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Headlines for Friday, May 13, 2016

Here's a look at area headlines from the Associated Press

Attorneys for Topeka Bomb Plot Man Withdraw from Defense 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Public defenders have withdrawn from representing a Topeka man who pleaded guilty to federal criminal charges and admitted to plotting to bomb a northeast Kansas military installation. Defense attorney Melody Brannon said Friday during a brief federal court hearing that a potential conflict of interest had developed with 21-year-old John T. Booker Jr. U.S. District Judge Carlos Murguia granted a request from Brannon and fellow public defender Kirk Redmond to withdraw and plans to appoint a private attorney. Booker was arrested last year outside Fort Riley trying to arm what he thought was a 1,000-pound bomb and later acknowledged attempting to help the Islamic State group. His February plea agreement with prosecutors calls for a 30-year prison sentence. Murguia has yet to schedule a sentencing hearing for Booker.


New Kansas Law Will Specifically Ban Abortions Performed by Midwives 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas will specifically prohibit nurse-midwives from performing abortions or administering abortion-inducing drugs, starting next year. Republican Governor Sam Brownback signed a bill Friday that includes the prohibition while rewriting laws regulating multiple health care professions. The changes will allow nurse-midwives to practice independently within a limited scope of care starting next year instead of requiring an agreement with a licensed physician. The changes also establish new rules for acupuncture. The anti-abortion group Kansans for Life pushed for the language prohibiting midwives from terminating pregnancies. Some legislators noted that the scope of care allowed independent midwives already was limited to services associated with normal, uncomplicated pregnancies and deliveries. But Kansans for Life said the language still was broad enough that abortion providers could argue that it covered ending pregnancies.


Kansas Law Will Allow Government Workers to Carry Concealed Firearms 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — State agencies, cities and counties in Kansas will not be allowed to bar workers from carrying concealed guns while performing duties outside their offices, starting in July. Republican Governor Sam Brownback signed a gun-rights bill this week that includes the provision affecting government workers. Agencies still could limit the carrying of concealed weapons in public buildings. The measure also creates an exception to a state law requiring students to be expelled if they bring weapons to public schools so that school groups can have organized activities involving air guns, such as BB rifles. The Kansas State Rifle Association said the new law recognizes workers' rights to defend themselves and allows schools to instruct students in handling firearms safely. Critics said government agencies should be allowed to set their own policies.


Kansas Reduces Penalties for Marijuana Possession 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A measure approved by Republican Governor Sam Brownback reduces some penalties for marijuana possession. The measure approved Friday reduces the penalty for first-time marijuana possession, which can now result in up to a year in jail, to no more than six months. The penalty for a second offense would be reduced from a low-level felony to a sentence of up to a year in jail. Subsequent offences could result in 10 to 42 months in prison, which is the current punishment for a second possession offense. The measure also increases prison time for burglarizing an occupied dwelling to a minimum of 38 months. Currently, the offense could result in a minimum of 31 months in probation or prison.


Kansas Asks State Supreme Court to Revisit Sex Registry Rulings
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt has asked the state Supreme Court to revisit conflicting rulings it issued simultaneously last month dealing with the sex offender registry. The state argued in a motion filed Friday that the five decisions reaching contrary results has caused unnecessary confusion. The Supreme Court ruled in the leading case that lifetime registration for sex offenders does not constitute cruel and unusual punishment. That conflicts with the holdings in four similar sex registry cases released the same day. In those separate cases, the justices found that the requirement constituted punishment and therefore a 2011 amendment to the law couldn't be applied retroactively. The conflicting opinions ensued when the latest case was decided after the vacancy on the high court was filed by Justice Caleb Stegall.


Kansas Governor Signs Bill Aimed at Filling Patrol Vacancies

SALINA, Kan. (AP) _ Kansas motorists will pay higher vehicle registration fees starting in July to provide extra funds for the state Highway Patrol to hire additional troopers. Governor Sam Brownback signed a bill boosting fees into law Thursday during a ceremony in Salina. It is home to the patrol's training center. The new law also includes another fee increase to provide additional funds for a center in Hutchinson that trains other law enforcement officers. Vehicle registration fees will increase $3.25. Most vehicle owners now pay $35. A $2 increase will raise $5.4 million a year for the patrol so it can hire an additional 75 troopers. Thirty-five of the state's 105 counties have no assigned trooper. An additional $1.25 fee increase will raise $3.4 million annually for the Hutchinson training center.

Kansas Governor Signs Bill Allowing Bioscience Agency Sale

SALINA, Kan. (AP) _ Kansas will be selling off the assets of its Bioscience Authority a dozen years after creating it to nurture emerging biotechnology companies. Governor Sam Brownback signed a bill authorizing the sale into law Thursday during a ceremony in Salina. He and legislative leaders will oversee the sale. The measure also tightens up the rules for using bonds backed by sales tax revenues for major economic development projects. The new law was part of efforts to keep the budget balanced because Brownback believes selling the Bioscience Authority's assets will raise $25 million. Lawmakers in 2004 viewed the authority's creation as a major economic development initiative. But Brownback and others thought the agency ultimately had only a mixed record. They also argued its activities could be better handled by private companies. 


Kansas Justice Warns Against Being Swayed by Rhetoric
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas Supreme Court justice is urging the public not to be swept up by rhetoric about the judiciary. Justice Marla Luckert says the anti-abortion group Kansans for Life disagrees with a small number of the thousands of opinions she has been involved in while sitting on the court. Her speech Wednesday at the YWCA Network Lunch in Topeka was one of the opening acts in the campaigns several justices will wage during the next few months. The speech came a day after the state's high court heard arguments in a school finance case that has angered lawmakers and brought calls for voters to toss out the justices. Most of the justices are up for retention votes on the November ballot.


Tinder App Reminds Users to Be 'Vigilant' Amid Kidnapping Allegations

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Tinder says "people with bad intentions exist everywhere" and the online dating app is reminding users to be vigilant about safety amid allegations that a Kansas man held a woman he met on Tinder against her will and beat her. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that court documents allege 30-year-old Shane Allen picked up the woman at her Lawrence, Kansas, sorority house last month after meeting her on the app. An affidavit said Allen brought her back to the sorority after he held her for six days and beat her. In a statement, Tinder said it's "shocked and saddened" by the case. It said Allen has been removed from the platform. Allen was jailed pending a preliminary hearing. His lawyer didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.


Transgender Advocates Decry Kansas Proposal on Birth Records

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Transgender rights advocates have called on the Kansas Department of Health and Environment to abandon a proposal to make it far more difficult for people to change the gender on their birth certificates. Topeka resident Stephanie Mott said during a Department of Health and Environment hearing Thursday that regulatory changes under consideration will lead more transgender youth to attempt suicide. She sued the department earlier this year because it hasn't allowed her to change her birth certificate to show she is a woman. The changes would repeal a regulation allowing someone to change the gender listed on a birth certificate by submitting medical records. Department spokeswoman Cassie Sparks said the regulation conflicts with a 2002 state Supreme Court decision, making it contrary to state law. The changes could take effect within six weeks.


Man Charged in 2-State Murder Rampage to Stand Trial in Missouri

MONTGOMERY CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri judge has decided that at Mexican national accused of killing a New Florence man as part of a two-state rampage will stand trial in Missouri. Montgomery County Associate Circuit Judge Kelly Broniec set a June 1 arraignment date for Pablo Antonio Serrano-Vitorino following a preliminary hearing Thursday. Serrano-Vitorino is accused of killing a Kansas City, Kansas, neighbor and three other men at the neighbor's home March 7, then driving nearly 200 miles and killing 49-year-old Randy Nordman in New Florence the following day. Missouri prosecutors are seeking the death penalty. Serrano-Vitorino is in the country illegally. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials say he was deported in April 2004 and illegally re-entered the country sometime later.


Caregiver Accused of Beating Disabled Lawrence Men 

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A 20-year-old caregiver faces state charges accusing her of hitting and confining two mentally challenged men in her care. The Lawrence Journal-World reported Friday that Brooke Tiara Shinn of Topeka was arrested last month and faces felony charges of mistreatment of a dependent adult and aggravated battery, as well as a misdemeanor criminal restraint charge. Shinn's been released on $5,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in court May 24. A lawyer listed online as representing Shinn didn't immediately return a phone message Friday seeking comment. A recently released arrest affidavit says Shinn's accused of hitting the two men and locking them in their rooms for the weekend without food or medication. The affidavit alleges the abuse occurred in January and February of 2015.


Member of Kansas Swim Team Sues School District over Bus Attack 

ELLSWORTH, Kan. (AP) — The mother of a Kansas high schooler who says he was sexually assaulted by swim team members on a bus after a competition alleges he needs therapy and has stopped attending the school. The Great Bend Tribune reports that the lawsuit was filed Wednesday in Ellsworth County District Court. The defendants include the Great Bend school district and the parents of four students. The suit seeks at least $395,000 in damages and court costs. District spokeswoman Jennifer Schartz says the district had no comment. Two teammates have been charged with unlawful restraint and battery charges in the attack. The lawsuit says the teen has been home-schooled since the February 6 attack on the team bus. The Associated Press is not naming the mother because it would identify the student.


Kansas Man Sentenced for 1999 Attack

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A 38-year-old man has been sentenced to more than 17 years in prison for attacking a woman in her Kansas City, Kansas, home nearly 20 years ago. The Kansas City Star reports Jibri Liu-Kinte Burnett was sentenced to 17 years and eight months in prison during a hearing Thursday in Wyandotte County District Court. He pleaded guilty last month to sexually assaulting the woman and stabbing her multiple times in the August 1999 attack. In 2001, before the identity of the suspect was known, prosecutors filed criminal charges under the name of "John Doe" so the statute of limitations would not run out before a suspect could be identified. Authorities say DNA evidence in 2014 linked Burnett to the crime.


Salina Police Investigating Stabbing Homicide 

SALINA, Kan. (AP) — Salina police are investigating the stabbing death of a woman. The Salina Journal reports that police responded Thursday morning to a report that a woman was bleeding from the chest. Salina Police Deputy Chief Sean Morton said the woman was able to flee to another house after she was stabbed. The woman then was rushed to a hospital, where she later died. Her name wasn't immediately released.


Court Documents Allege Manhattan Man Killed Infant
MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Newly released court documents allege that a Manhattan homicide suspect killed a 3-month-old girl. The Manhattan Mercury reports that 25-year-old Andrew Gibson is jailed on first-degree murder and child abuse charges in last week's death of a three-month-old baby. Bond is set at $500,000. The affidavit says that a series of bruises and abrasions led a doctor to conclude that she was killed. The affidavit says a doctor also found older injuries, such as partially healed broken bones. She was rushed to a hospital May 5 after officers responded to a call about an infant who wasn't breathing. Efforts to revive the infant weren't successful, and the child was pronounced dead at the hospital.


Haysville Middle School Students Arrested After Threats

HAYSVILLE, Kan. (AP) — Four Kansas middle schools students were taken into custody after officials became aware of social media posts threatening violence at the school. Haysville Police Chief Jeff Whitfield said that Haysville Middle School staff learned of "threatening messages made via the internet" Thursday morning. He says the threats involved several students causing violence against classmates and staff members at the school. The Wichita Eagle reports four students were arrested. School District spokeswoman Liz Hames says the district is taking disciplinary action and the students could also face criminal charges. Haysville is a town of about 10,000 residents about 10 miles south of Wichita.


Dog Bite Causes Kansas Truck Crash

RUSSELL, Kan. (AP) - Authorities are blaming a dog bite for causing a tractor-trailer to overturn along Interstate 70 in Kansas. The Kansas Highway Patrol says the driver and a passenger were taken to a hospital after Thursday's crash in Russell County. The extent of their injuries weren't immediately known. The patrol says in the crash report that the driver lost control of his rig after the dog bit his right hand. The driver overcorrected when the tractor-trailer went off the side of the road, causing the rig to roll. The report says the tractor-trailer came to rest in the grass on the north side of the westbound lanes.


Cause of Death of Unclear for Toddler Found in Wichita Field 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A woman arrested in connection to the death of 2-year-old girl, whose body was found in a Wichita field, has been released from jail after a preliminary autopsy was unable to determine how the child died. Wichita Deputy Police Chief Hassan Ramzah said that 25-year-old Tyerria Miles was released Thursday as the investigation continues. She had been arrested on suspicion of aggravated endangering of a child and possession of stolen property. Ramzah said that Jhornee Bland had been in the care of Miles since May 4. Jhornee's mother told 911 Sunday night that she couldn't locate her child after she says she contacted Miles to check on her daughter. Police say Miles told Jhornee's mother that she had taken the girl to the apartment of an acquaintance of Jhornee's mother. Police found the apartment vacant. Jhornee's body was found Monday.


WWII Era B-29 Restoration Reaches Milestone 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Volunteers have achieved a major milestone in their efforts to restore a World War II bomber. The Wichita Eagle reports that the B-29 Superfortress known as "Doc" moved under its own power Wednesday for the first time in decades. During about 45 minutes of testing in Wichita, volunteers evaluated Doc's brakes and ability to turn. A spokesman for the nonprofit group that owns and is restoring the Boeing airplane said Doc traveled at a speed of about 8 to 10 mph. The Wichita-built plane was dubbed Doc after being assigned to a squadron of eight bombers named for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. It was finished too late to fly bombing missions during World War II, though it eventually served as a radar trainer during the Korean War.


Original Basketball Rules Displayed at University of Kansas 

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The University of Kansas has put James Naismith's original rules of basketball on display at the new DeBruce Center, which was built to house the historical two-page document. The 32,000-square-foot, $21.7 million DeBruce Center is the permanent home for "The Original 13 Rules of Basket Ball," which Naismith wrote in 1891. The center opened earlier, but the Naismith document was installed Friday. The installation includes a security system and humidity checks and is located in the Rules Gallery, a passageway between the DeBruce Center's atrium and Allen Fieldhouse. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that the display also includes a 1939 radio interview of Naismith describing how he invented the game. University of Kansas alumnus David Booth and his wife, Suzanne, bought the Naismith rules at auction in 2010 for $4.3 million.

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