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Headlines for Saturday, December 22, 2018

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Pickup Driver Arrested after 2-Day 4-County Chase

PARSONS, Kan. (AP) — A 24-year-old man is jailed after a two-day police chase that ran through four Kansas counties on roads and through fields at speeds sometimes over 100 mph. Kansas Highway Patrol spokesman Chad Crittenden said the chase started Wednesday night when officers received a report of a stolen vehicle and potential kidnapping near Parsons. Troopers lost site of the truck but the chase resumed Thursday when Pratt County officials saw the truck. The Hutchinson News reports Crittenden said the chase went through fields, county roads and highways in Pratt, Kiowa, Edwards and Pawnee counties. The chase ended in an Edwards County field when the driver hit a vehicle that had been placed in its path. Dakota Dean Demeritt is jailed in Pratt County on $200,000 bond facing several potential charges.


Kansas Man Convicted of Setting Boss on Fire Loses Appeal

LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (AP) — A former hospital worker at Fort Leavenworth who tried to kill his boss by setting her on fire has lost an appeal of his conviction. The Kansas City Star reports Clifford Currie was convicted of assault with intent to commit murder for the September 2016 attack on First Lt. Katie Blanchard. She was seriously burned during an attack at the Munson Army Health Center at Fort Leavenworth. Currie, now 56, was a civilian employee there. Currie was sentenced last year to 20 years in federal prison. Currie argued in his appeal that the prosecutor made several improper statements during his trial. The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Friday that some of the prosecutor's statements were improper but they didn't violate Currie's right to a fair trial.


Mayetta Man Sentenced for Shooting 17-year-old Girl

MAYETTA, Kan. (AP) — An 18-year-old Mayetta man was sentenced to five years in prison for using a rifle to shoot a 17-year-old girl, who survived. Jackson County Attorney Shawna Miller says Lance Bailey was sentenced Thursday for aggravated battery and two counts of aggravated assault. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports Bailey will be on three years of post-release supervision and must register as a violent offender for 15 years. Bailey pleaded guilty last month as part of an agreement that dismissed a charge of attempted murder. Jackson County Sheriff Tim Morse said Bailey opened fire when a car carrying three girls arrived at the home on the Potawatomi Reservation west of Mayetta. The 17-year-old girl was shot twice as she stood in the driveway. Morse said Bailey and the girl had a previous altercation.


Governor-elect Kelly, Koch Industries Agree on Need for Kansas Prison Reform

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Incoming Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly and Wichita-based Koch Industries agree that the state's prison system needs to be reformed. The Wichita Eagle reports Kelly's call for criminal justice reform comes as the state's prison system experienced its largest increasing inmates in a decade. Official estimates indicate the inmate population could exceed capacity in the next couple of years. Kelly says she wants to find a way to divert first-time drug offenders from the correctional system. Koch Industries was a proponent of federal legislation that expands rehabilitation programs, which could bring shorter sentences for non-violent offenders in the federal system. President Donald Trump signed the bill Friday. Koch Industries spokesman David Dziok said the company looks forward to working with Kelly's administration on prison reform in Kansas.


KCK Woman Sentenced for Role in Killing of Pregnant Kansas Woman

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A 26-year-old Kansas City, Kansas, woman has been sentenced to nearly 11 years in prison for her role in the robbery and killing of a pregnant woman and her unborn child. The Kansas City Star reports Alora Mendoza was sentenced to 10 years and 11 months for reckless second-degree murder in the deaths of 23-year-old Joselyn Ybarra. She pleaded guilty in November. Ybarra was killed on June 2. Relatives say Ybarra was 12 weeks pregnant when she was killed. Mendoza admitted that she set up Ybarra to be robbed by a co-defendant. Ybarra was shot by the co-defendant during the robbery attempt.


Overland Park-based Sprint to Pay NY State $330 Million over Unpaid Sales Taxes

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York state officials say Sprint will pay $330 million to settle a lawsuit that accused the telecommunication company of dodging more than $100 million in state and local taxes. Attorney General Barbara Underwood and Acting Tax Commissioner Nonie Manion said Friday the agreement resolves a tax enforcement case brought in 2011. The suit said Sprint violated the New York False Claim Act for nearly a decade by knowingly failing to collect and remit sales taxes owed on flat-rate wireless calling plans sold to New Yorkers. Sprint spokeswoman Lisa Belot says the Overland Park, Kansas-based company disagrees with the state's characterizations but is pleased with the settlement and believes it's in Sprint's best interests. State officials say a whistleblower in the case will receive nearly $63 million of the settlement.


Wichita Gang Member Sentenced to 55 years in Killing

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Wichita gang member has been sentenced to more than 55 years in prison for killing another man. The Wichita Eagle reports that 31-year-old Emmanuel Reed was sentenced Wednesday for second-degree murder and criminal possession of a firearm by a convicted felon in the death of 30-year-old Bretodd Williams. Prosecutors say an eyewitness told police that he saw the men talking before hearing "what sounded like fireworks exploding." An autopsy report says Williams was shot several times, including in the left cheek, chest and back. Authorities arrested Reed near a Payless shoe store in the area after police say he was seen going into a nearby QuikTrip in one set of clothes and leaving in another. Police said previously that both men were documented gang members and knew one another.


Kevin Yoder: Trump's Message Falls Flat in Suburbs

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — Outgoing Republican Kansas Congressman Kevin Yoder says President Donald Trump's message and style fall flat with suburban voters, particularly woman. The Kansas City Star reports that Yoder spoke to the paper's editorial board in the waning days of representing a district that includes a mix of Kansas City suburbs and poorer city neighborhoods. He lost in November to Democrat Sharice Davids, a Native American and LGBT lawyer, making him among dozens of suburban Republicans being swept out of office. Yoder says criticizing the president wouldn't work. He said that voting for something the president supports, brands lawmakers as Trump backers. He says he stylizes himself as a peacemaker, not a bomb thrower. He says the most successful people are the ones who go on talk shows and say incendiary things.


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