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U.S. Supreme Court rejects appeals: William Sallie to be executed

JACKSON

The U.S. Supreme Court has denied a stay of execution for Georgia death row inmate William Sallie, clearing the way for him to become the ninth inmate Georgia puts to death this year.

Sallie was scheduled to die by lethal injection this evening at 7, but Georgia does not act until all courts have weighed in, which usually puts the actual time of death well into the night and sometimes into the early morning hours of the next day.

This afternoon, the Georgia Supreme Court unanimously denied Sallie’s request for a stay of execution. His lawyers then petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court, even though the high court had previously turned him down.

As he waited, Sallie ate all of what he’d requested for his final meal — pizza — and visited with six family members, four friends, three members of the clergy and four paralegals.

Sallie, 50, has repeatedly failed to get any court to consider his claim of juror bias, and on Monday the State Board of Pardons and Paroles also rejected that argument and refused to grant a stay of execution.

Sallie was convicted in Bacon County of murdering his father-in-law John Moore in 1990, shooting and wounding his mother-in-law Linda Moore, and kidnapping his estranged wife and her sister.

Sallie broke into his in-laws’ home — where his wife, Robin, and their 2-year-old son, Ryan, were sleeping — after he lost a custody battle and his wife filed for divorce.

In court filings and a clemency petition, Sallie’s lawyers wrote that the domestic turmoil in William and Robin Sallie’s lives was much like that lived by a juror who denied ever being embroiled in a volatile marriage, a custody dispute or domestic violence.

When the woman was questioned during jury selection for the Sallie murder trial, she said her marriages — four of them — had ended amicably.

Sallie’s lawyers said that was false, contending in their clemency petition that the juror fought with soon-to-be ex-husbands over child custody and support payments and lived with domestic abuse.

That juror also told an investigator for Sallie’s lawyers that she pushed six fellow jurors to change their votes from life in prison to death, making the jury’s decision unanimous.

In numerous filings, Sallie’s lawyers have tried to get a hearing on the issue of juror bias, which has not been argued in any court because Sallie missed a critical deadline to bring that appeal.

Sallie’s attorney Jack Martin said that deadline came at a time when Sallie did not have a lawyer, as Georgia law does not mandate that the state pay for appellate attorneys for death row inmates.

Martin said former Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Norman Fletcher told the Parole Board about Georgia’s history of not providing lawyers for condemned inmates.

Fletcher wrote an op-ed in The New York Times this week — “Georgia’s dangerous rush to execution” — in which he talked about problems inherent in Georgia’s application of the death penalty.

“A door that would have been open to Mr. Sallie in almost any other state was closed to him in Georgia,” Fletcher wrote of the state’s refusal to provide people with legal counsel. “If it were open, he would be able to present the

facts about his trial, which appear to show serious problems with juror bias.”

Once Sallie is executed, Georgia will almost double its record for the number of executions carried out in a year since the death penalty was reinstated here in 1973. Georgia executed five people last year and also in 1987.

Georgia also leads the nation in executions this year.

Reaction to George Zimmerman case

Photos: Week 4 of George Zimmerman trial

Listen to 911 calls from Ga. baby murder

The Brunswick Police Department released three 911 calls it received after a 13-month old baby was shot in the head and killed on Thursday.

Listen to the calls:  ONE | TWO | THREE

In one call, a woman fights back tears while saying the baby had been shot.  A man then takes the phone to tell the dispatcher that the baby had been shot “right between the eyes.”

The baby, Antonio, was pronounced dead at the scene around 9:20 a.m. despite all attempts to review him.

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Romanticizing Pablo Escobar

Funerals begin for Colo. theater shooting victims

A Colorado father killed in last week's theater shootings is the first to be laid to rest.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and the mayor of Aurora are among the mourners at a funeral service for the man who took his two teenage children to the new Batman movie's midnight showing.

Fifty-one-year-old Gordon Cowden was the oldest of the 12 people killed in the massacre at the "Dark Knight Rises." The businessman's children escaped unharmed.

About 150 mourners attended Cowden's funeral, many carrying flowers. They walked by a large portrait of Cowden at the church entrance.

Families of other victims plan to say their final goodbyes later this week.

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