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Filed 08/23/2006 Updated after 4PM for next day...
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Today’s News Headlines from Alabama 810 News 

  • Anniston Police investigating two stabbing deaths
  • Gadsden councilmen will not serve out their term
  • Arraignment delayed for development authority director
  • Group opposes home rule in St. Clair county


Anniston Police investigating two stabbing deaths 

Police say an Anniston woman was killed during the weekend and her husband has been charged with her murder.  Authorities say that 26 year old Danielle Robertson,  died of multiple stab wounds early Friday morning at her home on West 18th Street. Police said she had been stabbed with a black and silver kitchen knife. Her husband, 43-year-old Edward Soloman Robertson is held in the Calhoun County jail, charged with her murder. Police said that Robertson was injured when police arrested him and they are investigating the possibility that his wife assaulted him before she was killed. Anniston police are investigating the stabbing death of an Anniston man.   The body of 49 year old Robert Lee Pitts, was discovered on the front porch of a  home on  Mulberry Avenue. Investigators followed a trail of blood to a location on the sidewalk on 15th Street just west of Pine Avenue, near the Easy Riders Club. Pitts died of stab wounds around midnight on Friday, according to Calhoun County Coroner Bill Partridge.   Police say they believe the stabbing may have stemmed from an incident at the club and are searching for someone investigators called a “person of interest.”   The weekend deaths bring to 12 the number of homicides over the first eight months of the year. There have been four in August alone, with three killings in a span of about 36 hours at the end of last week.

Gadsden councilmen will not serve out their term 

Two Gadsden City Councilmen apparently no longer hold their seats on the council after pleading guilty in federal court last week.  Councilmen Jim Armstrong and Fred Huff, along with Gadsden political consultant Larry Thompson, pleaded guilty in federal court on Thursday to conspiracy to commit bribery and honest services wire fraud.   As part of their plea agreements Armstrong, Huff and Thompson all have agreed to testify before a grand jury or other proceedings as part of the investigation. Armstrong and Huff did not seek re-election.  Officials said that the two councilman vacated their offices last week when they pled guilty to felonies and would be ineligible to participate in any further council meetings.  Because of today's city elections, the Gadsden City Council will meet on Wednesday.



Arraignment delayed for development authority director 

Arraignment originally scheduled for today for former Gadsden Commercial Development Authority Director Cathy Back has been postponed a week and now is scheduled on the same day she is expected to plead guilty on conspiracy charges as part of the Lafferty's Landing development on Rainbow Drive.
An order was filed Monday changing the arraignment to Aug. 29, and an order was filed setting a hearing in which she is expected to enter a guilty plea to the charges.  Documents were filed Aug. 16 in federal court charging Back with conspiracy to commit bribery and honest services wire fraud in her role to influence some Gadsden councilmen to support the Lafferty's Landing development on Rainbow Drive.


Group opposes home rule in St. Clair County

The head of the St. Clair County Farmers Federation said Monday his group will work to defeat a Nov. 7 referendum that would expand the county's regulatory powers.   Federation President Stanley Morris said most farmers oppose limited home rule, which would allow the County Commission to regulate junkyards, sewage, litter, weeds, animal control and other nuisance issues. Farmers fear the commission would pass ordinances that could put farmers out of business. According to Sonny Brasfield, assistant executive director of the Association of County Commissions of Alabama, farm operations would be exempted from new regulations The St. Clair County Commission voted last week to put the limited home rule referendum on the November ballot. The Alabama Limited Self-Governance Act, approved by the Legislature in 2005, allows counties to regulate some nuisances and health and safety issues if the county's voters grant that authority. Only voters in unincorporated areas can vote. Cities and towns already regulate such issues. The commission would have to advertise any proposed ordinances before adopting them at commission meetings. Ordinances could be enforced with fines of up to $150 per day, to a maximum of $5,000. Limited home rule does not allow counties to impose zoning and planning regulations or to raise taxes.

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