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Headlines for Friday, October 26, 2018

Huge Crane in Place to Dismantle Water Slide Where Boy Died

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A crane as tall as the Verruckt water slide in Kansas City, Kansas, is in position to dismantle the attraction where a 10-year-old boy was killed more than two years ago. A spokeswoman for the Schlitterbahn water park tells the Kansas City Star that demolition work is expected to begin Thursday. The 17-story Verruckt slide was billed as the tallest water slide in the world. In August 2016, Caleb Schwab was killed when the raft he was in went airborne and he struck a metal rod that held a safety net in place. The demolition has been delayed because of disagreements over which parts of the slide should be preserved as possible evidence in criminal cases. Caleb's family received nearly $20 million in settlements.

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Kansas Voter Back on the Rolls After Accidental Deletion

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A Lawrence woman says she had to go through a lengthy process to get her advance ballot counted for the Nov. 6 election, after her name was mistakenly deleted from the voter registration list. Jennifer Tucker told the Lawrence Journal-World that she has been registered to vote since 1996. But when she recently cast an advance ballot, she was told that her registration had been deleted. Here's what happened: Another person with the same first name and date of birth, but different last name, recently moved from Douglas County to Ellsworth County. A clerical error in Ellsworth County mistook the two Jennifers. Bryan Caskey of the Kansas secretary of state's office says Douglas County officials have updated Tucker's registration and her vote will be counted on Election Day.

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Kansas Governor Hopefuls Talk Big on Budget, Avoid Details

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The top candidates for Kansas governor have big and radically different ideas for moving their state ahead after its name became shorthand for failed tax policies.  But they're avoiding specifics that could raise doubts about whether their math would work.  Democrat Laura Kelly is a veteran state senator who sees the state as on the mend and has a list for places to bolster spending — while promising not to raise taxes.  Republican Kris Kobach is the Kansas secretary of state and a strong ally of President Donald Trump. He argues that the state must shrink its government and return to cutting taxes.  But Kansas might not have much wiggle room for new spending. And a relatively modest tax cut could force tough budget decisions within the next five years.

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Judge: Videotape of Kris Kobach Deposition Won't be Made Public

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A federal judge says a videotaped deposition of Secretary of State Kris Kobach won't be released to the public.  The Kansas City Star reports Judge Julie Robinson's ruling on Thursday prevents the American Civil Liberties Union from releasing the tape.  The deposition includes details about Kobach's private talks with President Donald Trump and members of Congress. A transcript of the video is public.  Robinson said the public's interest was served when the deposition was viewed at a federal trial earlier this year and when the transcript was unsealed.  An attorney in Kobach's office argued the videotape could be used for attack ads in Kobach's campaign for governor.  An ACLU attorney suggested Kobach didn't want the videotape released because it detailed efforts to make it more difficult for citizens to vote.

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Texts to Voters Purportedly from Trump Roil Kansas Election

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas election officials are reviewing text messages claiming to be from President Donald Trump and telling residents that their early votes haven't been recorded.  State Elections Director Bryan Caskey says the secretary of state's office received 50 or 60 calls about the texts Wednesday. He says the office is trying to determine whether the texts violated a law before determining what to do next.  The texts link to a website for the Republican National Committee. It didn't immediately return an email seeking comment.  Kansas Republican Party Chairman Kelly Arnold says state officials didn't send the texts but described them as part of a get-out-the-vote effort.  But Kansas House Minority Leader Jim Ward said during a news conference Thursday that he worries the texts were designed to "sow confusion."

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Woman Dies from Injuries Suffered in Topeka Apartment Fire

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a 70-year-old woman has died from injuries suffered in a Topeka apartment fire.  The Topeka Capital-Journal reports fire officials announced the death of Katherine Bushey in a news release Thursday. She was injured early Wednesday in a fire that officials are blaming on improper disposal of smoking materials.

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Man Pleads Guilty in Death of Kansas Police Captain

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A 22-year-old man has pleaded guilty to fatally shooting a Kansas police captain in July 2016.  Jamaal Lewis was scheduled to go to trial on November 5, but he pleaded guilty Thursday to first-degree felony murder in the killing of 46-year-old Capt. Robert Melton in Kansas City, Kansas.  Melton was searching for suspects in a drive-by shooting when he saw Lewis walking and tried to block him with his patrol car. Prosecutors say Lewis pulled a handgun and fired several shots through the passenger-side window of Melton's vehicle.  The Kansas City Star reports that Lewis was originally charged with capital murder.  Lewis could be sentenced to life in prison, with the possibility of parole after 25 years. He will be sentenced November 30.

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Once Convicted of Incest, Ex-Con Gets Just 5-Years in Prison for Trying to Buy Child for Sex

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — A Kansas man who prosecutors say tried to purchase a child online for $500 and some meth has been sentenced to five years in prison.  News outlets report 49-year-old Ernest Anziana was sentenced Friday.  Franklin Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Zach Becker previously said Anziana was snared during an undercover investigation by the Kentucky Attorney General's Cyber Crimes Branch, and there was no actual girl for sale. He said Anziana intended to have sex with the 11-year-old girl, impregnate her and keep that child.  Attorney General Andy Beshear's office said Anziana offered $500; previous reports said he offered $250.  Kansas Department of Corrections records indicate Anziana was previously convicted of incest. He'll be required to complete a sex offender treatment program upon release.

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Teen Charged with Felony in Assault that Was Caught on Video

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. (AP) — A 17-year-old Missouri boy has been charged with pointing a gun at the head of a kneeling 13-year-old after a video of the incident was widely shared on social media.  Alexander Schrader, of Independence, was charged Wednesday with first-degree robbery for allegedly taking money from the younger teen. A police detective wrote in charging documents that Schrader pressed a semiautomatic handgun against the victim's head Saturday while another teen told the boy to kiss his feet. A video also shows a friend of Schrader punching the victim in the face in an Independence neighborhood. The boy was bruised but refused medical treatment.  The juvenile that punched the boy and another juvenile that recorded the incident also were arrested. Police spokesman John Syme says he doesn't know if they have attorneys.

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No Charges After Car Crashes into Topeka Cafe, Killing One Person

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — An 82-year-old woman whose car accidentally crashed into a Topeka cafe, causing the death of a customer, will not face charges.  Shawnee County District Attorney Mike Kagay said Thursday charges won't be filed against Peggy Turner, of Topeka. He said an investigation into the July 26 crash at Banjo's Cafe found no evidence of criminal conduct.  Shawnee County Sheriff's officials said Turner was parking at the cafe when she unintentionally pressed the accelerator instead of the brake. Her SUV went into the restaurant and struck several tables.  A customer, 80-year-old Joyce Kasson, was hospitalized. Her injuries were originally not considered life threatening but she died two days later.  The Topeka Capital-Journal reports an autopsy found Kasson died from complications from injuries suffered when she was struck.

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College Basketball Corruption Trial Creates Cloud over KU Basketball

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Kansas coach Bill Self faces a potentially bumpy few months as the FBI's investigation of corruption in college basketball continues to unwind. Self and the school have not been accused of any wrongdoing, though their names have surfaced in testimony, and that alone could be enough to hurt them on the recruiting trail and in the court of public perception.

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GOP Candidate for Missouri Governor Points Finger at Democrats for Incivility in Politics

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri Republican Senate candidate Josh Hawley is pointing the finger at Democrats for incivility in politics.  The state attorney general said he's "disappointed" with Democrats during a Thursday debate against Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill hosted by KMBC-TV in Kansas City.  Hawley cited "mobs popping up" after confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder's comment that when that when those on the opposite side of the aisle "go low," Democrats should "kick 'em."  He told reporters after the debate that the pipe bombs targeting prominent Democratic politicians and CNN are "awful" and condemned political violence.  McCaskill said both sides need to "turn down the temperature" and said Hawley's blame is misplaced. McCaskill criticized him for not acknowledging the role of President Trump's "incendiary" rhetoric.

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Daughter Testified Against Father at Murder Trial involving 3-Year-Old Wichita Boy

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The daughter of a man convicted of abusing and killing a 3-year-old Kansas boy says she felt compelled to testify about the abuse she also suffered.  Samantha Johnson is the daughter of Stephen Bodine, who was found guilty Wednesday of first-degree murder in the May 2017 death of Evan Brewer.  Evan's body was found encased in concrete at his Wichita home in September last year.  Johnson says she endured abuse similar to that inflicted on Evan. She says testifying about it was difficult, but that she did it to honor Evan because he didn't get a chance to tell his story.  Johnson says she can now move on.  Bodine will be sentenced December 17.

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Parole Denied for Janitor Who Killed Kansas Girl in 1974

PRAIRIE VILLAGE, Kan. (AP) — Parole has been denied for a school janitor who subdued a 13-year-old girl with chloroform more than 40 years ago as she walked home from a suburban Kansas City pool and then killed her.  The Kansas City Star reports that the Kansas Prisoner Review Board has ruled that 71-year-old John Henry Horton will have to wait until 2023 for his next chance to be released from prison.  He wasn't arrested until 2003 for the 1974 death of Liz Wilson. She vanished while cutting through the parking lot of Shawnee Mission East High School. Her remains were found six months later.  Horton was sentenced to life in prison. But life, under Kansas law in force at the time of Liz's death, meant serving only 15 years before being eligible for parole.

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Man Receives Parole in 1993 Shawnee County Murder

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A man convicted in a 1993 carjacking and murder in Topeka has been granted parole, but he won't get out of prison right away.  The Kansas Department of Corrections says 43-year-old Joshua Kaiser was granted parole recently in the death of 33-year-old Tim Riley of Topeka.  Corrections spokesman Samir Arif says Kaiser will still serve a 32-month sentence for an aggravated battery committed in Reno County.  The Topeka Capital-Journal reports Kaiser's sentence for that crime is expected to end January 2021.  Kaiser and 42-year-old Jason Schaeffer, an inmate at Ellsworth Correctional Facility, were convicted of crimes linked to Riley's murder.  Authorities said Riley was robbed of his car outside his central Topeka home, forced at gunpoint into the trunk and driven to another area, where he was fatally shot.

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No Decision Yet in Case of Beanbag Shooting Death of Suspect

MEDICINE LODGE, Kan. (AP) — A judge is waiting for written opinions before deciding whether there is sufficient evidence for a Kansas undersheriff to be tried for involuntary manslaughter for fatally shooting a man with a beanbag round.  KWCH-TV reports that a final decision isn't expected until February in the case against Barber County Undersheriff Virgil "Dusty" Brewer. The involuntary manslaughter charge stems from the October 6, 2017, death of Steven Myers, who was shot after leaving a shed. Authorities tracked Myers to the shed after he was accused of threatening people with a gun outside a bar in Sun City, about 110 miles west of Wichita.  A Kansas Bureau of Investigation special agent testified during the preliminary hearing that Brewer hadn't received any training in the use of beanbag rounds.

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Wichita Police Officer Won't be Charged in Fatal Shooting

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Wichita police officer will not be charged in the fatal shooting of a man who was holding his girlfriend at knifepoint.  Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett said Tuesday the officer who shot Jose Ortiz in August 2017 used reasonable force in firing one shot that struck Ortiz in the head.  Bennett says an autopsy showed Ortiz was using methamphetamine during the confrontation, and the meth caused Ortiz to believe his girlfriend was hiding men in her bathroom.  The district attorney says SWAT officers who entered the home found Ortiz holding his girlfriend with a knife. He hands were tied behind her back.  Ortiz ignored commands to release his girlfriend. Bennett says when the woman winced in pain, the officer believed she was being stabbed and fired once.

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World War II Soldier Buried in Kansas 74 Years After Death

FORT SCOTT, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas soldier who was killed in World War II has been laid to rest at Fort Scott National Cemetery, 74 years after his death.  Army Pfc. Leslie Shankles, of Arcadia, was buried with full military honors on Wednesday at the cemetery in Bourbon County. A graveside service took place in the cemetery's committal shelter, with relatives, service members and veterans attending.  The Joplin Globe reports Shankles was born in Vernon County, Missouri, and later lived in Crawford County, Kansas.  He was killed during a mission to demolish the enemy's above-ground bunkers in a forest near Germeter, Germany.  Shankles was officially declared dead on October 14, 1944. His remains were discovered in 1947. They were identified in July, using a DNA sample from one of his nephews.

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University Receives $22.4 Million in Grants for Rural Education
 
COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — The University of Missouri College of Education has received a total of $22.4 million in grants, which will support rural education in Kansas and Missouri, and help schoolchildren develop social skills.  The university announced Wednesday it received an $18.6 million from two federal grants, which will be matched by $3.8 million from Kansas City Audio-Visual.  The Columbia Daily Tribune reports the grants will go toward increasing science, technology, engineering and math education in 58 high-need, rural middle schools in Missouri and Kansas over five years. Around 406 teachers and 26,796 students are expected to benefit.  A smaller portion of the money will help develop social skills in schoolchildren.  The grants were awarded to the Enhancing Missouri's Instructional Networked Teaching Strategies, or eMINTS, National Center in the college.

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