published Saturday, June 16th, 2012

Sex offenders charged in DeKalb and other Chattanooga area news

Sex offenders charged in DeKalb

FORT PAYNE, Ala. -- Two local men were charged this week with violating sexual offender registration laws and requirements, according to DeKalb County, Ala., Sheriff Jimmy Harris.

Richard Holcomb, 32, a registered sex offender from Dutton, Ala., was arrested for working at a business at 1285 Alabama Highway 35, which is too close to Plainview School in Rainsville. State law prohibits convicted sex offenders from working within 2,000 feet of a school, Harris said.

Billy Joe Busby, 28, a registered sex offender from Fyffe, Ala., was arrested for not having a current identification card or driver's license showing a valid address. Harris said all convicted sex offenders must have a driver's license or state-issued identification card bearing the offender's current address.

"There's more to it than just registering. Sex offenders have to comply with regulations on an ongoing basis," Harris stated in a news release.

Sex offenders are responsible for notifying their local law enforcement office of any changes in residency or employment, he said.


Judge snaps at DA, won't recuse self

KNOXVILLE -- The senior judge who again has ordered new trials in the slaying of a young Knoxville couple has refused to step aside from the case.

The Knoxville News Sentinel reported Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood announced his decision during a hearing in Knoxville on Thursday.

Blackwood ordered new trials for defendants convicted in the torture slayings of Channon Christian, 21, and Christopher Newsom, 23, in 2007. His ruling came after it was revealed the judge who presided over the trials -- Richard Baumgartner -- had been addicted to prescription painkillers that he was buying illegally.

The hearing Thursday produced a sharp exchange during which Blackwood told Knox County District Attorney Randy Nichols to sit down and threatened to cite him for contempt.


County to appeal mosque ruling

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. -- The Rutherford County Commission has voted to appeal a judge's ruling that voided the approval of a mosque for failing to provide adequate public notice.

The commissioners voted 15-6 in favor on Thursday night, the Daily News Journal reported.

County Attorney Jim Cope said the cost of the appeal could be $15,000 to $25,000. But he said that while the appeal is pending, the county would be banned from issuing a certificate of occupancy to the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro, which was ordered by Chancellor Robert Corlew on Wednesday.

Corlew ruled that the county's public notice of the planning commission meeting in the Murfreesboro Post wasn't adequate because the free publication doesn't distribute in unincorporated areas, including where the mosque is being built.

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