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Headlines for Saturday, May 29, 2021

Two Escaped Inmates from Kansas Captured in Oklahoma

COLUMBUS, Kan. (AP) — A suspect in a double homicide and another inmate who escaped from jail in Kansas earlier this week were recaptured in Oklahoma. The Cherokee County Sheriff's office said yesterday (FRI) that Mark Gerald Hopkins II and Michael Wayne Martsolf were arrested in Ottawa County, Oklahoma. They escaped from the county jail on Monday, prompting a massive search. Authorities did not provide details of how they were captured. Hopkins of Columbus, was charged with capital murder in the shooting deaths of two men in southeast Kansas in June 2020. Martsolf was being held on drug charges. Authorities previously arrested 26-year-old Tasha Young, of Weir, for her alleged role in the escape.


Kansas GOP Leaders Prepare to End COVID State of Emergency

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Top Republican legislators are serving notice that they’re preparing to end the state of emergency in Kansas for the coronavirus pandemic and are accusing Democratic Governor Laura Kelly of having no “exit strategy.” Eight of the GOP-controlled Legislature's leaders yesterday (FRI) approved a shorter extension of the state of emergency than Kelly wanted until June 15th. Six leaders are Republicans. The state of emergency was set to expire Friday. State law required Kelly to get lawmakers’ approval to retain it. She sought a 30 day extension until June 27th, which is the longest extension the law allows at one time. Democrats say it's still too early to end the state of emergency.


Kansas Senators Vote Against January 6th Commission

LAWRENCE, Kan. (KPR) -  Both U.S. senators from Kansas voted against the creation of a bipartisan panel to study the January 6th attack on the Capitol.  Senator Jerry Moran and Roger Marshall joined with other Senate Republicans yesterday (FRI) to block consideration of the bill that passed the House of Representatives last week.  All three Kansas Republican congressmen -- Ron Estes, Jake LaTurner, and Tracey Mann -- voted against the measure when it came up in the U.S. House of Representatives on May 19th.


1 dead, 4 Injured in Crash during Jackson County Police Chase

HOLTON, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a 26-year-old woman died and four people were injured in a crash during a police chase in northeast Kansas. Jackson County Sheriff Tim Morse says a Holton police officer was pursuing a vehicle Thursday night in Holton when it ran a stop sign at an intersection on Highway 75 and collided with a Jeep. A passenger in the first vehicle, Shai Boyd, of Topeka, died at the scene. The driver and a 19-year-old passenger were taken to a Topeka hospital with serious injuries. The driver and a passenger in the Jeep were treated for minor injuries. The police and the Kansas Highway Patrol did not say why the Holton officer began the pursuit.


KCK Man Charged after Neighbor Killed by Stray Bullet

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Kansas City, Kansas, police say a man has been charged in the death of a neighbor who was hit by a stray bullet while standing in his house. James Edward Merrick Jr., is charged with first-degree murder in the March 31st death of 50-year-old Mark Winner. Police say Merrick was involved in a shooting outside Winner's home when a stray bullet went through a window and hit Winner, who died at the seen. Merrick fled but was arrested earlier this month in Topeka. The investigation into the shooting is continuing.


Salina Man Suspected in Mother's Killing Arrested after Standoff

SALINA, Kan. (AP) — Law enforcement officers say a suspect in a Salina woman's killing who eluded capture for three months is in custody. 35-year-old Nelson Gerrod Hull III surrendered to police after a standoff in Salina on Wednesday. He is charged with first-degree murder in the February death of 36-year-old Courtney Ann Hoffman in Salina, who was found shot to death inside a vehicle. Officers determined Wednesday that Hull was at a home in Salina. City, state and federal agents surrounded the home and negotiated with Hull for 2.5 hours. He surrendered after chemical agents were used in the house. He is being held in the Saline County Jail.


Wichita Democrat is Third Kansas House Member to Resign This Month

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A state lawmaker from Wichita is giving up her seat and she's the third Democrat in the Kansas House to step down this month. Representative Elizabeth Bishop told colleagues Wednesday that she wanted to retire and it was her last day in the Legislature. It also was lawmakers’ last day in session for the year. Bishop was first elected to the House in 2016. Democratic state Representatives Brett Parker and Jennifer Day of Overland Park announced earlier this month that they would be stepping down as well. Democrats in Bishop's district will pick a replacement to serve through the 2022 elections.


Kansas Couple Arrested after 17 Dogs Removed from Home

HARTFORD, Kan. (AP) — Lyon County authorities say two people from Hartford face possible animal cruelty charges after 17 dogs were removed from their home. Lyon County Sheriff's deputies and animal control officers went to the home Wednesday to serve a court order to remove all but five animals from the home. The Hartford Municipal Court order said the animals were a nuisance and part of an unauthorized kennel. Deputies found poor living conditions in the home and removed 17 dogs, 14 of which were a dog-wolf breed. The homeowners, Thomas and Rhonda Staggs, are jailed in Lyon County on unrelated warrants. Guardian of the Wolves animal rescue is caring for the animals.


Topeka Police Investigate Fatal Shooting

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Topeka police say officers found a man fatally shot early Thursday morning in the city's Central Park neighborhood. Police say in a news release that the shooting was reported around 4:45 a.m. Thursday. Officers who responded to the area, which includes a mix of businesses and homes, found the man with gunshot wounds and rushed him by ambulance to a local hospital, where he died. The victim was identified as 49-year-old Aaron D. Shepherd, of Topeka. Police did not announce any suspects or arrests in the case.

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