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Assault charge reduced for former Vol Alexis Johnson
WVLT Thursday April 21, 2016

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- The aggravated assault charge was reduced for former Vol Alexis Johnson. It was reduced to a misdemeanor from a felony.

The false imprisonment charge was dismissed in its entirety.

There will be no probation for Johnson.

Johnson was accused of strangling a woman he used to date.

According to a police report, Johnson was play fighting in his apartment with a girl he previously dated. The victim told police that the play fighting escalated when Johnson placed his hand around her throat several times. She told investigators the constriction was so tight she couldn't fight back and felt like she was going to pass out.

Investigators say a witness reported that Johnson appeared to be punching the victim and injured her lip. The witness said that Johnson tried repeatedly to touch and kiss the victim who repeatedly refused interest in a sexual encounter.

Johnson was suspended from the football team.


Oak Ridge Animal Shelter to appear on National Geographic
WVLT Thursday April 21, 2016

OAK RIDGE, Tenn. (WVLT)-- Two animals from the Oak Ridge Animal Shelter will soon be famous.

Batman the rat and Pumpkin the cat will be featured on National Geographic WILD's "Unlikely Animal Friends". The segment will air Saturday May 21st at 8:00 pm.

Last September the Nat Geo team spent a full day at the shelter filming the unlikely pals. Aside from the pairs friendship ORAS hopes to educate the public on FIV- positive cats, a feline version of HIV, and promote local adoption.

The ORAS is on 395 Belgrade Rd, in Oak Ridge and currently holds a no kill status.

UPDATE! TBI cancels Amber Alert for missing Cookeville 12-year-old

UPDATE! TBI cancels Amber Alert for missing Cookeville 12-year-old
TBI Thursday April 21, 2016

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation canceled an Amber Alert for 12-year-old Steven Merriman. He was found safe in White County.


The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has issued a Middle & East Tennessee AMBER Alert on behalf of the Cookeville Police Department for 12-year-old Steven Merriman. Merriman was last seen with his non-custodial mother, Sheila D Randolph. Randolph took the child from his school in Cookeville, TN at approximately 3:14 PM. Steven was last seen wearing plaid shorts and grey T-shirt. Shelia and Steven are traveling in a 1995 Chevy Blazer with TN tag N71-32B with direction of travel unknown. Shelia has ties to Walling, Spencer and Rock Island locations in Tennessee. Sheila is believed to be accompanied by a 39-year-old, white male with brown hair and hazel eyes, approximately 6'0" tall and weighing approximately 200 lbs. If you have any information concerning the whereabouts of Steven Merriman, please contact Cookeville Police Department at (931) 526-2126 or TBI at 1-800-TBI-FIND.

Victim: Steven Merriman
Age: 12
Sex: Male
Race: White
Eyes: Brown
Hair: Brown
Hgt: 5'2"

Photo Courtesy TBI


Investigators ask for public's help to get information about Morgan Co. death
WVLT Thursday April 21, 2016

OLIVER SPRINGS, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Deputies in Morgan County are seeking information from the public regarding a man found dead at Allied Metal Recovery & Refining on Gouge Hollow Road. Investigators believe 71-year-old James Pete McCarroll was killed on April 18 sometime between 5:30 and 6 a.m.

McCarroll was beaten and shot. Investigators say the suspect stole several thousand dollars in cash from him at the time of the murder.

They believe McCarroll's body was found within minutes of the murder and the suspects would have been in the area.

Officials are asking for anyone with any information or observed anything out of the ordinary in this area please call 1-800-TBI-FIND, the Morgan County Sheriff's Office 423- 346-0911 Option #5 or the 9th DAG Office 865-376-2145, ext. 152 or email to


Veto Override Attempt on Bible Bill Fails
AP Thursday April 21, 2016

The Tennessee House of Representatives voted to not override the governor's veto on a controversial bill that would have made the Bible the state book of Tennessee.
The bill needed 50 'yes' votes to override. It only received 43.
The governor last week turned back the bill over constitutional concerns and because he believes the measure "trivializes" what he considers a sacred text.
Sponsors argued that the measure seeks to honor the economic and historical impact of the Bible in Tennessee history, rather than a state endorsement of religion.
But opponents say it diminishes the significance of the Bible to place it alongside other state symbols like the official salamander, reptile or rock.
The legislature voted against overriding the veto on Wednesday afternoon.


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