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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Guilty of felony murder
Jennings County Sheriff’s Department deputies Drew Heilers, left, and Anthony Maberry lead Jody Brooks from the Jennings County Courthouse after his trial ended Thursday.—Staff Photo by Bryce Mayer
Jennings County Sheriff’s Department deputies Drew Heilers, left, and Anthony Maberry lead Jody Brooks from the Jennings County Courthouse after his trial ended Thursday.—Staff Photo by Bryce Mayer
It took a Jennings County Circuit Court jury less than two hours of deliberations Thursday to return a guilty verdict of felony murder against Jody Michael Brooks, 23, of North Vernon.

The jury of eight women and four men convicted Brooks of killing Richard A. Smith in a brutal beating in downtown North Vernon on Oct. 17, 2014, that Jennings County prosecuting attorney Brian Belding called a "stomping death."

JoVonnie Mays, 22, of Seymour, is also charged in the murder with his jury trial currently scheduled to start Jan. 26, though expected to be postponed.

"The jury made the right decision," Belding said after the Brooks trial ended. "We are pleased with the conviction."

The jury's quick decision Thursday was in stark contrast to Brooks' first trial last August when a different panel could not overcome a reported 11-1 impasse on two of the charges: murder and robbery resulting in serious bodily injuries. That resulted in a mistrial and the second trial was scheduled.

"Everyone on my staff put in a lot of work, just like they did the first trial," Belding said. "They did a great job, as did the jury."

All the same witnesses testified as in Brooks' first trial, except Mays, along with two additional people, a Jennings County jailer and a probation officer. The testimony of the latter, Chasity Gerkin, added to the case against Brooks, according to Belding. She related how Brooks was upset with Mays for his testimony during the first trial in which he blamed the killing on Brooks.

Monday, November 23, 2015
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Drivers around North Vernon can rejoice.

AmVets, Christ Baptist to serve Thanksgiving meals Thursday

Two locations in North Vernon will be providing free Thanksgiving meals on Thursday, Nov. 26.

• Leaf roundup runs late
• Messer, others reach agreement on education reform
• ­­Historic town's first school was constructed in 1817, with others following
• Jennings 4-H gains $120K
• Lions Club roaring again in NV
• Early deadlines

Elizabeth Jean Schreiner Sandhage, 76, Jewell-Rittman Family Funeral Home - Services pending

• Linda L. Brown, 66, Voss Chapel
• Barbara Lue Bruce, 71, DeVries Funeral Home
• Judy Sedam Cramer, 73, Morgan & Nay Funeral Centre
• Mary Carol Fugate, 68, Dove-Sharp & Rudicel Funeral Home
• Olive Lavonne Hartwell, 88, Dove-Sharp & Rudicel Funeral Home
• Wilda Bureen Mann, 76, Dove-Sharp & Rudicel Funeral Home


With three state finalists returning from last season, the 2015-16 edition of the Jennings County High School wrestling team knows expectations are high for their season.

• JCHS girls split the weekend
• Exciting 1st game for boys
• Panther hoops sees 1 game postponement
• Lady Panther runners bid record setting season farewell
• Time change for boys hoops
• Senior Ricky Hendrix set the pace for Panther season

Editor's Notebook
A million priceless stories

Bill Reichenbach has a million stories, all of which are priceless in my humble opinion.

• Humbled in Washington, D.C.
• Rock solid civil servants
• Mulching, mulching, mulching
• Scipio guitarist goes 'Back in the Day'
• A neighborhood in mourning
• He should have taught English

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Jamie Dawn Burwell, 31
Humbled in Washington, D.C.
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'10,000 Hallelujahs' coming up
'10,000 Hallelujahs' coming up
The Jennings County Players are busy rehearsing for "10,000 Hallelujahs." At left is Lois Kellar. Mary, portrayed by Carolyn Doxsee, in chair, listens as children sing to her: Holly Tyler, from left, Chloe Vermillion, Hanah Owens and Harmony Ernstes. The Christmas play will be presented the weekend of Dec. 4-6 at the Park Theatre Civic Centre.-Staff Photo by Bryce Mayer

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