FRANKLIN (AP) — A man on trial for robbery was arrested Friday after the jury delivered a guilty verdict. His crime? Authorities say he pulled a heist while on a lunch break from his trial a day earlier.
The Tennessean reports police waited for a jury's decision in Mark Burgin's trial before immediately charging him in the theft of $45,000 worth of jewelry from a nearby Franklin jeweler.
Burgin had been on trial for the 2009 knifepoint robbery of a man at a truck stop. While on his lunch break Thursday he allegedly grabbed the jewelry and rushed out.
A clerk noticed he was wearing a Rolex watch, and saw that a nearby display watch was missing. The clerk confronted him about the watch and he returned it. But when the clerk noticed several other pieces missing and asked Burgin about them, he fled and apparently returned to court about a block away.
"He was just a grab and run," said Mike Walton, owner of Walton's Antique and Estate Jewelry.
Police matched Burgin's description from witness accounts. His probation was revoked and he spent the night in jail before returning to his trial Friday. He was convicted later that evening.
The robbery was common knowledge around the courthouse, but Judge Robbie Beal kept the news from the jury while the trial wrapped up — other than to note Friday's lunch break wouldn't be as long.
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NASHVILLE (AP) — The Tennessee Education Department on Friday released several strategies to help school districts reach goals set by the state, which U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan has singled out as a leader in education reform.
Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman said the state will seek to expand students' access to effective teachers and leaders; improve access to good schools; expand educators' access to resources and best practices; and provide better access to information and data.
Recent changes in state law — including toughening the curriculum and teacher evaluations — allowed Tennessee to win $500 million in the national Race to the Top education grant competition.
During a visit to Nashville last month, Duncan applauded Tennessee for what he called courage in making education changes.
In July, preliminary results from the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program showed math scores in third through eighth grade improved by 7 percent this year over last year. Reading scores improved by 3.7 percent.
In 18 school systems, student scores improved by 20 percent or more.
Still, the state is only 41 percent proficient in math for those grades, and 48.5 percent in reading. Under guidelines of No Child Left Behind, the state is required to be 60 percent proficient in math next year, 66 percent in reading, and 100 percent in both subjects by 2014.
Duncan acknowledged Tennessee still has a long way to go but said he's confident the state's education changes will produce results.
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CLEVELAND (AP) — A man fatally shot his wife and their adult son and wounded his son's friend before turning the gun on himself, a Bradley County Sheriff's Department spokesman said Friday.
Spokesman Bob Gault said the shootings that were reported about 7 a.m. Friday at a rural home followed a "domestic issue" between the shooter and his wife.
Gault identified the victims as Gail Boling, 65, of Etowah and the couple's 47-year-old son Charles Boling Jr. He said Charles Boling Sr., 67, of Etowah shot them and then killed himself.
Gault said Gail Boling had spent Thursday night at their son's home, where the shooting happened.
Gault said he did not know any other details about a possible motive.