MISSING MAN-GULF SEARCH
Crews searching for man missing off Ala coast
MOBILE, Ala. (AP) - The Coast Guard is searching the Gulf of Mexico for a crewman who fell off a fishing boat nearly 60 miles south of Mobile Bay.
A spokesman for the Coast Guard says 35-year-old Benjamin Sorrells was leaning over the side of the fishing vessel AC III when he slipped overboard Thursday evening.
Crew members tried to rescue Sorrells but failed. He was wearing blue jeans but didn't have a life jacket on.
A Coast Guard airplane and helicopter based in Mobile have been searching for the missing fisherman.
DA won't appeal ruling on sentence in rape case
ATHENS, Ala. (AP) - A district attorney in northern Alabama says he won't appeal a court ruling that upholds a sentence for a man convicted of rape.
Limestone County District Attorney Brian Jones has objected to Austin Smith Clem's current sentence of five years of probation plus court costs and $1,631 restitution. The remainder of his sentence was suspended, meaning he can avoid prison time.
After the district attorney appealed, the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals upheld the sentence.
The Decatur Daily reports that Jones and the victim's family chose not to meet Thursday's deadline to appeal the ruling to the Alabama Supreme Court.
Jones says he disagrees with the appeals court decision, but believes that further appeals would have little chance of succeeding.
Ala man charged in death of ex-wife after divorce
DOTHAN, Ala. (AP) - Dothan police say a man is charged with killing his ex-wife just days after their divorce became final.
The Dothan Eagle reports 46-year-old Willie Charles Toney is charged with capital murder in the death of 39-year-old Rebecca Jackson.
Records show the woman sought a divorce in November based on abuse claims against Toney, and the divorce became final last week. The woman got custody of the couple's two children.
But police found Jackson dead in a field in Geneva County late Wednesday. Police arrested Toney, who allegedly abducted the woman from her home a few hours earlier.
Court documents show Jackson claimed Toney had threatened to kill their entire family, and a judge had ordered him to quit harassing her.
Records don't show whether Toney has a defense lawyer.
LOGAN MARTIN LAKE-BODY
Autopsy planned on body found along Alabama lake
PELL CITY, Ala. (AP) - Authorities say human remains found along a northeast Alabama lake are those of a man, and an autopsy was planned to further identify him.
The Daily Home reports that the remains were found along Logan Martin Lake on Wednesday. St. Clair County Undersheriff Billy Murray said a local fisherman discovered the body along the shoreline of The Yacht Club.
St. Clair County Deputy Coroner Mike Pepple said the body had been in the water for some time.
Pepple said investigators couldn't confirm the age, race or cause of death of the victim.
Ala. senator gets second shot at liquor tastings
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - State Sen. Billy Beasley is getting a second shot at passing his bill to allow liquor and wine tastings in state-run liquor stores.
The Senate initially voted down his bill 14-17 Thursday. But then the Senate agreed to reconsider the bill and let Beasley try to pass it again next week.
Beasley says distillers want to do the tastings to market their products. The Clayton Democrat says they would conduct the tastings under the supervision of the Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board. His bill limits the tastings to small amounts of two liquors or four wines.
Opposition came from some senators concerned about the promotion of alcohol and from others concerned that the bill didn't cover Alabama's privately run liquor stores.
GULF OIL SPILL-INDICTMENT
Travel restriction eased for ex-BP exec
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A travel restriction is being eased for a former BP executive facing trial for allegedly lying to Congress in 2010 about the amount of oil that was spewing from the company's blown-out well in the Gulf of Mexico.
David Rainey, who was recently granted a delay in a trial that had been set for March 10, will be allowed to leave the continental United States for a week in late March. He sought permission recently to travel to the United Kingdom.
Rainey, now an executive with BHP Billiton Petroleum, will travel to attend that corporation's London board meeting and to visit his mother in Northern Ireland. Prosecutors did not oppose the motion, which was approved Thursday by U.S. District Judge Kurt Engelhardt.
GEORGE LINDSEY FILM FESTIVAL
George Lindsey Film Festival underway at UNA
FLORENCE, Ala. (AP) - The University of North Alabama's annual George Lindsey Film Festival is in full swing in Florence.
The festival was founded in 1998 by Lindsey, who attended North Alabama and was best known for his role as Goober on "The Andy Griffith Show."
Lindsey died in 2012, but the festival is now in its 17th year. Movie screenings will be held Friday and Saturday, and they're all free and open to the public.
This year's three-day event is a salute to the "The Year of the Filmmaker." Actors and directors will present discussions about making movies, and the screenings will take place on the North Alabama campus.
The university offers a major in film and digital media production.
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