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Headlines for Thursday, April 12, 2018

Area news headlines from the Associated Press

Kansas Vehicle Owner Information Easily Accessed on Site

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Security concerns have been raised over a new Kansas website that collects vehicle owner information. The Wichita Eagle reports that the state launched the site iKan on March 29. It's used to perform vehicle registration renewals, but Kansas plans to expand it to include vital records and voter registration in the coming months. Individuals can look up their information on the site by entering their assigned PIN. The numbers appear to be sequential and not randomly generated. The ability to access other people's information was first disclosed on the social network site Reddit. A user called CitizenofKansas says they accidentally entered the wrong PIN while trying to renew their vehicle registration and brought up someone else's information. A Kansas Department of Revenue spokeswoman says it's illegal to use another person's PIN to access information.

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Suspect in Bar Shooting May Plead to Federal Hate Crime

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — The suspect in the fatal shooting of an Indian immigrant last year in a Kansas City suburb may plead guilty to a federal hate crime charge. The Kansas City Star reports 52-year-old Adam Purinton, of Olathe, on Wednesday filed a change of plea notice in federal court in Kansas, where he is charged with a hate crime in the February 2017 shooting death of Srinivas Kuchibhotla. Purinton already pleaded guilty to a state charge of first-degree murder in Kuchibhotla's death and to two counts of attempted first-degree murder for wounding to other men at Austin's Bar in Olathe. Federal prosecutors allege that Purinton targeted two victims because of their race, ethnicity or country of origin. A hate crime conviction carries a potential death sentence. Wednesday's notice indicates Purinton intends to change his plea May 21.

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Prosecutor: No Charges Against Officer in Deadly Hoax Call

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The police officer who fired the shot that killed a man during a hoax emergency call will not face criminal charges. District Attorney Marc Bennett announced the decision Thursday, saying there was reasonable concern at the time Andrew Finch may have been armed with a weapon. The unarmed 28-year-old Wichita man was shot December 28 by police responding to a California man's hoax call about a killing and kidnapping at Finch's home. Police have said Finch was told to keep his hands raised, but reached toward his waistline. An officer standing across the street shot him when he reached his hands up suddenly. The shooting drew national attention to a practice called "swatting," in which a person makes up a false report to get responders to descend on an address.

Related

Kansas Governor Signs Bill Against 'Swatting'

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Governor Jeff Colyer has signed legislation that will increase the penalties for making hoax emergency calls when they lead to the injuries or deaths of others. Colyer announced Thursday that he signed the measure designed to combat "swatting" to send a message that the behavior is unacceptable. Legislators passed the bill in response to the fatal shooting of an unarmed 28-year-old Wichita man by a police officer in December. Andrew Finch was shot after police responded to a California man's hoax call about a killing and kidnapping at Finch's home. The new law takes effect July 1 and calls for a presumed sentence of more than 12 years in prison for a first conviction when a hoax causes someone's death. The toughest prison sentence now is nine months.

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Murder Charges Could Hinder Water Park's Debt Repayment

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A lender is warning investors that criminal indictments stemming from the decapitation of a 10-year-old boy on a slide at a Kansas water park could hurt owner Schlitterbahn's chances of repaying a $174.3 million loan balance.  The Kansas City Star reports that EPR Properties issued the warning Monday in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The Kansas City-based real estate investment trust holds the mortgage on the Kansas attraction. The filing said the March indictments could hurt attendance at Schlitterbahn's water parks and "may negatively impact the likelihood of repayment."  The indictments name Texas-based Schlitterbahn, its co-owner Jeff Henry, the construction company that built the 17-story Verruckt slide and two other people. The most serious charge is second-degree murder in the 2016 death of Caleb Schwab.

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Kansas to Post Mug Shots of People Owing Back Child Support

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas plans to post mug shots of people who owe back child support in an effort to shame them into paying or get tips on their location.  The Wichita Eagle reports the program called Child Support Evaders features a website hosted on the Kansas Department for Children and Families showing people who owe more than $5,000 in late support. It includes their name, photo, amount owed, number of children owed support. It also allows the public to submit tips anonymously on where the person might be located.  The initiative is among a growing number of similar programs around the country.  Arizona launched a campaign in 2016 to post on Facebook and Twitter the names and photos of individuals behind on support. Texas, Louisiana and Georgia also have similar programs.

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Kansas AG Seeks to Bar Out-of-State Gubernatorial Candidates

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas is seeking to put the brakes on out-of-state gubernatorial candidates after 10 people living outside its borders took the initial steps to run.  The Kansas City Star reports that Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt announced Tuesday that he's filed a lawsuit as part of an effort to keep non-residents out of the race. He said in a statement that it appears lawmakers always intended candidates for Kansas governor to reside in the state. He says he's asking the court to interpret Kansas law, which currently says nothing about candidates' age or residency.
News coverage about the lack of requirements has led to a slew of teenagers and non-Kansans forming campaign committees for a gubernatorial run. A man even tried, and failed, to get his dog on the ballot.

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Man Charged with Killing Lawyer After $6 Million Lawsuit Judgment

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Authorities say an 80-year-old man who'd lost a nearly $6 million lawsuit to a Kansas City attorney is now charged in the lawyer's death.  The Kansas City Star reports that David Jungerman was charged with first-degree murder Wednesday. He's accused of fatally shooting Tom Pickert, who was found dead in October on the front porch of his home.   Investigators say Jungerman accidentally recorded himself saying he killed Pickert.  Pickert had represented a homeless man Jungerman shot in 2012 after encountering men in a building associated with his baby-furniture business. Jungerman said the men were stealing copper and that he acted in self-defense. He wasn't charged in those shootings, but he was later sued.
Jungerman was served with property liens to pay the judgment the day before Pickert was killed.

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Report: Missouri Governor Eric Greitens Slapped, Grabbed Woman

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri Governor Eric Greitens calls it an "entirely consensual relationship." But the woman with whom he has acknowledged having an affair says Greitens spanked, slapped, grabbed and shoved her during a series of sexual encounters that at times left her crying and afraid.  The woman's graphic testimony was revealed in a report released Wednesday by a special Missouri legislative committee. The panel next is to recommend whether lawmakers should begin impeachment proceedings to try to remove the Republican governor from office.  Greitens is refusing calls to resign. He says it's "a political witch hunt."  Greitens also is to go to trial next month in St. Louis on a felony indictment accusing him of taking and transmitting a nonconsensual photo of the woman while she was partially nude in 2015.

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Man Charged in Kansas City, Kansas, Triple Homicide

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a 27-year-old man has been charged in a triple homicide in a Kansas City, Kansas, duplex.  MonDale Douglas made his first appearance Monday on three counts of first-degree murder in the April 2 shooting deaths of 51-year-old Edward Rawlins, 46-year-old David Rawlins and 40-year-old Addrin Coats. A woman called police the next day after seeing one of the victim's bodies lying near the front door of the duplex. Arriving officers found the other victims inside.  Douglas was booked into the Wyandotte County Jail on April 4 and is being held on $1 million bond. A spokesman for the prosecutor's office said he didn't know whether Douglas had an attorney.

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Lawrence Man Convicted for Soliciting Sex in Online Sting

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A 38-year-old Lawrence man who sent hundreds of emails to someone he thought was a 14-year-old girl has been convicted of soliciting sex. The person he was communicating with was a sheriff's deputy. Prosecutors say when Michael Henderson showed up with condoms to meet the "child" he was arrested. Henderson was convicted Wednesday of electronic solicitation of child. He will be sentenced May 17 and could face up to 20 years in prison. The Lawrence Journal-World reports the investigation started after a resident told police she believed Henderson was trying to meet young girls for sex. The email conversation, which involved 660 messages, began when the deputy responded to a Craigslist ad. Henderson's attorney argued Henderson was entrapped by law enforcement.

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Last Robber Sentenced in Fatal Gun Shop Shooting 

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — A man left partially paralyzed when gunfire erupted as he and three others were robbing a suburban Kansas City gun shop has been sentenced to life in prison for killing the shop's owner. The Kansas City Star report that 23-year-old De'Anthony Wiley won't be eligible for parole for 25 years under the sentence ordered Thursday. He says he's "deeply ashamed." He pleaded guilty in February to first-degree felony murder and other charges in the 2015 death of 44-year-old Jon Bieker. The robbery of Bieker's Shawnee, Kansas, gun store turned deadly when one of the robbers punched his wife. Bieker then emerged from a back room with a gun. Bieker was killed and three of the robbers wounded in the ensuing gunfight. Wiley was the final robber sentenced to life imprisonment.

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Man Arrested in Baby's Death Says He'd Been Roughhousing

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a man who reported that he was roughhousing with his 6-month-old son when the child stopped breathing has been arrested in the boy's death. The Wichita Eagle reports that the man was booked into jail Tuesday night on suspicion of first-degree murder and child abuse. He is being held on a $500,000 bond. Lt. Todd Ojile says the man has not yet been charged. Ojile says the man and the child's mother went Tuesday morning to an emergency room, where the child was pronounced dead. The father told hospital staff that he was rough housing and shadow boxing with the baby when the boy stopped breathing. Police say the coroner determined the infant died of severe internal injuries.

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Wellington Police: Death of 7-Month-Old Baby Suspicious

WELLINGTON, Kan. (AP) — The Wellington Police Department is investigating the death of a 7-month-old girl. Police Chief Tracy Heath said Thursday the baby's father took her to a Wichita hospital on April 1 after she quit breathing. The girl died on April 5. Her mother was caring for the baby when she was injured. They lived in Oxford, which is east of Wellington. No arrests have been made and the investigation is ongoing.

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Construction of KU Football's Practice Facility Starts Soon

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — University of Kansas officials say construction of a new multimillion-dollar indoor practice facility for football team will start soon. The university is planning a $26 million indoor practice area as part of a $300 million renovation project for Memorial Stadium. The project is funded entirely by private donations. Spokeswoman Erinn Barcomb-Peterson said the new practice facility would be built on the west side of the stadium. The Lawrence Journal-World reports the site covers part the parking lot directly west of the stadium and what is currently open space. Barcomb-Peterson said the project would require around 80,000 to 90,000 cubic yards of dirt to be hauled off the site. That hauling should begin in one to two weeks and conclude by July, weather permitting.

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Pittsburg Man Pleads No Contest in 2 Relatives' Deaths

MOUND CITY, Kan. (AP) — A Pittsburg man has pleaded no contest to two counts of first-degree premeditated murder in the deaths of two relatives.  Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt says 32-year-old David Patrick McNabb on Wednesday also pleaded no contest to felony theft and interference with law enforcement.  McNabb was charged in the November 2016 deaths of his uncle, 65-year-old Kenneth McNabb, and 87-year-old Betty McNabb, Kenneth's mother.  The Pittsburg Morning-Sun reports the victims were reported missing from rural Pleasanton on November 11, 2016. Their bodies were found buried on rural property west of Pittsburg November 15.  Sentencing is scheduled for September 5.

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Junction City Woman Whose Boyfriend Overdosed Sentenced

SALINA, Kan. (AP) — A Junction City woman whose boyfriend died of a drug overdose has been sentenced for drug distribution.  The Salina Journal reports 27-year-old Racheal Moody was sentenced Monday to nearly two years in prison. Prosecutors say she supplied the methadone that her boyfriend, 27-year-old Christopher Allen, overdosed on in October 2015.  She was sentenced for interference with law enforcement and distribution of methadone.  Moody originally was charged with distribution of a controlled substance causing great bodily harm or death but pleaded to lesser charges in February.

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American Jazz Museum Leaders Respond to Scathing Report

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The executive director of Kansas City's American Jazz Museum says she won't resign despite a city-commissioned report recommending that the museum overhaul its leadership.  The Kansas City Star reports that the Museum Management Consultants' assessment was released Monday. It found that the 21-year-old institution, which suffered more than $1 million in losses last year, is plagued by financial mismanagement, city politics and an ineffective board that lacks fundraising skill.  Executive Director Cheptoo Kositany-Buckner co-leads the nonprofit that manages the museum for the city. She says the museum has been fixing many issues outlined in the report, including hiring a new finance director and upgrading management software.  Kositany-Buckner says they've made significant progress stabilizing the museum from a financial management standpoint.  The museum has 15 days to respond to the report.

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Police: Wichita Officer Injured in Motorcycle Crash

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita police say one of its motorcycle officers is in serious condition after a crash in Wichita.  Her injuries are not life-threatening.  Lt. Jeff Allen says the officer was caught in an "accordion effect" as vehicles began slowing down Wednesday for construction. The Wichita Eagle reports that as the officer tried to change lanes, she clipped the back of a pickup truck.  He says the pickup had a topper that is believed to have prevented her from seeing that other vehicles were slowing down.  She was taken to a hospital with significant injuries to her face.  Allen said the officer has been with the department for 20 years and trains other motorcycle officers.

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Kansas Ethanol to Open Operation in Closed Hutchinson Plant

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Ethanol plans to reopen a shuttered plant in Hutchinson after Reno County officials approved economic development incentives for the project.  The Reno County Commission voted Tuesday to award up to $51,600 in development incentives to Kansas Ethanol, which makes soybean products companies add to foods as meat replacements or extenders.  The Hutchinson News reports the Rice County-based company hopes to employ up to 50 people within four years.  The plant will operate in the former CHS Inc. plant, which closed in December.  The Hutchinson City Council previously approved awarding the company up to $200,000 in incentives.

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Oklahoma Teacher Walkout Means Improvising to Care for Kids

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Massive teacher protests at the Oklahoma state Capitol have done more than put political pressure on lawmakers: The situation has forced school districts, churches, community organizations and parents to improvise to take care of students.  The state's largest two school districts will be closed for a ninth consecutive day Thursday, matching the length of a walkout in West Virginia earlier this year that started a rebellion of teachers in some Republican-led states including Kentucky and Arizona.  Oklahoma Republican Governor Mary Fallin approved teacher pay raises of about $6,100, but many educators say that's not enough because classrooms still need more money.  Meanwhile, groups are working together to make sure kids are entertained, educated and fed.

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