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Woman struck, killed after trying to chase friend on narcotics near Charlotte, police say

A woman was struck and killed by a car Saturday morning in east Charlotte, North Carolina, WSOC reports.

The woman, identified as Agnes Amponsah, was with her brother and a friend reportedly using illegal narcotics at the time of the crash around 2:30 a.m., police told WSOC.

Once police arrived, Amponsah was lying unresponsive in the roadway near a 2012 Hyundai Sonata with damage to the grill, hood and windshield.

>> Read more trending news 

Amponsah ran into the path of the Hyundai, was struck and thrown to the pavement, where she was pronounced dead, police said.

Police said Amponsah's friend, Hilda Amoah, left the residence where all three were reportedly using drugs, and Agnes Amponsah and Francis Amponsah followed her on foot.

That's when Agnes Amponsah stepped in front of the moving Hyundai.

“Everything is so confusing because the car ended up here, the lights, music and then the body was here,” neighbor Yadi Montiel said. “It was very confusing.”

Authorities said the driver stopped immediately to help Agnes Amponsah, but Amoah forced her way into the backseat of the vehicle, grabbed the neck of the front-seat passenger and ordered the driver to drive away.

The Hyundai fled the scene and continued to a nearby traffic circle when the driver refused to drive any further and returned back to the scene, police said.

Police said Amoah jumped out of the vehicle and ran into the wooded area.

Officials said a short time later, police found Amoah near the intersection of Cambridge Commons Drive.

Amoah assaulted an officer and she was tasered and taken into custody, according to police.

Officials said excessive speed and alcohol are not factors for the driver of the Hyundai.

Police are still investigating.

Florida woman gets 18 years for 1998 baby kidnapping 

A Florida judge imposed an 18-year sentence for Gloria Williams on a charge of kidnapping and five years for a second charge of interfering with custody. Both sentences will run at the same time and Williams is getting credit for 511 days of time served.

>> Read more trending news 

However, law and safety expert Dale Carson said it’s possible Williams could get out of prison sooner depending on her behavior.

“Typically in a circumstance like this, she’ll serve 85 percent of the time -- or roughly 15 years. Still that’s a long time to be in custody,” said Carson.

Williams’ supporters sat motionless after the hearing ended. They stared at the judge’s bench as people filed out of the courtroom.

The entire hearing lasted less than five minutes.

Williams raised Kamiyah Mobley as her own child in South Carolina under the name Alexis Manigo. In January 2017, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office announced Mobley was found in South Carolina. Williams was arrested, jailed, and eventually extradited to Jacksonville. 

Mobley’s biological father spoke about moving on and healing. His mother Velma Aiken, Mobley’s grandmother, also spoke with the media.

“Thank God and we’re glad it’s over with where I can start my grandmama days and love my grandbaby,” Aiken said.

It’s unclear if Mobley will be able to contact Williams while she’s incarcerated. Prosecutor Alan Mizrahi said he doesn’t believe there’s any legal prohibition for their contact.

Carson said Williams waived her right to appeals after she pleaded guilty to both charges back in February.

11 a.m. update: Kamiyah Mobley's father Craig Aiken thanked God for the safe return of his child and the Jacksonville community for its support after Kamiyah's kidnapper was sentenced to 18 years in prison.

The judge said Gloria Williams' sentence reflects how long Kamiyah's parents were without their child after the 1998 kidnapping.

Aiken said there are no winners in this case. He said he wants to focus on mending his family and supporting his daughter.

Georgia attorney drugged employee during meal, police say 

Georgia attorney was arrested following allegations he drugged a female employee while they were out to eat, police said Friday. 

>> Read more trending news

Police believe Anthony O. Van Johnson has possibly drugged other people over the course of their nine-month investigation, Gwinnett County police Cpl. Wilbert M. Rundles said in a statement. 

Authorities had been investigating Van Johnson since September, when the alleged drugging occurred. 

The woman, who worked as an interpreter for Van Johnson, told police the two were out for a meal at a Bahama Breeze in Duluth after work when she ordered a drink and excused herself to the restroom. 

“When she returned, the drink was waiting for her and she noticed there was a powder at the bottom,” Rundles said. “She assumed this was extra salt that she had ordered with her drink.”

The woman consumed the drink. She did not remember what happened until hours later when she woke up, police said. 

A sexual assault exam was performed, but police told Channel 2 Action News they are waiting on the results. Police later determined the woman had Gamma-Hydroxybutyrate in her system. 

Van Johnson was arrested Monday and faces a charge of administering a Schedule 1 drug. He is out of jail on a $11,200 bond. 

According to Van Johnson’s LinkedIn page, he is a managing attorney for Trial Lawyers USA. Until February 2018, he owned his own firm, specializing in traffic incidents.

“It is believed there may possibly be other victims that have yet to come forward in reference to this case,” Rundles said. 

Those victims should call Gwinnett police detectives at 770-513-5300 or 770-513-5355. 

Ohio man indicted in stabbing death of 22-month-old son

An Ohio man was indicted by a grand jury Friday on seven charges related to the stabbing and killing of his 22-month-old son.

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Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael O'Malley said Jason Shorter, 41, of Parma, is facing three counts of aggravated murder, and one count of kidnapping, murder, felonious assault, and endangering children.

"This individual viciously took the life of his son, apparently to spite the child’s mother,” O’Malley said. “We are reviewing the case for capital murder specifications."

Investigators say Shorter, 41, went to the Parma Police Department on May 12 and said he wanted to turn himself in for attempted murder and suicide. Shorter was bleeding from self-inflicted wounds to his wrists.

Police searched Shorter's vehicle, which was in the police station's parking lot, and discovered his son, Nicholas Lawrence Shorter, in the trunk with multiple stab wounds to his chest.

Nicholas was pronounced dead at a hospital.

Sheriff’s deputy unseats boss in primary, is promptly fired

A South Dakota sheriff’s deputy who beat out his boss for the top law enforcement position in the county Tuesday was fired, just one minute after the polls closed.

Mark Maggs, the only candidate to challenge current Bon Homme County Sheriff Lenny Gramkow, was handed a termination letter at 7:01 p.m. Tuesday after being called in to a mandatory meeting with his opponent, according to The Argus Leader in Sioux Falls

The document, typed in all capital letters, informed Maggs, a husband and father of four children under 7, that he was fired, effective immediately. 

“As of this moment, you are no longer an employee of Bon Homme County,” the letter read. “Please turn in all equipment belonging to Bon Homme County by 5 p.m. on June 6, 2018.”

Maggs, 31, posted a photo of the letter to his Facebook page 16 minutes after he was fired. 

“Here’s the integrity of Lenny Gramkow,” Maggs wrote

The letter has since been shared hundreds of times and spawned anger from across the country. 

“At least we know your county made the right choice and I hope the best for your family,” a woman named Deb Cortez wrote on Maggs’ Facebook page. “I don’t live nowhere around you, but you have my support.”

“What a sorry, pitiful, vindictive loser,” Sally Hoff wrote. “Congratulations, Mark!”

Another commenter, Leslee Carroll, found humor in the situation. 

“And in all CAPS!” Carroll wrote. “He’s super angry … lol.”

Maggs told The Argus Leader that he wasn’t surprised by his termination, since the topic had come up when Gramkow first found out his employee was seeking to knock him out of his job. 

>> Read more trending news

Gramkow was within his rights to do so. The Associated Press pointed out that South Dakota is an “employment-at-will” state, which means employers can fire their workers without cause, though there are some exceptions. 

The news was still hard to take, the sheriff-elect said. 

“When I got back to my election party and told my wife, she was very emotional,” Maggs said. “It hit her hard. We knew that meant coming at the end of the month, we’d be losing health insurance.”

Maggs, who said he ran for sheriff to improve services to county taxpayers, received 73 percent of the vote in the election. He takes office in January.

The Bon Homme Sheriff’s Office is made up of the sheriff, two deputies and five dispatchers who also serve as jailers, The Argus Leader reported. The agency serves a population of about 7,000 people, according to U.S. Census Bureau statistics

The county’s small government has been inundated with phone calls from people protesting Maggs’ firing. The Sheriff’s Office’s Facebook page has also been filled with angry comments criticizing Gramkow.

Maggs asked people to calm down.

“We’re going to be fine,” he said of his family. “Stop calling the Sheriff’s Office. Those guys still have a job to do.”

In the meantime, the Bon Homme County Commission has set up a special meeting for next week to discuss the situation. Maggs told the newspaper that commissioners, who he spoke with Thursday, have promised to help him figure out a plan. 

As of Friday morning, a Change.org petition demanding that Maggs be reinstated until he takes over as sheriff had amassed more than 1,800 signatures. 

Body found inside wall of South Carolina flea market

A man’s body was found inside the wall of an open-air flea market in Clover, South Carolina, WSOC reports.

The man has been identified as 33-year-old William “Eddie” Powers. Police told WSOC Powers had been reported missing for about two weeks.

>> Read more trending news

Police said they went to the Clover Open Air Flea Market Wednesday morning after receiving a report of a strong odor.

It is unclear how Powers’ body ended up inside the wall, but the coroner said no foul play is suspected.

Autopsy and toxicology results are pending.

Restaurant manager accused of enslaving cook pleads guilty to forced labor

The manager of a South Carolina restaurant has pleaded guilty to forcing a black mentally disabled buffet cook to work unpaid for more than 100 hours a week, according to federal officials.

>> Read more trending news

Bobby Paul Edwards, a 53-year-old white man, admitted he used violence, threats and intimidation tactics to force John Christopher Smith, who is black, to work more than 100 hours a week without pay at Edwards’ Myrtle Beach buffet restaurant, J&J Cafeteria.

The United States Department of Justice on Wednesday announced Edwards pleaded guilty to one federal count of forced labor.

In an interview with CNN affiliate WPDE last year, Smith said he started washing dishes and busing tables at J&J Cafeteria at age 12, but the alleged incidents of abuse began when Edwards became the manager in 2009. The abuse continued through 2014. Smith is currently about 40 years old.

“I wanted to get out of there a long time ago. But I didn't have nobody I could go to,” Smith told WPDE. “I couldn't go anywhere. I couldn't see none of my family.”

In 2014, a customer noticed scars on Smith’s body and called authorities. Then came a 2015 complaint, in which Smith alleged that Edwards beat him with a frying pan, burned him with grease-fryer-dipped tongs, beat him with his fists and his belt buckle and routinely used racial slurs while speaking to him, the Post and Courier reported.

The newspaper also said Smith was forced to live in a roach-infested apartment close by and was too exhausted to physically feed himself.

In the Justice Department’s statement, John Gore, acting assistant attorney general, said, “Human trafficking through forced labor can happen on farms, in homes, and as today’s case shows — in public places, such as restaurants. Edwards abused an African-American man with intellectual disabilities by coercing him to work long hours in a restaurant without pay.”

“We deny any allegations of slavery and abuse,” Edwards’ attorney, Scott Bellamy, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in 2017, one day after Edwards surrendered to the FBI. “We don’t believe there was any slavery involved. That word — in the climate we’re in in this country, quite frankly — makes it even more of a story.” 

Bellamy pointed out that neither the indictment nor the federal charge contains the word “slavery,” The AJC previously reported.

But the indictment, which identifies Smith by his initials, JCB, said Edwards is charged under the U.S. Code section on “slavery, peonage and trafficking in persons.” 

He faces up to 20 years in prison, a $250,000 maximum fine and mandatory restitution to Smith.

Officials at the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in Conway, South Carolina, had urged the court for tougher charges in 2014.

“We are talking about enslavement here,” Abdullah Mustafa, president of the local chapter of the NAACP, said at the time. 

“This defendant abused a vulnerable victim, and today's guilty plea holds the defendant responsible for his criminal acts,” Sherri Lydon, the United States attorney for the District of South Carolina, told the New York Times.

Edwards’ sentencing date has not yet been scheduled.

Police: Man, woman steal TV from pawn shop – then pawn it back to same shop

New Orleans police investigators are looking for two people accused of stealing a television from an Algiers pawn shop -- and immediately pawning it back to the same shop. 

The pair, identified by police as Don Adams, 32, and Dana Francois-Carter, 38, were spotted by the store’s security cameras during the May 31 heist, a New Orleans Police Department news release said

Police officials said the camera captured Adams and Francois-Carter entering the store around 5:20 p.m. that day, at which point Francois-Carter headed to the electronics section. 

Francois-Carter took the TV from the shelf and removed the price tag from it, police officials said. She then took it to the front counter.

Adams, using his own identification, then pawned the TV for $175, the news release said

>> Read more trending news

Anyone with information on Adams or Francois-Carter is asked to call detectives at 504-685-6040 or 504-658-6045. Anonymous tips can also be submitted to Crime Stoppers at 504-822-1111 or 1-877-903-STOP.

'I feel like my life is starting over,' Alice Johnson says after Trump commutes life sentence

Alice Johnson, the 63-year-old woman released from prison Wednesday after President Donald Trump commuted her life sentence, said that she feels like her life is starting over after she spent more than two decades jailed for nonviolent drug offenses.

>> Read more trending news

“I’m just so thankful,” Johnson told reporters gathered Wednesday outside the Federal Correctional Institution Aliceville in Alabama. “This is a miracle day.”

>> Trump commutes Alice Johnson's sentence after meeting with Kim Kardashian West

Johnson was reunited with her family 22 years after she was convicted of charges connected to a Memphis-based cocaine trafficking operation.

In an appearance Thursday morning on the “Today” show, Johnson said her heart leaped when she saw her family gathered outside the prison.

“We are going to appreciate every single moment we have,” she said. “Sometimes we take family and life for granted. I’ll never do that again.”

>> Reality TV star Kim Kardashian West meets with Trump over prison reform

She added that she hopes to use her newfound freedom to help people still in the prison system.

“I can’t just walk away and forget about those who have been left behind,” she said. “I want to take this chance to try to magnify what has happened with me, so that people will remember there are people just like me who are first-time nonviolent offenders who pose no safety risk to their communities.”

She told CNN on Thursday that even though it had only been one day since her release, she already had a job lined up.

“My plan is to start work,” she said. “And my plan is also to work hard on helping to change some of these laws. Something has to happen, and I believe what has already begun is a good first step with prison reform.”

Trump commuted Johnson’s sentence Wednesday, one week after celebrity socialite Kim Kardashian West pleaded her case in a meeting with the president. Johnson thanked both Trump and Kardashian West in several interviews Wednesday and Thursday.

“Only God could have touched Kim K’s heart like that,” Johnson told CNN. "She said she felt a connection when she saw and heard my story."

The president shared well-wishes for Johnson in a tweet Thursday morning.

The president has issued several pardons since his January 2017 inauguration. Last week he pardoned conservative filmmaker and author Dinesh D’Souza, who pleaded guilty in 2014 to violating campaign finance laws.

Baby dies after eating lethal amount of crack, police say; mom charged

A mother is facing a second-degree murder charge in the death of her baby, who investigators say consumed a lethal amount of crack.

>> Watch the news report here

West Memphis, Arkansas, police said Kadasha Bedford, 34, turned herself in Wednesday afternoon.

>> Man wanted in baby's killing shot, captured by Florida SWAT officers

Police said Bedford's 17-month-old child ate a lethal amount of crack cocaine in the Crown Inn on May 2. Bedford, who had been missing ever since, also has three warrants for endangering the welfare of a minor, police said.

>> Read more trending news 

WHBQ learned the child's father, Anthony Lewis, is facing the same charges. The parents took the baby to Le Bonheur Children's Hospital on May 2, but the baby already had been dead for up to an hour, investigators said.

Read more here.

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