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SCHOOL BUS DRIVER SHOT

Authorities: Captor shot and boy freed safely from six-day hostage ordeal in underground bunker

MIDLAND CITY, Ala. (AP) — Officials say law enforcement officers stormed an underground bunker in southeastern Alabama, freeing a 5-year-old boy and shooting his captor to death after they became convinced the child was in imminent danger.

Authorities said 65-year-old Jimmy Lee Dykes had taken the child off a school bus after fatally shooting the driver on Jan 29. Dykes had remained holed up in the bunker with the child.

Dale County Sheriff Wally Olson said late Monday that Dykes was armed when officers entered the bunker to rescue the child.

Olson and others declined to say how Dykes died. But an official in Midland City, citing information from law enforcement, said police had shot Dykes. The official requested anonymity because the official wasn't authorized to speak publicly about the investigation.

The FBI announced it would conduct a review of events as many questions still remained unanswered as to how authorities ended the hostage crisis that had caught the attention of the nation.

RELIGIOUS FREEDOM BILL

3 Ala. lawmakers support religious freedom bill

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — A handful of Republican Alabama lawmakers are pushing a bill to make it legal to display the Ten Commandments in any public building in the state.

WAFF-TV reports a pre-filed bill sponsored by Republican state Sen. Gerald Dial and has gained support from Sen. Shadrack McGill and Sen. Clay Scofield.

Dial says the bill — titled the Alabama Religious Freedom Amendment — could act as a safeguard for constituents who have expressed concerns over being sued for displaying the Ten Commandments in public places.

Dial says the bill does not provide state funding to defend the constitutionality of the proposed legislation, but groups have stepped forward to provide funding if a lawsuit is filed.

The bill will be read Tuesday.

TAX FRAUD-SCHEME

Ala. tax preparer pleads guilty in fraud scheme

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Department of Justice officials say a Montgomery woman has pleaded guilty on several charges stemming from her involvement in an identity theft and tax fraud ring.

Larreka Jackson pleaded guilty Monday in the Middle District of Alabama to charges of filing false claims, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. Authorities say the woman operated a tax preparation business in Montgomery and used it as a front to file fraudulent returns using stolen identities.

Officials say she used other people's names and social security numbers to file fraudulent returns and funneled the money into bank accounts she and her co-conspirators controlled. It was unclear Monday evening how many accomplices Jackson had and information on when Jackson will be sentenced was not immediately available.

GOVERNOR-ROADS

Alabama governor announces 302 road projects

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Gov. Robert Bentley has announced 302 more road and bridge projects that the state will finance with bond sales.

The 302 projects announced Monday total $398 million. That boosts his Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement Program to 439 projects totaling $613 million.

The largest projects include $18.7 million in Tuscaloosa to extend Fifth Avenue to Hackberry Lane at the University of Alabama campus and $16.6 million in Foley to extend Pride Drive from Alabama Highway 59 to County Road 20.

Cities and counties applied to the state to have projects approved, and they agreed to put up as much as 20 percent of the funding. The governor said the state's share comes from selling bonds that will be paid for with future funding from the federal government for highway improvements.



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