Former Teacher Sentenced to Seven Years in Sex Case

Former Columbus High School choir director Michael Jackson has been sentenced to seven years in prison for attempting to solicit oral sex from a then-17-year-old male Columbus High School student in 2013. A Lowndes County jury found Jackson, 35, guilty Thursday afternoon after about 50 minutes of deliberation. Circuit Judge Lee Coleman sentenced him to 12 years with five suspended, leaving seven to serve. It will be a day-to-day sentence, meaning he will not be eligible for early release. Jackson will also be required to register as a sex offender and pay a $50,000 fine, with $45,000 of that...

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Man Arrested for April Shooting

A suspect in an April shooting is in custody, according to the Columbus Police Department. Cheyeterian Smith was arrested on a felony warrant on May 17 and charged with shooting into an occupied dwelling. Smith allegedly shot into a house in the 2200 block of 15th Avenue North. Nobody was injured, and Smith and the victim knew each other, according to Police Chief Fred Shelton. Smith’s bond was denied because he was already out on a circuit court bond at the time he was arrested. Additional charges may follow; he is being questioned about several other shooting...

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Ferraez Pleads Guilty to Misdemeanor

A former Caledonia resident who ran unsuccessfully for state representative in Hattiesburg last year pleads guilty to a misdemeanor and is sentenced to six months probation, fined $200 and ordered to pay $200 to the state Victims Compensation Fund for voting outside the district where he lived on Oct. 21, 2015. Lowndes County Circuit Court Judge Lee Coleman handed down the sentence Monday. Cory Ferraez, an attorney in Hattiesburg who turns 29 next month, had moved to Forrest County and claimed it as his residency when he requested an absentee ballot and voted absentee in Lowndes County in the 2015...

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Happy Mother’s Day

  When I was about to turn 5, my mother enrolled me in Mrs. Cox Webb’s kindergarten. Mrs. Webb ran it out of her house overlooking the canal about five blocks from our house. One of her sons, Clark, and I were the same age and Mrs. Webb was thought to have the best kindergarten program in our Alabama town at the time. Remember, this was many years ago and public schools did not yet have kindergarten, much less pre-kindergarten. In Alabama, we still were in the throes of segregation. Education experts were just beginning to fully grasp the...

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DNA Solves 2015 Rape, And Burglary Case

A 20-year-old Columbus man who just got out of prison earlier this month is arrested again after DNA pins him as the suspect in a July 8, 2015 armed robbery, rape and home burglary. Jamory Ross was arrested Wednesday on those charges, according to a Columbus Police Department press release. The 2015 incident occurred two weeks after he turned 18. Investigators recovered clothing from the original scene and the state Crime Lab extracted DNA from that evidence. That DNA was entered into a national database operated by the FBI called CODIS (Combined DNA Index System). “Once DNA is entered into CODIS,...

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