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Headlines for Saturday, September 14, 2019

Ohio Gamer Sentenced in Wichita 'Swatting' Case

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — An Ohio video game player upset about an online bet has been sentenced to 15 months in prison for recruiting another man to make a bogus emergency call in 2017 that led to police killing a Kansas man. U.S. District Judge Eric Melgren on Friday also imposed a restriction on gaming activity by 19-year-old Casey Viner of North College Hill, Ohio, for two years. Viner pleaded guilty to conspiracy and obstruction of justice. He has admitted trying to hide his involvement after realizing the antic got someone killed. Viner and Shane Gaskill of Wichita, Kansas, got into a dispute while playing Call of Duty: WWII online. Viner then asked Tyler Barriss of Los Angeles to "swat" Gaskill. Police responding to the call shot Andrew Finch when he came to the door at Gaskill's old address.


Lawrence Man gets Probation for Giving Drugs to Teen

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A 56-year-old Lawrence man was sentenced to three years of probation for giving a teenager drugs that nearly killed him. Dana Wingert pleaded no contest Wednesday to seven charges, including two counts of endangering a child. He had previously pleaded not guilty and was scheduled to go to trial in October. The Lawrence Journal-World reports a police affidavit says the boy and his 16-year-old friend passed out from a cocktail of drugs and alcohol they took at Wingert's home on April 21. Police were able to revive the 16-year-old but the 15-year-old was taken to a hospital in critical condition and placed on life support. Cheryl Wright Kunard, assistant to the Douglas County district attorney, said Thursday she could not update the boy's condition.


Wichita Man Convicted in Double Homicide Cold Case

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A Wichita man has been convicted of fatally shooting a Baptist church pastor and choir director three decades ago in Kansas City, Kansas. Wyandotte County prosecutors announced Thursday that 51-year-old Melvin Shields was found guilty of two counts of first-degree murder in the April 1988 killings of 27-year-old Jolene Jones and 33-year-old Steve Ray. The Kansas City Star reports that victims were longtime friends who had a daughter together. They had met for lunch one day before their bodies were found in a secluded area near the Kansas River. Authorities say Jones' purse was found several blocks away, and her car was abandoned. A few months after the killings, Jones was sentenced to prison for unrelated burglary and theft convictions. He later was convicted of other crimes, including aggravated battery and burglary.


Feds Required to Make Recommendation on Prairie Bird Designation

DALLAS (AP) — A federal judge has approved an agreement that will require the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to make a recommendation by May 2021 whether the lesser prairie chicken should be federally protected as a threatened or endangered species. The agreement was reached Thursday between the federal agency and three conservations groups: the Defenders of Wildlife, the Center for Biological Diversity and WildEarth Guardians. The groups sued the federal government in June to force it to make a designation for the lesser prairie chicken and its habitats. Once a designation is proposed, there will then be a public comment period followed by a final determination made later by Fish and Wildlife. The agency also could decide that no federal protections be provided for the bird. It was listed as threatened in 2014 but a federal court overturned the designation. The grouse roams parts of Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas, but the groups said fewer than 38,000 remain .


Remains of Kansan Killed in Pearl Harbor to be Buried

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Nearly 78 years after he died in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Navy Seaman 2nd Class Wilbur Clayton Barrett will be laid to rest in his native Kansas. Barrett's remains were returned to Wichita Thursday. He will be buried in El Dorado on Saturday. He was an El Dorado native who enlisted in the Navy in May 1940 at age 25. The Wichita Eagle reports Barrett's remains were commingled in mass graves in Hawaii with hundreds of others killed on the USS Oklahoma during the Pearl Harbor attack. Advances in DNA and a renewed push by the military to identify remains led to Barrett being positively identified last June. Barrett's great nephew, 72-year-old Joe Binter, said the Navy used DNA from one of his aunts to identify the sailor.


Garden City Police Investigate Fatal Shooting of Restaurant Owner

GARDEN CITY, Kan. (AP) — Garden City police say a 69-year-old restaurant owner was fatally shot outside his business. Ernest Ortiz died at a hospital from wounds he suffered Thursday night. He was found lying on the ground outside the El Conquistador restaurant in Garden City. Police say no suspects are in custody. Police Capt. Randy Ralston says Ortiz may have been killed during an attempted robbery.


Rains Change Planned Water Releases into Missouri River

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The amount of water to be released into the lower Missouri River will change in the coming days to accommodate recent heavy rains in the Upper Plains. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said in a news release Friday that water releases from Gavins Point Dam on the Nebraska-South Dakota border will be reduced to 65,000 cubic feet per second on Saturday and down to 60,000 cubic feet per second on Sunday. The Corps says that reduction will last no longer than three days before releases are incrementally increased by 5,000 cubic feet per second, per a day going up to 80,000 cubic feet per second. The Corps says it hopes that briefly lowering releases may curtail possible flooding on the Missouri River between Sioux City, Iowa and Omaha.


Another Republican Announces Run for 1st District Seat

GARDEN CITY, Kan. (AP) — A Republican commissioner for western Kansas' Finney County has kicked off his campaign for the state's 1st District seat in Congress after two-term incumbent Roger Marshall announced plans to run for the Senate. Bill Clifford said Thursday in announcing his candidacy that he will stand with President Donald Trump and represent "conservative values." The announcement comes after Marshall announced last weekend that he will run for the U.S. Senate held by Sen. Pat Roberts, who is not seeking re-election. Clifford is a Garden City ophthalmologist, Air Force veteran and father of six. He pledged in a written statement to defend the Second Amendment, the "Right to Life" and to "work to secure the borders." Former Kansas Lt. Governor Tracey Mann also has announced plans to run for Marshall's seat.

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