FLORENCE — A Lauderdale County man who had been charged with 304 counts of child pornography charges will serve 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to five counts.
Michael Joseph Newell, 49, Rogersville, was sentenced Wednesday on five counts of possession of obscene material of a child under 17.
Newell will serve two years on each count, to run consecutively for a total of 10 yeasr, Self said.
He was indicted in 2019 on 152 counts of production of child pornography and 152 counts of possession of child pornography, authorities said.
The charges involved numerous indecent photographs and two videos of an 11-year-old girl who was in the same house.
FLORENCE - An 88-year-old woman's caregiver has been charged with taking $8,780.77 from the woman, police said.
Deta Jo Wright, Muscle Shoals, is charged with first-degree financial exploitation of the elderly, first-degree theft of property and fraudulent use of a credit/debit card, Florence police Sgt. Cliff Billingsley said.
"Wright was one of the victim’s caretakers," Billingsley said. "Wright used the victim’s debit card to make personal purchases at several local Shoals area business. Multiple gift cards were purchased as well as getting cash back. Thanks to a family member monitoring the victim’s bank statements it was reported to police."
The incidents occurred during a time frame from December 2021 through March of this year," Billingsley said.
He said Wright is in the Lauderdale County Detention Center on a $151,000 bond.
TUSCUMBIA - An inmate who escaped Monday while being boked into the Tuscumbia City Jail was captured today, authorities said.
Sammy Bates Jr., 18, Tuscumbia, is charged with second-degrees escape, Police Chief Tony Logan said.
Bates was being booked Monday on a misdemeanor charge of third-degree trespassing when the incident occurred.
"He was in the booking area making a phone call to a family member requesting that they would bring the $500 cash bond necessary for him to be released or provide a bonding company with the necessary $85 to bond him until his court date," Logan said. "The family member asked to speak with the correctional officer and as he reached for the phone the suspect pushed passed him and made it out the short distance to the outside of the building.
"He was taken into custody without incident by the Tuscumbia Special Operations Group, criminal investigations and the on-duty patrol shift. I want to thank our sworn and civilian employees as well as the other agencies that assisted with this investigation and the long hours worked."
FLORENCE — Authorities said Casey White now faces a felony murder charge in Vicky White's death since his escape ultimately led to her death.
Lauderdale County District Attorney Chris Connolly said Tuesday the indictment came out of the June Lauderdale County grand jury session cites Section 13A-6-2 of the Code of Alabama.
That lists felonies, including first-degree escape, that can result in a murder charge if those felonies cause somebody's death.
"The felony murder indictment alleges that during the course of and in furtherance of committing escape in the first degree, White caused the death of Vicky White, who died from a gunshot to the head," Connolly said.
Vicky White, the former assistant director for the Lauderdale County Detention Center, died may 9 from a self-inflicted gunshot to the head after she crashed the vehicle she and Casey White were in after a pursuit involving U.S. Marshals in Indiana.
Casey White is serving a 75-year prison sentence for attempted murder and other charges in Limestone County. He had been brought to the detention center for court hearings related to his capital murder charge in the 2015 death of Connie Ridgeway.
Casey White and Vicky White left the detention center on April 29, with Vicky White telling jail workers she was transporting him to a mental health evaluation hearing. There was no such hearing and they never returned.
FLORENCE - Police are investigating a Thursday night fatal shooting on Holt Avenue.
Police Sgt. Cliff Billingsley said police received a call at 9:15 p.m. about the 214 Holt Ave. shooting.
"Darrious Marqua Smith was located at the residence," Billingsley said. "Smith had been wounded and he was transported to the North Alabama Medical Center where he was pronounced deceased. His death has been ruled a homicide and detectives are currently working the scene. This is all the information we can release at this time due to this being an ongoing investigation.
Anyone with information is asked to call police at 256-760-6583, dispatch at 256-760-6610, text a tip to 274637 using keyword FPDTIP plus your message, or call Crime Stoppers at 256-386-8685.
MONTGOMERY - The Alabama parole board will consider paroles Wednesday for two inmates convicted in separate Shoals murders.
The Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles will consider paroles for Christopher Leroy Chaney and Michael Deon Ricks, authorities said.
Ricks is serving a 22-year sentence after pleading guilty to murder in the 2006 shooting of 43-year-old Von Coffey during an altercation in Leighton, according to the Alabama Department of Corrections and court records. He has served 17 years and nearly two months.
Ricks was charged with capital murder but pleaded guilty to murder and possession of a controlled substance, according to records.
Chaney is serving a 35-year sentence after pleading guilty to murder in the 1998 shooting of Ramie Harrison in Lauderdale County, according to court records. He has served just over 201/2 years.
Harrison also pleaded to murder after being indicted on capital murder in the incident that occurred at the intersection of Gunwaleford Road and Sunset Beach Road.
FLORENCE — A Lauderdale County convicted a man of first-degree robbery Thursday in a 2021 holdup at knifepoint.
The jury deliberated for eight hours before convicting Eric O'Neal Davis of the March 20, 2021, crime outside a 125 Minniehaha St. residence. Davis will be sentenced on Aug. 3 in Lauderdale County Circuit Court Judge Will Powell's courtroom.
The victim was robbed at knifepoint of his bicycle, wallet containing $500 and some groceries.
First-degree robbery is a Class A felony in Alabama, punishable by 10 years to life in prison.
FLORENCE - A man whose trial on 304 counts of producing child pornography was set to begin this week has agreed to serve 10 years in prison as part of a plea agreement.
With the plea, Michael Joseph Newell, 49, agreed to a 50-year sentence, with 10 years to serve, authorities said. The 10-year sentence is a "day-to-day" sentence, which means he cannot be released early.
Prosecutors said this will allow the victim, who was 11 when the crimes started, to avoid the trauma of the trial, which would have included presenting evidence of the images.
Newell was indicted on 152 counts of producing pornography with a minor and 152 counts of possession of child pornography, according to court records.
The crimes started 2017 when the girl reported that Newell filmed her in the shower, authorities said. They seized his electronics and the images were found.
FLORENCE - A Lauderdale County grand jury has indicted a man on first-degree attempted murder, first-degree sodomy, second-degree domestic violence, third-degree domestic violence and first-degree unlawful imprisonment, authorities said.
The May 25 grand jury issued the indictment against Richard L. Lund, 50, of 1901 Conway Drive, according to court records. Lund is out on a $170,000 bond, but Lauderdale County Circuit Judge Gil Self added a condition to the bond Wednesday requiring him to be placed under the supervision of community corrections. Lund also must wear ankle monitor, have no contact with the victim, have no additional arrests and remain in the state.
A former girlfriend of Lund's told police he has shot at her in the past and forced her to perform a sexual act at gunpoint, according to authorities. She said he also has punched her with a closed fist, slapped her, kicked her and struck her with weapons.
Officials said the victim had injuries including a broken rib, broken bones to her hands, a laceration, and bruises. The defense claims Lund did not hurt her and he may have been set up.
A man convicted in a Colbert County domestic violence case, who also has served time for a human trafficking conviction involving a 14-year-old victim, is up for parole today, authorities said.
The Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles will consider parole for 32-year-old Rashard Deante Ricks. Ricks has served 1 year and 28 days of a five-year sentence and previously served 3 years, 2 months and 26 days of a 10-year sentence for the human trafficking conviction, according to the Alabama Department of Corrections.
Authorities said the trafficking conviction stemmed from a 2016 Tuscumbia case in which police found a 14-year-old girl in the bed in a bedroom of a home after being notified she was being trafficked.
Ricks also has pleaded guilty in 2020 to third-degree domestic violence and fourth-degree theft of property and faces a charge of third-degree felony assault from a March 9 indictment in Colbert County, according to court records. That indictment stems from an incident in which Ricks chased a woman from a house, to the parking lot of Walmart in Muscle Shoals and into a store restroom and assaulted her.