Tuesday, September 22, 2009

22 SEP 09: Like It and Lumpkin It

Isn't it amazing how secretive local grand juries can be? They come together seemingly from out of nowhere - and hours later, we have decisions on some of the biggest criminal cases in Columbus. Sometimes they seem like a downtown version of The Big Eddy Club....

That sort of big decision occurred again in Columbus Monday. A grand jury decided NOT to indict Frank Lumpkin III, for a shooting outside a convenience store last October. With a famous last name like Lumpkin, critics might call this a call of honoring "no-bill-ity."

In case you came in late: Frank Lumpkin III claims he happened upon his stolen sport utility vehicle last fall at a convenience store on Fort Benning Road. Lumpkin reportedly then attempted a "citizen's arrest" of the driver -- and we should remember that happened about 60 new Columbus police officers ago.

The auto theft and shooting case quickly ballooned into much more. The Columbus NAACP demanded a special prosecutor over the Frank Lumpkin III case, and that happened. Lumpkin's supporters began investigating the family of the teenager he shot, and his mother was arrested for shoplifting. And does anyone know if Grey Conger and Judge Julia Lumpkin still are dating?

Frank Lumpkin III eventually told a juvenile court he accidentally shot a young man inside his stolen SUV [16 Nov 08]. The gun reportedly was in the driver's lap - yet there's still been no proposal in Columbus Council to ban texting while driving, much less shooting.

Two teenagers found inside the SUV were sentenced to five years of juvenile detention. But way back last November, defense attorney Darrell Dowdell predicted Frank Lumpkin III would be punished eventually [11 Nov 08]. It now appears Dowdell plans to do that himself - by suing Lumpkin to the point that he'll be homeless.

Darrell Dowdell warned this blog last November he planned to file a civil suit against Frank Lumpkin III. He said it again to WTVM Monday, indicating several witnesses of the shooting never were brought before the grand jury. This sounds a bit familiar, doesn't it? If the prosecutor's starting lineup isn't getting a win, bring on the substitutes.

Darrell Dowdell dared to connect the Frank Lumpkin III case to the shooting of Kenneth Walker. He noted a grand jury refused to indict David Glisson in 2004, and now history has repeated itself -- as if the grand jury held a five-year reunion with a Government Center business session, instead of a picnic at Flat Rock Park.

Frank Lumpkin III reportedly called Columbus Police several times after his SUV was stolen, without a response. Eleven months later, the response might be different. Chief Ricky Boren said Monday ten new police beats are now in operation during the day, and should be in effect around the clock by January. That'll teach you to apply too late to be an officer - you get the night shift.

Let's see what else had people talking on the last full day of summer....

+ The parent company of Rob Doll Nissan filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy. Doll stayed away from "cash for clunkers" - and now his dealership apparently is lacking for both of them.

+ Teen Challenge International held the official grand opening of its downtown headquarters - five months after it actually opened. When you have to wait this long for the mayor to show up and cut a ribbon, Columbus truly is becoming a big city.

+ Columbus Councilor Jerry Barnes told WLTZ's "Rise and Shine" he's organizing a Veterans Day parade for mid-November. If I know Barnes, this will NOT consist simply of veterans marching - as firefighters will walk alongside, testing them for diabetes.

+ Better Way Foundation President Jeremy Hobbs issued a statement, reporting 92 people took part in his group's weekend HIV/AIDS walk and run on the Riverwalk. His next event is a "World AIDS Day banquet" in December - where you'd better be careful about asking for "cocktails," because someone might serve you medicine.

+ WXTX called off its "Fox 54 News at Ten" for the night. Anchor Jason Dennis blamed the problem on "technical difficulties." From what I saw in other WTVM newscasts, something in the control room became as temporarily insane as Dr. House.

+ The Ledger-Enquirer web site reported the Courts of Praise Worship Center in Phenix City will host a night of professional wrestling on 3 October. That may sound strange, but think about this - the book of Genesis says Jacob once wrestled with an angel, and it apparently was a no-time-limit match.

(There's one good thing about having pro wrestling at a church. The cheating wrestlers finally may have a conscience - and suspend their hair pulling and eye gouging for a night.)

+ WRBL showed a new scoreboard which is being installed at Kinnett Stadium. It's replacing one which is broken, and eventually could be installed at the proposed new Brewer ballpark. That stadium may be next to Brewer School, but I suspect the name "Andrews" will be in there somewhere.

+ Columbus State University played its first-ever "club football" game at Kinnett, and lost to the Shorter junior varsity 22-14. I'm amazed a Division III college such as Shorter even has a "junior varsity" team. I'd expect that at Georgia Tech - with players actually taking serious engineering courses.

+ Instant Message to WRBL sports anchor Shawn Skillman: So? Why it is such a big deal that Auburn football players are NOT spiking the ball after scoring touchdowns? That's been against the rules in college football for decades.

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