Evening news update - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

Evening news update

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -

Lawsuit filed to keep Cooper Green open

A lawsuit has been filed seeking to restore funding and prevent the closing of Cooper Green Mercy Hospital. The lawsuit was filed by a woman who uses the hospital. The suit claims the county illegally diverted almost $5 million from the indigent care fund which support the hospital. County Commissioner Shelia Smoot denies that the county took the money, and says this is a frivolous lawsuit. Some Cooper Green employees are worried about their future. Commissioner William Bell says that he is working to create a new authority over the hospital which would take the county out of it.

Alabama Supreme Court vacates injunction

The Alabama Supreme Court has vacated the injunction that prevented the Jefferson County Commission from cutting Sheriff Mike Hale's budget - however, the ruling was on technicality, so Sheriff Hale can renew his request to stop the budget cuts. In fact, the case is set to go to a judge on Friday who says he wants to make a decision before Tuesday of next week. That is the day that the county commission is set to vote on more budget cuts, including laying off more than 200 employees.

Mistrial declared in Hoover rape case

After 12 hours of deliberations over the course of two days, a mistrial has been declared in the trial of Aaron Morrison.  Morrison was charged with rape, kidnapping, impersonating a police officer, and two counts of sexual abuse.  Those charges stem from two separate incidents in 2008.  Late Wednesday afternoon, they returned with a guilty verdict on one of the sexual abuse charges. Also on Wednesday, the jury returned a guilty verdict on the charge of impersonating a police officer, but they could not reach a decision on the accompanying charges of rape, kidnapping and sexual abuse.  On Thursday, they returned to deliberate.  The day turned out to be filled with numerous notes being sent to Judge Clyde Jones. One of them came after lunch when one woman stated she had been called "stupid" during deliberations and wanted the matter addressed. There were several more notes saying they were at an impasse, including one that came late Thursday afternoon.  Jurors said they were deadlocked - eleven in favor of guilt, one opposed.  In the end, the group told the court they were hopelessly deadlocked and Jones declared a mistrial. Morrison will be retried on the three charges on September 14.  He will also be sentenced on the first two charges that same day.  He remains in the Jefferson County jail on $200,000 bond.

Murder, suicide investigation in Birmingham

A murder/suicide in Birmingham late Wednesday night leave a man and woman dead. It happened at 22nd Street Southwest just after 10:00 p.m. on Wednesday. 22-year old Teresa Wright and Talmadge Owens were found shot dead on the kitchen floor. Police believe that Owens shot Wright, then killed himself. Wright was Birmingham's 35th homicide of 2009, compared to 42 at this point in 2008.

Shooting outside of WalMart store

An argument between two WalMart employees turned dangerous on Thursday afternoon. One employee shot another in the store's parking lot. The incident happened at the location on Montclair Road. The victim was taken to UAB Hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries. The suspect later turned himself into police.

Two trials waived to grand jury

Two trials were waived to the grand jury on Thursday morning. In the first case, Martez Seay has been accused in the execution style death of Vestavia Hills businessman Lonnie Vaughn. He is also under investigation for the shooting of someone police have connected to Vaughn's death. In the second case, Chevis Finley is a former Brighton Police officer accused of shooting Broderick Dixon to death at the Enclave Apartments in Irondale last May. Finley is currently free on bond.

Promotions at the Birmingham Police Department

Thursday was a big day for twenty Birmingham Police officers. A ceremony was held on Thursday morning promoting fifteen of them to sergeant, and five to lieutenant. Chief Roper says that new leadership in the department in pivotal for success in reducing crime.

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