- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 30, 2014
2 dead in Tenn. tornado were couple in mobile home

FAYETTEVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A married couple killed in a tornado in southern Tennessee had returned to their mobile home mistakenly believing the danger had passed, a neighbor said Tuesday.

Authorities identified the victims as John Prince, 60, and his wife Karen, 44.

Tiffani Danner, whose own home across the street was destroyed, said the couple had taken refuge at Karen Prince’s father’s house, but returned to the mobile home after the first wave of the storm. The Princes were living there while building a new house on the property, she said.

“We pulled up, and were in shocked seeing our own home. But then we saw Karen’s father, and he said ‘John and Karen are gone - They didn’t make it,’” Danner said.

The Princes weren’t alone in thinking the worst of the weather had passed on Monday evening.

Families taking shelter in the South Lincoln Elementary School left after the first wave passed. About half an hour later a tornado struck the school, blowing out windows and taking off much of the roof, said Lincoln County Sheriff Murray Blackwelder.

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Haslam signs bill to punish pregnant drug abusers

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Gov. Bill Haslam has signed into law legislation that would punish pregnant women who abuse narcotics and harm their babies as a result.

He signed the bill in spite of a call from health and women’s organizations to veto the bill. The measure would allow women to be charged with assault if they abuse narcotics while pregnant and give birth to a child who is dependent on drugs or harmed as a result.

National Advocates for Pregnant Women, a New York-based advocacy organization, says despite attempts by other states, Tennessee is the first to pass such a bill. Under the law, the women would be charged with misdemeanor assault.

Haslam said Tuesday after signing the bill that he is aware of the concerns opponents have to the measure and will use updates with the courts and health professionals to monitor its impact.

“In reviewing this bill, I have had extensive conversations with experts including substance abuse, mental health, health and law enforcement officials,” Haslam said in a statement. “The intent of this bill is to give law enforcement and district attorneys a tool to address illicit drug use among pregnant women through treatment programs.”

He added that the law has a provision in it that calls for it to be reassessed in two years, which would allow officials to get data on the impact of babies and mothers.

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2nd person charged in missing student case

DECATURVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A grand jury indicted a second person Tuesday on murder and kidnapping charges in the disappearance of 20-year-old nursing student Holly Bobo three years ago.

Jason Autry, 39, was indicted by a special grand jury on charges of first-degree murder and especially aggravated kidnapping.

Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Director Mark Gwyn said at a Tuesday news conference in Decaturville that authorities have not found Bobo’s body. However, he said they have sworn statements from witnesses who saw Bobo alive with Autry and Zachary Adams after Bobo disappeared from her home near Parsons in Decatur County on April 13, 2011.

Adams was indicted in March on the same charges that Autry now faces, and is currently being held without bond in the Chester County Jail.

Autry is currently serving a three-year sentence in Riverbend Maximum Security Institution in a separate case.

Gwyn said Adams and Autry were longtime friends. He declined to say whether there was any previous connection between Bobo and Autry.

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Employee opens fire at FedEx sorting center

KENNESAW, Ga. (AP) - A FedEx employee wearing ammunition draped across his chest “like Rambo” opened fire Tuesday at a package-sorting center outside Atlanta, wounding six people before committing suicide, police and witnesses said.

In addition to a shotgun, the gunman also had an undisclosed number of Molotov cocktails, but he did not use them in the attack, police said.

The suspect, identified by police as 19-year-old Geddy Kramer of Acworth, was found dead inside. He worked as a package handler at the sprawling facility, Cobb County police Sgt. Dana Pierce said.

Investigators have an idea of what his motive may have been, but they were not prepared to disclose it yet, Pierce said.

Three of the victims were critically wounded, though only one remained in critical condition by late afternoon. Police say three were in stable condition, and two others were treated and released.

Kramer first drove his car to a security shack outside the building and shot a guard there before heading inside, the news release said.