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Headlines for Saturday, April 13, 2019

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Wichita Escapee Sentenced to 71 Years

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A 31-year-old Wichita gang member who fled to Oklahoma during a trial in 2018 has been sentenced to 71 years in prison. Tremain Shears was sentenced Friday for nine felonies, including attempted first-degree murder. District Attorney Marc Bennett said in a news release that Shears shot at Marcqual Hightower three times in 2016. Hightower was wounded three times but survived. A motive was not disclosed in court. While Shears was on trial, he had his GPS monitoring bracelet removed and fled to Oklahoma. The jury found him guilty the day after he fled. Shears was arrested by U.S. Marshals in Oklahoma City a few days after he fled.

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Former KC Chief Walter White Dies

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Kansas City Chiefs say former tight end Walter White has died. White was 67. The team said White's family said he died Wednesday of complications from pancreatic cancer. He played his entire five-season pro career with the Chiefs, retiring after the 1979 season. In his second season, White finished among the top 10 in the NFL in receiving yards and touchdowns. White also played at Mesa Junior College in Colorado and at Maryland. In 1989, White became a founding member of the Kansas City Ambassadors, former players and team executives who represent the Chiefs in outreach and charity events. White was the group's inaugural president. White was employed at Commerce Bank in Kansas City for 22 years and most recently served as vice president of the bank's investment group.

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GOP Leader Seeks to Bar Kansas Governor from Naming Judge

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Senate President Susan Wagle is trying to bar Governor Laura Kelly from nominating a new state Court of Appeals judge after Kelly was forced to withdraw her first choice. The Senate's top Republican sent a letter Friday to Attorney General Derek Schmidt asking him to file a lawsuit to keep the Democratic governor from submitting another choice to the Senate for confirmation. Kelly withdrew her first choice of Labette County District Judge Jeffry Jack last month because of political posts on Jack's Twitter feed in 2017. Wagle contends that Kelly can't make another nomination under a 2013 law. Wagle says the power to make the nomination now goes to Kansas Supreme Court Chief Justice Lawton Nuss. Kelly disagrees. Schmidt has urged legislative action to clarify the law.

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Wichita Couple Charged in Death of 2-year-old Son

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita police say a couple has been arrested in the death of their 2-year-old son. Police spokesman Officer Charley Davidson says the boy was found dead in a crib in a south Wichita home Thursday night. A 4-month-old boy was hospitalized and will be placed into protective custody. The Wichita Eagle reports 22-year-old Brandi Kai Marchant and 28-year-old Patrick Javonovich were booked into the Sedgwick County Jail on Friday. Davidson said they are being held on suspicion of committing felony murder. Davidson says police who responded to a call about a domestic disturbance found the couple walking back to the home. Hey says it was not yet clear how long the children were left alone in the home. An autopsy will determine the boy's cause of death.

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Kansas Lawmaker Criticizes Senate Candidate for Time Away from Kids

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas legislator is suggesting that the state treasurer should drop his bid for the U.S. Senate because he "needs to be at home, helping to raise his young children." State Treasurer Jake LaTurner responded Friday that state Sen. Gene Suellentrop's comments were "cowardly." LaTurner is a Republican running for the seat held by four-term GOP U.S. Senator Pat Roberts, who is not seeking re-election in 2020. LaTurner is the only candidate to have filed so far, but at least seven other Republicans are considering the race. The 31-year-old LaTurner has four young children. Suellentrop is a 67-year-old Wichita Republican and made his comments about LaTurner in a tweet responding to a news report about the race. LaTurner replied that Suellentrop should "be a man" and talk to him personally.

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Census Shows Decreasing Number of Kansas Farms

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The government's latest Census of Agriculture for Kansas shows the number of farms in the state has dropped 5% from the count taken five years earlier. The National Agricultural Statistics Service reported Thursday that there were 58,569 farms in Kansas during 2017. They covered some 45.8 million acres, down 1% from the 2012 census. Farms comprise 87.5% of total land in Kansas. Kansas farms averaged 781 acres, about 34 acres larger than when the agency counted five years ago. Kansas producers sold $18.8 billion of agricultural products in 2017, up 2% from 2012. About 66% of those products came from livestock and 34% from crops. Average net farm income was $49,291 in 2017, down 3% from 2012. The government's agricultural census is conducted every five years.

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Hoisington Man Pleads Guilty to Killing Girlfriend's Daughter

HOISINGTON, Kan. (AP) — A man has pleaded guilty to killing his girlfriend's toddler whose body was found in a rural area of central Kansas. The Kansas attorney general's office says 26-year-old Chaz Stephens admitted Thursday to a reduced charge of second-degree intentional murder in the March 2018 death of Iviona Lewis. He initially was charged with first-degree murder. Iviona had already been gone for more than 48 hours when she was reported missing. Her body was found the next morning near Hoisington. Police said at the time that the girl's mother had been visiting her brother in Great Bend, and the delay in reporting Iviona's disappearance stemmed from confusion over who was supposed to be caring for her. Her obituary described her as "smart, kind and gentle." Sentencing is set for June 3rd.

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