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Today’s News Headlines from Alabama 810 News

  • Charley sentenced to life
  • Calhoun County issues water restrictions
  • State eases fireworks restrictions
  • Fed’s want money back from Gadsden corruption probe


Charley sentenced to life 

60 year old Dan Charley, of Pell City was sentenced Wednesday to a life sentence Wednesday for the first-degree rape of a 17-year-old mentally retarded girl who was in his care at the now defunct Charlie Angels Ministry Group Home in Pell City.  In April, jurors deliberated for 18 minutes before finding Charley guilty of the first-degree rape of the teenager who, according to witnesses, was non-verbal and had the mentality of a 10-month-old baby.  St. Clair County Circuit Court Judge Charles Robinson  told Charley Wednesday that  he was  convinced, as well as was the jury, that he did what he was charged with.  Robinson said he received a letter from Charley’s younger brother expressing regret and asking the judge for mercy.   Charley’s Birmingham attorney, William Fortune, also asked the judge to consider the defendant’s service to his country and community.  Judge Robinson said,  that Charley only had several speeding tickets and a DUI several years ago, Which he said makes this sentencing unfortunate. … But what you did and the evidence was shocking. Prosecutors presented a videotape of Charley admitting in detail to the June 6, 2006, rape of the teenager. Charley also provided authorities with a written confession, and his wife testified her husband admitted the rape to her on the telephone, just before he was booked into the St. Clair County Jail June 7, 2006.  The rape investigation was sparked after a caregiver for the girl found Charley, who was the chief executive officer of the ministry, hiding in the closet of the girl’s room and suspected Charley had sexually assaulted the girl and reported it to police. That report led to Charley’s arrest and conviction.  Prosecutors said that Charley will serve at least 10 to 12 years before he is considered for parole.


Calhoun County issues water restrictions 

The Calhoun County Water Authority has joined Jacksonville in imposing mandatory limits on customers’ water use. All households and businesses served by the water authority are affected by the restrictions. They number about 10,000 customers. The announcement follows the City of Jacksonville’s decision Monday to place mandatory restrictions on water use, mandating designated times and days when water can be used for certain purposes. Echols Bryant, Chairman of the Calhoun County Water Authority, said the authority’s customers will be allowed to use 10,000 gallons of water per month, per household. Most customers normally average 7,500 gallons per month. The county system uses mostly spring water to serve customers, but also buys water from Anniston and Oxford. Customers who exceed the 10,000-gallon limit will be charged an extra $50 in addition to their normal bills. Customers who use more than 15,000 gallons will be charged an extra $150. Any use over 20,000 gallons will be charged $300 extra. Bryant said the board would look at individual cases in which a customer, such as a farmer or someone who operates a greenhouse, might use more than the allotted amount. Officials said the restrictions are in effect until we get some kind of relief from the drought conditions.  


State eases fireworks restrictions 

The state Wednesday eased restrictions on fireworks in 33 drought-stricken north Alabama counties. Ground-level firecrackers, sparklers and poppers are OK, but aerial rockets are restricted under the rules issued by State Forester Linda Casey and approved by Gov. Bob Riley. According to the amended emergency drought regulations, it is unlawful "to discharge any type of skyrockets with sticks or any rockets or missiles with fins or rudders." Earlier rules had made the use of all fireworks, except over bodies of water, illegal in the 33 counties.  Forestry officials said Tuesday's rain was not enough to cause the state to lift a "no burn" order for the 33 counties. Fireworks industry officials met with officials Monday to discuss the possibility of loosening the fireworks restrictions. Three Major fireworks distributors in the state have voluntarily agreed to pull bottle rockets and other restricted rockets from their shelves. They also agreed to work with state and local agencies on a public safety education campaign.  The three companies supply 95 percent of the fireworks sold at Alabama fireworks stands.  


Fed’s want money back from Gadsden corruption probe 

Federal authorities say Larry Thompson accepted $62,500 in FBI funds during an investigation into public corruption in Gadsden.  Only a small amount has been recovered, and federal authorities want the rest back.  U.S. Department of Justice attorney John P. Pearson filed an objection Tuesday to a pre sentence report filed for Thompson. His objection asked that Thompson be ordered to pay restitution to the government in the amount of $56,400. The pre sentence report recommends that Thompson be ordered to pay $10,075 in restitution to the City of Gadsden, an amount to which Pearson said the department does not object.  The restitution to the city of Gadsden is for additional auditing costs.  Former Councilmen Jim Armstrong and Fred Huff, former Commercial Development Authority Director Cathy Back and Thompson, a political consultant, pleaded guilty in federal court to bribery and wire fraud charges. Sentencing for them is set for July 19.  As part of plea agreements, Thompson and Back admitted they conspired to offer cash payments to Gadsden council members with the intent of influencing them for their vote for the Lafferty's Landing development.


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