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Headlines for Saturday, March 11, 2017

Top Kansas Court Rejects Tougher Rule in Self-defense Cases

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Supreme Court has ruled in favor of two men who were charged with aggravated battery but said they were acting in self-defense in stabbing or shooting others. The high court's ruling yesterday (FRI) rejected a tougher rule for determining when someone can avoid prosecution under the state's 2006 "Stand Your Ground" law. The Kansas Court of Appeals had ruled in each case that when someone seeks to avoid prosecution on self-defense grounds, a trial-court judge must view evidence in the light most favorable for the prosecution in deciding whether a case goes to trial. The Supreme Court said the judge must weigh evidence impartially. Marlon T. Hardy was charged after a 2013 shooting in Wichita. Dustin Alex Evans also was charged in 2013 after a stabbing in Overland Park.


Longtime Kansas Professor's Estate Donates $1.1 Million

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The estate of a longtime University of Kansas art history professor has donated another $1.1 million to the university. The gift announced Thursday brings the total donations from Marilyn Stokstad's estate to the university to more than $2.3 million. Stokstad was a professor of art history, author and former museum director. She died in March 2016 at age 87.
The Lawrence Journal-World reports the new gift will go toward acquiring art history books, improvements and maintenance at the Spencer Museum, and publishing scholarly exhibition catalogues. It also will support the Marilyn Stokstad Directorship at the Spencer Museum. She endowed the directorship in 2012. Stokstad joined the Kansas faculty in 1958 and retired in 2002.


New Trial Orderd After Kansas Judge Nods Off

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas appellate court says a man convicted of assault and weapons charges deserves a new trial because his trial judge fell asleep during testimony. The Kansas City Star reports the Kansas Court of Appeals yesterday (FRI) threw out Daquantrius Johnson's 2014 convictions. According to the ruling, a juror noticed that Sedgwick County District Judge Ben Burgess had fallen asleep and asked a bailiff whether Johnson could get a fair trial. The bailiff passed that comment on to Burgess, who later told jurors they alone would decide the case and that no attorneys indicated his nodding off affected his decisions. Burgess asked Johnson's attorney if he wanted to request a mistrial. That lawyer declined.


Kansas Senate Panel OKs Medical Cannabis Bill

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas Senate committee has endorsed a measure that would let doctors and physicians prescribe and dole out what's described as "non-intoxicating" medicine derived from a marijuana chemical compound. The Wichita Eagle reports that senators initially were supposed to vote on a measure that would legalize the use of cannabis for certain medical conditions. But an amendment stripped out that measure and replaced it with another that would allow medical professionals to prescribe and dispense "non-intoxicating cannabinoid medicine." The bill does not define non-intoxicating. The Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee approved that bill Thursday. The measure now goes to the full Senate.


Wichita State Fined for Mishandling Hazardous Wastes

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita State University has agreed to pay a $98,578 fine for mishandling hazardous wastes. The university said yesterday (FRI) in a news release that its agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency stems from violations found during an inspection in 2014. The problems were corrected that same year. Those violations included failure to conduct a hazardous waste determination, operation of a hazardous waste facility without a permit and failure to meet disposal and used oil storage requirements. As part of the agreement, Wichita State has also agreed to do environmental projects for the university and Wichita public schools. The projects include the purchases of hazardous material computer inventory systems for the university and the local school district.


Kansas Supreme Court Throws Out Killer's Life Term

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Supreme Court has thrown out the life sentence of one of three men convicted in the 2009 killing of an 18-year-old woman initially left to die in a car's trunk. The court unanimously ordered Joseph Mattox's resentencing after ruling yesterday (FRI) that the trial judge — not a jury as required — found aggravated factors warranting the life sentence without parole possible for 50 years. The Supreme Court upheld Mattox's first-degree murder, kidnapping and robbery convictions involving the death of Keighley Alyea. The ruling states Alyea was attacked and thrown into a car's trunk before being assaulted again when she regained consciousness and began screaming. Her body was found a week later in Missouri's Cass County. An autopsy showed she'd been stabbed dozens of times, beaten and choked.


Officials: Kansas Wildfires Brought Under Control

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Officials say wildfires that have charred more than 1,100 square miles in Kansas are under control, prompting the state to withdraw response teams from the firefighting effort. The Kansas Division of Emergency Management said yesterday (FRI) that crews in Clark County have a blaze there 70 percent contained. Containment levels in Kansas' Comanche, Ellis, Reno and Rooks counties exceed 90 percent. The blaze that encompassed Comanche and Clark counties along Kansas' southern border with Oklahoma is the biggest wildfire on record in Kansas. Since erupting last weekend, wildfires had been reported in 21 Kansas counties. Although Kansas has no burn ban in effect, the state's emergency management agency warns there's still potential for grassfires because of dry conditions statewide.


Emporia Police Probe Shooting Death

EMPORIA, Kan. (AP) — Police in Emporia are investigating the shooting death of a 38-year-old woman in an apartment building. The Emporia Gazette reports that Mahogany Brooks died at the scene of the shooting late Thursday near Emporia State University. Police say a 30-year-old man was taken into custody for questioning.


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