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Florida man beaten to death with pick hammer, deputies say

A 27-year-old Winter Haven, Florida, man is behind bars after beating a man to death in the face with a pick hammer Saturday evening, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office said. 

>> Read more trending news 

Deputies arrested Calvin Ross after witnesses said he’d gotten into a fight with Jonathon Miller, 38 of Winter Haven, around 6:40 p.m. at 135 Manseau Drive, deputies said. 

>> On Florida Mall robbers caught after crash on I-4 following chase, deputies say

First responders took Miller, whose face was seriously damaged when deputies arrived, to Winter Haven Hospital and then Lakeland Regional Medical Center, where he died. 

>> On Man shot, killed by deputies after 911 call claiming woman was trying to kill family

Witnesses said Miller and Ross had been arguing outside the house when they heard noises they described as “thuds.” Ross then went inside and told a roommate Miller was outside and needed to be checked on. 

>> On $280,000 Rolls-Royce stolen during armed carjacking

Detectives found a bloody pick hammer in the grass near where they found Miller. They also found blood on Miller’s clothing and footwear. 

>> On PHOTOS: 2018 Disney Marathon

Ross was out on bond for an aggravated battery arrest from April when he allegedly beat someone in the head with a brick. 

WATCH: Tennessee movie theater brawl captured in viral video

It was a movie theater melee.

>> Watch the news report here

Cellphone video of a brawl at the Hollywood 20 Cinema in Bartlett, Tennessee, was shared thousands of times and viewed well over 100,000 times on social media. The man who recorded the video told WHBQ that the fighting stemmed from an argument over a boy. Moments later, multiple girl fights broke out.

>> Watch the video here (WARNING: Viewer discretion advised.)

"You know, that right there is kind of like watching wrestling on TV," Memphis native Adam Hudson reacted while viewing the video.

WHBQ went back to the theater on Stage Road to get more information. Taped to the entrance doors is a note that said those 17 and under must be escorted by a parent for evening movies Friday and Saturday.

It's similar to the parental policy implemented at Memphis' Oak Court Mall this weekend as a precaution after shots were fired outside the Wolfchase Galleria last month.

>> On Oak Court requires parent, legal guardian to escort teens at mall

"The parents are out doing what they want to and they are not worried about their kids, and that's why the world is becoming the way it is," Hudson said. "Because the parents don't care anymore."

However, several concerned parents did reach out to WHBQ. The station went to the cinema to ask management if the parental mandate was temporary or permanent, and what was being done to keep movie-goers safe. Before we could ask management the questions from concerned parents, we were asked to leave the property.

"It worries me because I have nieces and nephews, and I have two godkids as well," Hudson said. "I'm afraid to be out even in the public because something may happen."

>> Read more trending news 

The man who captured the video gave the station more details. He said security jumped in quickly to break up the fight, and he did not see anyone detained.

Bartlett police told WHBQ through email that information wouldn't be made available until Monday at the earliest.

"Really, people are afraid to come out because of stuff like that," Hudson said.

Tennessee megachurch pastor accused of sexual assault

A pastor of a Memphis, Tennessee, megachurch has been accused of sexual assault.

>> Watch the news report here

Andy Savage, of Highpoint Church, released a response to the accusations on social media platforms. Savage said he “had a sexual incident with a female high school senior" 20 years ago when he was a college student on staff at a Texas church.

>> From Weinstein to Lauer: A timeline of 2017’s sexual harassment scandals

He said he apologized immediately and asked for forgiveness from the victim, who was 17 at the time. Savage is coming forward after the woman shared her story on a blog, which is graphically detailed.

>> Read more trending news 

In the blog, the alleged victim detailed what happened and said she felt manipulated and used. She claimed she took her accusations to the church's leaders, but police were never called.

The blog also states she has recently filed a report with law enforcement, saying what happened to her was sexual assault.

>> Here's what to do if you are sexually harassed at work

Savage, who helped found Highpoint Church, said in his statement that he informed current church leaders of the incident before he was hired. 

The lead pastor of Highpoint, Chris Conlee, also released a statement saying the church did know about the incident in 1997 and the church is 100 percent committed to Savage and his family.

Police: Man accused of shoplifting at Hobby Lobby thwarted by snow

An accused shoplifter failed to make a clean getaway after allegedly stealing $4,000 worth of merchandise from a North Dakota Hobby Lobby on Wednesday, police said.

Dustin Johnson, 22, had to abandon the merchandise in the store's parking lot after his shopping cart got stuck in snow, the Grand Forks Herald reported.

>> Read more trending news 

After the cart got stuck in the snow and tipped over, Johnson fled on foot, but not before tripping and falling. He lost his wallet during the fall, which police retrieved upon responding to the shoplifting call, the Herald reported.

Johnson was arrested at home a short time later, police said.

Police: Man arrested on 15th DWI charge

A man in New Mexico who state police claim has 14 DWI convictions was arrested just before Christmas on suspicion of driving while intoxicated.

Levi Manuelito, 57, was arrested on Dec. 22 after police responded to reports of a car driving erratically on a highway near Shiprock, KRQE reported. Police found the vehicle at a gas station. Manuelito, who police said had his pants unbuckled and unzipped, exited and slipped into another car, the Albuquerque Journal reported. The car's passengers said Manuelito was the driver, according to the police report.

>> Read more trending news 

Manuelito refused to perform sobriety tests or a Breathalyzer test,  police said, so a blood draw was taken after police obtained a court order, the Journal reported. He will remain in jail until his trial, police said.

A stricter state law passed in 2016 may mean a longer sentence for Manuelito, if he's convicted on the new DWI charge. Before then, the maximum prison sentence for DWI was three years. Now, for repeat DWI offenders with 8 or more convictions, there's a minimum 12-year sentence, 10 years of which must be served, the Journal reported.

Manuelito has been in prison, on parole, on probation or absconding since 2000, according to State Department of Corrections records reviewed by the Journal.

Investigators: 2 arrested after drugs, $245,000 found in camper

An Ohio man and an Oregon woman were arrested Friday night after officials raided a house and recovered drugs and $245,000 police said.

>> Read more trending news

Police raided the house in Sidney, Ohio, after a search warrant was issued, 

Arrested were Leon Francis, 60, of Sidney; and Sarah Jones, 31, of Oregon. 

Police said marijuana, hash, THC and approximately $245,000 were found in a camper on the property.

The camper and a truck were seized and are believed to be a part of a large drug trafficking trade that spanned multiple states, investigators said.

Sidney Police Department, Piqua Police Department, and the Ohio State Patrol issued a search warrant after months of investigative and undercover work, according to Captain J A Tangeman of the Sidney Police Department.

Francis was charged with one count of drug abuse. Jones, of Oregon, was charged with one count of drug trafficking.

Police: Man who died from opioid OD paid dealer's light bill for drugs

Travis Tekel would fix computers, hack credit cards, pay bills — anything for some heroin caps and a stick of Xanax. The 28-year-old Florida resident was a computer genius with an opioid addiction and the brains to fuel it.

>> Read more trending news

Like an increasing number of addicts, Tekel died June 1 of a carfentanil overdose just hours after he’d paid a woman’s electric bill in exchange for what he likely thought was heroin.

Unlike most opioid victims, though, Tekel’s death led to his dealer’s arrest on manslaughter, fraud and drug-related charges.

Shalonda Lashay Golden, 27, was booked early Friday into the Palm Beach County Jail after a months-long Sheriff’s Office’s investigation into the texts, phone calls and surveillance footage that they say pin Golden as the one who delivered the fatal drugs to Tekel at a Delray Beach-area home.

Golden is being held in the county jail on a $104,000 bond.

Tekel, a dark-haired southern New York native, was introduced to opioids after a back injury, according to his mother Carol Hadges. She’d stay up with her son in the Boynton Beach home they shared as he shook with pain from an aching back and a growing addiction.

He eventually took up heroin and overdosed four times in the three years before his death. Hadges needed more than Narcan to save her son.

“I could scream and yell at him all I wanted but it wouldn’t have done anything,” Hadges said in an interview Friday. “It was a lifetime of help he needed.”

Tekel suffered from bipolar disorder and only took medication intermittently. “He thought he could take care of it on his own,” Hadges remarked.

He couldn’t. On at least two occasions violent outbursts landed him in jail, court records show. The most recent case brought him to a Delray-area rehabilitation center, his parents said. But he was kicked out, and a week later he was dead.

Records indicate Golden showed up in a white Honda Accord late June 1 to the parking lot of Tekel’s home. By midnight, he was dead from a fatal dose of carfentanil, fentanyl’s powerful cousin, the medical examiner determined.

Twelve hours later, Golden sent Tekel’s roommate a text. The roommate mentioned Tekel hadn’t been around.

“I hope ain’t nothing happen to him,” she reportedly texted. “He ain’t take too much of it did he?”

She said she’d sold Tekel heroin and Xanax and swore she didn’t cut it with anything.

“Whoever I bought the stuff from last time he was bad business. I don’t know where I can even get no cut from,” she texted. “I go to the people and I’m giving it to you guys how I buy it. That’s all I do.”

Tekel met Golden through her incarcerated boyfriend, Tekel’s former drug dealer, records show. Golden’s boyfriend is not being named because he does not face charges in Tekel’s death. Authorities reviewed dozens of recorded jailhouse calls between Golden and her boyfriend. They repeatedly discussed Tekel, records state, and once Golden’s boyfriend even called to thank Tekel for taking care of Golden’s bills.

The morning of June 1, Golden told her boyfriend that Tekel paid the light bill in exchange for drugs.

Two days after Tekel’s death, authorities pulled over Golden in the same Accord that video reportedly captured her driving the night of Tekel’s death. She had an invalid driver’s license, records indicate, and her car smelled of marijuana. Sheriff’s authorities searched her car and found a pawn slip with credit card information on it. She told them Tekel, a friend who she said was “enamored with her,” had filled it out.

Detectives’ numerous interviews with Golden’s other clients indicate her boyfriend passed his buyers on to her when he was locked up in March. Jail records indicate he last was released from jail in early November.

Despite hundreds of overdose deaths each year in the county, rarely anyone faces criminal charges for those deaths. However, the 30-year federal prison sentence handed down to Lake Worth drug dealer Christopher Massena in the overdose death of Christian “Ty” Hernandez showed a crackdown on dealers.

“Drug dealers know about this case and they are watching,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Nucci before the sentencing. “You must sentence him harshly to let them know.”

According to the Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office, 552 people lost their lives inside the county’s borders to drug overdoses in 2016 — a 106 percent leap from 2015, when 268 people overdosed and died. In 2014, there were 167 fatal overdoses.

The final numbers for 2017 won’t be available until, at least, the first quarter of 2018, but the county’s medical examiner predicts a 5 to 10 percent jump in overdose deaths.

Tekel’s father, Larry Tekel, keeps a photo of his son as the background of his cellphone. When Detective James Evans called Friday morning to tell the father about Golden’s arrest, Tekel glanced at his son’s picture and smiled:

“We got ’em, Travis.”

Roy Moore accuser Leigh Corfman files defamation lawsuit

A woman who told reporters she was 14 years old when former U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore touched her sexually filed a defamation lawsuit against him Thursday, according to multiple reports.

>> Read more trending news

Leigh Corfman, 53, told The Washington Post in November that Moore touched her inappropriately in 1979, while he was an assistant district attorney in Etowah County, Alabama. Moore denied the allegation and several others from women who said they were inappropriately approached by Moore while they were teenagers.

The allegations kicked of fa scandal that turned the tide of the race to fill the Senate seat left vacant when President Donald Trump chose then-Sen. Jeff Sessions to serve as his attorney general. Moore lost the race last month by a narrow margin to Democrat Doug Jones.

>> Related: Roy Moore loses Senate bid as election board certifies Doug Jones as winner

In a lawsuit filed Thursday in Montgomery County Circuit Court and obtained by, Corfman accused Moore of defaming her “repeatedly and in all forms of media, calling her a liar and questioning her motivation for publicly disclosing that Mr. Moore sexually abused her in 1979 when she was a 14-year-old high school freshmen and he was a 32-year-old assistant district attorney.”

Brett Doster, a representative of Moore’s Senate campaign, told the Post, “We look forward to transparently discussing these matters in a court of law.”

>> Related: Four women accuse Senate candidate Roy Moore of inappropriate sexual contact when they were teens

Corfman told the newspaper in a statement that the lawsuit aims “to do what I could not do as a 14-year-old – hold Mr. Moore and those who enable him accountable.” Her attorney, Neil Roman, told the Post that Corfman is asking for a public apology from Moore and a ban to bar him or his campaign from publicly attacking her again.

The suit laid out nearly a dozen instances in which Moore denied knowing Corfman or touching her inappropriately, reported.

"Mr. Moore's denials of these facts are false and his characterizations of Ms. Corfman and her motivations are untrue,” the lawsuit said. ”Mr. Moore knew or should have known that Ms. Corfman's account is truthful because he was the perpetrator in the events she described. At a minimum, Mr. Moore was reckless in making these statements."

FBI investigating Clinton Foundation

The Justice Department has renewed its investigation into allegations of corruption levied against the Clinton Foundation, the charity of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, according to multiple reports.

>> Read more trending news

FBI agents in Little Rock, Arkansas, where the foundation was launched, are leading the investigation, The Hill reported Thursday. At least one witness has been interviewed in recent weeks, according to the news site.

The probe is focused on whether Hillary Clinton or her husband exchanged policy favors for donations to the foundation, The Hill reported. Unidentified officials told the news site that agents might also examine “whether any tax-exempt assets were converted for personal or political use and whether the foundation complied with applicable tax laws.”

A federal investigation into the allegations was closed in 2016 due to a lack of evidence, The New York Times reported.

It was not immediately clear what prompted the renewed investigation, although a representative of the foundation implied in a statement to CNN that it was likely politically motivated.

"Time after time, the Clinton Foundation has been subjected to politically motivated allegations, and time after time, these allegations have been proven false," Craig Minassian said in the statement. "The Clinton Foundation has demonstrably improved the lives of millions of people across America and around the world while earning top ratings from charity watchdog groups in the process. There are real issues in our society needing attention that the Clinton Foundation works hard to solve every day. So we're going to stay focused on what really matters."

In a statement to The Hill, the former secretary of state’s chief spokesman Nick Merrill echoed Minassian.

“Let’s call this what it is: a sham,” Merrill told The Hill. “This is a philanthropy that does life-changing work, which Republicans have tried to turn into a political football. It began with a now long-debunked project spearheaded by Steve Bannon during the presidential campaign. It continues with Jeff Sessions doing Trump’s bidding by heeding his calls to meddle with a department that is supposed to function independently."

President Donald Trump has multiple times called for further investigations into Hillary Clinton, who he ran against in the 2016 presidential election.

Man accused of sexually assaulting sleeping woman on Spirit Airlines flight

Authorities arrested an Indian national after a 22-year-old woman told investigators that she woke up on a flight from Las Vegas to Detroit on Wednesday to find the man’s hand shoved down her pants and her clothing mussed, according to multiple reports.

The victim said she sat in a window seat next to Prabhu Ramamoorthy, 34, on a Spirit Airlines flight Wednesday, The Washington Post reported. On Ramamoorthy’s other side sat his wife, according to the newspaper.

>> Read more trending news

When the victim awoke, she found “a hand in her pants and noticed that her pants and shirt were unbuttoned,” authorities said in a federal complaint obtained by the Detroit Free Press. She told authorities that the man seated next to her had his “fingers in her (genitals) and (was) vigorously moving them.”

He stopped when she awoke, according to the complaint.

Flight attendants told investigators that the victim was crying when she reported the alleged assault around 5:30 a.m. Wednesday, while the flight was still in the air, according to the Post.

Ramamoorthy told investigators that he took a pill and was in a deep sleep when the alleged assault occurred, but he later told an FBI agent that he “might have” undone the woman’s bra and cupped her clothed breast, according to the Free Press.

“He also indicated that he unzipped her pants part-way, and did put his finger into her pants,” authorities said in the complaint. “He stated that he tried to put his finger in her vagina but was not successful.”

Both Ramamoorthy and his wife later told authorities that the pill Ramamoorthy took was “plain Tylenol,” the Post reported.

Authorities arrested Ramamoorthy on one count of aggravated sexual abuse, The Detroit News reported. He was ordered held without bond at a hearing Thursday after prosecutors argued that he was a flight risk since he isn’t a U.S. citizen, according to the newspaper.

“What makes this offense particularly egregious and the defendant even more of a danger to the community is the fact that it took place on an airplane,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Amanda Jawad said, according to the Post. “He was brazen enough to do this basically in public, next to his wife where anyone could have seen him.”

Richard O’Neill, Ramamoorthy’s attorney, said his client has worked as a project manager in the Detroit metropolitan area for more than two years, the News reported.

“I have a hard time with some of these allegations, but that’s what a trial is for,” O’Neill said, according to the News. “There have been no allegations from anywhere that his behavior has ever been inappropriate prior to this incident.”

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