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Associated Press - August 8, 2009 5:44 PM ET

30-year-old gets life for baby's death

TUPELO, Miss. (AP) - A 30-year-old man has been convicted of shaking his girlfriend's baby to death.

Christopher Brandon of Verona was sentenced to life in prison after jurors found him guilty on Friday of killing 15-month-old Xavier Staples in June 2007. The baby was his girlfriend's son.

Brandon was convicted of "depraved-heart murder" - causing death by an act so reckless it shows complete lack of regard for human life.

Brandon said at first that the baby had fallen from a bed.

Defense attorney Nicole Clinkscales of Columbus argued that it was the baby's mother who did the shaking.

Judge James S. Pounds sentenced Brandon after the verdict was handed up.

Vicksburg teenager killed as tree falls on house

VICKSBURG, Miss. (AP) - A Vicksburg teen died Friday after an oak tree fell and crushed part of her family's mobile home while she slept.

Olivia J. McMillan was a sophomore at Warren Central High School and would have celebrated her 15th birthday next Tuesday. Warren County Coroner Doug Huskey said she was pronounced dead at 5:40 a.m., about an hour after the initial call to E-911.

Huskey said Olivia had injuries to her head, chest and abdomen. Her parents, Roger and Sherry McMillan, were asleep in the other end of the mobile home and were not injured.

3 charged with murder in shooting

COLUMBIA, Miss. (AP) - A man shot at his home on July 29 has died, and the three people accused of shooting him have been booked with murder.

Marion County Chief Investigator Scott McKinney said Friday that 41-year-old Gregory Murphy died Thursday at Forrest General Hospital. He says Murphy had been ambushed after an argument.

Investigators say 41-year-old Chassie Medious Jr., his 37-year-old brother, Nicholas Medious, and their nephew, 23-year-old Steven Medious, have been boked with one count each of murder.

McKinney says the two younger men were arrested at a checkpoint in Mendenhall about two hours after the shooting, based on descriptions from witnesses. He says Chassie Medious later turned himself in to authorities in Columbia.

Hinds jail fails fire inspection

RAYMOND, Miss. (AP) - The Hinds County jail has failed a fire inspection. It must fix problems found the by the inspector by the end of September or lose its state inmates.

Mississippi pays the county about $20 for each state inmate. With 13 in the 594-bed jail, that's $260 a day.

Violations range from no record of emergency evacuation drills to lack of an automatic sprinkler system in sleeping areas.

Board of Supervisors President George Smith says that he believes the board will do whatever is needed, especially when it comes to public safety.

County officials were informed of the problems Friday in a letter obtained by The Clarion-Ledger. The county has 20 days to submit a plan to address the issues to the state.

US Rep. Childers heading to Israel

TUPELO, Miss. (AP) - U.S. Rep. Travis Childers, D-Miss., will travel to Israel in the coming week.

He says he will participate in high-level meetings with a wide variety of leaders, including Israeli, Palestinian, secular, religious, government, opposition party and business.

The trip is sponsored by a group affiliated with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

Childers says that as a Christian, he believes the Bible requires support for the state of Israel, and as an American he believes that standing by Israel as an ally is important for both the economy and the military.

He says he also will meet with the chairman of Israel Aerospace Industries -- the parent company of Starkville-based Stark Aerospace, which is building a second facility in Columbus.

Childers represents northeast Mississippi.

TVA downsizes Ala. nuclear options

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The Tennessee Valley Authority has reduced its plans for a potentially four-unit nuclear plant in northeast Alabama down to one reactor.

The federal utility said Friday that it is preparing a supplemental environmental impact statement to consider a single nuclear unit for its Bellefonte site near Scottsboro, Ala.

TVA officials say that single unit might be 1 of the two advanced reactors for which it has already applied for a combined construction and operating license. Or it might be 1 of the two unfinished reactors that have been mothballed at the site for 35 years.

The shift comes as TVA wrestles with declining electric sales blamed on the poor economy and a $1 billion cleanup of a massive coal ash spill in Tennessee.

MUW to announce recommended new name on Monday

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - The president of Mississippi University for Women will announce Monday what students and alumni have been waiting months to hear - her recommendation for a new school name.

Sources with inside knowledge tell The Associated Press that President Claudia Limbert's recommendation will be Reneau University, after Sallie Eola Reneau, who advocated higher education for women in Mississippi before the Civil War.

Limbert does not have the final say. A majority of the 12-member state College Board must agree on a new name, and the board's recommendation will be forwarded to the 174-member state Legislature in January.

School officials hope a name change will increase enrollment. MUW has admitted men for more than 25 years.

Trustee to be appointed for movie studio

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A federal judge says she will appoint a trustee for a movie studio embroiled in an investment dispute involving members of the New Orleans Saints.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Elizabeth Magner took the action after Wayne Read, chief executive of Louisiana Film Studios, failed to appear in court Friday. Read allegedly sold 27 investors - including past and present Saints members - $1.9 million worth of state movie tax credits.

State officials say Read never applied for the credits. Buyers are seeking to put the suburban New Orleans studio into involuntary bankruptcy after Read failed to repay them.

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