Judge denies motion to toss ex-mayor's conviction
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - A federal judge has denied a motion to throw out the conviction of a former south Mississippi mayor sentenced to probation in a Hurricane Katrina fraud case.
Former Gulfport Mayor Brent Warr pleaded guilty to one count on Sept. 25, 2009, more than four years after the August 2005 storm devastated parts of the Gulf Coast.
Warr was accused of seeking a homeowner's assistance grant for a storm-damaged house he owned but did not live in.
He petitioned the court to vacate the conviction based on the argument that FEMA never determined he was ineligible to receive the funds and that new information showed he pleaded guilty to a crime he didn't commit.
U.S. District Judge Walter J. Gex III in Gulfport denied the motion in a ruling last week.
GULF OIL SPILL-INDICTMENT
Defense seeks mistrial for former BP engineer
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Attorneys for former BP drilling engineer Kurt Mix have asked the judge in the case to declare a mistrial.
In a filing Tuesday, Mix's attorneys argued a prosecutor's line of questioning of a witness on Monday amounted to injecting unsupported accusations of misconduct against Mix.
A hearing on the motion is set for Tuesday before U.S. District Judge Stanwood Duval Jr.
Mix is charged with obstruction of justice for allegedly deleting text messages and voicemails about the company's response to its massive 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
The questioning of witness Wilson Arabie centered on allegations Mix ordered copies made of spill-related documents for improper purposes. Defense attorneys argued in their request for a mistrial that an earlier court order precluded prosecutors from raising the document-copying issue.
MISSISSIPPI SHERIFF INDICTED
Sheriff Byrd due in court on federal charges
PASCAGOULA, Miss. (AP) - Jackson County Sheriff Mike Byrd is expected to plead guilty Tuesday in federal court in Alabama to one felony count.
The hearing is scheduled for 2 p.m. in U.S. District Court in Mobile, Ala.
In federal plea signed by Byrd and his attorney, Joe Sam Owen, last month, Byrd admits to having one of his deputies erase dashboard camera video of the June 19, 2012, arrest.
The man stole a patrol car and led deputies on a chase that ended in Mobile County.
Court records say Byrd then arrived on the scene, spoke angrily and cursed at the man and then kicked him in the groin while the suspect was "handcuffed and unresisting."
Federal prosecutors are recommending a sentence of six months' house arrest and six months' probation.
Marty Wiseman retiring as Stennis Institute leader
STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) - Dr. Marty Wiseman, executive director of the John C. Stennis Institute of Government & Community Development at Mississippi State University, will retire Dec. 31.
The school and Wiseman made the announcement Monday.
Wiseman's work has focused on public administration and Mississippi government.
A native Mississippian, he received his Ph.D. from Mississippi State University and has been at MSU since 1986. Professor Wiseman teaches specialized graduate courses in Rural Government Administration and Intergovernmental Relations, the undergraduate Mississippi Government and Politics class, and introductory American Government.
Wiseman is also faculty adviser for the Stennis-Montgomery Association, which helps students to visit and intern in Washington, D.C.
Wiseman has been a frequent political commentator for various news organizations.
OYSTER REEFS OPEN
DMR reopens some oyster reefs
BILOXI, Miss. (AP) - The Department of Marine Resources has reopened oyster reefs in Pass Christian and Henderson Point.
The reefs also include Handkerchief Reef and northern areas of Pass Marianne and Telegraph reefs.
The areas were closed Nov. 26. All other reefs remain closed until testing shows they are once again safe for human consumption.
All other oyster harvest rules and regulations will remain in effect.
Texas couple gives $12.3M to Mississippi State
STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) - Texas oilman Tommy Nusz and his wife, Terri, have donated $12.3 million to the Mississippi State University Campaign.
Nusz is the CEO and chairman of the board of Oasis Petroleum in Houston, Texas. He and his wife are graduates of Mississippi State.
School officials say in a news release that the donation brings the fundraising efforts for the campaign to $375 million.
The multi-year Infinite Impact: The Mississippi State University Campaign was launched earlier this year and will continue fundraising toward a $600 million goal by 2018.
Judge gives OK to Sherman annexation
SHERMAN, Miss. (AP) - The town of Sherman will add about 30 residents with a new annexation that should be finalized in January.
The town of 650 people sits on the Pontotoc, Lee and Union counties line.
Chancery Judge Talmadge Littlejohn approved Sherman's annexation plan Monday.
Sherman mayor Ben Logan says the town can now prepare for future commercial, industrial and residential growth. With annexed land, Sherman's geographic size will grow to just under five square miles.
Logan says the city will take in the two-and-a-half square miles, including land between the town and the Toyota Motor Manufacturing Mississippi plant in Blue Springs.
Annexed areas will receive municipal services including planning and zoning, water, sewer, public works, fire and police protection. Some proposed annexed areas already receive water and sewer from the town.
Ala board denies parole at urging of Miss lawmaker
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Alabama's parole board is refusing an early release for a former Brighton police officer convicted in the shooting death of the son of a Mississippi legislator.
The three-member board rejected parole Tuesday for Chevis Finley. He was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to 15 years imprisonment for the May 2009 shooting death of Broderick Dixon.
Dixon was a systems engineer for a Birmingham steel company. Dixon's mother is Mississippi state Rep. Deborah Butler Dixon of Jackson.
Finely was convicted of killing Dixon while he was off police duty in metro Birmingham. The slaying happened at an apartment complex in Irondale.
The lawmaker urged the board to deny parole for Finley.
Finley can still win an early release from prison if he continues having a record of good behavior.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.