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Headlines for Thursday, November 16, 2017

Here's what's happening.

Kansas Man Sentenced to More Time in Case That Divided Town
 
HOLTON, Kan. (AP) - A man whose cases sharply divided his small Kansas town was given more jail time by a judge who departed from a plea deal. Jackson County District Judge Norbert Marek on Wednesday sentenced 23-year-old Jacob Ewing to a total of 7.5 years for attempted rape of a woman and child exploitation related to images he had of an underage girl. Ewing was sentenced in September to 27 years for raping and sodomizing two other women. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports Ewing's attorney and the prosecutor had agreed the sentences could be served concurrently but Marek departed from that agreement. The sentencing ends a saga that roiled the town of Holton for more than a year. When Ewing was first arrested, many people in the town supported him and criticized his accusers.

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Records: Man Posed for Photo with Dead Wife, Then Dismembered Her

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Court records say a man posed for photos with his dead wife, along with their newborn and toddler, before dismembering her body in a Kansas City hotel room.  The Kansas City Star reports that 35-year-old Justin Rey was charged Wednesday with abandonment of a corpse and child endangerment in Missouri's Jackson County. Court records say his wife, Jessica Monteiro Rey, died after giving birth October 20. Rey told police he dismembered her body in a bathtub two days later with the children present.  The remains were discovered October 24 in a cooler at a storage unit in nearby Lenexa, Kansas. Rey had been sleeping there with the children.  He's jailed on $1 million bond in Kansas on child endangerment charges. He doesn't yet have an attorney in the Missouri case.

(earlier report)

Autopsy: Mother's Dismembered Remains Found in Storage Unit

LENEXA, Kan. (AP) - Preliminary autopsy results confirm that dismembered human remains found inside a suburban Kansas City storage unit are those of a woman whose husband was living in the unit with his 4-day-old baby and 2-year-old child.  An arrest affidavit for 35-year-old Justin Rey was released Tuesday. He's jailed on $1 million bond in Johnson County, Kansas, on child endangerment charges.  He's not charged in the death of his wife, whom family identified as Jessica Monteiro Rey.  The dismembered remains were discovered October 24 inside a cooler and tote at a U-Haul Moving and Storage facility in Lenexa. Surveillance video showed Rey pulling a cooler when he checked out of a Kansas City, Missouri, hotel one day earlier.  A search warrant says Rey told authorities his wife killed herself after giving birth.

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Kansas Agencies Seek $274 Million in New Funding Next Year

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — State agencies have asked for more than $274 million in new funding for next year just months after Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback called the current budget bloated.  The agencies are collectively seeking a 4.1 percent increase in spending in next year's general fund budget. The Wichita Eagle reports preliminary budget requests for the next fiscal year became public when agencies presented them to a legislative committee last week.  One agency seeks money to restore earlier cuts to universities. Another wants money to eliminate waiting lists for people with disabilities. A third wants more money for social workers.  The requests do not include additional spending for schools.  Legislative leaders have created a committee after the Kansas Supreme Court decision last month which struck down the state's education funding formula as unconstitutional.

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Regents Approve Indoor Practice Facility for Kansas Football

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ The University of Kansas can proceed with plans to build a $26 million indoor practice facility for its football team. The Kansas Board of Regents on Wednesday unanimously authorized Kansas to change its current capital improvement program to include the practice facility. The university hasn't chosen a location for the building. The Lawrence Journal-World reports the Kansas Athletics Department wants to build the facility close to Memorial Stadium. The indoor practice facility is part of a $300 million renovation project planned for Memorial Stadium. Chancellor Doug Girod said the new facilities will help Kansas improve its struggling football program, noting that the Jayhawks are the only Big 12 team without a dedicated indoor practice facility. He said the university hopes to finish the project before the 2018 season

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Records: Kansas Jailer Impregnated Inmate Who Had Abortion

GARNETT, Kan. (AP) — Court records show a fired eastern Kansas jailer had sex with five inmates, including one who become pregnant and had an abortion.  The arrest affidavit for 27-year-old Lexington Laiter, of Garnett, was released this week. Laiter is jailed on $250,000 bail in Osage County after he was charged last month in neighboring Anderson County with 11 counts of unlawful sexual relations and two counts of attempted unlawful sexual relations. His attorney hasn't returned a phone message.  Laiter worked at the Anderson County Jail from 2013 until he was fired last December for bringing tobacco into the facility. The court records say one of the inmates alleged she became pregnant after having sex with Laiter in January 2015. She told authorities Laiter gave her $500 to help pay for the abortion.

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Jurors Acquit Man in 2006 Death of 2-Year-Old in Topeka 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A man accused of killing a 2-year-old Topeka boy more than 11 years ago is free after a jury acquitted him in the case. The Shawnee County District Court jury on Thursday found 33-year-old Johnathan Davion Mango not guilty of second-degree murder in March 2006 death of Eli Clemens. An affidavit said the boy died at a Topeka apartment from blunt force trauma to the head and abdomen. Mango was the former fiancé of Fawn Clemens Mack, the child's mother. He testified during the trial that he was not responsible for the child's death. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports witnesses said the youngster had fallen off a slide in a park the day before he died, perhaps injuring his head. Mango was arrested last year in Florissant, Missouri.

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Man Pleads Guilty in 2016 Murder of Shawnee Woman 

SHAWNEE, Kan. (AP) — A 55-year-old man has pleaded guilty to killing a Shawnee woman in her apartment last year. The Kansas City Star reports Gregory Paul Wright II pleaded guilty Thursday to premeditated first-degree murder in the death of 44-year-old Monica Lee. The victim was found dead in May 2016 inside her apartment. Wright stole Lee's car and fled. He was arrested in Virginia about a month after the murder. Wright will be sentenced January 10.

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Former Oklahoma Seismologist Testifies in Earthquake Lawsuit

TULSA, Okla. (AP) - Oklahoma's former lead seismologist says he felt pressured by a University of Oklahoma official to not link the state's surge in earthquakes to oil and gas production.  The Tulsa World reports Austin Holland's sworn testimony came in a lawsuit filed by a local resident against two oil companies for damages sustained during an earthquake in 2011.  University President David Boren and the former dean of university's Earth and Energy College deny Holland was pressured by the school.  Researchers have linked the increased number of earthquakes in Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas to the underground disposal of wastewater from oil and gas production.  Holland also testified he was reprimanded for helping write a peer-reviewed article on how to cope with such earthquakes. University of Oklahoma President Boren says he couldn't respond to specific comments Holland made because he hasn't seen the testimony.

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Bankers: Economy to Remain Slow in Rural Parts of 10 States

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The economy will likely remain slow in rural parts of 10 Plains and Western states in the months ahead. The overall Rural Mainstreet Index for the region remained in negative territory below 50 and declined to 44.7 in November from October's 45.3. The index is based on Creighton University's monthly survey of bankers. Creighton University economist Ernie Goss the current low commodity prices and declining farm income continue to weigh on the rural economy. The index ranges between 0 and 100, with any number under 50 indicating a shrinking economy. The index tracking the price of farmland and ranchland declined to 36.5 in November from October's already-weak 39.2. Bankers from Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming were surveyed.

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Georgia Man Sentenced for Cybercrime Against Sedgwick County

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Georgia man has been sentenced to two years and three months in federal prison for participating in a scheme that cost Sedgwick County $566,000. U.S. Attorney Tom Beall said 49-year-old George James, of Brookhaven, Georgia, was sentenced Wednesday for wire fraud. James told authorities someone contacted him in September 2016 and asked to deposit money into James's account. James said Sedgwick County sent about $566,088 to his account in Georgia. He spent some and transferred some money to banks in China and Germany. The other person allegedly sent an email to Sedgwick County claiming to represent construction company Cornejo and Sons, and asking the county to send future payments to a new account number. The county later learned the email was not from Cornejo.

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Wichita Woman Dies After Being Run Over by Trash Truck

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Wichita police say a 79-year-old woman died when she was run over by a trash truck.  Sgt. Kevin Tronsgard said the woman was walking on a road in east Wichita Wednesday afternoon when she was hit by the truck.  Tronsgard said the truck was backing up because of congestion on the road and the driver didn't see the woman, whose name was not released.  KWCH reports the woman was rushed to a hospital, where she died.  Tronsgard said the woman was facing away from the truck when it backed up.  Police and the Kansas Highway Patrol are investigating the death.

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Lyon County Remains Unidentified 6 Months After Discovery

NEOSHO RAPIDS, Kan. (AP) - Human remains found more than six months ago in Lyon County still haven't been identified. A skull was found April 29 near the Neosho River just outside of Neosho Rapids. Lyon County officers later found more remains. The remains were wrapped in a bed sheet and comforter. A digital watch also was found. The Emporia Gazette reports an autopsy indicated the remains were a male who might have been of mixed race. He was between 5-feet-4 and 5-feet-6 and possibly of middle-to-late age. His long hair was blonde, white or gray. The man also had scoliosis. The man apparently died between 2013 and 2016. Lyon County Sheriff Jeff Cope said says a private lab is testing DNA to help with identification and national organizations for missing people have been notified.

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Student Kicked Off Garden City Community College Basketball Team in Flap over Anthem

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Muslim student athlete who refused to observe the national anthem for religious reasons at a basketball game at a western Kansas college has been kicked off the team.  That has ignited concerns over whether Garden City Community College violated the civil rights of 19-year-old Rasool Samir, who continued shooting balls during the anthem November 1, leading to a confrontation with a fan who accused him of disrespecting the flag.  The college says Samir was dismissed for a team rules violation, because he did not leave the court with his teammates when the anthem was played.  The American Civil Liberties Union has voiced concern that Samir may have been disciplined for exercising his First Amendment rights. It's still gathering information and hasn't decided whether to sue.

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Kansas Contractor Fined for Deceptive Practices

HAYSVILLE, Kan. (AP) - A Haysville contractor has agreed to pay more than $50,000 for deceptive practices against four consumers, three of whom were elderly.  The Sedgwick County District Attorney's office said Wednesday that Bradley Rodgers, the owner of Rogers Contracting, will pay the money for failing to give consumers notice that they had three days to cancel their contracts with his company.  When one consumer chose not to hire his company after a free estimate, Rogers threatened to sue her. The district attorney said Rogers threatened to sue two other homeowners who complained the scope and price of their projects changed without their consent. Information on the fourth customer's case was not released.  Rogers voluntarily entered into the consent judgment without admitting to the allegations.

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Illinois Election Board to Take Up Voter Database Next Week

CHICAGO (AP) - Illinois election officials say they'll review security questions raised about a multi-state voter registration database next week.  A growing number of advocates and Democrats want Illinois to end its voluntary participation in the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program. The free Kansas-run program helps states clean voter records.  But groups including the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, both of the state's U.S. senators and dozens of legislators want Illinois to withdraw. Their concerns were aired at Wednesday hearing where an Illinois Institute of Technology expert said the system doesn't meet industry security standards. Voter suppression is also a concern.  Election officials say no Illinoisan is immediately removed from the rolls because of the database and its limitations are well known.  The State Board of Elections will discuss the matter at a Monday meeting.

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Sporting KC's Tim Melia Named MLS Goalkeeper of the Year

NEW YORK (AP) — Sporting Kansas City's Tim Melia has been named Major League Soccer's Goalkeeper of the Year. Melia is the third Sporting goalkeeper to earn the honor, joining Tony Meola (2002) and Jimmy Nielsen (2012). No other MLS team has had three goalkeepers to win the honor. Melia, who is in his third season with Kansas City, had a career-high 12 wins, 10 shutouts, 91 saves and 31 starts. He led MLS with a 0.78 goals-against average and a 78.4 save percentage. He saved three penalty kicks. Melia was the league's Comeback Player of the Year in 2015. Melia earned just more than half of all the votes for the award (50.29 percent). Philadelphia's Andre Blake (10.13 percent) was runner-up and Seattle's Stefan Frei (8.24 percent) was third.

 

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