 5 pm) The decision must be made soon due to James Hall’s early appointment to the Probate Judge’s bench. 

If you live in Florence and likewise support John in his quest for Florence Municipal Judge, please contact these councilmen and express your support. 
 
District 1 - Dave Smith              dmsmith@florenceal.org     (256) 760-6401
 
District 2 - William Jordan         djordan@mjcarterins.com   (256) 760-6402
 
District 3 - Hermon Graham      hermon1@comcast.net      (256) 760-6403
 
District 4 - Barry Morris             bkmorris@una.edu             (256) 760-6404
 
District 5 - Blake Edwards         bedwards@florenceal.org  (256) 760-6405
 
District 6 - Andrew Betterton     andy@abetterton.com        (256) 760-6406

Many thanks to all who take the time to become involved in our city government.

*****

From e-mail and comments we receive, it's obvious many don't fully understand the charge of Capital Murder and how it came into existence. Neither do many understand the great delays that often occur in trying such cases. Tomorrow we'll take a look at the genesis of the current law and how it's applied and sometimes misapplied.



Shoalanda 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Who Alerted Joel Moyers of Indictment?


When Joel Moyers learned he had been indicted in the death of Brandon Hydrick (pictured right), he immediately took an overdose of pills. Now the Limestone District Attorney is looking into who informed Moyers of the secret indictment.

In a statement Jones related: The indictment on four charges - including capital murder, reckless murder, intentionally shooting into an occupied vehicle and recklessly shooting into an occupied vehicle - was handed down by a reconvened grand jury at 4:30 p.m. Friday and not released to the public. Typically, indictments are kept secret until the arrest is made because of the potential flight risk for defendants.

Other sources have indicated District Attorney Jones has not been amused by perceived pressure from residents of Madison County to speed up Moyers' indictment. Both Hydrick brothers and Brandon's girlfriend reside or resided in the Huntsville/Harvest area. An indictment coming nine weeks after a crime is hardly unusual, but online websites and petitions have portrayed it as being. It's our understanding that an indictment is always protocol for a charge of Capital Murder; therefore Moyers didn't receive any special favors when at his initial arrest he was charged with only Felony Murder.

The trial, if no plea deal is offered or accepted, will pit Jones against a team of attorneys paid for by Joel Moyers' mother, reportedly a woman of some financial means (in fact, with each comment we receive, her home on Smith Lake just gets more valuable). Bronwen Murray, Brandon's girlfriend has made it clear she doesn't support a plea.

Murray was vacationing in Europe when news of the indictment reached her, but sent a message to Limestone County reporters in which she stated: "I hope that Joel Moyers doesn't have the last laugh by playing judge, jury, and executioner. The justice system exists for a reason, and the Hydrick family deserves to see Moyers convicted by a jury of his peers and sentenced by a judge qualified to make the call on punishment."

However, it may be Brandon's parents who decide if a plea should be accepted or not. They would avoid the anguish of a trial that's sure to make more national headlines--CNN has already done several stories on the shooting. The NRA has recently made rumblings on the gun issue, and there are rumors that NAMI may become involved. We relish publicity for Northwest Alabama--just not this kind.

*****

On the subject of eccentric Alabama laws and redundancy, we can see how recklessly shooting into a vehicle could possibly not be intentional, but don't fathom how intentionally shooting into a vehicle could not be reckless. No one ever mentions how long the Alabama Code is, but it must put our constitution to shame.



Shoalanda

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Who Is Angel Gieske?


Angel Gieske
Angel Gieske is a resident of Rascalltown, Tennessee, a small community just across the state line from Lexington. Don't let her small town roots fool you, Angel is a woman of ambition. In 2002, Angel Gieske founded Turning Leaf Counseling and Education, at one time located on Locust Street in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee. Online listings indicate the company has one employee and an annual income of 91K. Tax filings list the annual income as around 145K.

Gieske's business is defined as: Religion-Related, Spiritual Development. It's not affiliated with any specific religious organization, but many work under such an umbrella. Several other sites state that Gieske and Turning Leaf accepts donations:

Turning Leaf Counseling And Educating Services Inc is a Intermediate Corporation. For Tax purposes Contributions are deductible. The organization is a Organization that normally receives no more than one third of its support from gross investment income and unrelated business income and at the same time more than one third of its), support from contributions, fees, and gross receipts related to exempt purposes. 509(a)(2) They currently have assets between $1 to $9,999 and income between $100,000 to $499,999 .

Angel's Facebook page lists her as Executive Director at Turning Leaf, with this description:

assessing functional versus dysfunctional aspects in various life areas; making treatment recommendations; facilitating treatment; providing supervision and directives to social service providers

Angel is also active in the world of Change.org petitions, having signed three--one concerning crack cocaine and two in reference to honoring a WWE wrestler. Yes, you read that right, folks, a wrestler. 

Want to know something of Angel's educational background...exactly what her credentials are? Well, we would also, but it seems Angel isn't listed on LinkedIn or Zoom Info. Besides Angel's lack of expertise in capitalization and punctuation, she seems to be lacking in certain degrees...at least she was in 2005.

From Tennessee Board of Psychological Examiners, April 2005:

Upon review of the agreed order for Angel Gieske for engaging in activities for remuneration involving or relating to psychological services, counseling services or social work without a license, Dr. Davis made a motion, seconded by Dr. Gilleylen, to accept the agreed order which fines Ms. Gieske $9,050 plus costs.

Why are we interested in Angel? It seems she is working in Lauderdale and other Northwest Alabama counties as a "Certified Behavior Specialist and Analyst," and divorcing couples are being required to utilize Angel's services. Just what is a CBSA?

We checked several organizations that certify behavior analysts, and found Angel registered with none. That doesn't mean she didn't receive a certification in this field from a university, but we are at a loss as to why Angel doesn't list her educational achievements online, especially after having legal charges brought against her previously. It's a mixed up, shook up world, and so's our court system.

To be continued at a later date.



Shoalanda

Monday, December 10, 2012

Is John Odem the Next Florence Municipal Judge?


Who will replace James Hall as the Florence Municipal Judge? We've heard John Odem is the city council's choice, and we couldn't agree more.

John is intelligent, personable, caring, and above all honest. We just wish there were more like him in local government.

And yes, that was John driving his band's famous Cadillac transporting our "uber hip" council members in the Florence Christmas parade. That makes it a real no-brainer. The council gets a new judge and a chauffeur.

*****

From our friend Debra Glass:

I am not normally one to participate in or even know much about local political matters, but today I'm attending a Lauderdale County Commission meeting that will decide the fate of Ghost Bridge. The bridge is central to the folklore history of this area. The spot where the bridge crosses Cypress Creek was the site of one of the bloodiest Civil War skirmishes of the war. Though most of the ghost stories associated with the bridge are not based on fact, the site is much cherished by Shoals natives. I hope the area is protected and restored. And I hope to see you at the meeting.

We've received several e-mails on the fate of Ghost Bridge. Many in our area feel strongly about saving and restoring this landmark. If you can, join Debra in making your voices heard: Petition


Shoalanda

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Sad Case of Joel Moyers


Often we want all crimes to be cut and dried. We want justice served, but we don't want to think too much about it. Yes, people can make mistakes in a micro-second and ruin the rest of their lives. We're not talking about the Brewer brothers, but Joel Moyers (right) of Limestone County.

Moyers was living on Fennell Road near the small village of Belle Mina. He lived alone and had been the victim of several crimes, apparently ranging from trespassing to vandalism to theft. Moyers wasn't the only householder who had been targeted and he decided to be ready for the next time.

September 28, 2012, was a Friday night, and Ryan and Brandon Hydrick were partying with friends. By the time the brothers left the rural camp belonging to the parents of Brandon's girlfriend, it was early Saturday morning. At best they were tired; at worst they were less than their normal selves; and most assuredly they were lost. After turning down Fennell Road, Ryan Hydrick turned onto Fennell Lane, a dead end.

The brothers were unaware they were observed by Moyers, who could think of no good reason for the strange truck to be turning down a short road with no outlet. He picked up his gun and walked outside. Moyers waited until the truck returned to Fennell Road and shined a spotlight on the vehicle to get a good look at the tag number.

For whatever reason, Ryan Hydrick panicked and stepped on the accelerator. As the truck passed Moyers, he lifted the 60 year-old Korean War era gun and shot one time. Moyers states he shot into the air in an attempt to stop the pair. No matter where Joel Moyers says he fired or thought he fired, the bullet passed through the tail gate of the truck, striking 26 year-old Brandon Hydrick in the back.

Ryan Hydrick continued to speed down Fennell Road before losing control of the truck in a heavily wooded area. Moyers followed in his truck, but later returned to his home to wait for officers he knew were coming. When the officers arrived they discovered Brandon Hydrick was dead.

Last week a Limestone County jury indicted Joel Moyers for Capital Murder. When he learned of the indictment, Moyers took an overdose of pills and is currently in a Cullman County hospital on life support. It's not certain Moyers will pull through--it is certain he will be taken to jail and tried for Capital Murder if he does.

This was Ryan Hydrick's reaction to the news of the indictment: So i've been working third shift this week, because of that i slept till 10 tonight. Woke up to some rather insanely good news. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!! Hope that f*cker lives a long life of getting c*cks in the ass!!!!! Don't drop the soap b*tch!!! HAHAHAHA!!!

Now, we ask our readers, should Joel Moyers be tried for Capital Murder* when Ronald Weems will face charges of only Felony Murder? Where is the logic? More importantly, where is the justice?

* Due to the shot entering Ryan Hydrick's truck.



Shoalanda

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Robert Tuten: Not Exactly Mediocre


Yes, there are definitely superstar attorneys in Alabama who take on court appointed cases. One of them is Robert Tuten of Huntsville.


Robert B. Tuten welcomes challenges as an opportunity to grow. Since 1988, clients throughout Northern Alabama have turned to Robert when they need a strong and seasoned attorney to provide strategic counsel and assertive representation. He is also well known among his peers for his professionalism and ethics, and he is BV® Distinguished Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell®.

Primarily a litigator, Robert applies his 24 years of experience to a variety of criminal defense cases, such as white collar and federal cases. Due to his innovative and strategic trial strategies, last year he represented a client during the largest capital murder case in Alabama. His wealth of trial experience gives him in-depth understanding of the defense tactics judges and jury pools respond to favorably, increasing your chances of reducing, dismissing or dropping your charges.

Robert is a dedicated criminal defense attorney and his accomplishments include a lifetime membership in the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and a prior role as area vice president for the State Association of Defense Lawyers. 

And what of other attorneys? Obviously not all are as enamoured of their job or assignments as Mr. Tuten. Yet we cannot believe any of them like to lose. In fact we're pretty sure not one of them wants to hear, "Oh, yeah, Joe Bleaux, he's the one who's taken on 50 court appointed cases and lost 49. He only won the one because the prosecuting attorney came to court drunk."

*****

As mentioned earlier in the week, we have several new readers. We've been asked who are "we?"  Besides Shoalanda, we have D.K., Bailey Quarters, and our food critics TBR and J. Redmon. Mr. Redmon also contributes frequently to our regular blogs, especially concerning local law enforcement.

Do we always agree? No, but we usually do. Also, unless presented with some extraordinary circumstances, we're always happy to publish guest commentaries from any readers.

Many thanks for reading.



Shoalanda

Friday, December 7, 2012

Public Defenders, Bloggers, & Other Pariahs


Technically, the State of Alabama doesn't have "public defenders," but "court-appointed attorneys." A few counties have contracted out these glamorous positions, but in the Shoals a judge will still appoint representation for a defendant found to be indigent. A recent commenter has bemoaned the fact that these JDs are not competent to handle murder cases. We'll add that the commenter, PayAttention, now has the dubious honor of being only the second to be banned from this site due to his/her language and trollish posts.

We disagree with those who claim court-appointed lawyers are inept or don't care. We know several local attorneys who take such cases, but is it fair to choose just one and showcase him or her to the exclusion of the others? It doesn't seem so; therefore, tomorrow we'll be looking at a Huntsville attorney who routinely takes court-appointed cases. It promises to be enlightening.

*****

Any of our readers attend the Florence Christmas parade? If you didn't, here's a review by a new local blogger. We'll say two things: Just don't shoot the messenger and if we'd known the Rotary Club was dispensing Laffy Taffy we would have made it a point to be there.


*****

Our friend Jeremy Britten loved the parade, but after reading the caption of this photo, he could be accused of a temporary lapse in judgment.


Uber hip? If you say so, Jeremy. If the car didn't say "Florence City Council," we would have thought it was a casting call for the next season of Walking Dead.



Shoalanda

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Stab & Dash/What If?


An account of Shannon Paul Brewer's attack on Daniel Jackson in the victim's own words:

Yes, he did (stab me) at my house. It was an altercation with his brother (Jerry Lee Brewer) who was urinating on my dog's pen. I asked him to go in and use the bathroom and he said "f*** you." Then I asked him again (and) he gave me the same answer and came at me.

I shoved him down (and) Shannon stepped out from behind a tree and started stabbing me in the chest and arm. I punched him to the ground before I realized I was stabbed. I ran up my steps and got duct tape and plastic wrap because my muscle was hanging out of my arm. I didn't even know I had a baseball size hole in my chest.

I was told by Florence police that he was going to jail then and that they would handle the case as attempted murder since I (was stabbed seven times and) lost four pints of blood and almost died. If Florence police would have done something that day then this man (Mark Dishon) would still be alive.

My arm goes numb sometimes and I can't use it. (Shannon) needs to be locked up for the rest of his life. His brother is just as evil as he is. They need to get him before he kills someone too. I hope my info can help him be put away this time since nothing was done when my life was almost ended.

*****

Jerry Lee Brewer
We've been asked why the case wasn't prosecuted, particularly since Brewer ran from the scene. At the time of the attack, Shannon Brewer would have been 22 and his brother Jerry would have been 21. If they had no previous records, it would have strictly been their word against Mr. Jackson's. We are going to assume the district attorney's office did not feel there was a case or a grand jury did not indict Brewer.

In the murder of Mark Dishon (Shannon Brewer's second stab and dash), the state will ask for an indictment of Capital Murder. If convicted, no matter the jury's recommendation, a judge will almost always hand down the death penalty. We realize the Brewer brothers' family members are hurting, but the stabbing death of Mr. Dishon is much more than a "mistake" as they have termed it.

*****

From J. Redmon:
This really bugs me: As a former law enforcement officer I constantly ran 'what if?' scenarios through my mind while on duty.  It was a way to stay focused and attuned to my surroundings and constantly changing situations.

WHO leaked the arrival time of the Brewer brothers to friends and family? Was the leak 'authorized'? Whoever leaked the information, or authorized it, violated every aspect of 'operational security'.  How hard would it have been for a friend/family member of the murdered individual to have been sitting in any of the nearby parking lots with a rifle in order to exact a little 'revenge'? What if said individual had missed the intended target and wounded/killed an innocent bystander or officer? What if........?

Tomorrow we'll look at public defenders in Alabama.



Shoalanda

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Not Shannon Brewer's First (Knife) Rodeo




It was Halloween 2009; Shannon Paul Brewer, a young husband and father, was arguing with a Florence man, Daniel Jackson. Brewer stabbed Jackson and reportedly fled. Authorities say Brewer claimed self-defense when apprehended, and Jackson refused to testify against him.

Now Brewer has "repeatedly" stabbed a second victim and again claims self-defense. As we understand it, the previous arrest cannot be used against Brewer at his trial. It does help us to understand why Shannon Brewer fled the scene, stating he would never be taken alive.

*****

We won't be taking any more comments on the Shannon and Jerry Brewer arrests due to thinly veiled threats by the family. It's sad anyone would bring others into the mix, others who have nothing to do with this blog. It's also sad that the Brewer family sees nothing wrong with the behavior of the two brothers. Lack of responsibility seems to be at the root of this family's problems.

*****

We will touch on a previous comment concerning state appointed defense attorneys. Many, if not all, are on a level with any other attorney who does not take such cases. To claim otherwise is an insult to those who give much more than they receive in defending those who don't have funds to pay so-called dream teams.

For someone to say any defendant using a public defender doesn't get a fair trial is an insult not only to the attorneys, buy also the judges who hear these cases. We have no doubt the Brewer brothers will receive a more than fair trial. Will they nevertheless be convicted? We'll say yes to that also.



Shoalanda