Author: Gabriel Tynes

Jamal Jackson sentenced to death for 2014 murder of Satori Richardson

Today, Mobile County Circuit Court Judge Ben Brooks accepted a jury’s recommendation of the death penalty in the capital murder case of Jamal Jackson, who was convicted of stabbing and strangling his girlfriend Satori Richardson in 2014 before setting their apartment on fire. After his conviction in March, the jury recommended the death sentence by a margin of 10-2, accepting prosecutor’s claims the crime rose to the level of capital murder based on Jackson’s previous conviction of robbery using a firearm. Both the jury and Brooks rejected another aggravating factor; prosecutors claimed the murder was especially “cruel and heinous”...

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State seeks to lift restrictions on funds intended for oil spill restoration

More than a year after a federal judge blocked state and federal trustees from spending $58.5 million of early restoration funds from the BP oil spill to construct a hotel and lodge at Gulf State Park, work continues on the project almost daily. Now a concrete superstructure on the footprint of the former hotel, absent since Hurricane Ivan, looms above the nearly half-mile-long fishing and education pier and is scheduled to open early next year. Coincidentally, construction on the project continued uninterrupted because the state secured a separate financial settlement from BP in October 2015, but now plaintiffs in...

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Exonerated death row inmate names city, state defendants in civil suit

George Martin, a former Alabama State Trooper who spent 15 years on death row for the capital murder of his wife before he was exonerated last year, has filed a federal civil suit against the state, the city of Mobile, Mobile County and a handful of law enforcement officers he claims are responsible for his wrongful conviction. In the 59-page complaint dated April 6 — just over a year after his exoneration — Martin argues his conviction was the result of “multiple instances of intentional and willful misconduct” by the defendants, who include former investigators with the Mobile Police...

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Gov. Robert Bentley purchases vacant Fort Morgan lot

Gov. Robert Bentley, who lost the Gulf Shores beach house he shared with his ex-wife Dianne in their 2015 divorce agreement, appears to have made another real estate investment just two miles farther west down Fort Morgan Road, according to Baldwin County property records. Last October, the governor paid $137,500 for a vacant lot next to 6613 Sea Shell Drive. Notably, the property is just a block away from the state-owned mansion that recently benefited from a $1.8 million renovation, paid for with grant money available after the BP oil spill in 2010. Less than a month after their...

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Expansive book documents black Baptist community

Ada Minor-Pair, surrounded by artwork at the Victorian Teal Gallery owned by her son Mannie in DeTonti Square, calls the 400-page book her “life’s work.” The widow of a preacher and matriarch of a deeply reverent family, Minor-Pair and Mannie — formally artist Herbert E. Pair III — recently published “The History of the Black Baptist Churches of Mobile County Alabama,” an illustrated reference of the 141 black baptist churches between Bayou la Batre and Citronelle. In addition to providing never-before-seen photographs, background information, phone numbers and pastor listings for each, the book also includes a broader history about the black Baptist community in Mobile, not limited to its role in civil rights, education, music and worship. “It goes back to slavery, when Mobile was a Catholic city and no other church was allowed within eight miles of downtown,” Minor-Pair said. “That’s how the Eight Mile area got its name.” Indeed, the book includes church minutes of black services and incorporation documents of black churches in Mobile dating back to the 1830s. It starts with the history of how the denomination came to America and Alabama and eventually trickled to Mobile County. When Baptist churches became more common, they also became a safe space for racial reconciliation. During slavery, [black people] were not allowed to assemble for service without five members of the white church present,” she said. “But eventually...

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Exploreum exhibit shows seedy side of drugs

You don’t have to break bad to get behind the scenes of the global drug trade; you can just spend a little time at the Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center on the corner of Government and Water streets. Beginning Feb. 3 and through the month of August, the Exploreum is hosting the exhibit “Drugs: Costs and Consequences,” an educational product of the Drug Enforcement Agency that explores the effects of drugs on individuals and society. “This exhibit will reveal the true story of the damage caused by drugs and give an insight into DEA’s fight against deadly drug-trafficking organizations,”...

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Contrary to state, Baldwin Commissioner claims DUI case ‘settled’

In what appears to have been a concerted media blitz, Baldwin County Commission President Chris Elliott told several reporters he invited to a civic speaking engagement last week the DUI case against him had been “settled.” But according to state court records, his civil action against the Alabama Law Enforcement Association for his license suspension is ongoing, and as recently as Jan. 6, all the circuit court judges in Baldwin County had recused themselves from the case. Further, despite assurances that he “owned” his crime and he did “not ask for any favors” or special treatment, he reported he was currently serving a 45-day suspension of his license, which is half of the 90-day suspension period mandated by state law. Elliott refused a breathalyzer exam after running a red light in Fairhope just after midnight on May 14, 2016. At the time, he said he was leaving a charity steak cook-off for the Rotary Club where he’d had a “couple of beers,” but the cook-off ended more than two hours before he was arrested and there have been unsubstantiated claims that Elliott was seen drinking in a Fairhope bar after prior to his arrest. Elliott’s attorney, Rob Stankoski, would not directly answer the question of whether his client had been in a bar prior to his arrest. Elliott has not responded to any of Lagniappe’s efforts to ask him...

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President-elect Donald Trump returns to Mobile

President-elect Donald Trump returned to Mobile Saturday, victorious after a campaign that spring boarded to success following his first speech in the city in August 2015. “This is where it all began,” he told an enthusiastic crowd at a half-full Ladd-Peebles Stadium on an overcast day on the last appearance of his brief “thank you” tour. “I said I’m coming back to see you in Alabama, and this is our last rally, our last stop, and I just want to thank the people of Alabama,” Trump said. “We’re thanking the people of Alabama and we’re thanking the people of...

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