Latest Mississippi news, sports, business and entertainment at 5:20 p.m. CST

CRUISE SHIP-ASSAULT

Man sentenced for sexually assaulting teen on cruise ship

BOSTON (AP) — Prosecutors say a Mississippi man who was convicted of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old on a cruise ship traveling from Boston to Bermuda has been sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison. Records show Adam Christopher Boyd, of Bay Springs, Miss., pleaded guilty in April to a charge of sexual abuse of a minor. The 33-year-old Boyd was sentenced on Wednesday in Boston. Prosecutors say Boyd assaulted a 15-year-old child while they were both aboard a cruise ship docked in the Bahamas. Boyd's attorney said in a separate filing that Boyd had no prior criminal convictions and has a “record of hard work and employment.”

HONORING VICTIMS AND SURVIVORS

Mississippi ceremony honors crime victims and survivors

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi residents are hanging Christmas tree ornaments to remember loved ones who died from violent crimes. The attorney general's office held a tree lighting ceremony Thursday at a state office building in Jackson. More than 100 people took part. Some hung ornaments with photos of those they are missing this holiday season. It was the 16th annual ceremony for crime victims and survivors. And, it was likely to be one of the last big public appearances by Jim Hood as attorney general, who leaves office Jan. 9. Hood and his sister, Beth, hung an ornament to honor their cousin killed in 1976.

AP-US-FORMER-NFL-PLAYERS-CHARGED

10 ex-NFL players charged with defrauding healthcare program

WASHINGTON (AP) — Ten former NFL players have been charged with defrauding the league’s healthcare benefit program. They include five who played on the Washington Redskins, including Clinton Portis and Carlos Rogers.  Prosecutors allege the players targeted the Gene Upshaw NFL Player Health Reimbursement Account Plan, which was established as part of a collective bargaining agreement in 2006. It provides tax-free reimbursement of out-of-pocket medical care expenses that were not covered by insurance and that were incurred by former players, their spouses and dependents.

CIVIL RIGHTS FIGURE HONORED

Mississippi university honoring civil rights activist Dahmer

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Civil rights activist Ellie Dahmer is being honored by the University of Southern Mississippi. She's receiving an honorary degree Friday in Hattiesburg. She worked alongside husband Vernon Dahmer to register black voters in Hattiesburg during violent years of segregation. The Ku Klux Klan firebombed the Dahmers' home in January 1966 after Vernon Dahmer announced he would pay poll taxes for people who couldn't afford them. He shot at the attackers as the family escaped but was killed. A university news release says Ellie Dahmer has continued serving her community and is a civil rights icon in her own right.

TWO BODIES

Mississippi authorities find 2 bodies

(Information from: WAPT-TV, http://www.wapt.com)

LEXINGTON, Miss. (AP) — Two bodies have been found in different locations in Mississippi’s Holmes County. Sheriff Willie March says deputies are investigating the discoveries Wednesday as a possible murder-suicide. WAPT-TV reports March says a woman was found dead at the Durant Motel and a short time later, a man's body was found in his car parked on a road nearby. Sheriff March says the man shot himself.

AP-US-OWNERS-PETS-RESTING-TOGETHER

Funeral home provides resting place for both pets and owners

MADISON, Miss. (AP) — Losing a pet is hard, but one Mississippi funeral is offering a shared space for pet and pet owners to live for eternity. Natchez Trace Funeral Home says they're the first to own a columbarium where the ashes of a pet and their owner can be laid to rest side by side. Most cemeteries only allow pets or humans, never both in the same section. Funeral director Michael Hudgins says there's been a long time demand for a co-existing area. The columbarium is seven sections high and has 12 sections on each level. The columbarium allows for a cremated individual and their pets to be in one single compartment.