Across the Southeast

Jurors see photos of body in murder trial

 

MIAMI - Chilling photographs of 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford's body, dug out of a shallow hole in the ground and removed from two knotted black plastic bags, were shown Friday to jurors in the murder trial of the man charged with killing her.

Prosecutors also let jurors see a yellow, floral-print mattress of John Evander Couey's that they say is stained with Jessica's blood, part of the key forensic evidence in the case.

Two female jurors dabbed at their eyes with tissues when the photographs of the girl's body were shown for the first time in court.

Jurors were also shown the plastic bags, which a Citrus County detective testified included two small holes where Jessica poked through with fingers from her right hand. The speaker wire allegedly used by Mr. Couey to bind her wrists was displayed also.

Mr. Couey, 48, is accused of abducting Jessica from her bedroom in Homosassa in February 2005, raping her and then killing her by burying her while still alive outside his trailer about 150 yards from the Lunsford home. He was arrested in Augusta.

Mr. Couey faces the death penalty if convicted.

Lawsuit against TVA revived after 20 years

KNOXVILLE, TENN. - A divided federal appeals court on Friday revived an environmental lawsuit against the Tennessee Valley Authority for not adding pollution controls when it overhauled a coal-fired power plant nearly two decades ago.

By a 2-1 vote, a panel of judges on the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati said the statute of limitations hadn't run out on the continuing emissions from the TVA's Bull Run fossil plant in Clinton.

Judge Karen Nelson Moore said the alleged violation "manifests itself each day the plant operates."

Under the court's interpretation, TVA could be liable for damages dating to 1996, reflecting the five-year window on a 2001 lawsuit filed by the National Parks Conservation Association, the Sierra Club and Our Children's Earth Foundation.

The appeals judge ordered the case sent back to U.S. District Judge Tom Varlan to consider the case's merits. Judge Varlan must decide whether TVA's replacement of about a quarter of tubing in Bull Run's boiler was significant enough to trigger Clean Air Act requirements for pollution controls.

- Edited from wire reports