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Headlines for Monday, July 15, 2019

Schmidt: 3 Kansas Cases on US Supreme Court Fall Docket

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Attorney General Derek Schmidt says the U.S. Supreme Court's fall docket includes three Kansas cases. Schmidt announced Monday that it is the first time in modern Kansas history the state has three cases before the court at one time. Schmidt's office will represent the state in all three cases. The first Kansas case to be heard this fall involves an appeal filed in a capital murder case filed by James Kraig Kahler, who killed four relatives in Burlingame in November 2009. Kahler argues Kansas law unconstitutionally prevented him from using an insanity defense. A second case arises from an identity theft case out of Johnson County and the third involves a Douglas County traffic stop. The Kansas Supreme Court overturned convictions in both cases, and the state is appealing.

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Charges Filed in Fatal Kansas City, Kansas, Market Shooting

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Prosecutors in northeastern Kansas have charged a man suspected of killing two people inside a Kansas City, Kansas, market earlier this week.  The Kansas City Star reports that 39-year-old Jermelle Andre-Lamont Byers has been charged with first-degree and second-degree murder and other counts. Those charges were filed Friday.  The shooting Wednesday at the Edwards Original Corner Market & Deli killed market owner, 62-year-old Dennis Edwards, and fatally injured 42-year-old Lachell Day, who died Thursday. Officers who arrived on the scene of the shooting say the suspect, later identified as Byers, pointed a handgun at them. Officers fired at the man and sought cover. He was taken into custody after a two-hour standoff.  Police say the shooting was related to a domestic disturbance between Byers and Day.  Byers is being held in the Wyandotte County Detention Center on $500,000 bail.

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Police Wound Man While Responding to Domestic Disturbance

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita police say a 26-year-old man is recovering after being shot by an officer responding to an emergency call from the man's mother. Police Capt. Brent Allred said the officer fired three shots Sunday night after it appeared the man pointed a gun at the officer. Police later determined an object in the man's hand was not a gun. The officer has been working with the department for seven months. He is on paid administrative leave, which is policy after a shooting. Allred says the man was shot once in the abdomen and was hospitalized with serious but non-life-threatening injuries. He remains hospitalized Monday in stable condition. The investigation is ongoing.

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Man Banished from Kansas in Plea Deal Seeks to Return

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ A man who was permanently banished from Kansas as a condition of a criminal plea deal is seeking to return. The American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas says the punishment harkens to the vigilante justice of the Old West. A Montgomery County judge will hear arguments on Aug. 8 over the motion filed by ACLU that aims to allow Bo Dana Rupert to return to Kansas from Texas. Rupert was sentenced to 12 months of probation in 2017 related to criminal threats. The court accepted the plea agreement Rupert had entered with Montgomery County Attorney Larry Markle that bars him from returning to Kansas. ACLU Legal Director Lauren Bonds calls it one of the most bizarre and illegal sentences she has seen.  

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Kansas Undersheriff Recovers After April Shooting

LYONS, Kan. (AP) — Two Kansas law enforcement officers were shot in a traffic stop, leaving one fighting for his life.  David Madden shot Rice County Sheriff Bryant Evans and Undersheriff Chad Murphy when he was stopped in April because he was wanted on a firearm charge.  The altercation left Murphy fighting for his life after Madden fired four shots at him. Madden later shot himself.  Evans says when he went to Murphy's aid, Madden shot him also in the leg and dragged him away from Murphy.  Murphy tells KSN-TV forgiving Madden has given him inner peace. He hopes to return to work within a year after he regains full use of his right arm.  He says since the shooting he's been putting God first, followed by family and work.

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Man, Woman Killed When Motorcycle Hit Deer in Eastern Kansas

GARDNER, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a man and woman were killed when their motorcycle hit a deer on Interstate 35 in eastern Kansas. The Kansas Highway Patrol says 37-year-old Jason Huen and 27-year-old Julie Huen, of Gardner, were thrown from the motorcycle Saturday night when the deer ran in front of their vehicle in Gardner. The ensuing impact caused their motorcycle to hit a guardrail. The patrol says the Gardner couple was both pronounced dead at the scene. The patrol says a third person riding behind them on another motorcycle laid down his Harley-Davidson after the wreck and suffered minor injuries.

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Railway Cars Carrying Ethanol Derail in Hays; No One Hurt

HAYS, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say three railway cars carrying ethanol derailed in Hays, causing officials to evacuate a handful of homes as a precaution. The Hays Post reports that no one was hurt when the cars jumped the tracks Sunday afternoon. And Hays public information officer Kim Rupp says the public wasn't in danger because there were no leaks. But fire officials set up a 300-foot perimeter around the area in the immediate aftermath, shutting down a few roads near downtown. Pictures showed that one of the cars was on its side.

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Man Enters Plea in Killing of Confidential Drug Informant

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a Kansas man has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit first degree murder in the killing of a confidential drug informant whose body was found by deer hunters. The Manhattan Mercury reports that 33-year-old Steven Meredith, of Junction City, entered the plea Friday. His trial had been scheduled to start Monday. Prosecutors said that Meredith killed 48-year-old Carrie Jones in October 2017 because he believed she would provide information about him in a drug case in which he was later convicted. Her body was found in rural Riley County. Meredith's sentencing is set for Sept. 23. Assistant Riley County Attorney Kendra Lewison says the state agreed to seek a lesser sentence of 20 years in prison. Meredith will be allowed to ask for no less than 15 years.

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Man Dies Cleaning Clogged Pond Overflow Pipe in Saline County

SALINA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a man has died after his arm was sucked into a pond overflow pipe in rural Kansas. Saline County Sheriff Roger Soldan says deputies responded to a report about a possible drowning just before 2:30 a.m. Monday east of Salina. The Hays Post reports that 75-year-old Errol Redden, of rural Saline County, had gone out about 9:30 p.m. Sunday to clean a clogged overflow pipe on a pond on his property. When he didn't return, Redden's wife called their son to check on him. Redden's body was found with his arm sucked into the overflow pipe. Soldan says it appeared that he was unable to free his arm and drowned. The suction in the pipe was so strong that firefighters were called in to remove the body.

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Texas Woman Dies, Transportation Worker Injured After Wreck

LYNDON, Kan. (AP) — A 52-year-old Texas woman died in a wreck that later led to a Kansas Department of Transportation worker being injured. The Kansas Highway Patrol says Patricia Falconer, of Canyon Lake, Texas, died in the accident Monday on Interstate 35 in Osage County. Falconer lost control of her vehicle and over-corrected, causing the vehicle to roll several times. She died at the scene. A passenger, 27-year-old Jeffrey Cadman, also of Canyon Lake, was seriously injured. The patrol says about 90 minutes later, a state transportation worker who was helping direct traffic around the wreck was struck by a tractor-trailer. The worker, Christopher Staley, of Williamsburg, was taken to Coffey County Hospital with minor injuries.

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Report: 81% of Winter Wheat Crop Now Harvested in Kansas

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The government's latest crop update says 81% of the winter wheat in Kansas has now been harvested. The National Agricultural Statistics Service said Monday that the wheat harvest is still behind the 95% that would be average for this late in the season. Its report also rated the condition of the state's corn crop as 11% poor to very poor, 33% fair, and 56% good to excellent. The agency says 2% of the soybean crops planted in Kansas have begun setting pods. About 6% of the sorghum in the state has headed.

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Police: 2-Year-Old Crawls Through Dog Door, Falls in Pool

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Police in south-central Kansas say a toddler has died after crawling through a home's dog door and falling into a backyard pool.  The Wichita Police Department says the incident happened Saturday morning. Officers called to the home found the boy unresponsive after he had been pulled from the pool. Attempts to revive the boy failed, and he was declared dead at the scene.  An investigation revealed the boy and his parents were guests at the home, and that the boy had crawled through a dog door to get to the pool. He was later found by his father and pulled from the pool.  Police continue to investigate.

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Officer Rear-Ends Bike of Fleeing Man in Wichita

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say an officer has rear-ended the bicycle of a fleeing man in Wichita.  The Kansas Highway Patrol says an officer began pursuing the man early Sunday with emergency lights on because he was a possible suspect in a domestic violence situation. During the pursuit, the bicyclist slowed suddenly. The patrol says that's when the officer bumped the bike and knocked it over.  The Wichita Eagle reports that police investigators determined that the man wasn't involved in the domestic violence case. He initially was taken to a hospital before being booked into jail on suspicion of fleeing and eluding, methamphetamine possession and having an outstanding warrant.  Kansas Department of Corrections records show he had a burglary conviction and had absconded from supervision.

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Rally Calls on Lawrence to be Declared Sanctuary City

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Hundreds have rallied in a Lawrence park to call on city officials to declare the northeastern Kansas city a sanctuary for immigrants who are in the U.S. without legal permission.  The Journal-World reports that the Friday night rally was organized by a local coalition of Latino activists. The coalition says more than 300 people signed a petition urging Lawrence leaders to pass ordinances aimed at protecting immigrants, including measures to limit local police cooperation with federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement.  State Representative Susan Ruiz, a Shawnee Democrat, told the crowd the country needed more sanctuary cities.  The rally also raised more than $1,600 for a fund to help local immigrants and refugees pay for such things as legal fees, groceries and transportation.  In 2017, the City Commission proclaimed Lawrence a "welcoming city," but proclamations aren't legally binding.

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Emergency Response Conference Planned for Omaha in August

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Emergency response planners will gather in Omaha next month to work on improving the way they plan for disasters.  The Environmental Protection Agency is sponsoring the conference from Aug. 8-10 for the region that includes Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri and Kansas.  The conference will feature a tabletop exercise for participants to work through the emergency response process.  More details about the conference are available online.

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After 12 Years, Wounded Veteran Able to Visit Kansas Home

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — A retired Army infantryman who lost both legs and his left arm in Iraq has finally felt strong enough after 12 years to return to his old suburban Kansas City home.  Retired Staff Sgt. Matt Lammers told The Kansas City Star that a renewed love of sports and the support of his current wife gave him the strength to return to Olathe this month.  He was wounded on his second tour in Iraq in 2007 at 25. He said memories of playing catch in his parents' yard and being in the living room again were too painful. He also struggled with drug abuse and attempted suicide.  He's on a two-week visit with his daughters from his first marriage before heading to Florida to compete in a Paralympics-style competition for veterans.

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Man Charged in Killing of Washburn Football Player

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — An 18-year-old man faces charges in a shooting that killed Washburn University football player Dwane Simmons and wounded a friend who had been drafted hours earlier by the New York Giants.  The Topeka Capital-Journal reports Francisco Alejandro Mendez was charged Friday with first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder and five accounts of aggravated robbery.  It was unclear whether he had an attorney yet who could speak on his behalf.  Shawnee County District Attorney Mike Kagay's office said in a news release Mendez is being held on a $1 million bond.  The shooting in the early hours of April 28 outside an off-campus party also injured cornerback Corey Ballentine, whom the Giants drafted in the sixth round. Ballentine has since recovered. Simmons died at the scene.

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Woman Admits Crashing Car into Cabela's to Steal Guns

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A 27-year-old woman has admitted that she and a co-defendant intentionally drove a car into a Cabela's store in Kansas in order to steal guns. U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister said in a news release that Brenda Tosh, of Kansas City, Kansas, pleaded guilty Monday to conspiring to steal guns from a federally licensed firearms dealer. She admitted that she and a man crashed the car into a Cabela's in Kansas City, Kansas, in November . They attempted to steal several shotguns and rifles but Tosh was arrested before she could leave the store. Her co-defendant, 29-year-old Kle Mendez, of Kansas City, Kansas, was arrested after trying to steal a car from a nearby dealership. He is scheduled for a change of plea hearing Aug. 19. Tosh will be sentenced Sept. 30.

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Kansas Man Dies in Wyoming Highway Wreck

RAWLINS, Wyo. (AP) — Authorities say a Kansas man has been killed after his pickup truck rolled over in a construction zone on a Wyoming interstate.  The Wyoming Highway Patrol identified the victim as 38-year-old Christopher Otto of Mound City, Kansas.  The patrol said in a press release that Otto's Ford F-150 was traveling westbound on Interstate 80 east of Rawlins Thursday night when it exited the highway at a construction zone crossover and overturned.  Otto was not wearing a seatbelt and died at the scene.  Fatigue, speed and inattention were being investigated as possible factors in the crash.  No other vehicles were involved.  The death marks the 85th fataility on Wyoming roads so far in 2019, an increase over the past three years.

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Kansas Tax Collectors Seize 7 Convenience Stores

SALINA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas tax collectors have seized and closed seven convenience stores in Salina.  The Salina Journal reports the stores had signs posted on the front doors and gas pumps on Thursday that read the property had been seized for nonpayment of taxes.  The Kansas Department of Revenue said in a statement saying agents took possession of the stores for nonpayment of retail sales taxes totaling $49,540.  Their owner has until Monday to reach a deal to pay the outstanding tax otherwise the state will permanently close the businesses.  The stores are owned by Rod Bradshaw of Salina. He could not be reached for comment.

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Grant to Help Rebuild Satchel Paige's Kansas City Home

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A new grant will help rebuild the fire-damaged Kansas City, Missouri, home of Satchel Paige, one of baseball's legendary pitchers and showmen.  The National Trust for Historic Preservation announced grants earlier this month for 22 sites and organizations to help preserve black history. Among the recipients was Historic Kansas City, which will receive $150,000 to rehabilitate Paige's longtime home that was badly damaged last year.  Paige was a star of the Negro League for decades. The color barrier kept him from playing in the Major Leagues until age 41. Still, he was a two-time All-Star and was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. He died in 1982.  The grant money will be used to repair and stabilize the structure. The next step will be to seek proposals to redevelop it.

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Wichita Police Planning to Put Clydesdale Horses on Patrol

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The Wichita Police Department expects to put Clydesdale horses on patrol for the first time later this summer thanks to two nonprofit civic foundations.  The pair of Clydesdales will replace two horses that soon will be retired. The yet-to-be named Clydesdales from a Goddard farm are in training. The Wichita Eagle reports that they're scheduled to make their public debut Aug. 7 in the farmers market in the historic Old Town district downtown.  One horse can provide as much crowd control as 15 officers on foot.  Clydesdales are larger and more stable for mounted officers than the quarter horses the department currently uses. They also are calmer and more social.  But the police department didn't have the $40,000 for two new horses and their saddles and kit, requiring private fundraising.

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Missouri Jail Worker Put on Leave in Bra/Metal Detector Flap

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri jail employee says she was placed on leave after putting her bra through an X-ray machine as she was getting screened into work. Charlotte Hardin says she had to take off her bra because it set off the metal detector at Jackson County Detention Center. She says the facility put her on leave in June, saying undergarments can't be X-rayed. She hasn't been given a return date. Hardin's attorney filed a sex discrimination and retaliation complaint with the Missouri Commission on Human Rights and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Last month, attorney Laurie Snell said she had to remove her bra at the security gate during a trip to the jail. Diana Turner, the Jackson County corrections department director, told KCUR her employees don't have issues with screening.

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Miles Says RB Pooka Williams Reinstated to KU Football Team

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) —  New University of Kansas football coach Les Miles says top running back Pooka Williams has been reinstated to the team, seven months after he was arrested and charged with domestic battery in a case involving an 18-year-old woman. Williams later reached a domestic violence diversion agreement with the local district attorney's office. Miles says Williams, who will be suspended for the season opener Aug. 31 against Indiana State, went through a legal investigation and code of conduct proceedings with the university. Williams ran for 1,125 yards and seven touchdowns as a freshman last season. Miles was the head coach at Oklahoma State from 2001-04 before going to LSU, where he won a national championship.

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