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A pay raise for school teachers, giving local schools systems more control, defending gun rights and repaying the Alabama Trust Fund were among the issues discussed Tuesday night by Governor Robert Bentley in his annual State of the State speech. Governor Bentley also said his administration remains focused on creating jobs. Bentley also called for the expansion of Alabama's pre-paid kindergarten program.
Tax Fraud Sentences
The U.S. Attorney's office in Montgomery say eight people have been sentenced in federal court for their roles in a tax fraud and identity theft scheme. The Feds said Barbara Murry, owner of a Montgomery hair weave shop, conspired with her daughters who ran a tax preparation service to steal multiple names they could use the file fraudulent tax returns. Prosecutors said Murry's daughter, Veronica Temple and Yolanda Moses stole personal information and the three recruited others to open bank accounts they could funnel the money into. Murry, Temple and Moses were each sentenced to 57 months in prison and ordered to pay more than 1.9 million dollars in restitution. Five others received prison term, probation or home detention.
The FBI said bomb technicians found two explosive devices Tuesday on the property of Jimmy Lee Dykes. Dykes was killed Monday when agents stormed an underground bunker and freed a five-year-old boy who had been held hostage for nearly a week. FBI special agent Jason Pack said in an email that one explosive device was inside the bunker and the other in a plastic pipe that was used to communicate with the suspect. Pack also said Dykes engaged in a firefight with agents before he was killed. The boy named Ethan is reported doing well at home. Today is his 6th birthday.
The state Department of Homeland Security is launching an investigation into the hacking of the Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center's public website. The agency released a statement Tuesday confirming that an unauthorized document had been posted on its website. Agency officials say the document was removed Tuesday. Details on the document's content were not available. In late January, state Homeland Security officials launched an investigation into hacking at the state Information Services Division.