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Headlines for Friday, April 13, 2018

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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Governor: Website to Find People Owing Child Support Is Working

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Governor Jeff Colyer says a website created to find and shame people who owe child support is getting heavy use and has already found one person. Colyer said Thursday the website had nearly 45,000 visits in the first 24 hours after it became operational. He says one of the 10 people identified on the site has already been found. The governor says the man owes more than $56,000 in child support and the state was able to get an order garnishing his wages. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports the Kansas Child Support Evaders site was announced Wednesday. Hosted by the Kansas Department for Children and Families, it shows people who owe more than $5,000 in late support, and allows people to submit anonymous tips about the person's whereabouts.

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Meteorologists Warn of a Mix of Blizzards, Thunderstorms

GOODLAND, Kan. (AP) — Snow has started falling in Kansas as forecasters warn of a mixture of blizzard conditions and strong thunderstorms. The Kansas Highway Patrol said in a tweet that "It has started!" The tweet says heavy snow is falling at the Kansas-Colorado line. Visibility is down to less than a quarter mile, and gusts of up to 80 mph are expected. Kansas transportation officials are warning that highway closures are expected. The National Weather Service has issued blizzard warnings for more than a dozen counties in northwest Kansas. Thundersnow has been reported, a condition in which thunderstorms combine with snow. More serious thunderstorms are expected in the eastern half of the state. The Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma, says very large hail and a few tornadoes are possible.

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Kansas Supreme Court Affirms Topeka Man's Murder Sentence

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Topeka man convicted in the 2013 killing of his girlfriend will remain in prison but will be resentenced. The Kansas Supreme Court on Friday affirmed Andrew Charles Redick's conviction for first-degree murder and arson in the strangling of 39-year-old Lena Ann Keithley. Redick was sentenced in 2014 to life in prison for murder and 13 months for arson. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that in his appeal, Redick challenged his waiver of the right to a jury trial. He had asked Shawnee County District Court Judge Cheryl Kingfisher to hear the case and sentence him, rather than a jury. The Supreme Court rejected the appeal of his conviction but said Kingfisher had miscalculated Redick's sentence. The case was sent back to Shawnee County for resentencing.

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Kansas Bill Enhancing Telemedicine Stalled by Abortion Fight

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A political fight over abortion restrictions could prevent passage of a bill in the Kansas Legislature that would improve telemedicine access across the state, particularly in rural areas. The bill would require insurance companies in Kansas to cover health care services provided through telemedicine if insurance already covers the services during personal visits to a doctor. It has been approved in different forms in the House and Senate, but its future is uncertain because of the disagreement, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported . The anti-abortion group Kansans for Life has insisted the bill include language forbidding abortion by telemedicine, which already is prohibited by state law. The group also wants lawmakers to include a "non-severability" clause that would legally bind the abortion and telemedicine sections of the bill. The clause would mean if the abortion ban is struck down sometime in the future, the telemedicine portion of the law would also be nullified. Since 2011, Kansas has required in-person physician delivery of "chemical" abortions. The House has called for new negotiations with the Senate when the Legislature returns April 26 from a break. State senator Vicki Schmidt, R-Topeka, a pharmacist and the Senate's lead negotiator on health issues, said the severability clause shouldn't be in the bill. She said thousands of rural Kansans could benefit from increased telemedicine access. But lawmakers aligned with Kansans for Life said the severability clause should be retained. "The proper language must be included in the bill with no compromise. We are Kansans For Life, not Kansans For Life Sometimes," said Rep. Kevin Jones, a Wellsville Republican. "Telemedicine is an important endeavor, but not if it can be used to murder the future leaders of our state."

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Schlitterbahn Slide Designer Freed on Bond in Boy's Death

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — The designer of a waterslide where a 10-year-old Kansas boy died bonded out of the Kansas jail where he had been held for nearly a week. Court records show John Schooley bonded out of the Wyandotte County jail Wednesday afternoon. He was being held on $500,000 bond since he was extradited from Texas to Kansas on April 6. Schooley is charged with second-degree murder in the 2016 death of Caleb Schwab, who was killed while riding a 17-story waterslide Schooley helped to design. Schooley pleaded not guilty Monday. A judge had denied a defense attorney's request to lower bond to $250,000. Jeff Henry, co-owner of Texas-based Schlitterbahn Waterparks and Resorts, has also pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder in Caleb's death. A trial date for Henry and Schooley is tentatively set for September 10.

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Man Pleads Not Guilty to Killing Kansas City Lawyer

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — An 80-year-old man pleaded not guilty to killing a Kansas City lawyer who had won a nearly $6 million lawsuit against him.  David Jungerman, of Raytown, entered the plea Thursday in the October death of Tom Pickert, who was shot in the head as he talked on his phone in his front yard.  Jungerman was charged Wednesday with first-degree murder and armed criminal action.  The Kansas City Star reports Jungerman's attorney, Dan Ross, said after the hearing that his client will never change his not guilty plea in the case.  Pickert, a personal injury lawyer, won a $5.75 million judgment against Jungerman in a civil lawsuit filed in 2012. Jungerman was served with property liens to pay the judgment the day before Pickert was killed.

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Lawrence Man Convicted for Soliciting Sex from Apparent Teenager

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 actually 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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New Details Emerge About Missing 5-Year-Old Wichita Boy

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Sedgwick County juvenile court document indicates the state of Kansas was told at least twice that a 5-year-old Wichita boy who has been missing since mid-February was being abused. The document includes detailed accounts from people who said they saw Lucas Hernandez with bruises, black eyes and cuts at various times in the year before he disappeared. His stepmother, Emily Glass, who reported him missing February 17, is jailed on child endangerment charges involving her 1-year-old daughter. She hasn't been charged in Lucas's disappearance. A juvenile court judge allowed The Wichita Eagle to see the child-in-need of care petition regarding Glass' young daughter on Wednesday. The newspaper says the document details a violent and dysfunctional family life. Glass's attorney didn't return a phone message left Friday.

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Traffic Stop Leads to Seizure of 350 Pounds of Marijuana

JUNCTION CITY, Kan. (AP) — Law enforcement officials say three people are being investigated after officers seized 350 pounds of marijuana during a traffic stop on Interstate 70. Geary County Sheriff Tony Wolf says a drug interdiction team discovered the drug haul during a traffic stop near Junction City on April 5. The Hays Post reports the vehicle was en route to Sterling Heights, Michigan. Two people were arrested and Geary County notified the Drug Enforcement Administration's Michigan office. A third suspect was arrested the next day in Sterling Heights. The DEA and Michigan authorities also seized $326,000 in cash. The names of the suspects were not released. The investigation is ongoing.

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Wichita Man Charged with Killing Wife, Dumping Her Body

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Wichita man accused of killing his wife and dumping her body into a dumpster is now charged with first-degree murder. KAKE-TV reports 30-year-old Donnell Stafford appeared in Sedgwick County court by video Friday. Police allege he killed 37-year-old Leuh Moore early Sunday and put her body in a dumpster behind a liquor store less than a mile away. Stafford was captured Tuesday at a hotel in Davenport, Iowa, and extradited to Wichita Thursday. His bond was set at $650,000. Investigators believe the couple's 7-year-old son was home at the time of the alleged crime. The boy was found safe at a relative's house. Stafford was also charged with two counts of animal cruelty for allegedly stabbing two dogs. His next court appearance was scheduled for April 26.

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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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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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Kansas Vehicle Owner Information Easily Accessed on Website

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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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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Man Arrested in Baby's Death Says He'd Been Rough Housing

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a man who reported that he was rough housing 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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Last Robber Sentenced in Shooting that Killed Gun Shop Owner

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 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 this week 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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Missouri Governor's Approach Similar to Trump's Amid Sex Scandal

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri Governor Eric Greitens is using similar wording as President Donald Trump to denounce accusations of unwanted sexual aggression.  But reaction from his fellow Republicans indicates Greitens may have a more difficult time than Trump surviving politically. Allegations about Trump's behavior were known before his election, but Greitens had cultivated a campaign persona of an all-American hero.  Greitens is a former Rhodes Scholar, Navy SEAL officer, author and motivational speaker who ran for office on a pledge to clean up corruption.  A report released by a legislative committee investigating Greitens detailed testimony from a woman who said Greitens slapped, grabbed, shoved and threatened her during unwanted sexual encounters.  Greitens denies any violence or criminal wrongdoing in what he insists was a consensual relationship with the woman before he became governor.

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