Here are a few of the criminal law stories that have recently occurred around the state of Alabama:

  • Sylacauga police recently arrested a 28-year-old North Carolina man, Donald Christopher Crawford, in an alleged connection with a fire that occurred at Knollwood Presbyterian Church last Tuesday. The fire happened in the basement at the same time that a group of parishioners were still in the building, but they were fortunately able to exit safely. Crawford was described by officers as a “transient” with a bond set at $25,000. He has been charged with first-degree arson.
  • Last Wednesday, a grand jury issued two felony indictments against a a former Hale County city official for allegedly stealing more than $100,000 from the municipal court system. The missing funds were discovered during a partial audit of the city that was requested by Moundville Police Chief Toby Banks in early March. On March 12th, police initially arrested former Moundville municipal court, 37-year-old Rhonda Jean Wilson, on charges of first-degree theft of property and using an official position for personal gain. The investigation determined that the final total taken between Feb. 14, 2012 through Feb. 14, 2018 was $135,449.
  • Sheriff’s deputies responded to a call last Wednesday that a pair of Mulga men in a black, four-door Ford Focus was allegedly taking mail from mailboxes in western Jefferson County. While searching for that black Ford, they found video surveillance of the vehicle stopping in the parking lot of a nearby business and picking up one of the suspects from a blue Ford pickup. The suspects later returned to the parking lot, where the authorities arrested 33-year-old Eric Chase Watson and 22-year-old Phillip Ryan Graham. Watson was identified as the driver of the blue pickup and had drug paraphernalia, an outstanding warrant and a revoked driver’s license. Graham was identified as the driver of the Focus, had drug paraphernalia and also had an outstanding warrant and a revoked driver’s license. Along with the drug paraphernalia, the authorities found mail from different mailboxes in the area, none of which belonged to the suspects. The two both were charged on drug paraphernalia possession and are expected to receive more charges as the investigation continues.

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