Update: Fri., Sept. 19 5:20 a.m.
An Amherst County jury recommends 53 years in prison for a 50-year-old Lynchburg man, after finding him guilty of killing the mother of his son. The jury convicted Cordell Carter on Thursday of first-degree murder in the January shooting death of 30-year-old Jennifer Johnson in her home. Sentencing is set for November.
Original story: Thurs., Sept. 18 1:45 p.m.
A Lynchburg man is now on trial for allegedly killing his child’s mother at her Amherst County home last January. Cordell Carter, 50, pleaded not guilty on Wednesday in the shooting death of 30-year-old Jennifer Johnson. Carter faces a first-degree murder charge. The prosecution suggested that the victim may have been holding sex tapes of Carter as blackmail. The News & Advance reports that may have been what prompted an argument between the two that led to the murder.
Update: Fri., Sept. 19 5:11 a.m.
The owner of a Lynchburg consignment shop is facing more charges in the Boonsboro-area residential break-ins from the last two weeks. After searching The Burnt Orange on Fort Avenue, police found items believed to have been stolen from Lynchburg and Appomattox County homes. Lynchburg police charged store owner Katie Hyatt, 38, of Concord earlier this week on one count each of breaking-and-entering and grand larceny. The department said on Thursday she’s charged with four additional counts each of breaking-and-entering and grand larceny. Hyatt is still being held in jail. The News & Advance reports that authorities in Campbell and Appomattox counties suspect Hyatt in additional burglaries in their localities.
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ The General Assembly is taking no action to expand Virginia’s Medicaid program. Lawmakers reconvened Thursday at the Capitol for a special session to debate expanding Medicaid to about 400,000 low-income adults. The GOP-controlled House voted 64-33 against a modified expansion bill. Several Democrats panned the special session as a waste of time, and mocked Republicans for not having any alternative proposals. Top Republican lawmakers defended the special session, saying they were fulfilling their promise to hold one made earlier in the year. The Senate and the House also voted to approve spending cuts for the state’s two-year budget to help close a $2.4 billion revenue shortfall.
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Six museum projects in Virginia are sharing $1 million in grants from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The funding is intended to support learning experiences, engage the community and make collections more accessible. Another goal is to safeguard the state’s cultural and scientific heritage. The recipients of the grants are Richmond’s Maymont Foundation and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, the Sweet Briar College art gallery, George Mason University and the association of Children’s Museums, the recipient of two grants.
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ A Virginia Department of Corrections program is training nonviolent offenders for a career in wastewater treatment. Eleven apprentices have completed the year-long program and 10 have passed the Class 4 wastewater certification and received an operator’s license. At least one former offender now works at a wastewater treatment plant. Only inmates deemed low security risks can apply for the program. Besides violent offenders, inmates with a history of sexual offenses are also ineligible for the program. The apprenticeship program is offered at several prison sites around the state. They include St. Brides, Haynesville, Deerfield, James River, Nottoway, Baskerville, Buckingham, Rustburg and Powhatan. The program is also offered at Virginia Correctional Center for Women.
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ More than $850,000 in matching grant money is headed to 46 local tourism initiatives to help regional tourism officials attract more visitors. Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced the funding as part of Virginia Tourism Corp.’s marketing leverage program. Under the program, local organizations match the state grant funds by a minimum of a 2-1 ratio. That adds up to more than $3 million in new marketing for Virginia attractions. The recipients of the grants reflect the diverse tourism landscape of Virginia. They include $50,000 grants each for the Shenandoah Valley Kids Trail, historic downtown Wytheville, the Virginia Opera and the Castleton Festival. Smaller grants are also headed to the town of Big Stone Gap, the Science Museum of Western Virginia, Robert E. Lee’s Stafford Hall and Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden.
ALBANY, Ga. (AP) _ Jurors are breaking for the night without a verdict in the trial of a Georgia peanut plant owner charged in a salmonella outbreak that sickened hundreds five years ago. The federal jury in Albany met for about eight hours Thursday before its foreman told the judge members wished to stop for the evening. The jury is scheduled to return Friday morning. Thursday was the first full day of jury deliberations in the trial of former Peanut Corporation of America owner Stewart Parnell and two others. Parnell ran the company from his home just outside of Lynchburg, Va., in Bedford Co. He and his brother, food broker Michael Parnell, are charged with knowingly shipping tainted peanut butter to customers and faking results of lab tests intended to screen for salmonella. The plant’s former quality control manager, Mary Wilkerson, and Stewart Parnell are charged with obstruction.
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) _ Busch Gardens theme parks removed some props from their Halloween attractions after people in Virginia complained about decapitated heads. This came in the wake of the beheadings of three westerners by Islamic state militants in the Middle East. Spokesmen for both parks said Thursday that in light of recent events, some props would have had the unintended consequence of appearing insensitive and won’t be part of this year’s Howl-O-Scream attraction. They wouldn’t say exactly which props were removed. Complaints cropped up recently in Williamsburg when the Virginia Gazette newspaper ran a photo of five severed head props that were part of the attraction. The spokesmen for the parks said the props for the Howl-O-Scream attractions were designed and bought months ago.
National Child Passenger Safety Week is underway; and state and local law enforcement have been busy educating parents and caregivers of the importance of buckling up a child every time for every ride! Virginia law requires that a child be in an approved child safety seat until his/her eighth birthday. It is a primary enforcement law. Children ages 8-18 must be belted correctly in a vehicle safety belt. Saturday (Sept 20) is National Safety Seat Check Day; certified child passenger safety technicians will hold car seat events across the country. To find an event in our area, visit: http://www.vdh.virginia.gov.
It didn’t take long for the Lynchburg Hillcats to line up a new agreement with a major league team. The Hillcats yesterday (Wednesday) agreed to a Player Development Contract (P-D-C) with the Cleveland Indians four years for now, but it could become longer term at some point. Team officials tell the News and Advance they had discussions with four major league franchises before coming to terms with Cleveland.