Bobbi Brown’s partner
LOS ANGELES — “Dr. Phil” will air what the TV show is describing as an “intervention” conducted with Nick Gordon, the partner of hospitalized Bobbi Kristina Brown .
In a release Thursday, the show said Gordon and his mother, Michelle, described him as haunted by what happened to Brown and the similar tragedy that befell the late Whitney Houston.
Brown, the 22-year-old daughter of Houston and singer Bobby Brown, was discovered face-down in a bathtub in her Georgia home on Jan. 31. She remains on life support in an Atlanta hospital.
Houston was found face-down and unresponsive in about a foot of water in a bathtub in the Beverly Hilton hotel on Feb. 11, 2012, just before the Grammys.
“As we sit here right now, my son’s life hangs in the balance. When Whitney was found, he administered CPR to her and called me as he was standing in front of her saying, ‘Mom, why couldn’t I do it? I couldn’t get air into her lungs,’ “ his mother said. “He won’t let go of the guilt.”
Gordon said he has suffered mental anguish and panic attacks since Brown was found, and over Houston’s death.
“Dr. Phil” host Phil McGraw spoke with Gordon and his mother in Atlanta on Thursday about Bobbi Kristina Brown for an episode to air March 11.
Detroit-Toronto walk ends on frozen Lake St. Clair
ALGONAC, Mich. — A man’s plan to walk from Detroit to Toronto ended Thursday in the middle of frozen Lake St. Clair, when an icebreaker spotted him, the U.S. Coast Guard said.
A lookout on the Cutter Neah Bay spotted the 25-year-old man walking on the lake about 9:30 a.m. Thursday, 1 ½ miles from Ontario’s Seaway Island, the Coast Guard said in a statement. It said the 140-foot icebreaker sent a crew on foot to check on him.
The crew questioned him, treated him for hypothermia, and “assisted him aboard the cutter,” the Coast Guard said.
“He was in the beginning stages of hypothermia,” Lt. Joshua Zike, commander of the cutter, told the Times Herald of Port Huron. “It took him a long time to formulate his thoughts.”
The man, a U.S. citizen, wasn’t dressed for conditions on the lake, had no flotation gear and no form of communication, the Coast Guard said. Zike said he was carrying a backpack with food and clothes, a sleeping bag and tarp.
The man told the Coast Guard that he left Detroit about two nights earlier and spent Wednesday night in the Crib Lighthouse on Lake St. Clair. Seaway Island is about 20 miles from downtown Detroit.
The cutter docked at Algonac, where emergency medical workers treated the man, the Coast Guard said.
Man found guilty
of revenge killing of girl, 2
INKSTER, Mich. — A jury in Detroit reached a guilty verdict Thursday against an ex-convict who authorities say killed a 2-year-old girl in front of her father in a revenge attack.
A Wayne County Circuit Court jury found Raymone Jackson, 26, guilty of first-degree murder in the July 1, 2014, shooting of Kamiya Gross outside a house in suburban Inkster.
“His idea was to kill my baby to make me suffer,” Kenneth French, Kamiya’s father, told the judge before the sentencing.
The jury also convicted Raphael Hearn, 30 of first-degree murder. Prosecutors said Hearn helped Jackson plan and carry out the attack.
Authorities say Jackson shot Kamiya in the head, then wounded French and a 13-year-old girl. Authorities have said that the attack was retaliation for an earlier shooting in which French was considered responsible.
Judge Ulysses Boykin scheduled their sentencing March 24. First-degree murder carries mandatory life in prison without parole.
At the time of the shooting, county Prosecutor Kym Worthy said “the deliberate shooting that killed an infant and injured a young girl” was “among the most heinous that I have ever seen.”
Prosecutor charge against police chief who shot wife
ATLANTA — A prosecutor said Thursday that he plans to seek a misdemeanor charge — but no felony — against a suburban Atlanta police chief who told investigators he went to bed with a loaded gun and accidentally shot his wife after mixing alcohol and sleep medicine.
District Attorney Scott Ballard said Thursday he will seek to indict Peachtree City police Chief William McCollom next month on a charge of reckless misconduct, a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in prison. Ultimately, a grand jury will decide whether to charge the chief.
Ballard said evidence supported McCollom’s story that the New Year’s Day shooting was an accident. But the prosecutor said it also could have been avoided. He said the chief told investigators he drank alcohol and took medication to help him sleep, and ended up sleeping with his loaded service weapon under the sheets between McCollom, 58, and his wife.
“I can’t see any intent to hurt her. He didn’t have any motive,” District Attorney Scott Ballard told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.
“The criminal activity, if the grand jury indicts, is he recklessly brings a gun to bed with him after having ingested sleep medication and alcohol,” Ballard said. He said he plans to present the case to a grand jury April 15.
The chief called 911 at 4:17 a.m. Jan 1 and told a dispatcher that he shot his wife, Margaret, 58, while they both slept in their home, about 30 miles southwest of Atlanta. Margaret McCollom later told investigators at the hospital that she was asleep at the time but believed it was an accident.
“The gun was in the bed, I went to move it, and I put it to a side and it went off,” McCollom told a dispatcher, according to a recording of the call.
McCollom and his attorney, Tom Cook, didn’t immediately respond to phone calls Thursday.
Judge to rule in case
involving Beale St. sweeps
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A federal judge will decide what action, if any, Memphis officials should take in a case involving police officers who violated the constitution by clearing crowds at the Beale Street Entertainment District.
The Commercial Appeal reports U.S. District Judge Jon McCalla said he likely would rule on the case in March.
The case stems from a federal jury verdict in January that Memphis police made a practice of clearing people from Beale Street even when there was no safety threat, thereby violating people’s right to use public places. The ruling left open what action the court should take.
Attorney Robert Spence asked the judge to appoint a monitor and require more police training.
Attorney Michael Fletcher, who represents the city, said anything beyond declaring that the city’s old policy violated the constitution is unnecessary.
“The tactic is valid, but may have been applied improperly,” Fletcher said.
He said the importance of the matter would be exaggerated with the appointment of a monitor.
“I think it’s overkill frankly, your honor,” he said.
But Spence argued that city officials had previously denied that there was a policy calling for routine late-night sweeps and had said officers cleared the street only when demanded by public safety concerns. Jurors disagreed, finding that routine sweeps were policy.
Spence filed the federal suit on behalf of Lakendus Cole and Leon Edmond, two men allegedly caught up in Beale Street sweeps in separate incidents in 2012.
The lawsuit says Cole, an off-duty Memphis Police officer, was “lawfully eating pizza” when other officers attacked him and arrested him while clearing the street. The charges were dismissed, according to the suit.
The suit said Edmond, an off-duty agent for the Kansas City field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, was briefly detained in a sweep.
Lion King cast members
to speak at museum
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Cast members from Disney’s The Lion King North American Tour will be at the National Civil Rights Museum on Friday.
The cast is performing at the Orpheum Theatre in Memphis through March 1. Several members of the group will participate in a “Meet The Cast” event at 4 p.m. co-sponsored by the museum and the Helping Hands Campaign, a national outreach organization.
Cast members are expected to discuss the historical arc of African-Americans in musical theatre and share the individual journeys that brought each of them together.
The Helping Hands Campaign seeks to unite artists with the community through acts of service, fundraising and volunteerism.
For more information about the National Civil Rights Museum, visit: www.civilrightsmuseum.org.
Secrecy of medical
marijuana farm challenged
EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. — Some East St. Louis residents are challenging a city decision to keep the proposed location of a medical marijuana growing operation under wraps.
Progressive Treatment Solutions of West Chicago has been awarded the state’s sole license to grow medical marijuana in a five-county area that includes St. Clair and Madison counties. But the city has declined to disclose the planned location of the indoor growing operation, citing security concerns.
— Compiled from The Associated Press
The Belleville News-Democrat reports that a St. Clair County judge issued a temporary restraining order last week blocking the East St. Louis City Council from declaring the cultivation center meets city zoning standards. The judge’s order came hours before the council was scheduled to endorse the location.
A hearing on whether to lift the restraining order is scheduled for Thursday.
Ohio advisory group looks at police training academy quality
COLUMBUS, Ohio — The quality of police training academies in Ohio and the need for stronger statewide training standards are among the issues an attorney general’s committee is considering as it explores possible changes to the way Ohio prepares police officers.
Only one in three academies in Ohio has a student success rate of 75 percent or above, according to data compiled by the Advisory Group on Law Enforcement Training.
Of those, nearly all the academies with the highest success rates are “closed,” meaning recruits apply to attend and the cost is covered by a police department.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol and the Columbus, Dayton, Toledo and Cleveland police academies are among “closed” academies with high ratings.
“Open” academies are typically run by community colleges and charge tuition. Ohio has 61 police academies.
Attorney General Mike DeWine created the study group last year after several fatal police shootings and protests of those shootings in Ohio and nationally.
The committee is exploring what to do about low-performing academies and whether academies are serving every region properly, committee chairman Reggie Wilkinson said Thursday.
“Do we recommend we get rid of those ones that have lower percentages of completions, or do we have some sort of remediation system put in place that will allow them to do things differently?” Wilkinson said.
No recommendations have been made yet and there’s no timeline for the group to complete its work.
The committee has also been looking at whether all prospective police recruits in Ohio should have to pass similar background checks before training begins, such as polygraph tests, said Wilkinson, a former state prisons director.
DeWine has told the group to focus especially on training for use-of-force situations and for officers dealing with racially diverse populations in their communities.
DeWine also wants to know whether Ohio officers are trained well enough in recognizing when they are dealing with an active shooter. The committee is also studying how to improve officers’ interactions with mentally ill individuals.
Woman admits role in arson that killed 15-year-old son
ST. LOUIS — A Missouri woman who authorities said schemed with her ex-husband to defraud hundreds of thousands of dollars from insurers with house fires pleaded guilty Thursday for her role in a 2001 blaze that killed the couple’s 15-year-old son.
Sandra Kay Bryant, 59, pleaded guilty in federal court in St. Louis to one felony count of aiding and abetting the use of fire to commit mail fraud. Bryant could be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison in June.
Her ex-husband, Steven Kemper, pleaded guilty to the same charge in 2013 and will be sentenced next month.
Investigators said the fire at the family’s home in the St. Louis suburb of Florissant killed Zachariah Kemper after he became trapped in the basement he shared with his mother while her mother, Kemper and his lover lived upstairs. All of the adults escaped unharmed.
According to prosecutors, Bryant set fire to a trash can in a basement utility room next to her son’s bedroom, using hairspray to fuel the flames. Bryant and Kemper knew their son was asleep in the next room, the indictment alleges. Firefighters found the boy’s body near his bed. His arms were covering his head and face, and a fire extinguisher was on the floor, a few feet away.
The teen sustained burns on his upper body, head and extremities, according to an autopsy that found soot in his airway, showing he was alive when the fire broke out.
Bryant was initially charged in state court with an arson-related murder count, but she walked free after a judge declared a mistrial, barring Missouri prosecutors from going after her again.
The federal indictment characterized the couple as greedy, cash-strapped schemers who once tried to torch the Alton, Illinois, home of Bryant’s mother after secretly siphoning $30,000 from her bank accounts.
Betty Bryant, who the indictment said also managed to escape a New Year’s Day 1997 blaze authorities say Kemper had set in her St. Louis home as she slept, later denied the couple any more financial help while threatening to cut them out of her will. She died in 2007.
Kemper and Bryant divorced in 2002.
— Compiled from The Associated Press