- Associated Press - Thursday, April 24, 2014
Man accused of stalking singer John Rich warned

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A Nashville judge issued a stern warning on Wednesday to a man accused of stalking country music singer John Rich.

The Tennessean (https://tnne.ws/1np165H) reports the judge told Mark “Chris” Sevier to stop “playing games” with the court or go to jail.

Sevier faces two counts of aggravated stalking and one count of criminal impersonation after being accused of stalking Rich and then stalking a 17-year-old girl separately from the music star. He has pleaded not guilty and is free on bond awaiting trial scheduled for October.

Sevier has been accused of stalking Rich for years. A police report filed last year in Nashville said Rich told investigators that he had become increasingly fearful for his family’s safety because he traveled often. Rich told police, the report said, that Sevier had sent him numerous emails, including one with a picture of Sevier draped in an American flag “wearing very little if any clothing” and covered in a substance believed to represent blood.

On Wednesday, a prosecutor asked that Sevier’s bond be revoked, saying he was toying with the court after being ordered to give 24-hour notice and a detailed schedule of his travel plans any time he left his home state of Alabama. Prosecutor Tammy Meade told the judge that Sevier sent an email in April to court officials just before midnight on a Friday saying he was moving that weekend to New York. He also allegedly later sent emails saying he might spend time in Los Angeles or Washington, D.C.

“This is playing games with the court order, seeing how far he can push it,” Meade said. “Every word he writes is calculated.”


Piece of ‘Band of Brothers’ gets new commander

FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. (AP) - The original “Band of Brothers” has a new commander and will be getting a new home.

The 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment executed a change of command ceremony at Fort Campbell on Wednesday. At the end of the week, the regiment will move from the 4th Brigade Combat Team to the 3rd Brigade Combat Team. The move is being made as the Army shrinks its overall size as wars in Iraq and Afghanistan wrap up.

The 4th Brigade, which is part of the 101st Airborne Division, became famous in a book by historian Stephen Ambrose and a subsequent HBO miniseries produced by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks. It will be made inactivate Friday.

“It’s a family,” said the outgoing commander, Lt. Col. Gregory Beaudoin. “You just feel like a piece of you has been taken.”

The 1st Battalion has fought in every major U.S. conflict since being created in 1942 in Georgia and was recognized for its role at the Battle of Hamburger Hill during the Vietnam War in May 1969.

Lt. Col. David Waters will take command of the unit as it shifts to its new home, which is part of a reorganization that will see the Army inactivate 10 brigades and reduce the fighting force from a high of about 570,000 at the peak of the Iraq war to 490,000 - a reflection of budget cuts and of the country’s current military needs as wars in Iraq and Afghanistan end.


Man convicted in comic’s murder asks for parole

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The man sentenced to 198 years in prison for the 1973 killing of country comic David “Stringbean” Akeman and his wife, Estelle, asked on Wednesday to be paroled.

The Tennessean (https://tnne.ws/QypVOY) reports John A. Brown told the Tennessee Board of Parole that he is a changed man after spending 40 years in prison.

“I’m truly sorry,” said Brown, who is now 63. “I can’t undo anything to change my past. I’ve committed the last 40 years to changing my life.”

Brown presented his case to two of seven parole board members from a special needs facility that houses prisoners in Nashville. The board could make a decision in one to two weeks after other board members review the case. He needs four votes in favor of parole to be released.

One board member who watched the video conference has already voted to deny Brown’s release. Another voted to continue the case to October so she could see a psychological evaluation of Brown and his propensity for any future violence.

“I don’t want to see him have another breath of free air,” said Jan Howard, a Grand Ole Opry member and close friend of the Akemans. “It was not a robbery gone bad, a burglary gone bad. It was premeditated.”


Haslam signs bill seeking to end book shredding

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Gov. Bill Haslam has signed a bill into law to ban the shredding of Imagination Library books delivered to the incorrect addresses.

The governor’s office announced Tuesday that Haslam signed the measure sponsored by Rep. Craig Fitzhugh of Ripley and fellow Democratic Sen. Lowe Finney of Jackson last week.

The bill directs the U.S. Postal Service to instead donate the books to pre-kindergarten or other programs.

The Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation is a partner to the Imagination Library, which was created by country singer Dolly Parton in 1996. The program provides a book every month to children from birth to age 5 at no cost to the family, regardless of income.

The House passed the bill on a 93-0 vote, while the Senate approved its version 31-0.

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