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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - Defense attorneys may be a step closer to understanding what evidence prosecutors have against their clients in the case of a missing nursing student whose partial remains were found more than three years after her disappearance.
Tennessee Bureau of Investigation spokesman Josh DeVine said Thursday the bureau has completed its analysis of more than 460 pieces of evidence in the case of Holly Bobo, who was 20 when she disappeared from her house in April 2011.
Zachary Adams and Jason Autry were arrested last spring and charged with murder and kidnapping. In September, authorities announced they'd found Bobo's remains in a wooded area in Decatur County, not far from her home in Parsons.
No trial date has been set, and defense attorneys have complained that they have received no evidence linking their clients to the crime.
WASHINGTON -- In a case that could have broad implications for hundreds of death row inmates, the Supreme Court will consider whether a drug protocol used in recent lethal injections violates the Constitution's prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment.
The justices agreed Friday to consider a case originally brought by four death-row inmates in Oklahoma -- one of whom was put to death last week, after the court refused to block his execution with a combination of three drugs that has caused some prisoners to writhe in pain.
Because the court's four liberal justices dissented from the decision to let that execution go forward, it presumably was their votes in private conference Friday that will give the issue a full hearing in open court. Only four votes are needed from the nine-member court to accept a case. It will be heard in late April and decided by late June.
Lawyers for Charles Warner and three other convicts set for execution in Oklahoma over the next six weeks sought the Supreme Court's intervention after two lower federal courts refused their pleas. While the court's conservatives refused to stop Warner's execution, the request for a full court hearing had been held for further consideration.
The lawyers claim that the sedative midazolam, the first drug used in the three-drug protocol, is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration as a general anesthetic and is being used in state executions virtually on an experimental basis. They say Inmates may not be rendered unconscious and could suffer painfully as the other drugs in the protocol are administered.
That, they claim, was a factor in Oklahoma's botched execution last April of Clayton Lockett, who struggled, groaned and writhed in pain for 43 minutes before dying. A state investigation later blamed Lockett's ordeal on a failure by prison staff to realize that drugs had not been administered directly into his veins. The state has since changed its procedures and increased the dose of midazolam used.
"The time is right for the court to take a careful look at this important issue, particularly given the bungled executions that have occurred since states started using these novel and experimental drugs protocols," said Dale Baich, one of the lawyers representing the death-row inmates.
The American Lung Association's annual "State of Tobacco Control" report gave Tennessee a failing grade in tobacco control.
Not implementing proven policies to reduce tobacco use earned the state an F in three of the four categories (tobacco prevention and control program funding, tobacco taxes, smoke-free air and access to cessation services). The tax rate of 62 cents a pack, one of the lowest in the nation, and meeting less than 10 percent of the CDC's recommended funding for tobacco control programs are listed as significant reasons for the failing grade.
However, the state did slightly better in the smoke-free air category with a grade of C. Lung health advocates, who fought bills that would have weakened Tennessee's smoke-free law and allowed e-cigarettes to be used on state property as well as tax breaks on the product, helped secure the better ranking.
Tennessee isn't alone in its poor grades. No state earned an A in this year's report.
The report recommends that the state tax be raised $1 on all tobacco products, that the Non-Smokers Rights Law be strengthened and that funding be increased to better meet the guidelines.
Cumberland County traveled to McMinnville Friday night and claimed a couple of District wins over Warren County High School. The Lady Jets improved to 5 and 1 in District play and 18 and 4 overall with a 74-43 victory. The Jets recorded their second District win as they rolled past the Pioneers 56-33.
Stone Memorial played host to Cookeville. The Lady Cavs slipped past the Lady Panthers 42-36 and the Cavaliers came from behind in the second half to down the Panthers 68-57.
Tuesday SMHS will host Rhea County and Cumberland County visits Cookeville.
A truck driver is dead after he crashed at the foot of Grandview Mountain on Highway 68 in Rhea County Friday morning (1/23/15). News Channel 9 reports the THP has identified the driver as 70-year-old Vern Delane Hunter of New Jersey. Investigators say he lost control of the vehicle, and over-corrected, lost control again, and left the roadway, going over the guardrail, and landing about 50 feet from the roadway on its side. Investigators say Hunter was not wearing a seatbelt, but if he had, he likely could have survived the wreck. The truck was carrying ball bearings. Motorists traveling Highway 68 at the bottom of Grandview Mountain should be on the alert for crews who may still be clearing up the wreckage and making repairs to the guardrail. (Photo courtesy News Channel 9, provided by Rhea County EMA).