Athens News Courier (Newspaper) - December 1, 2009, Athens, Alabama
Lady Rattlers improve to 4-1 PAGE B1The News CourierSen ing Athens ¿¡nd Limestone County: A Community of Trcidition and Future
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DOC to turn over Baiicsdale records to media today
By Karkn Middlk i’on
The Department of Corrections announced Monday that it would make available for viewing by the media <ill prison records concerning the death of Farron Barksdale at 9 a.m. today.
Barksdale, who was found comatose in his cell at Kilby Correctional Facility just three days after his arrival in August 2007, died 10 days later.
Barksdale, 32, who had previously been diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic, was serving a life sentence for killing two Athens police officers in 2004.
Although an autopsy determined Barksdale died of hyperthermia after he was left in a single-inmate cell when temperatures reached 100-plus degrees and that drug therapy exacerbated his condition, bruising on his body was unexplained.
The Southern Center for Human Rights filed suit against DOC Commissioner Richard Allen in 2007 seeking the records in Barksdale’s death.
The Alabama Supreme Court ruled in September, following a two-year court battle, that the DOC must make public incident reports and other records relating
to the death.
DOC spokesman Brian Corbett said Monday that the 795 pages in the records were mailed to Southern Center for Human Rights attorneys and Jake Watson, the attorney representing Farron Barksdale’s mother, Mary Barksdale, on Nov. 20.
Sarah Geraghty, an SCHR attorney, said Monday she was disappointed that in the entire 795 pages there was no explanation for the bruising on Barksdale’s body.
“It is now clear that Mr. Barksdale died of hyperthermia after being highly medicated with anti
psychotic drugs during a heat wave and unmonitored in a cell that was not air-conditioned,” said Geraghty. “But that still doesn’t explain the bruising. Photographs of Mr. Barksdale show extensive bruising. EMTs found massive bruises the size of salad plates that had been newly sustained.
“It makes it clear that he did not have the bruises when he entered the prison, but he had them before he died. The Department of Corrections w'ent through the motions, but was ultimately content to draw no conclusions about
See Barksdale, page 2A
Armed for safety
NEWS COURIER/KIM RYNDERS
It is a bittersweet moment for Cindy Morris to see the Piney Chapel rail crossing arms at last erected. She said it won’t bring back her son who was struck and killed by a train there, but it might keep other people from being killed.
Piney Chapel railroad crossing gate in place
When Cindy Morris began her lettei^ writing and phoning campaign five years ago to have a gate installed at the Piney Chapel Road rail crossing, she wasn’t sure anyone was listening.
But the site where her son, Dewey Standridge, died Nov. 9, 2004, now has crossing arms.
Morris said CSX employees worked steadily throughout the Thanksgiving holiday to erect the gate.
“I couldn’t believe it when my friend called me on Thanksgiving Day and said, ‘They’re down there,”’ she said. “I had to
drive down there and see for myself”
Morris said when she read in The News Courier early in November that the crossing gate was to be erected by the end of the year she was inclined not to believe it, thinking there would be another delay.
“I thought, ‘Here’s another date and they’ll miss it,’ but they actuaUy did it this time,” she said.
According to investigators, 16-year-old Dewey Standridge, pulled too close to the railroad crossing on Piney Chapel Road and was struck by a northbound
See Gate, page 3A
Residents want mayor to veto historic commission amendment
By Karkn Middkkton
kiirviiiS'iitltciisncws-courwr.com About a half-dozen residents of the city’s historical districts met with Athens Mayor Dan Wilhams Monday to ask him to veto an amendment to the city’s historical district ordinance.
On NoV. 23, the City Council voted 3-to-2 to approve an amendment to the ordinance that would give the city the option of a becoming a Certified Local Government with the ability to designate for nomination certain buildings to the
National Register of Historic Places. Officials say the designation would allow the city to apply for restoration grants for buildings around the square and elsewhere.
Councihnen Harold Wales and Jimmy Gill, who voted against the measure, say they had received numerous emails and phone calls from residents protesting the amendment.
Over the Thanksgiving weekend some of those who oppose the amendment hit the streets in the Beaty and Houston historic districts to gather
signatures on a petition asking the mayor to veto the amendment. They collected 124 signatures, which VVilliams acknowledged was a large percentage of historic district residents.
“It’s a separate issue from a historic district,” said Carlene Freehauf of the Beaty District. “That (the amendment) is for buildings on the square, and historic districts are private homes.”
Bobbie Patton, also a Beaty
See Amendment, page 2A
Men charged with child abuse, porno among 133 indictments
By Jklyn C:oi k
Five Limestone County men have been formally charged by a Limestone County grand jury on separate felony charges involving child abuse or child pornography, records show.
They are among 133 people recently indicted.
Bobby Joe Adams, 50, of 8886 Franklin Road, Limestone County, was indicted on a charge of enticing a child for allegedly trying to give the 13-year-old girl marijuana in exchange for sex, records show. Limestone County Sher-ift Mike Blakely said in February, when Adams was first arrested, that Adams admitted trying to make the exchange.
Marcos Leon Martinez, 23, of 15617 Ihim Road, Athens, was indicted on a charge of child abuse for allegedly breaking the leg of his 5-month-old son, records show. The child was taken to a doctor with pain and swelling in the leg and was referred to a speciaUst in Huntsville, who deteiTnined the injury was not accidental. Limestone County Chief Investigator Stanley Mc-Natt said at the time Martinez was first arrested on June 12. Investigator Leslie Ramsey investigated the case and made the charges.
James Seay Thome, 39, of 716 Swan Drive, Athens, was indicted on a
See Grand jury, page 3A
Noah moved from ICU
Crowe, son of John Davud and Jessica Crowe, who had surgery for a brain tumor a week ago at Children’s Hospital of Birmingham, has been moved out of the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, where he has been since the surgery.
Crowe, who is minister of music at Friendship United Methodist Church, said he and his wife noticed that Noah had a sudden loss of motor skills just days before his surgery. Once flown by medical helicopter to the hospital it was discovered that the toddler had a large brain tumor and he was given massive doses of steroids to hold the growth at bay.
During surgery, doctors discovered that the child had been close to death because the tumor had aggressively attached itself to key parts of the brain and had several veins going through it, according to his father.
In a surgery that lasted most of a day surgeons cut away parts of the tumor, surgeons would have to stop frequently to put blood back in his body and get his
See Noah, page 2A