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Headlines for Saturday, December 14, 2019

Kansas Supreme Court Chief Getting New Member, New Chief Justice

The Kansas Supreme Court will have a new member and a new chief justice next week. Democratic Governor Laura Kelly plans to have a Monday news conference to name a replacement for former Justice Lee Johnson, who retired in September. Meanwhile, Justice Marla Luckert is set to become the state court system's top official Tuesday when current Chief Justice Lawton Nuss retires. Kelly's appointment Monday will be her first to the seven-member court, and she'll fill a second spot by mid-March because of Nuss' retirement. Luckert has served on the high court since 2003 and is second in seniority to Nuss.


Kansas Congressman Again Addressing Residence Issue

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A freshman Kansas congressman might have to correct his voter registration a second time. Republican Representative 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.


Kansas Senator Moran: Undecided but Echoing GOP on Impeachment

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Republican Senator 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. But he also issued a statement Friday declaring that he does not support the two articles of impeachment approved by the House Judiciary Committee. Moran was asked while attending an event 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. But in his statement, Moran said called the House's impeachment hearings “purely partisan,” and said the process has been flawed.


Security Guard Convicted in Fatal Shooting Near KCMO 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. 37-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.


Kansans among Victims of $3 Million Romance Fraud Scheme

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 Kansas, Oklahoma, Iowa, New Jersey, Alaska, Florida, and Texas.


City of Lawrence Denies Excessive Force in Shooting

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.


Wichita 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 February 11th 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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