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Headlines for Thursday, November 28, 2019

Here's the latest Kansas and regional news from the Associated Press, compiled by KPR staff.

Lawyers Say Federal Death Row Inmate from Kansas Has Alzheimer’s

WASHINGTON (AP) — Lawyers for a federal prisoner scheduled to be put to death next month are asking a judge to halt the execution because the prisoner has Alzheimer’s disease and schizophrenia. Wesley Ira Purkey’s lawsuit was filed late Tuesday in Washington. His execution is scheduled for December 13. Purkey is among five men whose executions were set by Attorney General William Barr in July. A judge has temporarily halted the executions. The Justice Department is appealing. The suit alleges that Purkey isn’t competent enough to be executed. His lawyers say the 67-year-old’s condition is so far progressed that he doesn’t understand why he would face the death penalty.  Purkey, of Lansing, was sentenced to death for the 1998 killing of Jennifer Long after picking her up in Kansas City, Missouri. Purkey raped Long, stabbed her repeatedly and used a chainsaw to cut her body into pieces then burned her remains in a fireplace. He dumped her ashes 200 miles away in a septic pond southwest of Wichita.


Ruling: Sleeping Judge Not Automatic Reason for Retrial

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Supreme Court says a Sedgwick County man’s convictions shouldn’t be automatically reversed because the judge fell asleep during the first day of trial. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the states highest court rejected on Wednesday a legal interpretation by the lower Kansas Court of Appeals that had granted Daquantrius Johnson a new trial on firearms charges. Justice Caleb Stegall wrote in the court’s opinion that there was no precedent in Kansas to justify a finding of structural error simply because a judge catnapped during a trial. District Judge Benjamin Burgess acknowledged to the jury that he fell asleep, but noted that no objections from attorneys were raised while he was temporarily out of commission. The Supreme Court concluded the trial judge’s slumber amounted to regrettable misconduct.


Kansas Agency Seizes Control of Stored Human Remains

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - A Shawnee County judge has appointed a state agency to seize control of human remains stored by a Johnson County man who is temporarily banned from conducting autopsies. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment will conduct an inventory of the biological samples, believed to be human remains, that were stored by 37-year-old Shawn Parcells of Leawood. Purcells is a self-taught pathology assistant with no formal education. The district court judge temporarily banned Parcells and his companies from conducting autopsies, forensic pathology and tissue recovery until a lawsuit alleging violations of Kansas consumer protection laws and false claims acts were resolved. Prosecutors allege that Parcells had a contract with Wabaunsee County to conduct coroner-ordered autopsies and did not complete them in accordance with Kansas law. Additionally, the court petition alleges he advertised his services for private autopsies on his website, took payments from consumers but didn't perform the services. He is charged with three felony theft and three misdemeanor counts of criminal desecration. A preliminary hearing is set for January 16, 2020, in Wabaunsee County.


Man Imprisoned on Charges Connected to Wichita Drug Death

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A man has been imprisoned for his actions related to the drug death of a Wichita resident. Sedgwick County prosecutors say 31-year-old Bryce Martin was sentenced Tuesday to 10½ years. He’d pleaded guilty to charges of aggravated battery and possession of methamphetamine for sale. The prosecutors say in a news release that officers called to a Wichita resident on May 2, 2018, found 41-year-old Jacob Healzer on a floor. Police say his injuries included face fractures. A coroner’s report says Healzer died of acute methamphetamine intoxication with contributing factors of heart disease as well as blunt force trauma to the head and neck.


Man Suspected of Killing Roommate Charged with Murder

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ A man suspected of stabbing to death his roommate in Wichita has been charged with first-degree murder. The charge is leveled at 44-year-old Jason McCaleb, who made his first court appearance Tuesday. He's being held in Sedgwick County Jail, pending $700,000 bail. It's not clear whether he has an attorney. He's accused of killing 28-year-old Devin Cook. Police say McCaleb told officers called to the home early Saturday morning that he wanted Cook to leave but she refused. They told him that because she'd lived there for about a month, she'd established residency and would require legal action for eviction. Police say officers who returned later in the day found her inside the home with several stab wounds. She died at a hospital. 


Patrol: Man Died After Being Ejected During Rollover Crash

RUSSELL, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a man died after the car he was driving ran off a roadway and rolled in Russell County. The Kansas Highway Patrol says 29-year-old Dustin Lohrmeyer was headed south on a county road Tuesday night when the car went into the west ditch about 2 miles (3.2 kilometers) east of Russell. The patrol says Lohrmeyer overcorrected and the car slid across both lanes into the east ditch, where it became airborne and rolled several times. The patrol says Lohrmeyer was pronounced dead at the scene. He lived in Hays.


Patrol Says Man Walking Along Turnpike Killed by Truck

EMPORIA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a man walking along the Kansas Turnpike has been fatally struck by a truck. The Kansas Highway Patrol hasn’t said why the man was on the roadway when he was struck around 6 a.m. Wednesday by the northbound truck, just south of Emporia. The patrol identified the man as 32-year-old Brandon Henderson. He lived in Wichita.


Traffic Accident Spurs Evacuation After Liquid Oxygen Leak

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Fire department crews evacuated an area near an industrial plant after a tractor-trailer crashed into a liquid oxygen unit in the Fairfax district of Kansas City, Kansas just after 4:00 Wednesday afternoon. Fire crews immediately started evacuation efforts after liquid oxygen began to leak out of containers. Police say the truck driver had a medical episode which led to the crash. The driver is hospitalized and in stable condition. The fire department said shortly before 5:15 p.m. the oxygen leak was shut off.


Bison Herds a Bright Spot for Kansas Agriculture

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) _ One of the promising industries for agriculture harkens back to the days when bison roamed the Kansas prairie. The Hutchinson News reports that when Moundridge rancher Dick Gehring started his bison ranch more than 30 years ago, he did it for the money. The animals quickly became his passion. Gehring is the owner of Black Kettle Buffalo in McPherson County. He now calls bison ranching one of the ``bright spots in agriculture.'' Bison are adaptable and thrive in many different environments. The animals are self-sufficient and low maintenance and have a small carbon footprint, making them better  for the environment. The National Bison Association says there are an estimated 385,000 bison in North American private, public and tribal herds.


St. Luke's Hospital Caring for Record 12 Sets of Twins

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Saint Luke’s hospital is caring for 12 sets of twins this week in its neonatal intensive care unit. KMBC-TV reports all of the twins were born between five and 14 weeks early. The hospital says staffing has been a challenge. Twelve sets of twins is a record at the hospital. Nurse Danielle Gathers says they always see multiples in the unit, but not 12 sets at one time. The babies will spend Thanksgiving at the hospital. New mother Amanda Tollifer says her twins, Kara and Isaac, were born eight weeks early. She says she had no idea having twins right now was “such the ‘in’ thing.”


KU Jayhawks Claim Maui Title but K-State Wildcats Lose in Florida

LAHAINA, Hawaii – The Kansas Jayhawks slipped past the Dayton Flyers in an overtime thriller yesterday (WED) in Hawaii as the Jayhawks claimed the Maui Jim Maui Invitational championship title for the third time. Sophomore Devon Dotson and senior Udoka Azubuike combined for 60 points, the most by a KU duo in 28 years. It appeared KU would take a 3-point victory as regulation entered its final seconds but Dayton’s Jalen Crutcher sunk a deep triple just three seconds before the buzzer to tie the game at 73-73. The Jayhawks headed into their first overtime of the season but closed out the game with a 90-84 victory. KU will face Colorado on December 7th in Lawrence. The Kansas State Wildcats did not fare as well in Florida on Wednesday night losing to Bradley University, 73-to-60, in the Fort Myers “Tip-Off” Invitational Tournament. Kansas State returns to Manhattan to play Florida A&M on Monday, December 2nd. 


KPR's daily headlines are generally posted by 10 am weekdays and updated throughout the day.  KPR's weekend summary is usually published by 1 pm Saturdays and Sundays.

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