Mexican Man Charged with Rape had History of Deportations, Removals
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Records obtained by The Associated Press show that a Mexican national accused of raping a 13-year-old girl on a Greyhound bus in Kansas had been deported 10 times and voluntarily removed from the U.S. nine other times since 2003. Three U.S. Republican senators demanded this month in a letter that the Department of Homeland Security provide immigration records for 38-year-old Tomas Martinez-Maldonado. That man is charged with felony rape in the alleged September 27th attack aboard a bus in Geary County in north-central Kansas, where he is now in jail. Defense attorney Lisa Hamer declined to comment. David Trevino, a Topeka immigration attorney who has provided legal advice to Martinez-Maldonado's family, said that many immigrants have multiple entries without legal permission because they have family members in the United States. A status hearing is set for January 10th.
Sedgwick County Prosecutor Retires after 30-Year Career
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Sedgwick County's chief deputy district attorney is retiring after more than three decades of prosecuting local criminal cases. The Wichita Eagle reports that in her current role, 59-year-old Kim Parker has supervised and managed dozens of attorneys, investigators and legal support staff members as well as acted as lead counsel in more than 200 jury trials. She helped send some of Wichita's most notorious criminals to prison and to death row. For example, she convinced a jury to give death sentences to Jonathan and Reginald Carr, who sexually assaulted, robbed and shot five people execution-style in a snowy field as part of a multiday rampage in December 2000. Parker has worked under three Sedgwick County district attorneys since 1982.
Hutchinson Hospital to Break Ground for $23 Million Project
HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — A Hutchinson hospital is getting ready to break ground on a $23 million expansion project. The Wichita Eagle reports that the official groundbreaking for the Hutchinson Regional Medical Center project is planned for January 5th. The hospital said in a news release that the project includes a new $18 million intensive care unit. Work on the 15,000-square-foot ICU addition will begin in June and is scheduled to be completed in December 2018. The 18-bed facility will contain larger rooms and new equipment. To make room for construction, the ICU was temporarily moved to the fourth floor of the hospital in 2014 and will operate from there until construction is complete. There also will be a $5 million upgrade to the hospital's electrical and mechanical grid.
Lawrence School District Appeals Internet Ruling
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The Lawrence school district has appealed a federal finding that the district violated rules by receiving free residential internet service. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Lawrence Unified School District 497 this month appealed the ruling from the Federal Communications Commission, which found that district officials violated federal conflict-of-interest rules by receiving free residential internet service accounts from a company that supplies internet access to the district. If the district loses, its filing indicates it'll need to pay back more than half a million dollars in federal subsidies for internet access in schools, and will lose an additional $340,000 in funding not yet received. The district says in its FCC filing that its typical contract with the provider included 15 free at-home internet accounts, and those accounts didn't influence decision-makers.
Mentally Ill Kansas Man Sentenced to 20 years in Killing
GREENSBURG, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas man has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for killing another patient at a mental health facility three days after he was discharged from a state psychiatric hospital. The Hutchinson News reports that 31-year-old Brandon Brown, of Haviland, was sentenced Wednesday in Kiowa County District Court for second-degree murder. He pleaded no contest in October in a case that prompted a state inquiry. Prosecutors say Brown beat Jerry Martinez so severely in May 2015 at a residential care facility that the 61-year-old died the next month. Brown had spent a week at the state-run psychiatric hospital in Osawatomie after fighting with residents at the Haviland Care Center near Wichita. The fatal beating happened after he was discharged from Osawatomie into the care of the Haviland facility.
19-year-old Charged in Deadly Wichita Drug Deal Shooting
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a 19-year-old man has been charged in a deadly shooting during a botched Wichita drug deal. Andrew Bull made his first court appearance Thursday in Sedgwick County District Court. He is jailed on $100,000 bond on charges of first-degree murder and distribution of marijuana in the death of 23-year-old Charles Hawkins. Public defender Mark Rudy didn't immediately return a phone message from The Associated Press seeking comment. Police say Hawkins was killed last week when he pulled out a gun and attempted to rob Bull during a drug deal. Police say Bull also was armed and shot Hawkins, who died after being taken to a hospital.
Man Charged with Murder in Southwest Kansas Shooting
LIBERAL, Kan. (AP) — A 19-year-old man is charged in a southwest Kansas shooting that left one person dead and another wounded. KWCH-TV reports that John Ramon, of Liberal, made his first court appearance Thursday on charges of first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder and cruelty to animals. He is jailed on $1 million bond. Liberal police say a 24-year-old man was killed and a 29-year-old was hospitalized with serious injuries after the shooting on Tuesday. The names of the victims haven't been released. Ramon's next court appearance is scheduled for February 9. It's not immediately clear if Ramon has an attorney. The Seward County prosecutor's office didn't immediately return a phone message from The Associated Press.
Second Suspect Arrested in Topeka Man's Death
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities have arrested a second suspect in the killing of a man found dead earlier this month in his Topeka home. Police said in a news release Thursday that the woman has been booked into jail on suspicion of aiding and abetting murder in the second degree. No charges were immediately filed against her. The arrest stemmed from the killing of 52-year-old Mark Everett Johnson. Police have said it appears that Johnson died of blunt force trauma. His body was found December 16th in his Topeka home west of downtown. A man was arrested earlier in the killing.