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Supreme Court to argue inmate's freedom of religion

Supreme Court to argue inmate's freedom of religion


LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - When the Supreme Court returns from break next month, its focus will be on the freedom of religion for prisoners.

On October 7th, they'll argue if prison officials can prohibit Muslim inmates from growing beards required by their faiths.

The case was originally brought by Arkansas inmate, Gregory Holt. At his 2012 hearing, prison officials said the strict policy was a result of security concerns.

Right now, more than 40 state prisons allow the beard.

The exceptions, according to Holt's brief, include Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia.


Reward offered for information on escaped convict

Reward offered for information on escaped convict

JEFFERON COUNTY, Ark. (KTHV) - The Arkansas Department of Corrections is now offering a reward for information leading to the capture of an escaped convict.

On Thursday, July 24, ADC spokesperson Shea Wilson said there is now $4,000 in reward money available for information leading to Timothy Buffington's capture and arrest. Buffington walked away from work detail at the Pine Bluff Unit about a month ago.

He is said to have shot his ex-wife Rhonda Combs in the head with a rifle while she sat in her boyfriend's truck in Booneville in July of 1998. According to Wilson, he was admitted to ADC on March 12, 1999. Combs and Buffington had been in a custody dispute over their two children.

Governor Beebe announces intent to grant pardons

Governor Beebe announces intent to grant pardons

LITTLE ROCK - Governor Mike Beebe today announced his intent to grant 15 pardons. An additional 38 clemency requests were denied and six had no action taken upon them. These include requests from both inmates and non-inmates.

The 15 applicants intended for pardons have completed all jail time, fulfilled all parole-and-probationary requirements and paid all fines related to their sentences. There is a 30-day waiting period to receive public feedback on the pardons before final action is taken.

Governor Beebe intends to grant pardons to the following people:

Kevia K. Bolden (Memphis, TN): Shoplifting This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (2007 - Little Rock District), the fact that all terms of the applicant's sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. There are no law-enforcement objections to the application.

Pine Bluff High School vandalized Friday

Pine Bluff High School vandalized Friday

PINE BLUFF, Ark. (KTHV) – Pine Bluff High School was vandalized sometime between Thursday night and Friday morning.

Lt. David Price with the Pine Bluff Police Department said one of the security guard arrived Friday morning and found trash strewn all over campus. When the guard looked around campus, they found more damage including glued locks, graffiti on the side of the gym, decorative plants ripped from pots, overturned picnic tables, and paint on security camera lenses.

Police have not names any suspects, and efforts are already underway to correct the damage. A total on damage cost was not provided.

Trouble enforcing texting while driving law in Arkansas

Trouble enforcing texting while driving law in Arkansas

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - For years, we've seen public service announcements about texting while driving, but are people really getting the message? One student says, "I mean they're sad. You know, it's emotional. I just feel I've seen so many that you think it just won't happen."

THV11 News sat down with six teenage students at Sylvan High School in Sherwood, Arkansas. They admit, texting and driving is a big temptation for teenagers like themselves. "I don't do it all the time but sometimes I do text and drive and I admit that it is dangerous," Antonius Russell says.

WATCH STORY: http://on.kthv.com/PAhkKz

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 71 percent of teens and young people say they have sent text messages while driving and 78 percent of them have read a text message while driving.

Pine Bluff couple arrested on drug and firearm charges

Pine Bluff couple arrested on drug and firearm charges

PINE BLUFF, Ark. (KTHV) - On Tuesday at 10:30 a.m., officers of the Pine Bluff Police Department Vice and Narcotics Unit and the Pine Bluff Police S.W.A.T. Team executed a search warrant at 6809 Calhoun Street in Pine Bluff.

According to Lt. David Price, the warrant was secured after an investigation was conducted from information developed from "tips" from the public and a series of controlled buys from the residence.

Inside the residence was a complex growing operation of what appeared to be marijuana. A room inside the residence had been converted to a "grow house" that included ventilation systems, special lighting and timers. Approximately 60 mature plants were recovered from the operation with an estimated street value of around $80,000. Also, methamphetamine and Xanax was recovered from the residence. A handgun was also present in the residence.

Arkansas Supreme Court reverses capital murder conviction

Arkansas Supreme Court reverses capital murder conviction

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - The Arkansas Supreme Court has reversed a Lincoln County man's capital murder conviction on grounds that there was not sufficient proof the accused man committed the crime.

In a split decision, the court on Thursday dismissed the conviction and life sentence of 23-year-old Justin Jamaille Thornton for the 2011 shooting death of 22-year-old Kwame Turner.

The majority concluded that there was evidence that Turner was killed in Thornton's home, but no evidence that Thornton was the person who fired the shot. The justices also said there was no evidence of premeditation.

Thornton was convicted in a non-jury trial and sentenced to life in prison without parole. Prosecutors didn't seek the death penalty.

The appeal didn't address a gun charge and other counts on which Thornton was also convicted.

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