Escaped inmate caught in Wal-Mart parking lot in Ark.

March 27, 2013 in Top Stories

News Briefs From Across The State

By Monica Land

Unidentified woman was with inmate

Bryan Owens (MDOC photo)

A state inmate who escaped from a community work center in Yazoo City was arrested Monday in Pine Bluff, Ark.

Tara Booth, a spokeswoman for the Mississippi Department of Corrections, said in a news release that authorities had been looking for the 27-year-old Bryan Owens since he went missing from the Yazoo County Community Work Center on Sunday.

Owens was serving a 12-year sentence for burglary, vehicle theft and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon from Harrison County.

Booth says Owens and a woman were found sitting in a vehicle in a Wal-Mart parking lot about 12:38 a.m. Monday by Pine Bluff police. The woman has not been identified.

Booth says Owens faces an additional 5-year sentence if convicted of escape.

Columbus school nixes name change

Heritage Academy has changed its mind about adding Columbus to its name.

The Commercial Dispatch reports that a backlash from school patrons prompted Heritage board president Jeff Farnham to send out a letter Friday stating the board had changed its mind.

The school had announced that it intended to rename Heritage Academy to Columbus Heritage Academy.

In his letter, Farnham said the board of directors never intended to infringe upon the traditions of Heritage Academy or distract from the school’s accomplishments and achievements.

The private school opened in 1964 and has been known as

Heritage Academy since that time.

Prosecutors said no trial in bridge shooting case

Forrest County prosecutors say they will not pursue a trial for a suspect indicted in a 2011 shooting under the Glendale bridge that left a woman injured.

James Alpha Smith, 43, was released from jail on March 19. He had been indicted on two counts of aggravated assault in connection with a Dec. 19, 2011, incident that left a Hattiesburg bank executive with gunshot wounds. His trial had been scheduled to start on March 20.

Circuit Judge Bob Helfrich signed an order passing the case to the inactive files.

Authorities said bank vice president Mary Ann Barnes was shot while she and a companion were sitting in a car under the Glendale Bridge.

Prosecutors said the decision not to prosecute came after discussions with the victims and families involved.

Driver to serve 20 years for D’Iberville DUI wreck

A Pass Christian man has been ordered to serve 20 years in prison for causing an accident that left a retired Air Force pilot paralyzed.

Authorities said Charles Scrimpshire, 52, pleaded guilty to a charge of DUI causing serious bodily injury related to the accident. Harrison County Circuit Judge John Gargiulo sentenced Scrimpshire to 25 years with five years suspended.

The judge also ordered five years of probation after prison.

Prosecutors say Scrimpshire was speeding and ran a red light in D’Iberville. The vehicles collided on Dec. 11, 2011, along Interstate 110.

A state Crime Lab test later showed Scrimpshire had a blood-alcohol content level of 0.16 percent just after the crash. Under state law, 0.08 percent or higher is considered too impaired to drive.

Woman to serve 14 years for DUI causing injury

Annetta Stevenson

Annetta Brown Stevenson has been sentenced to serve 14 years in prison after pleading guilty to DUI causing injury.

Stevenson entered the plea on March 13 before Jackson County Circuit Court Judge Kathy King Jackson.

Prosecutors said that on June 17, 2009, Stevenson, 43, ran a stop sign in Ocean Springs, striking a vehicle occupied by three juveniles. Two of the juveniles received minor injuries, but one received substantial injuries.

Jackson sentenced Stevenson to 25 years with 14 years to serve and 11 years on post release supervision, with five of those years on reporting post release supervision.

Prosecutors said Stevenson’s blood alcohol content was over the 0.08 percent legal limit when the accident occurred.