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Headlines for Friday, December 13, 2019

Kansas Congressman Addressing Residence Issue for 2nd Time

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A freshman Kansas congressman might have to correct his voter registration a second time. Republican Rep. Steve Watkins of eastern Kansas changed his registration earlier this month while local authorities investigated him for previously listing a UPS Inc. store as his home. The Kansas City Star reports that Republican Rep. Steve Watkins is facing questions about listing a west Topeka apartment complex as his home because he didn't include an apartment number.  The complex is split between two Kansas Senate districts, and the local election commissioner said Friday that his office needs to know exactly where Watkins lives. 

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Kansas Senator Jerry Moran Says He's Undecided on Removing Trump

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Republican Sen. Jerry Moran says he hasn't decided how he would vote on removing President Donald Trump from office if the House impeaches Trump as expected. Moran was asked while attending an event Friday in Topeka whether he had decided how he would vote on removing Trump from office. He said “No." He later repeated that he hasn't decided. The House Judiciary Committee has approved two impeachment articles over Trump's effort to get Ukraine to investigate Democratic political rival and former Vice President Joe Biden and Biden's son, Hunter. Moran said he's hoping for a short Senate trial of “a couple of” weeks. 

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2nd Suspect in Kansas Bar Shooting that Killed 4 Arrested

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A second man is in custody in  connection with a shooting at a Kansas City, Kansas, bar that killed four people and injured five others. Police spokesman Jonathon Westbrook said Thursday that law enforcement arrested 29-year-old Hugo Villanueva-Morales on Wednesday in Mexico. He is a suspect in the shooting in October at a Tequila KC bar.  Villanueva-Morales and another man, 23-year-old Javier Alatorre, are charged each with four counts of first-degree murder, with bond set at $1 million each. Alatorre was arrested shortly after the shooting.

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City of Lawrence Denies Excessive Force in Man's Shooting

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The city of Lawrence is arguing that a man who was shot by its officers caused his own injuries by refusing to follow directions during a confrontation with police. Akira Lewis was shot in May 2018 by an officer who said she mistakenly drew her gun when she thought she was using a Taser. He has sued two officers, the city of Lawrence, the police chief and its police department. He alleges the officers used excessive force and weren't properly trained. In a response filed in federal court, the city contends Lewis "unreasonably" refused to take actions to avoid harm.

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Court Documents: Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Likely Killed Girl in Silver Lake

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Carbon monoxide poisoning is the apparent cause of death for a 4-year-old Nebraska girl, whose Kansas grandfather is charged with first-degree murder. The Topeka Capital-Journal on Thursday cited court records related to the death of Brandy Funk. Testing found a carbon monoxide level more than six times above a lethal level in the girl's blood. Brandy, of Beatrice, Nebraska, died in July. Court documents say Timothy Wayne Funk Sr. acknowledged he left a generator running in the garage of his Silver Lake, Kansas, home with its door shut while watching the girl and another granddaughter. The other child survived.

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Wichita Man Guilty in Accidental Shooting Death of Cousin

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Wichita man has been convicted of killing his cousin in an accidental shooting while passing around guns and drinking alcohol. Martin David Ruiz Jr. is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 11 for involuntary manslaughter in the June 2018 shooting death of 24-year-old Anthony Martinez. The Wichita Eagle reports that he entered a guilty plea in the case Monday. Witnesses told police that Ruiz pulled a handgun out of a bag of guns before giving it to Martinez. The witnesses said Ruiz then grabbed a second weapon and removed the magazine. But the gun went off when Ruiz pulled back the slide.

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Kansas Community College Denies Claims in Heatstroke Death

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Attorneys for the parents of a 19-year-old football player who died of heatstroke after practice at a Kansas community college in August last year say negotiations with the school remain on track. The attorneys for Braeden Bradforth's parents downplayed the significance of the decision of the Garden City Community College trustees on Tuesday to deny the parents' claims totaling $50 million. Neither parents has yet filed suit. Bradforth, a defensive lineman, was found unconscious in an alley outside his dormitory on August 1, 2018. The Newton, New Jersey, teenager died that night at a hospital.

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Southeast Kansas Judge Admits Cursing but Says He Didn't Mistreat Staff

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas judge has acknowledged during a disciplinary hearing that he frequently cursed in his conversations with employees and attorneys and was sometimes unprofessional in his conduct. But District Judge F. William Cullins of Montgomery County in southeast Kansas testified Thursday that he didn't abuse court staff or direct vulgar and sexist terms at female workers. Cullins is facing three complaints that accuse him of violating judicial ethics and was the last witness to testify during four days of hearings before state Commission on Judicial Conduct panel. He apologized for his behavior but his attorneys contend it didn't prevent him from being impartial.

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University of Kansas Trades Kansas City-Based Roasterie Coffee for Starbucks

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Coffee drinkers on the University of Kansas campus in Lawrence might have to switch from Kansas City-based Roasterie coffee to Starbucks. The university said Wednesday its contract with Pepsi prompted it to replace Roasterie locations with Starbucks, beginning in July. Pepsi has all rights to canned and bottled goods on campus. David Mucci, the director of the Memorial Union, said more people are buying coffee in cans and bottles. Mucci said the Starbucks locations on campus would serve only drinks. The change does not affect the KU Medical Center.

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Democratic Governor, GOP Lawmakers in Kansas Keep Clashing over Taxes

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Democratic Governor Laura Kelly and Republican legislators are headed toward another confrontation over tax cuts. The GOP isn't giving up on reducing income taxes and Kelly has other priorities. Top GOP lawmakers plan to push next year for cuts for individuals and businesses that are paying more in state income taxes because of changes in federal tax laws in 2017.  Kelly vetoed two bills to do that earlier this year. Kelly is wary of reducing income taxes even after a more optimistic state fiscal forecast last month. A tax-study council she appointed is focused on sales and property tax cuts.

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Walmart Chooses Topeka for Distribution Center with 300 Jobs

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A new Walmart distribution center will be built in Topeka, bringing 300 full-time jobs to the city. Walmart announced plans Wednesday to invest $200 million to erect its largest distribution center in Kansas to Topeka. The announcement came at a meeting of the city's Joint Economic Development Organization, which voted to provide up to $1.87 million in incentives to Walmart. The company said Topeka's central location in the U.S. was a key factor in the decision. A timeline for hiring the new employees has not been set.

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Elizabeth Warren to Open Campaign Office in Kansas City, Missouri

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren is opening a campaign office in Kansas City, Missouri. The Kansas City Star reports that the U.S. senator from Massachusetts will open the office Saturday. The newspaper reports that Warren is the first top-tier Democratic presidential contender to open a Kansas City office. Warren is expanding her presence in the state ahead of Missouri's March 10 primary, when 68 delegates will be up for grabs. Her campaign also is tapping Kansas City area volunteers to canvas for votes Saturday in Iowa. Former 2018 Kansas Democratic Party campaign director Brooklynne Roulette Mosley is leading Warren's campaign in Missouri.

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Man Who Escaped Lansing Correctional Facility Sentenced

An inmate who escaped from the Lansing Correctional Facility in January has been sentenced to 10 more years in prison. Cal Henry Green was sentenced Wednesday for aggravated escape from custody, theft and burglary of a motor vehicle. Authorities say Green was on a work assignment when he took a state-owned dump truck and left the prison without permission. He was arrested three days later in Independence, Missouri. Green is serving a prison sentence for an aggravated battery charge from Wyandotte County.

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Man Pleads Guilty in Accidental Shooting Death of Cousin

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Wichita man has been convicted of killing his cousin in an accidental shooting while passing around guns and drinking alcohol. Martin David Ruiz Jr. is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 11 for involuntary manslaughter in the June 2018 shooting death of 24-year-old Anthony Martinez. The Wichita Eagle reports that he entered a guilty plea in the case Monday. Witnesses told police that Ruiz pulled a handgun out of a bag of guns before giving it to Martinez. The witnesses said Ruiz then grabbed a second weapon and removed the magazine. But the gun went off when Ruiz pulled back the slide.

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Virginia Man Convicted in $3 Million Romance Fraud Scheme Targeting Kansas, Missouri Women 

KANSAS CITY,  Mo. (AP) — A federal grand jury has convicted a 34-year-old Virginia man of helping to swindle women across the country out of nearly $3 million in a fraud scheme. Prosecutors say Henry Asomani, of Dumfries, Virginia, used proceeds collected from unknown co-conspirators, who contacted people who had posted ads on online dating sites, or through their Facebook pages. They persuaded the victims to invest in non-existent businesses. Asomani was convicted Friday in federal court in Missouri. Besides Missouri, other victims live in New Jersey, Alaska, Oklahoma, Florida, Texas, Kansas, and Iowa.

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Security Guard Convicted in Fatal Shooting Near Missouri Bar

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A security guard who claimed he was defending himself when he fatally shot a man outside a Kansas City bar has been convicted of second-degree murder. Thirty-seven-year-old Christopher Jones was convicted Thursday in the June 2018 shooting at the Yum Yum Bar & Grill. Prosecutors say Jones and another security guard, 24-year-old Markell Pinkins, shot 45-year-old Kevin Thomas, who was sitting in a car across the street from the bar. Court records say the guards repeatedly asked Thomas to get out of the car and shot at him when he moved the car “not even a foot.” Pinkins case is pending.

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Competency Trial Underway for Man in 1999 Oklahoma Slayings

VINITA, Okla. (AP) — A trial is underway to determine the competency of a Kansas man charged in the deaths of a northeast Oklahoma couple and disappearance of their daughter and her friend. Craig County district attorney spokeswoman Michelle Lowry says a 6-person jury and two alternates were selected Friday afternoon for the trial of 68-year-old Ronnie Dean Busick of Wichita. Busick has denied involvement in the 1999 deaths of Danny and Kathy Freeman and the suspected deaths of 16-year-olds Ashley Freeman and Lauria Bible. The two teens haven't been seen since the Freemans' burned mobile home was discovered near Welch in Craig County.

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Wandering Camel, Cow, Donkey to be Featured in Live Nativity

GODDARD, Kan. (AP) — A camel, cow and donkey that were found roaming together along a Kansas road have been booked to appear in a Christmas Nativity scene. The Wichita Eagle reports that the trio will be the celebrity guests Saturday during a holiday event called Happy Hoof-i-days at the Tanganyika Wildlife Park. Sully the camel, Gus the donkey and Rufus the cow made headlines last month when the Goddard Police Department asked for help in a Facebook post locating the owners of the "three friends traveling together (towards a Northern star)." Law enforcement later determined that their owner was an employee of the wildlife park.

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U.S. Christmas Tree Supplies Tight, Prices Up

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — With Christmas less than two weeks away, finding the perfect tree might take some searching. The availability of real Christmas trees is tight across the United States, especially for procrastinators looking for a certain type of tree. But industry officials say everyone who wants a tree should be able to find one, they just might have to pay a little more. Merchant Sandy Parsons of Charleston, West Virginia, says she never got her order for 350 trees from a North Carolina farm, citing short supply. But local seller Robert Cole, whose business supplies its own trees, has never been busier.

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