News Briefs From Across The State
By Monica Land
Victim had just returned from Afghanistan
Police say a soldier who had recently returned to Camp Shelby from Afghanistan was killed in a fight during the early morning hours of June 2 outside a Hattiesburg bar.
Lt. Jon Traxler tells The Hattiesburg American 23-year-old Holden Hughes was stabbed in an altercation at about 12:40 a.m., outside Benny’s Boom Boom Room.
Traxler identified the suspects as 23-year-old Aaron Dement and 31-yeaer-old Derrick Valdez, both of Columbia. Both were taken to the Forrest County Jail and charged with homicide.
Traxler said witnesses who were friends of Hughes told police there was never any interaction inside the bar between Hughes and the suspects. They did not know any reason for why the fight occurred.
Wrongful termination cases before Appeals Court
The state Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments June 12 involving wrongful termination lawsuits filed by former New Hope High School principal Lynn Wright and longtime baseball coach Stacy Hester.
Wright was fired by the Lowndes County School District’s Board of Trustees in 2010 for his purported role in Hester’s purchase of a $15,000 lawn mower.
Both filed lawsuits against the Lowndes County School District in October of 2011.
In 2012, a judge ruled Wright was wrongfully terminated and awarded him $175,000 in back pay. The school district appealed.
Another judge ruled against Hester, upholding the school board’s termination of his contract. He appealed the ruling.
The Appeals Court consolidated the appeals for the June 12 hearing in Jackson.
Former ME doubts own autopsy report
A former medical examiner says there are clear holes in his autopsy report on a stillborn fetus – a report used by a prosecutor to charge the mother with manslaughter.
Bruce Levy spoke to The Clarion-Ledger about his report on a fetus stillborn in 2009 to Nina Buckhalter. The manslaughter charge alleged that she took drugs which killed her unborn baby.
A district judge threw out the charge. The Mississippi Supreme Court heard arguments April 2. Levy’s report won’t affect its ruling on whether the state law allowing charges against someone who causes a miscarriage can be used against a mother who takes illegal drugs.
Levy says he cannot prove that drug use caused the stillbirth.
He was in Tennessee in 2009. He’s now in Illinois.
More cameras for Lauderdale County patrol cars
Lauderdale County Sheriff Billy Sollie wants to use a federal grant to equip three patrol vehicles with video cameras to record traffic stops.
The Meridian Star reports that Sollie says Justice Assistance Grant funds will fund the purchase of three cameras at the cost of $4,295 each. A fourth camera, which is already at the Sheriff’s Department, will also be installed.
Chief Deputy Ward Calhoun says most of the active patrol cars already have cameras.
He says having video of things that occur in front of a patrol car, traffic stops or as deputies go on calls is an important tool.
Sollie says he’ll ask the board of supervisors to authorize the purchase of the cameras on Monday during its meeting.
Rusty Pittman MDMR interim marine patrol chief
The Mississippi Department of Marine Resources says the Marine Patrol’s assistant chief is now the interim chief of enforcement.
Lt. Col. Rusty Pittman is interim replacement for Chief Walter “Tiny” Chataginer, who has retired.
Pittman has more than 23 years of law enforcement experience. He has been assistant chief of the Marine Patrol since January 2006. He was a district supervisor from November 1999 to December 2005.
Pittman’s first state job was in 1990 with the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks’ Bureau of Marine Resources.
He was born in Gulfport and has lived in Hancock County since 1980.