Headlines – 9/12/2003

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 12, 2003

Panolian Headlines: September 12, 2003

For complete stories, pick up the 9/12/03  issue of The Panolian

"Activity" Alarms Neighborhood
Gunshots Fired Near
    Potts Street Apartments
BPD Major Tony Jones talks on his cell phone while Potts Street Apartments owner Mike Fudge (r) discusses neighborhood complaints about the complex with police. Others (l-r) are Capt. Don Province, Deputy Chief Gerald Legge Jr., and Police Chief Roger Vanlandingham.


Residents of the once-quiet neighborhood in the Court-Church-Potts Street area are "increasingly alarmed" about "loud music, firearms, possible drug activity and prostitution, loud cursing" and more at the Potts Street Apartments.

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That’s according to Police Chief Roger Vanlandingham who said the concern reached a new level at 9:24 p.m. Tuesday when gunshots were fired near the apartments.

The chief said it’s his opinion that "poor or no management" of the complex is at the root of the problem.

Major Tony Jones said police found "four or five" empty shell casings from a .380 handgun.

Fatal Fire Probe Continues
According to the Panola County Sheriff’s Department, a 3-year-old Sardis girl died of smoke inhalation as result of an apartment fire Monday morning.

According to Investigator Mark Whitten, the body of Aiesha Lester was found in the bathroom of the apartment on Atkins Street. She was one of three children in the home at the time of the fire.

She was pronounced dead at the scene by Yalobusha County Coroner Yolonda Holmes.

Whitten confirmed reports that two of the children were evacuated by Brett Hammond who was with the children when the fire started.

"Hammond did everything he could to make sure the children got out of the home safely," he said. "Unfortunately, he was not able to get all three out in time."

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.


SpringFest, Main Street Funding
    Elicit Questions
Complaints about city tax dollars supporting both SpringFest and Christmas lighting on the square highlighted this week’s public hearing for the proposed 2003-04 Batesville city budget.
Local businessmen Gaines Smith of Plaza Jewelers and developer Woody Loden II made it clear they don’t support city funding for either the spring festival or the Main Street program.

In the proposed budget, $20,000 is earmarked for SringFest and $23,000 for Main Street. Panola Partnership is to receive $30,000.

Loden also complained it "isn’t fair" to other religious groups in town that the city picks up the utility tab on the city-owned building where Episcopalians hold worship services.

"I’d like for the city to pay the light and water bill for the Church of Christ," Loden said.

He then suggested the Episcopalians be required to "pay something" – a recommendation Mayor Bobby Baker said will be considered and said the building is used for "more than just church."

Smith questioned who pays for the electricity for Christmas lights on the square and noted no city-sponsored Christmas lights were put on his building. He was told the electricity cost is borne by the city.



Hwy. 6 Traffic Stop An Attention Hetter
Men pulled from their car wait while police search the vehicle.

Rubberneckers along Highway 6 got an eyeful Thursday as Batesville police detained five men and searched their car.

According to Deputy Chief Col. Gerald Legge Jr., the five men in the car, who were not charged, were traveling from Chicago to Tampa Bay.

"The car was initially stopped for a suspected window tint violation," Officer Troy Moses Jr. said.

Moses said once the vehicle was stopped, the driver exhibited "strange behavior" leading to a search of the vehicle.

"The way the driver was acting gave me an indication that there may be something hidden in the vehicle," he said.

Moses said the extensive search of the vehicle uncovered several hidden compartments that could be used to smuggle narcotics.

"Our search of the car uncovered nothing more than the compartments, so the men were allowed to go on their way," Moses said.

Sheriff’s Report
All information is taken from the open records of the Panola County Sheriff’s Department records. An arrest does not mean a conviction. All individuals are innocent until proven guilty. Names will not be left out of the records upon request. If a name appears in the arrest logs, it will appear in The Panolian.

Sept. 7
Kenneth Conner, 1187 Lawrence Bros. Rd., Batesville, was arrested and charged with no driver’s license, no insurance and speeding. The case will be heard in Justice Court.

Solomon Garcia, Hwy. 35, Batesville, was arrested and charged with no driver’s license and speeding. The case will be heard in Justice Court.

Dustin Gordon, 2125 Red Apple Rd., Nesbit, was arrested and charged with DUI. The case will be heard in Justice Court.

Sept. 8
Alkere Spears, New Green Hill Apartments, Sardis, was arrested and charged with contempt. The case will be heard in Sardis Municipal Court.

Nicholas Hardy, 1665 CR 199, Oakland, was arrested and charged with armed robbery. The case will be heard in Justice Court.

Timothy Rogers, 116 Ivy Gordon Dr., Courtland, was arrested and charged with public drunk. The case will be heard in Justice Court.

Billy Tucker, 284 Woodruff Rd., Courtland, was arrested and charged with aggravated assault. The case will be heard in Justice Court.

Coty Swindoll, 5503 Dummyline, Batesville, was held for a mental evaluation. The case will be heard in Chancery Court.

Anthony Bost, 29240 Hwy. 6, Batesville was arrested and charged with grand larceny. The case will be heard in Circuit Court.

Sept. 9
Jerry McBrayer, 15338 Old Panola Rd., Como, was arrested and charged with
burglary. The case will be heard in Circuit Court.

Marvin Smith, 127 Johnson St., Batesville, was arrested and held for investigation. The case will be heard in Justice Court.

Sept. 10
Wesley Jefferson, 1042 Trantham Rd., Batesville, was arrested and charged with felony hit and run, contempt, failure to stop for blue lights and reckless driving. The case will be heard in Circuit Court.