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Today’s News Headlines from Alabama 810 News

  • Wildfire at Cheaha
  • Kidnapping arrest
  • Former Supt. arrested
  • Gadsden victim identified


Wildfire at Cheaha 

Some 30 firefighters from three states worked Tuesday attempting to contain a wildfire near Cheaha State Park that had engulfed more than 250 acres and was growing. Forrest service officials said the fire, which is still under investigation, is believed to have started during the weekend following a lightning strike.  As of Tuesday night, the fire was about four miles west of Lineville. Fed by high temperatures and drought conditions, the fire moved into the south end of the federal Cheaha Wilderness, threatening some private property off Alabama 12. Officials said firefighters from the Alabama, Georgia and Florida forestry commissions were working with U.S. Forest Service workers to maintain containment lines, stretching around 75 percent of the fire. Twenty firefighters from Texas are expected to join the contingent today.  



Kidnapping arrest 

A 37-year-old Anniston is in custody today, charged in the November 2006 kidnapping and sexual abuse of a 64-year-old Anniston woman. Police said the man shoved the elderly woman into a car in the parking lot of the Dollar General on Alabama 202 and drove away. At some point the man stopped at a discount store and the woman told the clerk that she was being kidnapped and waited until police arrived. The man, whose name was not available from police, was arrested Tuesday and   was charged with kidnapping in the first degree and sodomy in the first degree.  


Former Supt. arrested 

Former St. Clair County Schools Superintendent Tom Sanders was arrested Tuesday for allegedly using campaign contributions for personal use. Sanders turned himself in to the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department Tuesday morning after he was indicted by a grand jury, which convened last week. The grand jury found there was enough evidence to warrant a criminal trial in the case involving the former superintendent. District Attorney Richard Minor said Sanders was indicted on two felony charges and one misdemeanor charge involving a campaign contribution. According to the indictment, a campaign contribution check was given to Sanders by Trussville businessman and developer Jack Harris. Minor said Tuesday Sanders was indicted on one ethics violation, involving the conversion of those contributions to personal use, a Class B felony. In the second count of the three-count indictment, Sanders was indicted for the improper use of campaign money received.  Minor said each felony count carries a sentence of two to 20 years in prison, if Sanders is convicted. Minor said Sanders was also indicted for failing to report a campaign contribution, a Class A misdemeanor. Minor said if Sanders was convicted on all three counts, he would serve a minimum of two years in prison. Minor said that the charges are the result of an Alabama Bureau of Investigation case based on alleged criminal activities that were presented during another court hearing. The court hearing involved former Ashville High School bookkeeper Amy Murphree, who was convicted and sentenced for embezzling $140,749 from Ashville High School during a five-year period. In May, Murphree’s defense attorney Lance Bell presented documents to the court, which were put on record, indicating Murphree and Sanders were having an affair during the time she was stealing money from the School System.


Gadsden victim identified

Gadsden police say that a man who died Saturday soon after he was dropped off at a Gadsden hospital emergency room has been identified as a Fort Payne man who had been staying in Gadsden.  Investigators say they are awaiting autopsy results to determine what caused the death of 44 year old Ostell Looney.  Looney was dropped off at the hospital by a man who told authorities he did not know the man’s name but told them the man had been assaulted. However police say that a preliminary autopsy report did not confirm that the man was assaulted.

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