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Judge denies class-action in Ala. teacher suit

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) - A federal judge has denied a request to expand a lawsuit filed by former students who say they were sexually molested by a long-time teacher.

WVTM-TV and report U.S. District Judge Virginia Hopkins recently ruled against a request for class-action status. The judge says the lawsuit against former Shelby County teacher Daniel Acker and the school board can still continue and others can be filed pursuing individual claims.

The lawsuit contends officials wrongly allowed Acker to remain a teacher in 1992 after being accused of molesting a fourth-grade student, who is now grown and among those suing.

Acker was sentenced in 2012 to 17 years in prison after pleading guilty to eight felony charges involving six girls. Authorities say he confessed to molesting about 20 students during his career.


1K-pound alligator caught in Alabama sets record

CAMDEN, Ala. (AP) - A gigantic alligator caught by a family in Alabama earlier this month has set a Safari Club International world record. reports a pair of master measurers from Safari Club International examined the 1,000-pound alligator on Friday, determining a total length of 15-feet, 9-inches.

That's 13 inches longer than the organization's previous world record American alligator, which had been killed in Texas.

The Alabama alligator was caught by the Stokes family after battling with it for more than five hours. It was hooked in a creek about 80 miles west of Montgomery.

The first attempt to weigh the gator destroyed a winch state biologists typically use, so they had a backhoe lift it.


Supreme Court: Ala inmate can't sue over stabbing

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - The Alabama Supreme Court says an inmate can't sue correctional officers over a stabbing in the state prison in Bullock County.

The court unanimously ruled Friday that the four officers are immune from a prisoner lawsuit.

Thomas Donahey Jr. sued the officers two years ago after he was stabbed by another prisoner inside Bullock County Correctional Facility.

Donahey filed suit claiming the officers failed to protect him from the attack. He asked for $500,000 in damages from the officers.

The officers asked a judge in Montgomery to dismiss the case last year by claiming they were immune from lawsuits. The judge refused without explanation.

The officers appealed, and the Supreme Court told the judge to dismiss the case because the officers are immune from being sued.


'Padlocks of love' show up on fence in Prattville

PRATVILLE, Ala. (AP) - The so-called "padlocks of love" which have appeared in other parts of the world are now showing up on a fence near downtown Prattville.

Prattville Mayor Bill Gillespie Jr. said he believes the locks represent romantic gestures. The Montgomery Advertiser reports that most of the locks contain people's initials, a date stamp or a combination of those.

The Montgomery newspaper reports that Paris is the location most associated with the concept, where thousands of couples have latched locks to fencing at a pedestrian bridge. The keys to the locks are thrown into a nearby river in Paris as a symbol of lasting love.

The locks in Prattville are behind Carol Brooks Home and Holiday Shoppe. Store co-owner Stephen Brooks agreed with the notion that the locks are a display of love.


2 people killed in crash on Alabama highway

PIEDMONT, Ala. (AP) - Authorities say two people have been killed in a one-vehicle highway crash near Piedmont.

State troopers say the wreck happened Thursday night on U.S. 278, about five miles east of Piedmont.

Killed the crash were 24-year-old Nikki Stancil of Piedmont; and 31-year-old Michael Barnwell of Anniston.

Authorities say their vehicle left the road and overturned around 8:30 p.m. Thursday.

WBRC-TV reports that the crash remained under investigation on Friday.


Ga. man gets life sentence in death of girlfriend

MACON, Ga. (AP) - A Macon man has been sentenced to life in prison in the killing of his former girlfriend.

The Telegraph reports that 31-year-old Bobby Lee Fordham on Thursday was convicted of using a steak knife to stab 29-year-old Candace Rice in her Macon home on May 27, 2012.

Fordham was arrested days later in the parking lot of a strip club in Birmingham, Alabama.

Superior Court jurors deliberated for a little less than an hour Thursday before finding Fordham guilty of murder and theft.

Following his conviction, Fordham was sentenced later Thursday to life in prison without the possibility of parole, followed by an additional 10 years.


Lawyer: Rosa Parks artifacts sold for $4.5M

DETROIT (AP) - A lawyer says the purchase price for hundreds of items that belonged to civil rights icon Rosa Parks is $4.5 million.

The sale was made to a foundation run by Howard G. Buffett, the son of billionaire investor Warren Buffett.

Howard Buffett confirmed the purchase Thursday but declined to disclose the price. Lawrence Pepper, a lawyer for Parks' heirs, told The Associated Press it was $4.5 million, with 12.5 percent going to an auction house.

Pepper says 20 percent of the balance goes to Parks' relatives. The rest will go to the Rosa & Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development in Detroit.

Parks became a pioneer in the civil rights movement by refusing to give up her bus seat to a white man in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1955.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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