Here are a few of the criminal law stories that have recently occurred around the state of Alabama:
- After making online threats not long after the Las Vegas shootings on Monday, a Bay Minette man is currently behind bars and awaiting a judicial hearing. According to the Bay Minette Police Department and Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office, officers received numerous threats from the Facebook account of 23-year-old Joel Logan Gilliam. Gilliam referenced the recent mass shooting in Las Vegas and allegedly made several violent against the city of Bay Minette in his posts. After obtaining a warrant for terroristic threats (a Class C Felony), officers entered Gilliam’s house and arrested the suspect. Gilliam was unarmed and later told police that the posts were simply a joke to provoke a reaction from the public. He is being held at the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Correction Center without bond.
- Four teens between ages of 13 and 15 allegedly broke into Rudd Middle School earlier this week. While auditing the school bus cameras, the staff noticed that three of the buses had been started and driven around the lot by the four suspects on Monday night. The suspects were identified as being students at Rudd and Pinson Valley High School. The students allegedly also broke windows, discharged fire extinguishers and entered the building and stole tablets, mobile phones and a laptop. The stolen items were returned after the suspects’ parents were contacted, but police have obtained juvenile petitions formally charging the teens with second-degree burglary, unlawful breaking and entering a vehicle, first-degree theft of property, third-degree criminal mischief and unauthorized use of a vehicle.
- Close to a year later, a Jefferson County jury has indicted Savannah Lynn Hopkins, then 19, on attempted murder charges after she allegedly shot and wounded then-23-year-old bartender Zakk Earle at the Upside Plaza in October 2016. The incident occurred when Earle confronted Hopkins’ boyfriend, Sebastian Godby, and told him Hopkins was not old enough to drink at the Plaza. Godby allegedly handed Hopkins a gun and jumped Earle. While the two were on the ground, Earle said he was holding down Godby and yelling for someone to call 911 when Hopkins shot Earle. The couple fled the scene and were later arrested by police after they crashed their vehicle and attempted a brief foot chase. Earle suffered damage to his liver and abdomen, but recovered. Hopkins was released on a $30,000 bond and Godby was charged with unlawful possession of a controlled substance and drug possession with intent to distribute. Hopkins’ recent indictment stated that the suspect “intended to commit the crime of murder by shooting Earle with a pistol” with a trial date yet to be set.
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