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Headlines for Saturday, May 20, 2017

KC Police Investigate Four Homicides

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP)  - Kansas City police say they are investigating whether four homicides along a popular hiking and biking trail are related.  Police said yesterday (FRI) that no evidence has linked the deaths of four white men along the Indian Creek Trail system since last August, but that there are "obvious similarities" in the homicides.  The men were between the ages of 54 and 67.  Three of them were walking their dogs on or near the trail.  The Kansas City Star identifies the latest victim as 61-year-old Mike Darby, whose body was found Thursday morning. Indian Creek Trail stretches 26 miles between Jackson County, Missouri, in south Kansas City, to Johnson County, Kansas, in Olathe.


Kansas Lawmakers Delay Debate on New Ride Rules

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas legislators put off a debate on delaying tougher regulations for amusement parks following the death of a young girl injured at a Wichita carnival. The House had been scheduled yesterday (FRI) to debate a bill delaying the new rules for a year until July 2018. Lawmakers approved the tougher regulations last month in response to the death of a colleague's son on a waterslide last summer. The new law requires annual inspections of rides by qualified inspectors or certified engineers. The state Department of Labor sought a delay over concerns that some operators couldn't comply by July. But the Wichita Eagle reported Friday that the family of a 15-month-old girl issued a statement through a local hospital that she had died after being critically injured at a carnival May 12.


No Third Rape Trial in Haskell Rape Case case

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A former Haskell Indian Nations University student will not be tried a third time on charges of raping another student. The Douglas County District Attorney's Office said Thursday it would not retry 22-year-old Galen Satoe. Satoe and 21-year-old Jared Wheeler were charged with raping a 19-year-old Haskell freshman in November 2014 in their dormitory room. The men maintained the encounter was consensual. The Lawrence Journal-World reports Satoe's two previous trials ended in mistrials on most of the charges. The Douglas County attorney said it did not expect a different outcome in a third trial without more evidence. Wheeler's one trial ended with a hung jury in June 2016. He then pleaded no contest to aggravated battery and was sentenced to 60 days in jail and two years' probation.


Kobach Says He Won't Pre-judge Voter Fraud Panel's Findings

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kris Kobach is preparing to help lead a new presidential commission on election fraud with the certitude that he's found significant evidence of problems in Kansas. As Kansas secretary of state, he was the first state elections chief to gain a prosecutor's powers. Kobach said he's not pre-judging what might be happening in other states before the commission appointed by President Trump begins compiling hard data. In Kansas, he has described the dozens of non-citizens on voter rolls and nine successful prosecutions as evidence of a significant problem. Voting rights advocates have criticized the commission and Kobach's appointment. He has been advising Trump for months and said he talks to the White House each week. He is the new commission's vice chairman, with Vice President Mike Pence as the chairman.


Haskell University Suspends Track and Field Program

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Haskell Indian Nations University has canceled its upcoming track and field season due to several factors, including cost, facilities and competitiveness. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that President Venida Chenault last month approved placing the program on suspension. Haskell Board of Regents members say the program costs about $8,000 annually in addition to coaching salaries. They say the price is a small percentage of the school's overall athletics budget. Chenault says the university often competes against schools that invest millions of dollars in their programs. The current collegiate standard for a track is eight lanes, but the university only has six. It also lacks high jump pit or a standard discus or javelin pit. Chenault says the university doesn't have a permanent athletics director. She says it's unknown when the school will be able to hire one.


Kansas Therapy Dog Dies After Surgery

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A therapy dog that comforted veterans, hospice patients and children with disabilities in northeastern Kansas has died after undergoing surgery. Owner Julie Hoffman tells the Topeka Capital-Journal the Doberman Pinscher named Kiki was diagnosed with lung cancer two weeks ago. Kiki had surgery Wednesday but didn't recover. Kiki worked in Topeka for nine years as a certified Pet Partners therapy dog. She regularly visited Topeka's Colmery-O'Neil VA Medical Center, St. Francis Hospital and several nursing homes. Hoffman says Kiki could sense when someone was going through a rough time and would console them with her presence. In 2014, Hoffman and Kiki received the Judith Fellton Memorial Award, which acknowledges the achievements of a rescued Doberman. Hoffman adopted Kiki from the Kansas City Doberman Rescue in October 2008.


Lawrence Hit-and-Run Driver Strikes Stalled Vehicle, Injures Four

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Police are searching for a driver accused of crashing into the rear of a stalled vehicle as two people tried to push it off a Lawrence road. KMBC-TV reports that the hit-and-run crash happened early yesterday (FRI) morning. The two people who were pushing the stalled vehicle were taken to area hospitals in critical condition. Two people inside the stalled vehicle were taken to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Police say they found the truck, but are still looking for the driver.


Man Sentenced for 2009 Emporia Homicide

EMPORIA, Kan. (AP) — A man has been re-sentenced to 20 years in prison for fatally shooting another man in 2009 after an altercation hours earlier. The Emporia Gazette reports that Jimmy Dominguez apologized Thursday when he was sentenced for second-degree murder in the killing of Jose Leyva. Dominguez blamed drinking and said he wasn't in his "right mind." Another man was wounded but survived the shooting, which followed a wedding dance and party. The re-sentencing came after years of delays, brought on by a cancer diagnoses, a 2010 mistrial and the reversal of his 2011 conviction because of jury instruction mistakes. Dominguez is receiving palliative care after radiation treatment failed. He'll serve the remainder of his sentence at the infirmary at the Lansing Correctional Facility.


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