Agriculture Census

May 12, 2014

WVAS News talked with Alabama's Agriculture Commissioner John McMillan about the newest Agriculture Census that was released last week.  The 2012 Census found that the state's farmers sold more than $5.5 billion dollars' worth of agricultural products, which is a record; but producers also had to spend $4.7 billion dollars to grow those products.  McMillan says the census found that Alabama remains the second largest producer of broilers and peanuts in the United States.  The state's quail inventory is also second in the country.  Another highlight of the report, in Alabama, 3.4 percent of farms earning one million dollars or more accounted for nearly 63 percent in sales. 

Suspect Charged

Authorities say charges have been filed against a man accused of fatally shooting a Birmingham police officer in a convenience store's parking lot.  Birmingham police say 40-year-old Patrick Johnson is charged with capital murder in the death of West Precinct Officer Keary Hollis.  Police have said Hollis was fatally shot after an argument while he was off-duty in the city's Ensley neighborhood on Saturday night.  Authorities have said Hollis was a 5 plus year department veteran. 

Death Sentence Recommendation

Prosecutors are asking a judge to override a jury's recommendation of life in prison without parole and sentence a man to death for a killing at a community college.  A jury in Opelika convicted Thomas Franklin May of capital murder in March and recommended that he be sentenced to life in prison without parole.  He was convicted of firing into a van and killing his mother-in-law in June 2011.  His estranged wife was wounded.  The shooting occurred on the Opelika campus of Southern Union Community College while May was under a court order to stay away from his estranged wife.  Circuit Judge Jacob Walker has scheduled a hearing Tuesday on the prosecution's request.