Man Sentenced in Officer Shooting, Rep. Harper to Retain Chair

Dec 8, 2015

State Representative Alan Harper

A man convicted in the shooting death of an off-duty Birmingham police officer has been sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole. APR’s Stan Ingold has more.

42-year-old Patrick Johnson was sentenced Monday. In October, he was convicted of felony murder in the 2014 shooting death of Birmingham Police Officer Keary Hollis.

A jury reached a deadlock on a verdict in May, and Johnson was tried again in October.

Hollis was off duty when he was shot to death during a dispute outside a convenience store. Johnson said Hollis, who had been drinking, had backed over his motorcycle in the store parking lot.

Johnson testified he shot Hollis in self-defense after the officer pointed a gun at him.

Jefferson County Circuit Judge Clyde Jones said the shooting was an inexcusable act.

Despite a recent Facebook post accusing foreign business owners of supporting terrorism, state representative Alan Harper will maintain his house chairmanship.

Representatives for Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard say there are no plans to replace Harper as chairman of the House Economic Development and Tourism Committee. The Republican representative from Northport has been in office since 2006.

Harper urged his Facebook followers to shop American, saying foreign convenience store owners "in large part" send money to their countries of origin "to create turmoil, fear and in some cases death and destruction" in the United States.

Alabama Republican Party Chairwoman Terry Latham said the post was “very concerning” and “absolutely [does] not represent the views of the Republican Party”.

In 2011, Senator Scott Beason was ousted as chairman of the Senate Rules Committee after calling casinogoers in majority-black Greene County “aborigines”.

The holiday season puts many of us back together with family. AARP says it’s a great time to check on the safety and well-being of older relatives.

Candi Williams is the interim director of AARP Alabama. She says people should use the holiday opportunity to make sure older relatives’ homes are as safe as possible.

“You should be on the lookout for some simple fixes that can improve their home safety, like getting rid of tripping hazards such as throw rugs and electrical cords. And if there isn’t already an entrance that’s step-free, you may want to encourage them to get a ramp and railing installed.”

Williams also recommends encouraging older relatives to keep a medication record, to lessen the chances of making potentially dangerous mistakes when taking prescription drugs.

The votes are in, the finalists have been picked, and Alabama running back Derrick Henry will be heading to New York for the final phase of Heisman Trophy selection.

Henry is the fifth finalist from the Alabama Crimson Tide in the last seven years. He’ll be joined by Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson and Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey for the Heisman presentation in Times Square this Saturday.

Quarterbacks have won the last five straight Heisman trophies; the last running back to win the award was Alabama’s Mark Ingram.

Henry has put together a historic year so far, breaking Herschel Walker’s longstanding SEC record for rushing yards in a season, and tying Tim Tebow and Tre Mason for the most rushing touchdowns in a season.

Henry will have a chance to strengthen his hold on both records as Alabama faces off against Michigan State in the Cotton Bowl on New Year’s Eve.