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Headlines for Sunday, January 23, 2022


Teen's Death Shines Spotlight on Kansas 'Stand your Ground' Law

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP/KPR) — Kansas' "Stand Your Ground" law is getting renewed scrutiny following the death of a teen after being detained in a Wichita juvenile center last week. Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett said this week that the law prevented him from charging the center's employees in the death of 17-year-old Cedric Lofton, who’d been restrained on the ground on his stomach, shackled and handcuffed for more than 30 minutes. Legislators said they intended the law to apply to homeowners facing down burglars or people who are attacked on the streets. The Kansas House speaker said this week that he wants to review the law.


Kansas Man's Death Investigated as a Homicide

LACROSSE, Kan. (AP) — Authorities are investigating the death of a Kansas man as a homicide. The Kansas Bureau of Investigation said in a news release that a relative found 61-year-old Leslie Randa, of LaCrosse, dead on Friday afternoon and called 911. The Rush County Sheriff’s Office then asked the KBI for assistance with the investigation. The release said that Randa’s vehicle is missing. Authorities are asking for help locating the 2006 GMC Envoy with Kansas plates.


Former Topeka Coach Admits Posing as Teen Girl to Seek Explicit Photos

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A former assistant boys high school basketball coach in Topeka has admitted to posing as a teenage girl on social media to get explicit photos from other teens. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that 41-year-old Jeffrey Pierce pleaded guilty Friday to one count of producing child pornography in exchange for the dismissal of 11 other federal charges he faced. Pierce taught ninth-grade social studies and was an assistant basketball coach at Seaman. He was fired after he was arrested in September 2020. He admitted through his plea that he asked nine 14-to 16-year-old boys for sexually explicit photos and videos of themselves while pretending to be a teenage girl on Snapchat, Instagram and other social media platforms.


Settlement in Progress over Kansas Teacher who Kicked Kindergartner

SHAWNEE, Kan. (AP) — The family of a Kansas girl who was kicked by her kindergarten teacher have reached a partial settlement. The Kansas City Star reports that lawyers for the child and her mother are seeking the court’s approval of an agreement with the former teacher, Crystal Smith. A motion filed Friday said the settlement involves a confidentiality clause. Additional claims remain pending against the Shawnee Mission School District, which suspended and then fired Smith after reviewing security footage. The video showed Smith kick a 5-year-old girl who had hidden herself in a bookshelf in the library of Bluejacket-Flint Elementary School in February 2019 after other students had left the area and another employee’s back was turned.


These area headlines are curated by KPR news staffers, including J. Schafer, Laura Lorson, Kaye McIntyre, and Tom Parkinson. Our headlines are generally posted by 10 am weekdays, 11 am weekends. This news summary is made possible by KPR listener-members. Become one today!


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