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Headlines for Saturday, April 9, 2016

Kansas Delay Contributions to Public Employee Pensions

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas is delaying roughly $90 million in contributions to pensions for public school and college employees as a potential short-term response to lower-than-expected tax collections. Governor Sam Brownback's office announced the move yesterday (FRI). It said Brownback's budget director notified the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System that the contributions due on April 15 would be "temporarily delayed." Brownback spokeswoman Eileen Hawley said it's not yet clear how long the contributions will be delayed. Since the current fiscal year began in July, tax collections have fallen $81 million short of expectations. State officials and university economists meet April 20 to issue new revenue projections. Hawley said delaying KPERS contributions gives the state flexibility. She said various options for keeping the budget balanced will be discussed publicly after the new revenue forecast.


Prosecutor Seeks Death Penalty in Wichita Triple Homicide

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A southern Kansas prosecutor says he'll seek the death penalty against a man accused of killing his girlfriend and two of her relatives in 2014. The Wichita Eagle reports Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett announced during Vinh Van Nguyen's arraignment yesterday (FRI) that he'll ask jurors to consider execution as punishment if Nguyen is convicted. Nguyen is charged in the slayings of 45-year-old Tuyet Huynh, her 20-year-old daughter, Trinh Pham, and 21-year-old Sean Pham. An attorney for 42-year-old Nguyen waived his client's right to have the charges read aloud in court, and a plea of not guilty was entered on Nguyen's behalf. Nguyen has been found mentally competent to stand trial. Nguyen immigrated to the U.S. less than 10 years ago. He's jailed on $2 million bond.


Prosecutor: No Charges in Wichita Police Shooting

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The top prosecutor in southern Kansas' Sedgwick County says he plans no charges against a Wichita police officer who fatally shot a man during a confrontation last year. District Attorney Marc Bennett says the investigation of John Paul Quintero's January 2015 death found that the officer who shot him acted in self-defense. Bennett says that officers responding to reported disturbance confronted an intoxicated 23-year-old Quintero, and that Quintero failed to fall when he initially was shot with a stun gun. Bennett says that Quintero didn't comply with the officers' demands, and that the officer who shot Quintero believed he was armed with a knife. Authorities have said an autopsy showed Quintero had marijuana, alcohol and meth in his system. Quintero's family has filed a federal wrongful-death lawsuit.


Wichita Man Arrested After Alleged Machete Attack

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Police in Wichita say a man was arrested after attacking and injuring his roommate with a machete after being asked about his job. Police say the 46-year-old suspect was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence and property destruction related to the Thursday night confrontation. The 28-year-old victim was treated at the scene for cuts on his neck and hands. There was no immediate word yesterday (FRI) about formal charges.


Boy Released from Wichita Hospital After Octopus Choking

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita police say a 2-year-old boy who had an octopus stuck in his throat is out of the hospital, and prosecutors are mulling whether charges are merited. Sedgwick County District Attorney's Office spokesman Dan Dillon says police presented their case to prosecutors yesterday (FRI). He says the case is "under consideration," though it's unclear how quickly prosecutors might decide the matter. Police say the boy was taken to the hospital Tuesday night after the child's 21-year-old mother returned home from work and found her boyfriend performing CPR on her son. Police say doctors found and removed the dead octopus, which had a head about 2 inches in diameter, from the boy's throat. Police said the octopus was likely to be used for sushi.


New Exhibit Aims to Fight Sex Trafficking in Kansas

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas attorney general and two professional trucking associations have announced a program to prevent sex trafficking on state highways. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that on Thursday, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt, Truckers Against Trafficking and the Kansas Motor Carriers Association discussed their partnership to fight sex trafficking and to support victims. They hope to educate people about human trafficking through a mobile exhibit called the Freedom Drivers Project. Schmidt says the program focuses on monitoring the state's highways where some sex trafficking occurs. The attorney general's office helped two victims of sex trafficking in 2009. By 2015, the number escalated to more than 400 victims. Motor Carriers executive director Tom Whitaker says observant truck drivers watch out for such crimes and inform law enforcement of problems.

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