Headlines – 7/11/2006

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The Panolian: HEADLINES – July 11, 2006

  From the 7/11/06 issue of The Panolian   –   

Jackson lab slow to deliver for trial
By Billy Davis

The murder trial of Sardis bail bondsman Johnny Green has again been postponed by slow test results from the Miss. State Crime Lab.

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Circuit Court Judge Andrew C. Baker signed an Order for Continuance and set the trial date for September 18, court papers show.

Green’s attorney, Kevin Horan, cited the apparent delay in his Motion for a Continuance, his second such filing to fault the crime lab’s slow work.

Baker’s first Order of Continuance involving a crime lab delay moved Green’s trial from April to June. The trial had already been postponed from last November when Green’s defense attorney, Anthony Farese, dropped out.

Green, 59, is accused of gunning down Ricky Taylor Jr. on Old Panola Road on July 23 of last year.

Green is out of jail and awaiting trial on a $100,000 bond.

The crime lab is testing for gunshot residue, ballistics and performing a serology exam, which is a blood test, court documents stated.

In the latest filing, Horan states that Assistant District Attorney Robert Kelly agreed to the continuance during a June phone call between the prosecutor and the criminal defense attorney.

Kelly "has no indication from the crime lab as to any anticipated date that the testing will be complete and a report will be rendered and delivered," Horan wrote.

Reached last Friday, Kelly confirmed Horan’s recollection that they conferred about the crime lab delay.

Kelly also noted that the pending lab results are coming from the state’s main laboratory in Jackson, not the satellite location in Batesville.

Further in the court filing, Horan also states that Green seeks an "independent source" to test the lab evidence presented against him, making the looming trial date even more impractical.

Ricky Taylor’s aunt, Annie Ruth Putman, said she was frustrated that the crime lab results are still pending nearly a year after her nephew was found dead.

"I think the crime lab is a total disgrace to the state of Mississippi," said Putman, who is listed as a trial witness.

Crenshaw’s condition draws crowd to meet
By John Howell Sr.

Regulation of mobile homes and cleanup of abandoned and overgrown property was on the minds of about 20 Crenshaw citizens who attended the July meeting of the board of mayor and aldermen Wednesday night, July 5.

Mobile homes and overgrown property was a subtext of most of the meeting, but Mayor Sylvester Reed continued to defer action while newly-hired city attorney Mary Brown of Grenada researches to determine what ordinances currently apply.

"You all have a mobile home ordinance amended in 1996," the attorney told Alderman Alberta Bradley, who raised the question during a reading of the minutes.

According to the 1996 ordinance, before a mobile home can come into Crenshaw municipal limits the owner has to come before the mayor and aldermen and meet certain conditions, Brown said.

Bradley asked about a mobile home that had been placed in a prohibited area.

"You all need to bring him before this board and tell him what you want," Brown said.

"We’ve gotten out of order; we have to approve the minutes as read," Mayor Reed interjected as the dialogue between Bradley and Brown continued.

Bradley returned to the mobile home question when the agenda moved to "old business."

"Has it been settled on who is going to write Mr. Jennings and when?" she asked.

Alderman David Whitsell made a motion for Brown to write the mobile home owner "to get him in here and get this settled."

Aldermen unanimously approved Whitsell’s motion, and a meeting was set for 9 a.m. Saturday, July 22 to meet about the mobile home and with County Administrator David Chandler about the town’s budget.

"We have an ordinance for cleaning up; I’ve got my houses and if each alderman would jot down a couple of places," Bradley said in a bid to target property for cleanup in each town ward.

"The ordinance needs to come before the letter," Mayor Reed said.

"There is a state law that says you can clean up property," Brown said. The attorney added that she is preparing a package for city officials that will include current or proposed ordinances for their consideration.

Regarding one property Bradley had targeted for cleanup in her ward, aldermen said that the property owner had previously been sent three registered letters, one of which had been signed for and two had been refused.

"We better start over," the attorney said.

"I can do anything you ask me to do," Brown said, responding to questions about recovering missing ordinances or advising about proposed ordinances, "but it is time consuming, expensive time consuming," she added.

"Every city I have contacted has ruled no mobile homes in cities at all," Brown said later.

The business was conducted against a backdrop of murmuring from the citizens in the audience. During the reading of the minutes, Bob Bryant had raised his hand in an attempt to be recognized by the mayor. After some minutes, Alderman Keith Pride conferred with the mayor, who said, "A question from the floor does not interfere with the business of the meeting."

Later, the discussion from the floor spilled forth again when someone asked about correcting an error in the minutes. The mayor replied that the citizens could not speak from the floor.

"It’s an open meeting," one visitor said.

"It’s an open meeting for the public to observe," Mayor Reed replied, adding that any questions or comments should be directed to the alderman who represents them.

In other business:
Crenshaw aldermen unanimously approved a motion by alderman Shirley Morgan to allocate $2,500 for the town’s Sam Lapidus Library. First Regional Librarian Carolyn Head and Crenshaw librarian Martha Rayburn appeared to make the request.
The cost of repairing the city’s backhoe has convinced Mayor Reed to seek prices on a new replacement, he said.
The mayor also said that he would check surrounding towns to help determine a fee to charge a septic tank service that regularly dumps its collection into the town’s sewage lagoon. Aldermen indicated that they supported charging a fee. Alderman Pride said that a city-owned gate currently not in use at another location could secure the lagoon to make the fee enforceable.
Mayor Reed rejected a motion by Alderman Bradley to raise the pay of town clerk Renee Ward. "At this time we don’t need to accept the motion when we’re doing our budget on the 22nd," he said.
City officials set July 26 for "700 testing," a step in compliance with standardizing national emergency response. Successfully completing the test enables municipalities to remain eligible for grants and is required of public officials, Panola Civil Defense Director Son Hudson said.
Aldermen voted to accept new FEMA flood plain designations for the town.
 Mayor Reed asked aldermen to "look at several pieces of property in Crenshaw for a [site for] a community center."
     The mayor said that a grant application for a community center could be submitted in the fall.

The good, bad, old and ornery make stop at ‘Legends’ night
     Veteran wrestler Bobby "Porkchop" Cash clenches Anton Leveigh into a menacing headlock at the "Night of the Wrestling Legends" Friday night at the Batesville Civic Center. Cash, 65, was the oldest wrestler present. He managed to defeat Leveigh, who recently turned 18.
By Billy Davis

Leaning across the metal barricade at the "Night of the Wrestling Legends," 10-year-old Katie Carlini cried out in disbelief at the injustice she was witnessing just feet from her front-row seat.

A steady stream of conniving bad guys produced brass knuckles, a strand of rope, a cookie sheet pan, a walking cane, a baseball bat and a clothes hanger to beat, choke, mutilate and bludgeon a steady stream of innocent, unsuspecting good guys.
"Look behind you – beeehiind you!" the youngster would yell, dismayed that the good guys were so naive and the referees so blind.

Carlini and about 700 more wrestling fans gathered around the squared circle Friday night at the Batesville Civic Center to see a card filled with true legends of wrestling such as Memphian Jerry "The King" Lawler, Kamala, Porkchop Cash and "Handsome" Jimmy Valiant.

In high school gymnasiums in no-name towns across the country, wrestlers don their tights and a temporary persona to entertain a loyal following, trading bumps and bruises for the "pop" of fans who cheer them or the "heat" of a crowd that would like to wring their necks.

According to Kamala, whose real name is Jim Harris, the family is the foundation of professional wrestling, no matter the size of the town or the venue.

"I don’t like the use of profanity because people bring their kids," said Kamala, giving an interview in his trademark face paint inside the wrestlers’ locker room.

A Mississippi native, Harris lives just up the road in Senatobia. He debuted in Memphis in 1974 as "Sugar Bear" Harris.

While many aging wrestlers are on the sunset of their fame, Kamala wrestled as recently as last month on "Monday Night Raw," the two-hour wrestling show owned by WWE that is cable television’s biggest draw.

Still, Kamala allowed Friday night that the WWE has changed the family-friendly venue and evolved into a raunchier spectacle.

"They’re doing it to make a quick dollar, but I think it hurts in the long run," Kamala said. "People bring their kids, and when it gets too bad to bring your kids, then it will begin to die."

The oldest living legend appearing at Friday night’s wrestling show was Bobby "Porkchop" Cash, now 65.

Cash wrestled and defeated 18-year-old Anton Leveigh and Bambi in a "mixed" tag-team match that paired the elder wrestler with Peggy Lee.

"Did you see the way I moved in that ring?" Cash asked, giving an interview between autographs.

Cash said he learned the business from black wrestlers such as Bobo Brazil, Bearcat Wright and Bearcat Brown, listing among his heroes Chief Jay Longbow, Gorilla Monsoon and Killer Kowalski.

"They were my legends," Cash said. "They’re all gone now."

The presence of wrestling legends Friday night wasn’t missed by Austin Lane, 26, who defeated the Mid-South’s most well-known legend, Jerry Lawler, in the main event. His tag-team partner was Valiant.

Lane said he watched Lawler wrestle in the very first wrestling event he ever attended. He wrestled him for the first time Friday night.

In the main wrestling match, Lawler and his tag-team partner, son Brian Christopher, endured catcalls and boos as the bad guys, or heels. With every boot kick and well-placed elbow punch, Lane and Valiant were cheered for putting the cocky, conniving father-son duo in their place.

Wrestlers have a term for building up another wrestler in the eyes of the fans, "rub," and by all accounts the wealthy and well-known Lawler gave a good rub to the lesser-known Lane.

"When I meet my day I would like for the younger generation not to do exactly as I did, but to be respectful to the ones who paved their way for them," said Kamala.

"When I’m gone," said Cash, "I want people to remember what I did for this sport."

Car tag law brings questions
By Billy Davis

Panola County’s volunteer firefighters could be eligible for a $100 car tag deduction, but county officials must first allow the discount and figure out how to keep track of any tag purchases and deductions.

The state legislature passed the allowance during its most recent session, allowing the once-a-year deduction on one vehicle owned by a firefighter.

The allowance, which is not mandatory, became law July 1. It began in the legislature as Senate Bill 2021.

Panola County tax assessor David Garner discussed the new law with county supervisors at their "second Monday" meeting, suggesting the difficulty of proper paperwork and filing.

"When dealing with taxes, there’s nothing that’s ever simple," commented board attorney Bill McKenzie.

Garner agreed to supervisors’ suggestion that he review the law and its impact, and report back to the board.

About 125 firefighters respond to fire calls one of the volunteer fire departments scattered across the county, deputy fire coordinator Daniel Cole told supervisors Monday morning.

The process to allow the discount would begin with a form filled out at the county civil defense office, Cole said.

Garner brought a four-page instruction sheet from the state Motor Vehicle Licensing Bureau to the meeting, leafing through the document as he spoke.

One possible problem with the allowance, Garner noted, is that the Panola tax collector’s office uses a different computer system, Data, than the one mentioned in the instruction sheet, known as Delta.
"It says here that Delta won’t be able to change their programming until October 1, and we haven’t talked to Data yet," Garner said.

"I don’t know how we’re going to be able to keep up," said Billy Bright, bookkeeper for the tax collector’s office. "I don’t know how we’re going to be able to keep up with a list of folks."

The first stop at the civil defense office should help make the process easier to organize, Cole replied.

During discussion on the topic, County Administrator David Chandler also suggested that supervisors weigh the impact of the allowance on the county budget.

"It will affect the county and the county schools," Chandler said.

Leads made in June robbery
By Jason C. Mattox

While no arrests have been made, investigators with the Panola County Sheriff’s Department do have leads in a case where a pair of robbers wanted their money a la mode.

According to investigator Barry Thompson, two men are responsible for the Tuesday, June 27, armed robbery of an Ooh Wee Ice Cream Truck on Willow Road in the Green Hill subdivision just west of the Sardis city limits. The incident took place at approximately 6:30 p.m.

"According to the driver, two black males walked up to each side of the truck and demanded money," he said. "One of the suspects, who was carrying a small caliber handgun, reached into the cash box and they left with $56."

Thompson said he expects to make arrests.

Anyone with information is encouraged to contact Thompson at 563-6230.


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