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Tedeschi Trucks band keyboardist Kofi Burbridge dead at 57
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Tedeschi Trucks band keyboardist Kofi Burbridge dead at 57

Tedeschi Trucks band keyboardist Kofi Burbridge dead at 57
Kofi Burbridge played keyboards and the flute for the Tedeschi Trucks Band.

Tedeschi Trucks band keyboardist Kofi Burbridge dead at 57

Kofi Burbridge, the longtime keyboardist and flautist for the Tedeschi Trucks Band, died Friday. He was 57.

>> Read more trending news 

The multi-instrumentalist, who moved to Atlanta in 1987 to join the band Knee-Deep, was hospitalized last month after a setback stemming from his 2017 emergency heart surgery in Atlanta. In January, the band alerted fans about Burbridge’s condition and his inability to join them on their current tour, which played Washington D.C., on Friday with fill-in keyboardist Gabe Dixon.

The news of Burbidge’s passing was shared early Saturday by former bandmate Yonrico Scott; the cause and location of death has not been announced.

In an April 2018 interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Derek Trucks spoke excitedly about how well Burbridge had recovered from his 2017 surgery.

>> PHOTOS: Notable deaths 2019

“Kofi is full force. It reminds me of ‘Lord of the Rings’ when Gandalf goes down and comes back as the white wizard -- he’s got a few extra layers of magic! His musicianship has always been amazing, but listening back to the studio (recordings) the last few days, he crossed over there for a minute!,” Trucks said in a preview of the band’s performance – with Burbridge – at SweetWater 420 Festival. 

Burbridge and his brother Oteil, a familiar presence on bass in the Allman Brothers Band and Dead & Company, met Bruce Hampton and the Aquarium Rescue Unit in Atlanta in the late-1980s. Kofi joined Oteil in the band after Hampton departed in 1994; Kofi Burbridge joined the Derek Trucks Band in 1999 and remained with Trucks when he formed TTD in 2010 with wife Susan Tedeschi.

On Friday, TTD’s new album, “Signs,” was released -- featuring keyboards and flute from Burbridge. 

Read More

News

  • Florida resident Alexandra Schreffler received a sentence of 15 years in prison Monday in Clay County for her involvement in the robbery and murder of a Middleburg teenager.  >> Read more trending news  In 2016, Schreffler told police three men told her to find someone they could rob. She later told police she targeted high school baseball player, Kolton Shearer, 18, on Facebook because he was “an easy target.” Authorities said she led Shearer to a Green Cove Springs home to be robbed, where he was shot and killed. Four people, including Schreffler were arrested.  Shearer's mother gave an emotional statement during the proceedings three years after losing her son. “I hold you the most responsible for Kolton's death. Had it not been for your senseless actions of luring him there that night, there's no doubt in my mind that he would still be here with us today,” Shearer’s mother said. “You knew when sending him that message that you would be putting him in a terrible situation. He trusted you, he thought of you as a friend and you took advantage of that. My heart is forever broken, I will never be the same person I was before I lost Kolton. My whole life has been ruined,” she said. >> Related: Armed robbery, murder case comes to emotional end with final sentencing in Clay County In 2016, Schreffler entered a plea deal reducing her charges to armed robbery in exchange for her testimony against the three other suspects if the case went to trial. Another suspect, Jordan Coleman, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to 25 years in Florida state prison in July 2018. Taurean Johnson and Ozell McNabb Jr., who were accused of robbing and killing Shearer, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in February. They were sentenced to more than 25 years in prison. 
  • A student at a middle school in eastern North Carolina was bitten by a snake inside the school Friday and treated at a local hospital. >> Read more trending news  It happened at Chowan Middle School in Chowan, according to WAVY-TV. A girl found the snake in a school hallway and picked it up by the tail, an Edenton-Chowan Schools spokesperson confirmed to WAVY. When the snake bit her on the finger, the girl dropped it, but then picked it up again, and it bit her a second time on the hand. Officials believe the snake was a nonvenomous garter snake, but they had the school inspected and treated on Saturday, the news station reported.
  • A Georgia man is getting ready to file a lawsuit against a Douglasville veterinarian after he claims the vet performed the wrong surgery on his 1-year-old dog. >> Read more trending news  Mark Hutchins said he dropped off his English bulldog Axel at the Douglasville Veterinary Hospital for a minor eye procedure and neutering.  When he returned to pick up the dog days later, Hutchins said the vet admitted he made a mistake and performed a bladder surgery instead. “He himself said he performed the surgery and ended up cutting the wrong dog open,” Hutchins said. Hutchins said Axel is now experiencing complications from the unnecessary surgery and wants the vet to pay for  his dog’s medical expenses at a different facility. >> Trending: Photos: Spectacular wildflower super bloom in California  “I can’t take my dog back to the same vet that neglected him,' he said.
  • Everything is beautiful -- in its own way -- for a boot scootin’ pair of singers, a comedy singer who had the nation’s top pop song nearly 50 years ago and a non-recording icon of Music Row.  >> Read more trending news  The Country Music Association announced Monday that Brooks & Dunn, Ray Stevens and Jerry Bradley are the newest members of the Country Music Hall of Fame,  The Tennessean reported. Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn will head the Class of 2019 inductees in the modern era category, Stevens will be the inductee in the veterans era category, while Bradley will be enshrined in the non-performer category, Billboard reported. They will be formally inducted in October, The Tennessean reported. The new inductees will bring the Country Music Hall of Fame, established in 1961, to 139 members. The original three members were Hank Williams Sr., Fred Rose and Jimmie Rodgers, according to the Hall’s website. Brooks & Dunn are country music’s biggest-selling duo of all-time, Rolling Stone reported. The pair strung together several hits, including “Boot Scootin’ Boogie,” “Brand New Man,” “Neon Moon” and “Believe.” “It’s beyond an honor to be here,” Dunn said at a news conference in Nashville, Tennessee. Stevens, 80, hit No. 1 for two weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 charts in the summer of 1970 with the anthem-like “Everything is Beautiful,” which also peaked at No. 39 on the Billboard country music charts. In 1971 Stevens’ song, “Turn Your Radio On,” reached the top 20 in the country music charts. Known as the Comedy King of Music City, Stevens mastered the comedy-novelty song genre with “Ahab the Arab” in 1962 and “Gitarzan” in 1969, but it was his 1974 smash, “The Streak,” that zoomed to No. 1 on the charts and sold more than 5 million copies, according to the singer’s website. “This is without a doubt the greatest honor that anybody can ever receive, not only in Nashville but any place in the world,” Stevens told Billboard. “It’s almost too much to take in, to tell you the truth. To be recognized to being worthy of joining this group of folks who are already members of the Hall of Fame who I have admired for many years.” Bradley, a former RCA executive, signed Ronnie Milsap, Alabama and Eddie Rabbitt to contracts, Rolling Stone reported. He joins his father, Owen Bradley (inducted in 1974) and his uncle, Harold Bradley (who was inducted in 2006 and died in January) in the Country Music Hall of Fame, according to the Hall’s website. “As my old friend Norro Wilson, would say, ‘I don’t know how I got here, but I ain’t leavin’,’” Jerry Bradley said, breaking into tears at the news conference.
  • A 23-year-old woman is dead after a hit-and-run driver struck her while she was hanging out of a car window. >> Read more trending news  The Miami Herald reported that the Florida Highway Patrol said a passenger, identified as Mariah Logan, was hanging out of the right rear passenger window of a Hyundai Elantra when she fell out of the car and onto a Miami highway. A Range Rover was behind the Hyundai, traveling in the same direction. According to the report, the driver of the SUV struck and killed Logan when she fell out of the car.  WTVJ reported that, according to FHP officials, Logan and her friends may have been on their way to the airport from a spring break trip when the incident occurred. The driver and two other passengers of the car were not injured. Authorities are searching for the alleged hit-and-run driver, who stopped upon hitting Logan, but fled the scene before police arrived.
  • Genealogy websites have helped police capture yet another alleged murderer, this time an Alabama man who authorities say killed two 17-year-old girls and left their bodies in a car trunk in 1999.  Coley Lewis McCraney, 45, of Dothan, is charged with five counts of capital murder and one count of first-degree rape, according to records from the Dale County Jail. He is being held without bond following his first court appearance Monday morning.  McCraney is charged with multiple counts of capital murder each in the deaths of J.B. Beasley and Tracie Hawlett, whose bodies were found in the trunk of Beasley’s car Aug. 1, 1999, in Ozark. The grim discovery was made in a woody area about a mile from where McCraney lived at the time of the slayings and less than a mile from where the girls were last spotted, according to The Dothan Eagle. Related story: Genealogy, DNA solve case of newborn left to freeze to death in ditch 38 years ago In the years since the girls were killed, McCraney has served in the military, worked as a truck driver and in 2013, created a nonprofit called Spirit and Truth Lifeline Ministries, the Eagle reported.  Meanwhile, the families of the two slain teens have held a vigil every year on the rural roadside where their bodies were found, the newspaper reported.  Ozark Police Chief Marlos Walker said during a news conference Monday morning that he was startled when he learned DNA evidence linked McCraney, who he said he knows, to the unsolved slayings. Like Walker, McCraney grew up in and around Ozark, which, as of 2017, was estimated to have just over 14,000 residents.  “I was very surprised … I was surprised when I saw the results. Every person I talked to said the same thing. But the DNA doesn’t lie,” Walker said.   Dale County District Attorney Kirke Adams explained during Monday’s news conference that two murder charges for each girl stem from two allegations: that two or more people were killed and that they were killed with a deadly weapon while in a vehicle.  The fifth count of murder stems from the fact McCraney is accused of killing Beasley during the commission of a rape, Adams said. The capital murder charges make McCraney eligible for the death penalty.  A reporter asked the district attorney if he’d decided whether his office would seek the death penalty against the teens’ alleged killer.  “Yes, about 10 years ago,” Adams said. The killings of Beasley and Hawlett have haunted the Wiregrass region of southeast Alabama for nearly two decades. Adams, Walker and Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall thanked the victims’ family members, some of whom were at Monday’s news conference, for their patience over the years it took to track down the teens’ alleged killer.  “I can pledge you this: That my office will be the voice for J.B. and Tracie,” Adams said.  Walker thanked the families on behalf of investigators, whose names and faces changed over the years as the case remained unsolved. Retired detectives who were part of the initial investigation were on hand for Monday’s announcement.  “We know it has been a tough road. It’s been a long road,” said Walker, who was appointed as police chief in 2015.  Marshall told the girls’ parents their daughters were never forgotten.  “You hear this referred to as a cold case,” Marshall. “What I hope you recognize today is that it was an open case, an ongoing investigation.  “Today is a beginning. It’s not ultimately justice for you, but what I hope it does is begin to provide some answers that you’ve thought about for almost 20 years now.” Two girls lost forever AL.com reported that Beasley and Hawlett, both seniors at Northview High School in Dothan, vanished July 31, 1999, after they got lost on their way to a party being held in nearby Headland in honor of Beasley’s birthday. Hawlett’s mother, Carol Roberts, said at the time that the girls ended up at a convenience store in Ozark, about 20 miles away, where her daughter called home to say they had gotten lost, but were on their way home.  The Southeast Sun in Enterprise reported in 2001 that two women told police investigators they ran into the girls at the store and gave them directions back to Dothan. It was the last time Beasley and Hawlett were seen alive.  The teens’ bodies were found about 2 p.m. the next day in the trunk of Beasley’s black Mazda 929. Each had been shot once in the head.  They had not been robbed; their purses, cash and jewelry were still in the vehicle, AL.com said.  State forensic experts said at the time that neither girl appeared to have been raped, but semen was found on Beasley’s clothing and skin. That physical evidence was used to clear another man who allegedly told detectives he was at the scene of the crime in an effort to be awarded $25,000 in reward money in the case, AL.com reported.  Walker declined Monday to disclose the source of the DNA that tied McCraney to the scene where the girls were found, but a news release from Marshall’s office confirmed that it was the evidence taken from Beasley’s body and clothing. The police chief also declined to say if McCraney confessed to the slayings following his arrest, which took place Friday during a traffic stop.   Investigators are also mum on how or where they believe McCraney encountered the girls after they left the convenience store near where their bodies were later abandoned.  A then-25-year-old McCraney, who was divorced from his first wife, was ordered to undergo a DNA test July 30, 1999 -- the day before Beasley and Hawlett wandered into Ozark -- by a judge overseeing a paternity suit in which he was named. Court records obtained by the Eagle indicated he never complied with the order, or with a second one filed several months later.  He was ordered to support the child, despite his DNA never being tested. Court records show no criminal history for McCraney past a few traffic violations over the years. Watch Monday morning’s news conference below, courtesy of WTVY in Dothan.   Marshall confirmed in the news release that McCraney has no prior criminal history that would have resulted in his DNA profile being uploaded to the FBI’s Combined DNA Index System (CODIS). McCraney’s name never came up as a potential suspect during the investigation in 1999, the attorney general said.  McCraney remarried in 2001. As of last May, he was listed as a “bishop/motivational speaker/working for the Lord” on the Facebook page of H.O.G. Heart of Goal, a ministry that appears to hold services around the Ozark area.  The ministry’s chief executive officer, James Lee Fuller, posted videos Monday of news coverage of the murder case. On Sunday, Fuller posted a video of him leading a prayer. The caption read, “Praying for my God-loving, family first, peaceful military-serving, hardworking father/husband/son/uncle/cousin/brother Coley McCraney.” An arrest ‘a long time coming’ Walker said the identification process began when his office reached out to Parabon Nanolabs Inc., a private, Virginia-based company renowned for its work helping to solve cold cases, last August.  Parabon technicians obtained a profile using its “snapshot DNA analysis.” Genetic genealogy narrowed it down to a family, Walker said.  Kinship inference narrowed the suspect down to McCraney. Walker did not say which relative of McCraney’s had uploaded a profile to the genealogy website on which it was found.  Investigators obtained DNA samples from McCraney during the subsequent investigation, Walker said. The Alabama state crime lab confirmed the match between his DNA and that which was left at the crime scene.  Walker said he was stunned to learn that investigators had identified a suspect in the long-unsolved case. He said he had to sit in his office chair for three hours to process the news.  “It’s one of those things where you say, ‘Is this really happening?’” Walker said.  He said the arrest was “a long time coming” for the community.  “Everywhere I’ve been the last 48 hours, people just have a sigh of relief to know who was responsible for this crime,” Walker said.  The chief said he never doubted that the case would someday be solved.  “As far back as last year, our goal was to get there before the 20th anniversary,” Walker said.  Investigators were encouraged last spring when police in California arrested Joseph James DeAngelo, a 72-year-old former policeman who is suspected of being the infamous Golden State Killer. DeAngelo’s identification came after cold case detectives used open-source genealogy websites to link the DNA profile of the prolific serial rapist and killer to family members of his.  The investigators tailed DeAngelo and surreptitiously obtained a sample of his DNA, which matched the profile of the killer.  Walker said his investigators were told that McCraney’s DNA matched the evidence at the Beasley-Hawlett crime scene a few weeks ago. They have spent the time since investigating the suspect’s background and tying up loose ends in the case.  They have not determined a motive for the slayings.  Beasley’s father, Hilton Beasley, told WDHN in Dothan that he is skeptical that McCraney acted alone in the girls’ shooting deaths. He said an “adviser” he has on the case told him it would have been difficult for a sole individual to kill both girls alone. “May be wrong, but my attitude is, I just have to wait and evaluate,” Beasley told the news station.  He remembered the teens for the happiness he said they brought to those around them. He described his daughter as intelligent, energetic, kind and funny.  “She was just a joy to be around,” he said. The teen’s mother, Cheryl Burgoon, said in 2009, during the annual vigil in her daughter’s honor, that losing a child “takes you to places you could never expect,” according to the Eagle. She praised the community that has kept the slain girls in their thoughts throughout the years. “For people to come out and care this much, it’s a miracle,” Burgoon said at the time. “I can’t do it alone.” Members of Beasley’s family declined to comment following Monday’s news conference, the Eagle reported.  Roberts told the newspaper God got the family through the first 10 years of mourning her daughter, who she said would have wanted her loved ones to keep going.  “It’s hard, but I pray every day law enforcement will come up with some answers,” Roberts said in 2009.  Following McCraney’s arrest, Roberts said she hopes Adams keeps his word about seeking the death penalty for the alleged killer. “These girls did not deserve this,” Roberts said Monday. “I want to see justice happen for these two girls.”