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Headlines for Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Kansas news headlines from the Associated Press

Capital Murder Charge Filed in Detective's Death 

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas man has been charged with capital murder in the shooting death of a police detective during a confrontation that ended when the defendant was shot by officers in Missouri. Wyandotte County District Attorney Jerome Gorman announced the charges Wednesday against 28-year-old Curtis Ayers, of Tonganoxie. Authorities allege Ayers fatally shot Kansas City, Kansas Detective Brad Lancaster on Monday as he responded to a suspicious person report near the Kansas Speedway. Ayers also is charged with two counts of aggravated robbery, two counts of aggravated burglary, two counts of kidnapping, and one count each of aggravated battery and criminal possession of a firearm. He was arrested in Kansas City, Missouri, after he wrecked a car and was shot by officers. Jackson County, Missouri, officials charged Ayers with seven counts, including carjacking, on Tuesday. He remains hospitalized as authorities in both Kansas and Missouri discuss which jurisdiction will be the first to prosecute him. The Wyandotte County District Attorney said he has not yet decided whether to seek the death penalty against Ayers.


Suspect in KCK Detective Killing Was Ejected from Casino Lot for Loitering

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) - A spokesman for the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission says a man accused of gunning down a Kansas City, Kansas, police detective was ordered to leave the Hollywood Casino parking lot prior to the fatal shooting. Commission spokesman Fred Waller says Curtis Ayers was loitering outside the casino near Kansas Speedway on Monday when a security agent ordered him to leave. Waller says Ayers was told he would be arrested for trespassing if he returned. The 28-year-old is accused of fatally shooting detective Brad Lancaster, who responded to the suspicious person report. Ayers was charged in Wyandotte County on Wednesday for Lancaster's death.


Public Funeral Set for Slain Kansas Detective

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Kansas City, Kansas, police detective killed in a confrontation on Monday will be honored with a public funeral. The funeral for Detective Brad Lancaster will be at 11 am Saturday at Children's Mercy Park, home of the Sporting Kansas City soccer team, in Kansas City, Kansas. A visitation is scheduled at 4 pm Friday at Trinity Community Church in Kansas City, Kansas. Lancaster died Monday after being shot while trying to stop a suspect who was fleeing from officers near the Kansas Speedway. The 39-year-old Lancaster is survived by a wife and two children. A suspect, 28-year-old Curtis Ayers, was arrested after he was shot in a confrontation with Kansas City, Missouri, officers hours after Lancaster was shot.


Kansas Again Delays Medicaid Cutoff for Planned Parenthood 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas has for a second time delayed cutting off Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood and postponed its action against the women's health care provider until June 7. Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri spokeswoman Bonyen Lee-Gilmore said Wednesday that the state sought another extension to prepare for the first hearing in a federal lawsuit challenging the cutoff. She said the delays show there's no public health emergency. But Republican Governor Sam Brownback's spokeswoman, Eileen Hawley, said the delays give both sides adequate time to prepare their arguments and the judge time to review them. The state initially planned to cut off Medicaid funds on Tuesday and then delayed the action until May 24. A hearing on Planned Parenthood's request for a court order blocking the cutoff is scheduled for May 25.


Kansas Officials' Private Emails to Be Subject to Disclosure 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Governor Sam Brownback has signed a bill to subject officials' emails about public business to disclosure even if they're on private accounts or devices. Brownback signed the measure Wednesday. Spokeswoman Eileen Hawley said he will follow its requirements. The new law will close a loophole in the Kansas Open Records Act that has allowed government officials to use private communications to discuss public business without facing disclosure. Attorney General Derek Schmidt issued an opinion last year saying the records law didn't apply to such situations. The issue arose after The Wichita Eagle reported in January 2015 that Budget Director Shawn Sullivan used a private email account to give two lobbyists a preview of budget proposals. Brownback later acknowledged using a private cellphone for most of his communications.


3 Teens from St. John's Military School Killed in Colorado Mountain Road Crash

CONIFER, Colo. (AP) — Three teenagers from a Kansas military school were killed and another was injured when their pickup crashed in the foothills outside Denver. Eighteen-year-old Jake Whitting, of Glen Head, New York; 19-year-old John Yoder, of Denver; and 16-year-old Akinwumi "AJ" Ricketts, of Nigeria, died after Colorado State Patrol investigators say Whitting lost control, went off the road and crashed into a creek south of Conifer on Tuesday. A fourth cadet, 17-year-old Marshall Otter, of Ulysses, Kansas, was hospitalized with serious injuries. Whitting had just graduated from St. John's Military School in Salina on Saturday as class valedictorian and the others are current students. Investigators suspect that alcohol and drugs played a role in the crash.


Train Derails in Northwest Missouri; No Injuries Reported 

FARLEY, Mo. (AP) — BNSF Railway says 12 cars on a train derailed in northwest Missouri. No one was injured. Investigators are trying to determine what caused the derailment Tuesday evening in Platte County near Farley. BNSF spokesman Andy Williams says seven cars went off the tracks and overturned, while five went off track but remained upright. They were part of a train with 88 cars and three locomotives heading from Lincoln, Nebraska, to Kansas City, Missouri. Williams says none of the cars contained hazardous materials. He says the cars were put back on the track early Wednesday and operations will resume after the tracks are inspected.


Kansas Man Sues over Wrongful Conviction, 15 Years in Prison 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Kansas man who spent 15 years in prison for a rape and murder that his brother later confessed to committing is suing law enforcement officers for fabricating evidence that led to his conviction. Floyd Bledsoe of Hutchinson was freed in December after his brother, Tom, killed himself in prison and left behind a series of notes confessing to the November 1999 slaying of 14-year-old Camille Arfmann. The federal lawsuit filed Tuesday says Tom Bledsoe confessed several times to killing and raping the Oskaloosa girl soon after her disappearance, but investigators coached him to instead implicate his brother. Floyd Bledsoe was convicted in April 2000, briefly released on bond in June 2008 and returned to prison in July 2009 after the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the 2008 ruling.


Friend of Man in Lottery Scandal Says She Cashed $15K Ticket 

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A friend of the former security director of the Multi-State Lottery Association who is implicated in a jackpot-fixing scandal says she was given a winning Kansas Lottery ticket worth $15,000 in 2011 as an engagement gift. Amy DeMoney testified Wednesday in a hearing for Eddie Tipton, who faces trial in July for ongoing criminal conduct and money laundering charges for games he allegedly fixed in Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma and Wisconsin. Separately, Tipton is appealing last year's fraud conviction related to a 2010 Iowa Hot Lotto ticket. He denies prosecutors' allegations that he manipulated the games' number-picking computers. DeMoney says she drove to Kansas to collect the winnings and gave Tipton $6,000 back as he requested. She says Tipton said he couldn't turn in the ticket because he'd lose his job.


Child, 7, Drowns in Kansas River
EUREKA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a 7-year-old girl has died after being pulled from a river in southeastern Kansas. The Greenwood County Sheriff's Office responded to a call at the Fall River Bridge on Tuesday afternoon. The sheriff's department says in a release that when crews arrived they found a man clinging to a log in the river below the low-water dam. A short time later, deputies located the girl, who was partially submerged. Sheriff Rusty Bitler says two deputies entered the river, pulled the girl out and immediately began to try to resuscitate her. Bitler says the child was taken to a hospital where she was later pronounced dead. KSN-TV reports that the sheriff's office is investigating.


Court Document: College Student Held Against Her Will 

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) - Court documents allege that a man held a Lawrence college student against her will and beat her before returning her to her sorority six days later. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that the allegations are part of recently released court documents in the case against 30-year-old Shane Steven Allen. He faces one felony charge of kidnapping and four felony charges of battery in the attack last month on a 20-year-old woman whom he met through a mobile dating app. An arrest affidavit filed in Douglas County District Court alleges that Allen beat the woman after accusing her of flirting with his friend. He is accused of telling her she couldn't go until her face healed. Allen is jailed on $100,000 bond. It wasn't immediately known if he had an attorney.


Salina Residents Approve Sales Tax Increase

SALINA, Kan. (AP) _ Salina residents have approved a sales tax increase designed for city improvements. Saline County Clerk Don Merriman announced Tuesday that unofficial results of the mail-in election showed the tax passed by a vote of 6,216 to 5,350, or about 54 percent in favor to 46 percent opposed. The vote repeals an existing 0.4 percent special sales tax and increases it for businesses in Salina to 0.75 percent. It will be effective October 1. The city's total sales tax will be 8.75 percent. It is expected to raise $9.35 million per year. The Salina City Commission says the revenue will be used to improve neighborhood streets, fund capital projects, economic development, parks, capital improvements and cleanup of the old Smoky Hill River channel.  


Man Pleads Guilty in 2014 Slaying of Wichita Couple 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A man charged in the slaying of a Wichita couple during a robbery has pleaded guilty. The Wichita Eagle reports that 21-year-old Steven Wade Edwards II pleaded guilty to several charges, including two counts of first-degree murder. The bodies of 70-year-old Martha Moreno and her husband, 72-year-old Godofredo Moreno, were found by their son in their home on Oct. 16, 2014. Police say the couple died of gunshot wounds. Edwards faces a life sentence for the murder charges, and is scheduled to be sentenced on June 21. A 17-year-old has also been charged in the killings.


Newton City Commission Votes to Fire City Manager

NEWTON, Kan. (AP) — The Newton City Commission has voted to fire the city manager, effective immediately. The Hutchinson News reports the vote Tuesday was 3-2 to fire City Manager Randy Riggs, who had held the position since March 2008. The city hasn't said why Riggs was fired other than a desire by the commission to pursue a different direction in management of the community. The city says in a news release that Rigs will receive more than $215,000 upon departure, including severance of roughly $147,000 and health insurance benefits, unused vacation and unused sick leave. Riggs previously served as city manager in Chanute and Sterling. City Attorney Bob Myers has been appointed interim city manager.


Report Forecasts Bountiful Winter Wheat Crop 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The government is expecting a bountiful winter wheat harvest this year. The National Agricultural Statistics Service forecast on Tuesday U.S. winter wheat production to be up 4 percent from a year ago, with the nation's farmers expected to bring in 1.43 billion bushels. The agency says the expected yield of 47.8 bushels per acre would equal the record yield set in 1999, if realized. Hard red winter wheat, the type commonly grown in Kansas, is also forecast to be up 4 percent nationwide at 863 million bushels. Kansas, the nation's largest producer, is forecast to harvest 352.6 million bushels this year. Average yields in the state are expected to be 43 bushels per acre from 8.2 million acres. Kansas farmers last year harvested 321.9 million bushels.


At Least 1 Shot Fired at Kansas School Bus; No Injuries Reported

NEWTON, Kan. (AP) — Authorities are searching for a teenage boy who allegedly shot at a Newton school bus. Harvey County Sheriff's spokeswoman Melissa Flavin says the bus was headed to pick up students at Walton Elementary School Tuesday when at least one shot was fired at the vehicle. The driver reported seeing a gun and hearing at least one shot. No one was injured. The sheriff's office says no bullet holes were found on the bus. The suspect was a teenager who was riding in a 2010 or later full-size pickup truck that was silver or gray. Newton schools were lockdown for about 30 minutes as a precaution.


3 Killed in Colorado Mountain Road Crash

CONIFER, Colo. (AP) — Authorities are investigating a crash that killed three people and injured a fourth in the foothills west of Denver. The Colorado State Patrol says a Dodge Dakota pickup carrying four males veered off a road and crashed into a creek south of Conifer on Tuesday afternoon. Two of the dead were found in the bed of the pickup and the third was ejected. No names were released. The patrol says a 17-year-old from Kansas survived and was taken to the hospital with serious injuries. His hometown wasn't released.


Kyle Busch's Crew Chief Suspended for Lug Nut Violation 

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — NASCAR has suspended Kyle Busch's crew chief and tire changer for one race for violating the lug nut policy during the team's win at Kansas Speedway last weekend. Adam Stevens was also fined $20,000 and placed on probation through the end of the year. Front tire changer Josh Leslie is on probation until December 31. NASCAR said after Saturday night's race that all teams had passed the inspection of lug nuts. It was not clear Wednesday what changed regarding Busch's winning car. Lug nuts have been an issue in NASCAR since the series stopped policing whether teams were applying all five on each tire during pit stops. By using less than five, a team would have a faster pit stop and gain track position. Tony Stewart complained the practice was dangerous, and NASCAR fined him $35,000 for his criticism. NASCAR then said it would check all cars for five lug nuts before and after each race.


Yankees Rally Past Royals 10-7 Despite Cain's 3 Home Runs

NEW YORK (AP) —The Yankees' Brett Gardner doubled home the tiebreaking run off Kelvin Herrera in the eighth inning as the New York Yankees overcame three home runs by Lorenzo Cain to beat the Kansas City Royals 10-7 Tuesday night. In a back-and-forth game, Kansas City rallied from deficits of 1-0, 5-3 and 7-6 as Cain tied his career high with five RBIs. Cheslor Cuthbert also homered for the Royals, who have hit six home runs in the first two games of the series. But Gold Glove shortstop Alcides Escobar allowed Ben Gamel's grounder to bounce off his glove for an error with one out in the eighth, and Gardner followed with a drive to left-center off Herrera (0-1) for an 8-7 lead. Brian McCann finished with a two-run double off the fence in right-center.


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