- Associated Press - Sunday, May 17, 2015
Man, 24, convicted of slaying young Knoxville mother in 2013

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A man has been sentenced to life in prison for killing a young mother of newborn twins outside of her Knoxville home during a drive-by shooting.

Multiple media outlets report 24-year-old Lavonte Simmons of Knoxville was convicted Friday of first-degree murder. The judge gave Simmons an automatic life sentence.

He, as well as Shawn O’Neill of Memphis, had been charged with the 2013 killing of 21-year-old Uniqua Brown as she ran across the lawn of her home. Brown was a mother of four and had recently given birth to twins.

WVLT-TV reports (https://bit.ly/1JP5inn) O’Neill testified Thursday that he was the driver of the vehicle, while Simmons was the shooter.

Prosecutor Leslie Nassios says the slaying was in retaliation for the robbery of Simmons’ brother the night before.



Tennessee Aquarium crews release sturgeons back into river

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) - Tennessee Aquarium employees have released eight lake sturgeon into the Tennessee River to celebrate national Endangered Species Day.

The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports (https://bit.ly/1RTS2mYhttps://bit.ly/1RTS2mY ) members of the Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute will track the behavior of the 20-inch-long fish they took from the Great Lakes and released into the water on Friday.

Lake sturgeon had disappeared from the Tennessee River by 1961. Over the past 15 years the institute has brought 150,000 of the fish back to the river.

Aquarium officials say the fish became extinct in the river due to overfishing, dam construction and increased pollution. They say the fish can now survive because of increased government fishing regulations and the Clean Water Act.

Sturgeon can grow to be nine feet long and live more than 100 years.



Nashville mayor plans huge park in southeast neighborhood

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Nashville Mayor Karl Dean has announced long-sought plans for a large park in a fast-growing part of the city.

Multiple media outlets report Dean has arranged for 591 acres near southeast Nashville’s Cane Ridge High School to be preserved.

According to the plan, Metro Nashville would spend $14 million, while another $4.1 million for the Antioch park would come from the Joe C. Davis Foundation.

The Metro Council will consider the plan when it reviews the Dean’s spending proposal next month.

If the park is approved, it would be roughly five times the size of Centennial Park.

The acquisition is part of the city’s Open Space Plan, which calls for preservation of public and private land and was unveiled in 2011.


Birthday boy, 5, killed at Nashville party

NSAHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A five-year-old Nashville boy has died after being run over by a vehicle during his birthday party.

WSMV-TV reports (https://bit.ly/1IHJefz) the boy was reaching under a minivan to retrieve a ball when the driver of the vehicle ran him over Friday night.

Police say the driver did not see the boy.

The boy was pronounced dead at Skyline Hospital. His name has not been released.


Information from: WSMV-TV, https://www.wsmv.com/https://www.wsmv.com/

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