News from the Tennessee Valley State, Local and National news
THURSDAY, MAY 24, 2007


Lester man faces sex abuse charges

ATHENS — A Lester man who allegedly fondled two girls is facing sex abuse charges, a Limestone County investigator said.

Sheriff’s Department Chief Investigator Stanley McNatt said Gary Dewayne Fagan, 52, of 1244 Little Coffman Road, is charged with two counts of first-degree sexual abuse.

McNatt said Fagan allegedly fondled the girls, ages 8 and 10, over a period of time. The girls recently reported the alleged abuse. Fagan is in jail with no bond set.

- Holly Hollman

Witnesses chase alleged purse thief

Witnesses pursued a robber after he knocked a woman down in a parking lot and ran off with her purse Tuesday, Decatur police said.

The 75-year-old victim told police she saw the white male sitting on the steps as she left a doctor’s office in the 1300 block of Somerville Road Southeast shortly after 2 p.m.

“She went to the car and unlocked the door,” said Lt. Chris Mathews, a police spokesman. “The white male came up behind her and pushed her down, took the purse from her shoulder and went across the parking lot toward Somerville Road.

“Some witnesses saw what happened and chased the suspect. They last saw him in an alley between Ninth and 10th avenues Southeast, just north of 11th Street,” Mathews said.

An ambulance took the victim to Decatur General Hospital, where she was treated for injuries to her left hip, foot and shoulder, Mathews said.

Police are still seeking the purse-snatcher, described as 5 feet, 10 inches tall, 160 pounds and dark-haired. He was wearing a blue tank top, dark shorts and a red bandana.

- Seth Burkett

Police shoot snake outside residence

Officers shot and killed a 5-foot snake outside a residence when they were unable to find a way to get the snake to come out of its tree, Decatur police said Wednesday.

Police were unable to determine the species of the snake, which was lounging in a Bradford pear tree in the 1900 block of McAuliffe Drive Southwest at about 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, said Lt. Chris Mathews, a police spokesman.

“They tried several removal options. When those did not work, it was determined to dispatch the snake due to concerns for the safety of the citizens in the neighborhood,” Mathews said. “In plain English — when they were unable to remove the snake from the tree, for safety reasons, they decided it was best to go ahead and kill the snake.”

Police used a single shotgun blast to kill the snake. It’s species remained unknown, Mathews said.

- Seth Burkett

Man dies after kicks to the head

ATHENS — A Piney Chapel man has died after kicks to the head, and authorities may charge the alleged attacker with murder, Limestone County Sheriff’s Department Chief Investigator Stanley McNatt said.

“We’re going to get an autopsy and have more to do in our investigation,” McNatt said Wed-nesday night. “The suspect still is only charged with assault.”

Neighbors found the victim, James Benjamin Tinnon, 33, unconscious at his Piney Chapel Road apartment Saturday
morning, McNatt said. He died at Huntsville Hospital on Tuesday night.

McNatt said a neighbor, Casey Wayne Anderson, 28, of 22651 Piney Chapel Road, Apartment 1, allegedly kicked Tinnon May 17 for no reason. McNatt said Anderson was wearing work boots.

The two had been drinking at Anderson’s apartment. Witnesses did not think Tinnon was badly hurt, McNatt said.

- Holly Hollman

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