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Published: Tuesday, February 13, 2018 @ 9:55 AM
Updated: Tuesday, February 13, 2018 @ 3:36 PM
OXFORD — Mike Fox this week will undergo a life-threatening surgery, just two months after he nearly lost his life when he suffered a congestive heart failure.
Fox will have a cancerous left kidney removed. He believes the tumor been growing since 2016 but never diagnosed as cancerous until last month by doctors at McCullough-Hyde Memorial Hospital in Oxford. A 3-centimeter cancerous tumor was found.
He said the diagnosis was “pretty sobering” and “a surprise on top of the other stuff.”
“It’s not like I had enough problems,” said Fox in an exclusive interview with this news organization. “After having gone through all the stuff I went through … my whole system is pretty weak. We just hope my body is strong enough to get me through it.”
Fox is infamous in Butler County. He served longer in the Statehouse, 23 years, than any other Butler County lawmaker and was also a former county commissioner. He also later served four years in prison for wire fraud and filing a false tax return.
And now, he and his family are putting their faith in God, he said.
“You put it all in God’s hands, and that’s all you can do,” Fox said. “I just pray that he lets me hang around for a little longer.”
There have been many well-wishers posting thoughts and prayers for Fox, including Butler County Democratic Party’s Central Committee Chair Suzi Rubin.
Fox told this news organization last month that he nearly died because he relied on food to relieve the stress, which only increased when the FBI began to investigate him for his role in Butler County entering into fiber optics.
RELATED: Michael Fox talks about his ‘humbling’ prison sentence (December 2015)
Fox, already a big man, gained more than 100 pounds.
“When the FBI came calling, I went into a total crash,” he said. “I became a total hermit, and eating was my comfort.”
Fox was hospitalized on Dec. 2 after he collapsed in his home and stayed in a pair of hospitals — McCullough-Hyde and Bethesda North in Hamilton County — until Dec. 18. He doesn’t remember most of that time as he suffered congestive heart failure when in the hospital.
It was all because of his insatiable appetite, which caused him to say, “I almost ate myself to death.”
“You think you’re bulletproof until something like this happens,” he said. “Basically, my body was shutting down. It was by the grace of God, that’s the only way to explain it. God gave me my life back.”
Published: Friday, February 23, 2018 @ 9:42 PM
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — An arrest has been made after a Memphis couple was found dead in an apartment that went up in flames Thursday afternoon.
Aareon Berryman, 18, has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder, especially aggravated robbery, aggravated arson, possession of marijuana with the intent to manufacture or sell, and possession of ecstasy with the intent to manufacture or sell.
On Thursday afternoon, a Memphis Police Department officer said he heard multiple gunshots coming from an apartment complex located in the 3500 block of Tall Oaks Circle. Witnesses began yelling, "It's a robbery happening," he said.
Moments later, the officer said he found Berryman running northbound from an apartment unit engulfed in flames. After a short foot chase, Berryman was caught and taken into custody. Officers said they asked the suspect if anyone was still in the apartment.
Berryman said there were two other people inside the burning apartment where he "left them," police officials said.
The Memphis Fire Department arrived at the scene after being notified of the apartment fire. MFD found the body of Brandon Allen lying on the kitchen floor and the body Regina Allen in the back bedroom. They were pronounced dead on the scene.
The couple had just celebrated Regina's birthday four days ago.
Police said Berryman admitted to killing both victims, taking their property, and setting their apartment on fire.
The suspect allegedly had an AR-15, loaded handgun, 2 jars of marijuana, 3 plastic bags of marijuana, 3 prescription pill bottles, and a bottle of charcoal lighter fluid in his possession at the time of his arrest, authorities said.
Officials said 8 to 16 units were completely or partially burned out in the process. The total damage was estimated at $254,000 for the buildings and $76,000 worth of contents, according to MFD.
Published: Friday, February 23, 2018 @ 4:04 AM
Updated: Friday, February 23, 2018 @ 3:56 PM
— A Flood Watch is in effect for Montgomery, Preble, Clark, Greene, Butler, Warren and Clinton counties until Sunday morning.
Overnight: Mostly cloudy skies will linger through the night with areas of fog, light rain and drizzle possible. Steadier showers will develop overnight around 3 a.m. Temperatures drop tonight through the 50s to a low in the lower 40s.
Saturday: Rain likely and could be heavy at times. Thunderstorms also will be possible during the day. Flooding will be possible with rainfall amounts of 1 to 3 inches through Saturday night. High temperatures will be in the middle 50s.
Sunday: Rain early in the day, then breaks in the clouds later. Flooding will still be possible as rivers and streams continue to rise. Highs will be in the lower 50s and it will be windy at times.
Monday: It will be a nice start to the workweek. There will be sunshine for the afternoon with temperatures above normal in the low 50s.
Tuesday: Expect mostly sunny skies will mild temperatures in the middle 50s.
Published: Friday, February 23, 2018 @ 6:00 PM
Updated: Friday, February 23, 2018 @ 8:40 PM
OAKWOOD — UPDATE @ 8:40 p.m.
Police are seeking the public’s help to find the bank robber who held up LCNB.
The suspect entered Lebanon Citizens National Bank, 2705 Far Hills Ave., around 5:30 p.m., demanded money and left with an undisclosed amount of cash, Oakwood police Lt. Chuck Balaj said.
No weapon was seen, and the suspect left in a black Pontiac G6.
Anyone with information is urged to call Oakwood police at 937-298-2122 or Crime Stoppers at 937-222-STOP(7867).
Police were called this evening to a report of a bank robbery at LCNB.
The alarm was sounded around 5:40 p.m. at Lebanon Citizens National Bank, 2705 Far Hills Ave., according to police scanner traffic.
Oakwood police said the matter was under investigation and would not release any details.
According to initial reports, a dye pack exploded on the suspect, described as a man in his 50s who stands between 5 feet 6 and 5 feet 7 inches and was wearing a black ball cap and black sweater. He reportedly fled in a black Pontiac G6 south on Far Hills Avenue.
The suspect did not show a weapon but kept his hand inside his pocket, according to initial reports.
We have a crew on the way to the scene and will update this report.
Published: Friday, February 23, 2018 @ 7:01 PM
CALERA, Ala. — An Alabama man charged with killing his wife, whose slaying last month unveiled her double life as an online exhibitionist, is accused of beating her to death with a bottle of absinthe, court records show.
The partially-clothed body of Kathleen Dawn “Kat” West, 42, of Calera, was discovered lying in the road in front of her home just after 5 a.m. on Jan. 18, Calera Police Chief Sean Lemley said in a Thursday news conference. She lived there with her husband, William Jeffrey West, and their 12-year-old daughter.
Jeff West, 44, was arrested Thursday and charged with murder. According to Shelby County Jail records, he was being held Friday in lieu of $500,000 bond.
The couple’s daughter was not home when her mother was killed.
Lemley said Thursday that Jeff West was the department’s chief suspect from the beginning of the investigation, though Kat West’s “online professional activities” warranted investigators’ attention.
He declined to specify what evidence pointed them toward her husband.
“Let me say this. We are still restricted, very restricted, on what information that can be given out,” Lemley said. “The case is still under investigation, even though we have made an arrest. But, the case has to go to trial as well.”
The West murder case has shone a national spotlight on small-town Calera, due mainly to the more salacious details of Kat West’s life. Though she described herself on social media as a full-time stay-at-home wife and mother, she operated a subscription-only adult website where she went by the name “Kitty Kat West.” The public page boasted a suggestive photo and promised users that, for a monthly $15.99 subscription fee, they could get more risqué material beyond the paywall.
Her Twitter account, also listed under her stage name, directs viewers to the paid adult website, as well. Kat West’s bio on the adult site, which was still live as of Friday, described the site, in part, as “hundreds of pics of ALL me, having some naughty fun.”
In the days immediately following the slaying, Kat West’s mother, Nancy Martin, wrote on Facebook that it seemed “impossible for the extreme sadness and grief we feel (over) the loss of our beautiful daughter, Kat, to ever diminish.” She described her daughter as a “cherished wife to Jeff” and a loving mother to their own young daughter.
A fundraiser in Kat West’s name was established, but quickly ended as the case became more public.
On Jan. 24, Martin changed her profile picture to one of her daughter and son-in-law. It remained there as of Friday afternoon.
See Calera Police Chief Sean Lemley’s news conference, recorded by WBRC in Birmingham, below.
Lemley said that investigators interviewed many witnesses in the case, as well as collecting a lot of evidence that needed to be processed. Four detectives were assigned to the case, two of them full-time.
“Evidence takes time to process,” the police chief said. “And we have to wait on that evidence to come in so we can connect all the dots.”
Detectives were awaiting analysis on a final piece of evidence from the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences. That final report was issued on Tuesday and, after a thorough review by the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office, a warrant was issued for Jeff West’s arrest, the chief said.
“We know exactly what happened, for the most part, on this case.” Lemley said. “I mean, we can’t tell you verbatim what was being said one way or the other, but we know what happened that night. We do have evidence to support that.”
The chief credited neighboring Shelby County law enforcement agencies, state agencies and the FBI with assisting in the investigation.
Lemley again declined to go into detail about the evidence, but Jeff West’s arrest warrant, obtained by AL.com, indicates that Kat West was killed with a bottle of Lucid Absinthe. An autopsy found that the victim died of blunt force trauma to the head.
The court documents state that, when a 19-year-old neighbor left for work Jan. 18, she found Kat West face-down on the ground in nothing but a sports bra, her body half in the roadway and half in the yard of the home across the street. A cellphone was found nearby, along with a green liquor bottle.
Lucid Absinthe is sold in green bottles.
TV news magazine Inside Edition on Jan. 25 aired surveillance footage from R&R Wine and Liquor, in Calera, that shows Kat West, just about eight hours before she was killed, walk into the liquor store with a man who appears to be her husband. In the video, the couple looks happy and playful.
“They came in (and) it looked like they were on their date night,” store clerk Stacey Oglesby told Inside Edition.
The couple bought two things that night: Lucid Absinthe and Jameson Irish Whiskey, Oglesby said.
Lemley said it was not completely clear what could have happened between the couple’s visit to the liquor store, when they appeared happy, and when Kat West was bludgeoned to death.
“It’s a domestic. Unfortunately, domestics turn bad pretty quickly,” Lemley said. “Anything can trigger it.”
Jeff West, a military veteran, works as an unsworn police officer at Birmingham Southern College, AL.com reported. Officials at the school said they are in the process of terminating his employment.