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Morning Radio Newscast — December 8th
from Michelle Peyroux
December 8, 2016 -

JACKSON, Miss. (WAPT) — A South Mississippi man convicted in 2012 in the death of his girlfriend has won a new trial because a judge failed to conduct a hearing into his arguments of mental disability. The state Court of Appeals, in a 9-1 ruling Tuesday, said a Walthall County judge thought there were enough questions about Robert Wayne Silvia's competency to order an examination. The trial judge never held a hearing on the results of the examination. Prosecutors said deputies found Darlene Berthelot's body in a freezer on June 10, 2010, at the home she shared with Silvia. In his appeal, Silvia does not deny he killed Berthelot. Instead, he argues the shooting occurred while he was in a state of hopeless despair and intoxication because Berthelot was going to leave him.

FERRIDAY, La. (Concordia Sentinel) — Ferriday Police Chief Arthur Lewis has been placed on administrative leave for an unspecified time by Ferriday Mayor Sherrie Jacobs, according to the Concordia Sentinel. Jacobs said yesterday morning that she could not specify the reason for the action at this time. Jacobs did say that officers exhibiting unacceptable actions were dealt with accordingly and that the matter is being addressed internally and they hope will be resolved as quickly as possible. Lewis was named Ferriday Police Chief in July after Jacobs defeated incumbent Gene Allen for the mayor's position. Lewis served as Police Chief in Vidalia before losing to Joey Merrill in the March election.

(Concordia Sentinel) — Voters in Concordia Parish will consider four tax propositions on the Dec. 10 general election for Monterey, the City of Vidalia, the Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office and the Police Jury. In Monterey, voters will consider whether to renew a 10-mill tax for 10 years. The tax generates an estimated $102,190 annually for fire protection. A law enforcement millage renewal of 12-mill is on the ballot for the Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office. That 10-year tax generates approximately $1.62 million annually. The Police Jury is seeking renewal of a 10-mill tax for constructing and maintaining public buildings and public drainage. The millage brings in an estimated $1.35 million annually. In Vidalia, voters will be asked to renew a one-cent sales tax for 18 years. The tax generates the Town of Vidalia about $1.1 million annually.

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Jackson police say two women dropped off a man's body at a hospital and left. The women left the man, in his 50s, at the University of Mississippi Medical Center about 3:15 p.m. Wednesday. Officials say he was dead on arrival and had apparent trauma and injuries to his body. It's unclear what caused his injuries. His name has not been released. Hinds County Coroner Sharon Grisham Stewart said preliminary findings show the trauma is consistent with being hit by a vehicle, but the death is still under investigation. The two women were found by police and detained for questioning.

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi's Teacher Licensure Commission is barring a teacher from the classroom for 12 years after she was captured on video dragging a student by the hair. The commission voted Wednesday to suspend Linda Winters-Johnson's teaching license, meaning she can't ask for reinstatement until the suspension ends. Assistant Attorney General Raina Lee says it's the longest penalty she can remember in Mississippi, which has no legal provisions for permanently revoking a teacher's license. Winters-Johnson admitted what she had done was wrong, but pleaded with the commission not to overlook her 20-plus years of service. She also argued that the video was only part of the story and that she was trying to keep the special education student from hurting herself when Winters-Johnson dragged the student by the hair across the floor of the Greenville High School gym on Sept. 21.

(LRN) — A landmark mental health reform bill co-authored by Republican U.S Senator Bill Cassidy is on its way to be signed into law by the President. Cassidy says this measure will expand access to resources for those who need treatment for mental illnesses. “There are portions of the bill that will work to increase the number of psychiatrists, psychologists, clinical social workers and others to provide more access to those who have mental health needs.” Cassidy says this legislation will also keep mentally ill individuals from going to jail and instead allow them to receive out-patient treatment. He says family members will also have an easier time to converse with doctors about the mental health of a loved one. “What’s the treatment plan going for, what medicine they’re on. We try and clarify that yes, the doctor can communication with a family member who is the care taker of an adult patient.” The Mental Health Reform Act of 2016 also strengthens suicide prevention. And he says the measure will provide more funding for the massive opioid crisis. “There’s a billion dollars to help states and communities. They will apply for the money to put in programs to help address the epidemic and death related to that addiction.”

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