Crime

Attorneys: ‘Botched’ execution caused pain and torture

Kenneth Eugene Smith’s attorneys say he was “subjected to ever-escalating levels of pain and torture” on the night of the failed execution.

Birmingham City Council approves violence-reduction effort for city high schools

The program involves community mentors, called “coaches,” meeting with groups of at-risk students twice a week.

Advocates hope Alabama’s execution moratorium leads to change but say the blame is misplaced

Equal Justice Initiative Director Bryan Stevenson says Alabama’s failed executions were “shocking, torturous conduct that provided justice to no one.”

Alabama calls off execution after difficulties inserting IV

This is the second execution since September the state has cancelled because of IV difficulties.

City officials want parents to combat gun violence. Community leaders say it’s not that simple

Officials point to parents and the need for strong community networks to stop gun violence in Birmingham. They say it takes a village. But it’s not just the people in charge saying that, it’s also kids, activists, and the parents themselves.

Teens say Birmingham’s gun violence takes a heavy toll

At least 11 students in Birmingham have died due to gun violence since the beginning of the year, and their peers say the ongoing issue causes their mental health to suffer.

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Police remove suspicious backpack from near a Birmingham synagogue

Authorities said the bag was a credible threat although it did not contain an explosive. The incident came on the heels of threats against synagogues in New Jersey.

In New Orleans, a symbolic bike ride helps fight recidivism. Here’s how it impacted the riders.

The annual NOLA to Angola bike ride returned this month to help the nonprofit The First 72+ fight recidivism. Participants share what the ride means to them.

Expert says inadequate staffing is driving deaths in prisons across the Gulf South

An expert explains how issues from staffing to healthcare to climate change have contributed to a recent rise in deaths in prisons across the Gulf South.

World Games Human Exploitation Task Force announces arrests

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security Investigations says 34 arrests were made for commercial sex and six arrests for human trafficking during The World Games, which ended Sunday in Birmingham.

Police identify the victims from Thursday’s deadly church shooting in Vestavia Hills

Police say the suspect is a 71-year-old white male who occasionally attended the church. They haven’t released a motive but said he used a handgun.

Alabama church shooting kills 2, wounds 1; suspect detained

The shooting occurred Thursday evening at Saint Stephen's Episcopal Church in the Birmingham suburb of Vestavia Hills.

Deliberate Indifference: A conversation about Alabama, Mississippi prison issues

WBHM’s Mary Scott Hodgin talks with Brittany Brown of the Gulf States Newsroom about issues plaguing Alabama and Mississippi prisons.

Inside the manhunt for an escaped murder suspect and jailer

U.S. marshals and sheriff’s deputies led an 11-day manhunt for an Alabama murder suspect and jailer who were heavily armed and preparing for a shootout when they were captured.

Alabama jailbreak mystery deepens as manhunt ends with death

Jailer Vicky White was pronounced dead at a hospital after murder suspect Casey White gave up without a fight in Evansville, Indiana. The fugitives had spent more than a week on the run through three states.

Birmingham targets motels over illegal activity and blight

Since last fall, Birmingham city officials have sued or taken other measures to shut down the businesses.

Arrest warrant issued in Alabama for missing jail official

An arrest warrant has been issued for a jail official who disappeared while escorting a prisoner last week.

To reduce gun violence, New Orleans is turning to community groups instead of police

Advocates in New Orleans work to curb gun violence by focusing on prevention and community needs over policing and aim to spread it across the Gulf South.

Q&A: After DOJ’s Parchman report, what changes are needed at Mississippi Corrections?

The Gulf States Newsroom’s Brittany Brown details the Department of Justice’s report on the Mississippi State Penitentiary, and what comes next.

One year later, where is the Birmingham Civilian Review Board? 

A year ago, Mayor Randall Woodfin announced the launch of the Birmingham Civilian Review Board to offer independent accountability for police. But the board doesn't seem to be active.

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How many people died in homicides in Birmingham in 2021? It’s not clear

Tracking Birmingham's homicides for 2021 should have been straightforward. Here's why it wasn't.

Prison visits are back in the Gulf States. Many have not seen loved ones for nearly 2 years

This holiday season, many incarcerated people in the Gulf States are seeing their loved ones for the first time since March 2020 due to COVID restrictions.

Birmingham debuts new tech hub to help solve crime in real time

Birmingham leaders officially opened the city's Real Time Crime Center Tuesday, a project intended to give the Birmingham Police Department new technological tools to help resolve crime more quickly.

4 Things To Know About Birmingham’s Homicides So Far This Year

The city of Birmingham has recorded 64 homicides so far in 2021, according to data from the Jefferson County Coroner's Office. But what do we really know about the city's homicide victims? WBHM took a deeper dive into the data. Here's what we learned.

Birmingham Residents Offer Solutions To Gun Violence But Some Victims Feel Hopeless

Birmingham residents are concerned about the city's gun violence. Local activists say reducing shootings has to be a community effort, with local government support. But some victims say there’s not much authorities can do.

How Birmingham’s Police Chief Plans To Slow The City’s Homicide Rate

Birmingham finished 2020 with a 25-year high in homicides. This year shows no sign of that slowing. WBHM talked with the city's police chief about how he plans to respond.

Mayor Woodfin Seeks Community Help To Find Shooters Of Children

Five children have been killed or injured by gun violence in Birmingham this year, and city leaders are pleading for witnesses to come forward.

Birmingham Police Need The Public’s Help In Solving Homicides, Woodfin Says

The overall crime rate in Birmingham went down compared to last year, but the city’s murder rate increased 13 percent in 2020, according to data from the Birmingham Police Department.

Crime Slows As People Shelter From Coronavirus

Crime isn’t taking a coronavirus holiday, but law enforcement statistics show it headed in a positive direction as more people shelter from the pandemic.

New Warrant Issued in Paighton Houston Case

The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office is searching for a man on charges of corpse abuse in connection with the death investigation of Paighton Houston.

Paighton Houston’s Remains Found In Hueytown

Authorities identified a body found behind a house in Hueytown Thursday as that of Paighton Houston, according to Trussville Detective Ben Short.

Aniah Blanchard Remembered for Smiles, Laughter and Encouragement

Friends and family remembered Aniah Blanchard Saturday, a Homewood native who was abducted and killed this fall. Speakers at the funeral told of her caring nature and her faith.