MISSISSIPPI SHERIFF INDICTED
Sheriff Byrd pleads guilty to federal charges
PASCAGOULA, Miss. (AP) - Jackson County Sheriff Mike Byrd has pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court in Alabama to one felony count.
U.S. District Judge William H. Steele accepted the plea. Steele did not sentence Byrd. He told Byrd and his attorney to be back in court of March 11. Steele says Byrd must report to the probation office for pre-trial services.
Byrd told the judge he had one of his deputies erase dashboard camera video of the June 19, 2012, arrest.
The man stole a patrol car and led deputies on a chase that ended in Mobile County.
Byrd also said he arrived on the scene he cursed at the man and then kicked him in the groin while the suspect was "handcuffed and unresisting."
Federal prosecutors recommended house arrest and probation.
Bradshaw loses appeal of murder conviction
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - The state Court of Appeals has denied Brian Bradshaw's appeal of his 2012 murder conviction in Harrison County.
Bradshaw was sentenced to life in prison for his role in the April 15, 2010, death of Benny Ray Johnston.
Prosecutors say Johnston was killed at a Gulfport home and his body was found four days later in some woods near Mount Olive.
In his appeal, Bradshaw argued the jury should have found him guilty of manslaughter because he killed Johnston in the heat of passion.
The Appeals Court, in Tuesday's decision, said there was no evidence that the two men were fighting when Johnston was killed. The court says evidence was that Johnston was hit in the back of the head with a baseball bat and then stabbed in the neck.
GULF OIL SPILL-INDICTMENT
Judge rejects mistrial for former BP engineer
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A federal judge has refused to declare a mistrial in the case of former BP drilling engineer Kurt Mix.
In a filing Tuesday, defense lawyers said questions asked Monday of witness Wilson Arabie improperly raised issues of whether Mix ordered copies made of spill-related documents in order to eliminate possibly incriminating hand-written notes made in some of the margins. The defense says an earlier court order precluded prosecutors from raising the issue.
U.S. District Judge Stanwood Duval Jr. ruled Tuesday that he would instruct jurors to disregard the testimony. However he declined to declare a mistrial.
Mix is charged with obstruction of justice for allegedly deleting text messages and voicemails about the company's response to its 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
AMERICAN LEGION SHOOTING
1 dead, 2 injured in weekend shooting
VICKSBURG, Miss. (AP) - Vicksburg police have charged a security guard with second-degree murder in a fatal shooting at man during a fight at the American Legion Post 3 hall late Saturday night.
Vicksburg police Lt. Sandra Williams tells the Vicksburg Post that Michael Thomas is being held in the Warren County jail on $125,000 bond. She says Thomas is licensed to carry a firearm.
Williams says 27-year-old Michael Robinson died at a hospital from a gunshot wound to the chest.
Two other men, Morris Anthony Davis and David Matthew Reed, are each charged with two counts of aggravated assault. They are being held on $300,000 bond each.
Police say two bystanders were wounded during the fight at a "birthday party" at the Legion hall.
Miss. utility regulators reject Entergy-ITC merger
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - Mississippi utility regulators have unanimously rejected a merger proposal by Entergy Corp. and ITC Holdings Corp.
Public Service Commission members say the deal could've meant a $300 million rate increase for Mississippi customers over 30 years.
Entergy executives say they're disappointed in the Mississippi regulators' vote Tuesday and will work with ITC to determine the companies' next steps.
In 2011, New Orleans-based Entergy said it would transfer its high-voltage lines to Novi, Mich.-based ITC. ITC would issue Entergy shareholders enough stock to give them a majority of ITC shares worth more than $2 billion. ITC would assume $1.78 billion in debt.
The merger request also was filed in other states Entergy serves - Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas.
Regulators there haven't acted, but rejection in Mississippi makes the deal's success unlikely.
Ala board denies parole at urging of Miss lawmaker
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Alabama's parole board is refusing an early release for a former Brighton police officer convicted in the shooting death of the son of a Mississippi legislator.
The three-member board rejected parole Tuesday for Chevis Finley. He was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to 15 years imprisonment for the May 2009 shooting death of Broderick Dixon.
Dixon was a systems engineer for a Birmingham steel company. Dixon's mother is Mississippi state Rep. Deborah Butler Dixon of Jackson.
Finely was convicted of killing Dixon while he was off police duty in metro Birmingham. The slaying happened at an apartment complex in Irondale.
The lawmaker urged the board to deny parole for Finley.
Finley can still win an early release from prison if he continues having a record of good behavior.
Judge denies motion to toss ex-mayor's conviction
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - A federal judge has denied a motion to throw out the conviction of a former south Mississippi mayor sentenced to probation in a Hurricane Katrina fraud case.
Former Gulfport Mayor Brent Warr pleaded guilty to one count on Sept. 25, 2009, more than four years after the August 2005 storm devastated parts of the Gulf Coast.
Warr was accused of seeking a homeowner's assistance grant for a storm-damaged house he owned but did not live in.
He petitioned the court to vacate the conviction based on the argument that FEMA never determined he was ineligible to receive the funds and that new information showed he pleaded guilty to a crime he didn't commit.
U.S. District Judge Walter J. Gex III in Gulfport denied the motion in a ruling last week.
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