Monday, March 24, 2008

Officer charged with drowning 50 kittens

VICTORVILLE — Prosecutors filed six counts on Monday against an Adelanto Animal Control supervisor who allegedly drowned roughly 50 kittens over a four-month period,officials said.

Kevin Murphy, 36, faces six misdemeanor counts of cruelty to animals, said Supervising Deputy District Attorney Jim Hill, of the Victorville District Attorney’s office.

Hill said the charges stem from Murphy allegedly drowning the kittens between July and October — some 50 animals in all. If convicted, Murphy could face six years in county jail for the drownings.

“The maximum penalty for each charge is one year in county jail or a $20,000 fine or both,” said Hill, who added that Murphy will be arraigned on May 19.

In 22 years as a prosecutor, Hill said he had never seen a case like this involving an animal control employee.

Murphy was not arrested for the animal cruelty and will be notified by mail of when to appear in court, said Hill.

WTF was this guy thinking? If he is guilty this code enforcement guy should get the same treatment as disgraced Atlanta Falcon's quarterback Michael Vick: 50 felony counts, loss of job effective immediately.

Sgt. Chris Jones Charged with Murder

An off-duty Shelby County sheriff's sergeant has been charged with second-degree murder in a shooting early Friday at an East Memphis lounge.

Sgt. Chris M. Jones, 39, the son of former Memphis City Council member E.C. Jones, was taken into custody at the scene.

Memphis police responded to the call at the Wind Jammer restaurant, 786 E. Brookhaven, at 12:50 a.m., where they found that two people had been shot.

Wind Jammer's disc jockey, Donald Munsey, 42, was taken to the Regional Medical Center at Memphis, where he was pronounced dead, police said.

A 22-year-old man remained in critical condition at The Med Friday evening. Police did not identify the second shooting victim.

Jones, who was off duty at the time of the shooting, has also been charged with attempted second-degree murder.

Police said the shootings stemmed from an argument in the parking lot between Jones and the 22-year-old man. After the pair moved into the restaurant, Munsey attempted to resolve the argument when a physical fight broke out. Jones shot both victims during the altercation, according to police investigators.

Reached Friday morning by phone, E.C. Jones said he hadn't been able to talk with his son. "I was advised he'd been involved in an altercation ... why it happened, I don't know."

"The Sheriff's Office is conducting an administrative investigation about the circumstances that led to Sgt. Jones' arrest. This has been a tragic event for the victims and their families," Shelby County Sheriff Mark H. Luttrell said in a statement.

It's against the law for an off-duty officer to carry a gun into a bar, said Sheriff's Office spokesman Steve Shular, although deputies are allowed to carry their weapons elsewhere while off-duty.

Jones, a member of the West Tennessee Drug Task Force, has been employed by the sheriff's department since 1991. He's been involved in a number of traffic stops that led to major drug busts, including one in 2007 that led to the seizure of more than a million dollars worth of marijuana.

Jones' most recent performance review, dated June 2007, indicated that he "exceeds department expectations," although he received a written reprimand on April 18 for boxing-in a car during a traffic stop without the proper training.

He was counseled to "improve supervisory effectiveness when anticipating and meeting unexpected situations."

Earlier in his career, Jones took part in an arrest involving four deputies that led to a $3.5 million settlement against the county. Deputies hog-tied Bertram Brunson after a 1991 arrest on a DUI charge, cutting off oxygen to his brain and causing him to lapse into a coma.

The deputies were suspended briefly but returned to active duty later that year. In 1992, a Shelby County grand jury declined to indict them in the incident.

The Wind Jammer is on a formerly residential street just off Poplar in the shadow of Clark Tower. A sign on on the lounge informs customers that it's open from "4 p.m. till."