Kansas Court Hears Death Row Inmate's Appeal
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Attorneys for a former Missouri city official sentenced to death in Kansas for killing his estranged wife, their two daughters and his wife's grandmother have asked the Kansas Supreme Court to throw out his conviction. As a Kansas public defender specializing in death-penalty cases, Meryl Carver-Allmond told the Kansas Supreme Court on Friday there's no dispute that her client, James Kraig Kahler, carried out the 2009 killings. But she argued that an accumulation of mistakes by the judge and prosecution during Kahler's trial made those proceedings unfair to her client. An attorney for the state pressed for Kahler's conviction and sentence to stand, saying everything the trial judge did was legal. Authorities say Kahler gunned down the four victims in his estranged wife's grandmother's home in Burlingame after losing his job as the water director in Columbia, Missouri, amid a contentious divorce. Friday's hearing was the first death penalty case heard by the state Supreme Court since Election Day, when voters opted to retain four justices who were targeted for ouster partly because the court overturned other death sentences.
State Selling Kansas Bioscience Authority Portfolio for $14M
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — State officials have agreed to sell the investments of the Kansas Bioscience Authority for about $14 million. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Governor Sam Brownback and leaders on the State Finance Council on Friday agreed to authorize sale of the portfolio to Origami Capital Partners for $14 million to $14.5 million. The state has invested $232 million in the Bioscience Authority since it was formed in 2004 to accelerate growth in the bioscience sector. The Legislature and Brownback had previously agreed to sell assets of the KBA to bolster the state budget and built $25 million in anticipated revenue into the current fiscal year's budget. The KBA's building and land are also for sale, and officials say deals for those portions are likely to be completed.
Lawrence Police Chief to Retire in June
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The chief of police in Lawrence has announced plans to retire. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that Police Chief Tarik Khatib said Friday he's planning to retire in June. Khatib has led the department since 2011 and has been with the department for more than 20 years. He says he's unsure about his plans after retiring. City Manager Tom Markus will choose his replacement.
Lawrence Considers Massage Parlor Regulations
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Attorneys in Lawrence are proposing a local ordinance that aims to combat human-trafficking operations disguised as massage parlors. The Lawrence Journal-World reports the ordinance was drafted at the urging of the Lawrence Police Department. The city has about 50 massage businesses. Kansas doesn't require licenses or background checks for the businesses to operate. Two people were convicted last year of human trafficking at their massage parlor in Lawrence. Assistant city attorney Maria Garcia says the first draft of the ordinance has provisions on a licensing and permitting process, application and fees, and education or training requirements. Garcia says they're also considering having inspections. City staff is working to gather feedback on the draft ordinance from local massage businesses.
Man Donates Land to 2 Kansas Universities for Scholarships
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A Jefferson County man has donated more than 1,300 acres of land to the University of Kansas and Kansas State University with the stipulation that income from the land's sale go toward engineering scholarships. The Lawrence Journal-World reports 88-year-old James F. Lindley of Grantville died in 2015. Lindley graduated from the University of Kansas in 1949 with an electrical engineering degree, and the school's endowment staff began working with him in 1998 on his estate plans. Lindley was a World War II Army veteran, and farmed and raised cattle. The Kansas Board of Regents approved the transfer of land to charitable arms of each university on Wednesday. The land donated to the two schools is in Shawnee and Jefferson counties. The Regents say the property's appraised value is $4.3 million.
Kansas Hotel Standoff Ends with Suspect Shot, Wounded
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas City, Kansas, hotel standoff has ended with a suspect wounded after exchanging gunfire with police. The Kansas City Star reports that police say the suspect had at least one gunshot wound and was taken away Friday morning in an ambulance. Police responded around 12:30 am to a disturbance in a room at the Hilton Garden. Police backed off after the man fired shots through the door of a hotel room, and the standoff began. Some hotel guests were evacuated and several streets around the hotel were blocked off. No officers were hurt.