Here are a few of the criminal law stories that have recently occurred around the state of Alabama:
- A Jackson County couple and owners of the dogs who mauled a 24-year-old northeast Alabama woman to death in December were recently charged with criminally negligent homicide. Police booked the couple, 43-year-old Brian Keith Graden and 45-year-old Melody Ann Graden, into the Jackson County Jail on Tuesday evening, April 3rd. Both face a misdemeanor homicide charge along with four counts of failure to immunize a pet for rabies. A grand jury has issued these charges as indictments. The Gradens' five dogs killed the victim, Emily Colvin, in front of her home and injured another woman. One dog was shot on the spot by lawmen, and a judge has ordered the other four dogs euthanized. Colvin's death followed another Alabama woman who had been killed by a dog in Marshall County days earlier. Both women's deaths have "prompted Alabama lawmakers to pass a bill this year that can impose felony charges on owners of dogs that seriously injure or killed someone." However, the Gradens will not face the felony charges under the new laws.
- Last Wednesday, the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office announced the arrest of a 56-year-old Memphis man, James Robert Fields, saying they had caught him with 82 pounds of methamphetamine packaged as Mexican candy. On March 29th, the Highway Safety Unit had stopped Fields's Honda for erratic driving on Interstate 59/20 near mile marker 104 near Rock Mountain Lakes. Fields allowed authorities to search the vehicle and they found a large bag containing several smaller bags of Mexican candy in the trunk. However, the deputies said the "candy" felt granular and soon determined it to be methamphetamine. The 82 pounds carried an estimated street value of almost $1.5 million. James Robert Field is being held on a $200,000 bond in the Jefferson County Jail and faces charges of trafficking methamphetamine.
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