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Headlines for Saturday, May 2, 2015

Economic Indicator Predicts Slow Growth Ahead

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A new monthly survey report says April results suggest that slow economic growth remains ahead for Kansas, Missouri, and seven other Midwestern states. The survey report issued yesterday (FRI) says the overall Mid-America Business Conditions Index rose to 52.7 last month from 51.4 in March. Creighton University economist Ernie Goss oversees the survey, and he says rising economic expectations from nonenergy firms, resulting from lower energy prices, "more than offset economic pessimism stemming from weakness in firms directly tied to energy." The survey results from supply managers are compiled into a collection of indexes ranging from zero to 100. Survey organizers say any score above 50 suggests economic growth, while a score below that suggests decline. The survey covers Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota.

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Attorneys for Jewish Site Shootings Suspect Seek New Venue

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — Attorneys for the man charged with killing three people at Jewish sites in suburban Kansas City have filed 21 motions as they prepare for trial. The Kansas City Star reports attorneys are seeking a change of venue for Frazier Glenn Miller, who is scheduled for trial August 17th for capital murder for the deaths of three deaths in Overland Park last April. Miller has said he was trying to kill Jews, although all of his victims were Christians. He told The Associated Press this week that he plans to plead guilty. One of the motions asks that Miller be able to do explain his actions during the penalty phase of his trial without being put under oath or cross examination. A motions hearing is scheduled for May 14th.

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3 Arraigned in Northwest Missouri Stabbing Death

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. (AP) — A Kansas woman and two Missouri men have each been arraigned on a second-degree murder charge in the stabbing death of a man whose body was dumped in a river. The St. Joseph News-Press reports that 43-year-old Kelli Hoard, 22-year-old Primalton Peterson III and 24-year-old Sean Liechti appeared in court yesterday (FRI). Not guilty pleas were entered for all three. The Elwood woman and two St. Joseph, Missouri men are accused of killing 28-year-old Richard Berry. His body was found last Saturday in the Third Fork of the Platte River near Easton.A probable cause statement alleges Hoard stabbed the victim with a knife, while the two men pinned Berry to the ground. Preliminary hearings are scheduled for May 28th.

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State Supreme Court upholds Wichita man's murder conviction

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Supreme Court has upheld the first-degree murder conviction of a man who gunned down his wife in front of her children.The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the court rejected 28-year-old Kishen Woods' mental health claim. He said he shouldn't have been found competent to stand trial because he has schizophrenia.Antonia Woods-Cratic died in November 2011. She was in the process of leaving her husband.Woods argued that the court-ordered competency evaluation was flawed. He also said that the trial judge should have ordered a second competency hearing after personally observing Woods' erratic behavior in court.  Justice Dan Biles noted that Woods at first personally objected to any consideration of his mental competency and later told the court he believed he was competent to stand trial.

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Woman Admits Defrauding Prospective Adoptive Parents

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A woman who pretended to be pregnant has admitted defrauding prospective adoptive parents in Kansas and elsewhere.Chrystal Marie Rippey, of Marshall, Texas pleaded guilty yesterday (FRI) in federal court in Kansas City, Kansas.This time the 35-year-old woman entered her guilty plea without a deal in place with prosecutors.U.S. District Judge Kathryn Vratil rejected in January an earlier deal in which the parties agreed to a binding 48-month sentence. Rippey was indicted in February 2014 on mail and wire fraud charges.Prosecutors allege Rippey contacted adoption agencies and individuals, pretending she was pregnant and seeking to give up her unborn child for adoption. The indictment contends prospective parents bought her meals and gifts, believing she was willing to let them adopt her baby after birth. Sentencing is May 26th.

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Colorado Asks Court to Dismiss Pot Lawsuit

DENVER (AP) — Sheriffs in Kansas, Colorado and Nebraska may not like legal marijuana — but they don't have the ability to force Colorado not to allow it. That's Colorado's argument in a motion filed yesterday (FRI) asking a judge to dismiss a lawsuit from 10 county sheriffs.The lawsuit is one of several legal challenges Colorado faces after legalizing recreational pot in 2012. The sheriffs say that recreational pot burdens law enforcement and should be axed. Colorado asked the U.S. District Court in Denver to dismiss the claims. Colorado points out that medical marijuana would still be legal even if recreational pot regulations are thrown out. And Colorado insists that it is within its rights to regulate pot even as it remains illegal under federal drug law.

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