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Butler’s Go Fund Me page taken down

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Last week Talisha Butler shot Christopher Johnson in case that has become the centerpiece of a conversation about domestic violence in Vicksburg.

Friends and family quickly let the story be known that Butler had tried to end her relationship with her baby’s dad, Chris Johnson. She had, according to family and friends, filed police reports and followed the legal process to keep Johnson away from her. After Johnson’s death, Butler turned herself in to the police knowing they had all the records of the calls she had made over the past year or so.

Butler was arrested and charged with first-degree murder according to state law. Municipal Judge Carpenter also followed the law and set the bail for Butler at $500,000 meaning Butler had to come up with $50,000 to be at home with her kids while she awaited trial. Judge Carpenter then bound Butler over to Warren County. Butler’s attorney, Mike Bonner, asked for a special hearing with Judge Marcie Southerland to reconsider the bond. He requested a $50,000 bond because of the special circumstances of the case and Butler has a one-year-old child at home. That hearing was held on Friday, July 17. District Attorney Ricky Smith, who has a long record of being a very tough prosecutor of criminal acts, did not object to the bond reduction.

“There are mitigating factors and she has a one-year-old at home,” said DA Smith. “This is unusual and rare for a bond amount to be reduced this much and to be done so this quickly’ added Smith.

Butler’s long time friend, Paige Marie Moore, had set up a GoFundMe page to assist Butler with her bond and long legal fight. Today Moore received a message that the page was not eligible to receive funds because it violated the terms & conditions of GoFundMe.

“We are writing to inform you that your GoFundMe campaign has been removed…”

The message from GoFundMe sent to Paige Marie Moore.

The terms and conditions say GoFundMe cannot be used “…for the legal defense of alleged crimes associated with hate, violence, harassment, bullying…” Moore is in the process of appealing the decision but that is an arduous process that may take weeks. Those who have donated funds that have not been distributed will receive their money back in the next 3 – 7 business days, according to the notice.

“5000 dollars later!!!! They could have said all of this when the 1st dollar was donated,” wrote Talisha Butler when she was informed the donations page had been removed. The $5000 or so dollars that had been donated to that point would have helped Butler with her legal expenses.

In an effort to get some help Butler has set up another way to receive funds on a PayPal page to take donations.

News

Flaggs asks judges to assist in curbing crime

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Mayor George Flaggs Jr. in a May 15, 2020 interview with the Vicksburg Daily News. (Photo via video screen grab. Video by David Day)

In a letter sent to Vicksburg and Warren County judges Monday, Mayor George Flaggs Jr. asked for help to curb crime in the River City.

Flaggs wrote that crime is “running rampant” in Vicksburg, and he “prayerfully and humbly” requested the judges consider adding two criteria to bails for anyone arrested on firearm-related offenses: GPS monitoring devices and a 7 p.m. curfew.

“I believe the only exceptions to the curfew should be for travel to or from work or to seek necessary medical treatment,” the mayor wrote. “These conditions of bail will help in protecting the public from future violence and assist our law enforcement officers in reducing and preventing crimes in our city.”

He added that he believes the measures are “imperative for the safety and future of our city.”

Read the entire letter below.

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COVID-19

Mississippi’s seven-day average for new COVID-19 cases remains over 600 Monday

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Sunday and Monday saw the expected weekend drop in reported new COVID-19 cases and deaths. Mississippi’s seven-day average remains above 600.

The Mississippi State Department of Health reported three new COVID-19 cases Sunday in Warren County and no new cases Monday. No new deaths were reported either day. The cumulative number of cases in Warren County to date is 1,470, and the county’s death toll is 53.

Statewide, MSDH reported 294 new COVID-19 cases Sunday and 296 cases Monday, bringing the total cumulative confirmed cases in Mississippi to 105,228. The seven-day average of new cases is 646, higher by 197 cases from a month ago.

Most new cases are seen in younger people recently, and they are more likely to survive the virus than those 65 and older. By far, the age group reporting the most cases in Mississippi are young people from 18 to 29 years old.

MSDH reported Sunday that five additional Mississippians died of COVID-19 statewide. No new deaths were reported Monday. The cumulative number of deaths in the state is 3,101. The state’s rate of deaths to confirmed cases is about 3%.

Deaths are a lagging indicator. While July saw the highest number of new cases since the crisis began, August saw the highest number of deaths. The highest number of deaths in any one day was 67 reported Aug. 25.

MSDH reported Sunday that five deaths occurred between Oct. 5 and Oct. 10 in the following counties:

County Deaths reported Sunday
Lafayette 1
Leflore 1
Marion 1
Montgomery 1
Tate 1

New cases and deaths were reported to MSDH as of 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 10, and Sunday, Oct. 11. MSDH usually reports statistics on the COVID-19 coronavirus each day based on the previous day’s testing and death reports.

The primary metric concerning state health officials are the numbers of people hospitalized, and that number rose steadily with the rise of new cases in July and August. On June 6, the number of Mississippians hospitalized with confirmed cases of COVID-19 was at 358. Hospitalizations nearly tripled by late July. They leveled off in early August and began noticeably dropping in the middle of the month including critical cases and numbers of people requiring ventilators. Hospitalizations continued to drop in September but levelled off at the middle of the month. They continued to drop through Oct. 3; however, they began showing a definite rise last week.

The number of Mississippians hospitalized for the virus as of 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 9, is 600, about half of the late July peak of more than 1,200. The number includes 491 with confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 109 people with suspected but unconfirmed cases. Of those with confirmed infections, 136 were critically ill and in intensive care units and 59 were on ventilators.

Source: MSDH

MSDH has estimated the number of people who can be presumed recovered from COVID-19 in Mississippi. That number is 90,577 through Sunday, Oct. 4. This figure is updated weekly. It represents about 86% of the cumulative 105,228 cases reported Monday, Oct. 11.

The number of cases in Warren County three weeks ago, Monday, Sept. 21, was 1,381, therefore the estimated number of people presumed recovered in the county is 1,328, or about 90.3% of the 1,470 cumulative cases reported as of Monday, Oct. 11. The county has an estimated 89 active cases.

These estimates are based on MSDH’s guidelines for calculating estimated recoveries when hospitalizations are not known, using the number of cases 21 days ago, less known outcomes (deaths).

The total number of Mississippians tested for COVID-19 (PCR and antigen tests identifying current infections) as of Sunday, Oct. 3, is 863,957 or about 29% of the state’s 2.976 million residents. The positivity rate (positive results to tests, seven-day average) was 6.3% Sunday according to Johns Hopkins University. The national rate is 5%, and 5% or lower indicates adequate testing.

The total number of outbreaks in long-term care facilities is 126 Monday. About 40.1%, or 1,258, of the state’s total deaths were people in long-term care facilities.

A total of 25 deaths in Warren County were residents of LTC facilities.

MSDH is no longer reporting outbreaks in individual long-term care facilities in Mississippi and has replaced it with access to a database from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid. You can access and search the data here. The latest data available is for the week ending Sept. 27.

For additional information, visit the MSDH website.

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Crime

Blackburn Motors hit by car thieves

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Blackburn Motors, 2135 North Frontage Road, was the scene of a business burglary and auto theft Monday around 7 a.m.

Vicksburg police have issued a regional be-on-the-lookout alert for a 2020 black Dodge Challenger that was driven off the showroom floor through a door. Witnesses reported that the vehicle fled eastbound on Interstate 20. It was later reported that the vehicle was spotted near Flowers.

A 2020 blue Dodge Ram pickup truck and a gray 2011 Dodge Charger were also stolen.

Anyone with any information on this incident is encouraged to contact the Criminal Investigation Division of the Vicksburg Police Department at 601-636-2511 or Crime Stoppers at 601-355-TIPS.

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