- Associated Press - Monday, August 17, 2015
MTSU senior charged in death of 22-year-old woman

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (AP) - Authorities say a senior at Middle Tennessee State University has been accused of killing a 22-year-old woman who was found dead inside her apartment.

Multiple media report that Brandon Bowling was taken into custody on Saturday and charged with first-degree murder in the death of Heather Maples, who was discovered Aug. 7.

Bowling is being held without bond in the Rutherford County Jail.

At the time of her death, police said they believe Maples knew her attacker and her death was not a random act. However, the connection, if any, between the two has yet to be released.

Authorities also have not said how Maples died. She was not an MTSU student, but worked at the apartment complex where she lived.

MTSU spokesman Jimmy Hart said Bowling, a business major in information systems, first enrolled during the summer of 2011. He was also enrolled to take classes this fall.


Inmates say they worked for free for jail officials

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Former inmates at a privately run Nashville jail say they worked without pay building bean-bag “cornhole” games, plaques shaped like footballs, birdhouses and dog beds so that officials could sell them through their personal business at a flea market.

Inmates can legally be required to work without pay, in some circumstances, but jail employees are not supposed to profit from their labor. But former inmates Larry Stephney and Charles Brew say that is what happened with Stand Firm Designs, run by two jail employees and one former employee, according to their business card.

Although the company website says Stand Firm Designs is “composed of retired contractors,” Stephney and Brew said they produced some of the company’s products while working without pay in the jail’s woodshop under fear of retaliation.

Those products were sold at the Nashville Flea Market and through the website, they said. Plaques went for $10 to $20 and bean-bag toss games commonly called cornhole were $50, they said.

A section of the website with pictures of the plaques Stephney and Brew say they produced has recently been taken down.

To prove the items being sold by Stand Firm Designs were made by inmates, Stephney and Brew concealed their names under pieces of wood nailed to the backs of items. They also wrote the number 412148, which refers to a section of Tennessee code that makes it illegal for jail officials to require an inmate to perform labor that results in the official’s personal gain. The AP was shown some of the items with the concealed names and numbers.


Former worker sentenced for stealing from Church of God

CLEVELAND, Tenn. (AP) - A former worker at the international headquarters for the Church of God has been sentenced to 34 months in a federal prison after pleading guilty to stealing nearly $1 million.

The Cleveland Daily Banner (https://bit.ly/1J7BwrP) reports former communications director Troy Scot Carter was sentenced last week in a U.S. District courtroom in Chattanooga.

In April, Carter entered a plea agreement with federal prosecutors in which he admitted taking more than $880,000 from church coffers through schemes that included creating false invoices for audiovisual services. He worked for the church from 2004 to 2013.

The Church of God headquarters in Cleveland, Tennessee, oversees 36,000 congregations around the world.

At the sentencing hearing, U.S. District Judge Curtis L. Collier said Carter’s actions caused “a loss in confidence in the church itself and its leaders.”

“Greed is the obvious motivation,” Collier said. “It was a scheme well-thought out and elaborate. Other than greed, there was no reason to commit the crime.”


Longtime civil rights activist Bond dead at 75

ATLANTA (AP) - Julian Bond, a leading figure from the 1960s civil rights movement who served as chairman of the NAACP after a long career in politics, died Saturday, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. He was 75.

Bond died in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, after a brief illness, the center said in a statement released Sunday.

Horace Julian Bond was born Jan. 14, 1940, in Nashville, Tennessee, and grew to be a major force in the campaign for racial equality. Often seen at the forefront of protests against segregation, Bond later pursued a lengthy career in politics and academia but never ceded his position as a civil rights icon.

President Barack Obama issued a statement Sunday calling Bond “a hero.”

“Justice and equality was the mission that spanned his life,” Obama said. “Julian Bond helped change this country for the better. And what better way to be remembered than that.”

Bond burst into the national consciousness after helping to start the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee - where he rubbed shoulders with the likes of Stokely Carmichael and John Lewis. As the group grew into an important force that advocated for social change, the young Bond dropped out of Morehouse College in Atlanta to serve as the committee’s communications director. He later returned and got his degree in 1971.

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