News in brief from across the state of Tennessee
Posted: Wednesday, November 5, 2008 7:16 pm
Boys in state custody
needed hospital treatment
DANDRIDGE (AP) — State officials are investigating what sickened five boys in state custody so much they had to be treated at a hospital.
The boys were housed at the Mountain View Youth Develop-ment Center in Dandridge and became sick Sunday night.
Four were treated in Jefferson County, with the fifth expected to be released Tuesday. The center houses juveniles convicted of serious crimes.
Rob Johnson, spokesman for the state Department of Children’s Services, says the sickness is being described as an allergic reaction, with investigators trying to determine what caused it.
in baby shaken death
ALTAMONT (AP) — Authorities have charged a Grundy County mother, whose baby was shaken to death.
Shannon Comeau, 21, was jailed last week on aggravated child abuse charges stemming from injuries sustained by her 7-week-old baby. She now faces felony murder charges after the infant died Saturday.
Grundy County Sheriff Brent Myers said Comeau was the only one who was around the child when the alleged abuse occurred.
Comeau, who is held on $100,000 bond, faces arraignment today. The baby’s father, who does not live with Comeau, has not been charged.
Information from: Chatta-nooga Times Free Press, www.timesfreepress.com
Man convicted of trying
to hire deputy’s murder
NASHVILLE (AP) — A federal jury in Nashville has convicted a Baxter man of trying to hire someone to murder a Putnam County sheriff’s deputy and a second plot involving two other people.
U.S. Attorney Edward Yar-brough said in a news release the guilty verdict was returned Monday against William Vincent Dunn on all 21 counts he faced.
Evidence at Dunn’s trial revealed he and his girlfriend Misty Langford distributed cocaine, marijuana and other drugs in Baxter and sold drugs to the undercover deputy on Oct. 14, 2006.
Authorities said Dunn and Langford then hired a hit man, who was an Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agent, posing as a criminal.
Authorities said Dunn, while in jail, came up with a plan to have the deputy, the ATF agent and an informant murdered. That plot was foiled when someone saw letters being sent from jail
The 32-year-old Dunn was convicted of solicitation of murder and other charges after a two-week trial.
Zinc mine with ties to Gore halts production
GORDONSVILLE (AP) — A Middle Tennessee zinc mine with ties to former Vice President Al Gore has shut down.
Production at the Smith County complex was halted for economic reasons Oct. 9, six months after starting again for the first time in years.
Gore’s family received more than $500,000 for the mineral rights to the zinc under their family farm. The family’s mineral rights were terminated when the mine closed in 2003.
When mining on the site resumed in April, no new agreement with Gore’s family had been reached, but Gore spokeswoman Kalee Kreider told The Tennessean that talks are still under way.
Under previous operators, the zinc operation released potentially toxic substances near the Gore property.
But officials say there is no evidence the mine seriously damaged the nearby environment or created a health risk.
Information from: The Tenn-essean, http://www.tennessean.com
Man accepts plea deal,
will testify for state
KNOXVILLE (AP) — A Knoxville man has accepted a plea deal in a home invasion that killed a 12-year-old boy.
Christopher Shawn Stidham entered a guilty plea to facilitation of first-degree murder and other charges and will be sentenced to 25 years in prison.
The Knoxville News Sentinel reported Stidham agreed to testify against Kenneth Hunter, who police believe shot and killed Cody Thomas inside his mother’s home.
In his plea on Monday, Stidham admitted he held Rhonda Robinson at gunpoint.
Prosecutors said Hunter fatally shot the boy when he tried to come to his mother’s aid.
A third defendant, Jonathan Adams, is already serving a life prison sentence.
Information from: The Knoxville News Sentinel, http://www.knoxnews.com