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Headlines for Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Republicans Turn on Novice Congressman Whom They Helped Win Kansas Seat

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Republicans are going after one of their own in Kansas.  Some Republicans who helped a political novice squeak to victory in 2018 and hold an eastern Kansas seat in Congress have now turned on him in favor of the state treasurer.  The defectors from freshman Representative Steve Watkins's camp include a congressional aide who took on managing his 2018 general election campaign and is now a consultant for State Treasurer Jake LaTurner.  Other GOP activists also jumped to LaTurner after former Republican Governor Jeff Colyer publicly urged LaTurner to challenge Watkins.  The turmoil is unusual because the key issue raised against Watkins is his electability when Democrats don't have a candidate. It's also unexpected in a district where President Donald Trump enjoys solid support and Watkins has defended the president.

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3 Arrested in Shooting Death in Wichita Motel Parking Lot

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities have arrested three people in the weekend shooting death of man in a motel parking lot in Wichita in a case that police say is likely drug-related.  The Wichita Eagle reports that jail records show that police arrested 49-year-old Bryant Damon Bailey, 52-year-old Robyn Leah Murphy and 60-year-old Annette Williams on suspicion of first-degree murder in the death of 55-year-old Timothy Austin. They haven't been formally charged.  Austin was found wounded early Sunday at the Countryside Inn. Wichita police Capt. Brent Allred says Austin had lived at the motel off and on, as well as other places around town. Allred says he got into a fight in the parking lot and was shot once in his upper body while standing outside of a vehicle. He died at a hospital.

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Police Shoot, Wound 16-Year-Old in Kansas City Suburb

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say police shot and wounded a 16-year-old while investigating a robbery in suburban Kansas City.  Police said in a Facebook post that the shooting happened just after midnight Monday in Olathe. Police say officers were conducting a follow up on a previous home burglary in which handguns were taken when they spotted two people who were armed. The post says the situation "escalated," and officers fired their guns.  The wounded teen was taken to a hospital for treatment. Police arrested the second person. The shooting is under investigation. No other details were immediately released, including the name of the wounded teen or what he was doing before he was shot.

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3 Charged in Teen's Shooting Death in Wichita

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Three people have been charged in a teen's shooting death that Wichita police say stemmed from an ongoing gang feud.  The Wichita Eagle reports that 18-year-old Eduardo Gallardo and 20-year-old Jesus Alvarez-Medina were charged Friday with first-degree murder, criminal discharge of a firearm and aggravated assault in the August 4 death of 17-year-old Ramiro Valdez. The third suspect was charged with murder in juvenile court.  Police say Valdez and two other teenagers were in a pickup when someone in another truck fired several bullets, hitting the driver. The other two teens in Valdez's truck weren't injured.  Gallardo was arrested on the same day of the shooting but had been out of jail before he was arrested again Saturday. He is jailed on $500,000 bond. Alvarez-Medina has not been arrested.

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Misdemeanor DUI Charge Filed Against Kansas State Senator

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas legislator has been charged with driving under the influence after his vehicle was found last May in a Topeka ditch. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports the special prosecutor handling the case announced Tuesday the misdemeanor DUI charge against state Sen. Vic Miller of Topeka. Brandon Jones, attorney for Franklin and Anderson counties, says he asked for a summons to be issued. If convicted, Miller faces up six months imprisonment, a fine of up to $1,000 and up to 100 hours of public service. Police found the 68-year-old Democratic senator uninjured after receiving a report of a vehicle crashed in the ditch. Miller held several local offices and served in the Kansas House before Democrats picked him last year to fill the seat Gov. Laura Kelly held before her election.

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Special Prosecutor Appointed to Kansas Senator's DUI Case

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A special prosecutor will decide whether to pursue a DUI charge against Kansas Sen. Vic Miller of Topeka.  The Topeka Capital Journal reports a special prosecutor is an attorney appointed to investigate, and potentially prosecute, a case in which a conflict of interest exists for the usual prosecuting authority.  Shawnee County District Attorney Mike Kagay says he had assigned Franklin County Attorney Brandon Jones to fill that role.  Kagay says prosecutors in his office who would handle the case had appeared before Miller during his time as judge for Topeka Municipal Court. Kagay says his office also routinely requests legislative changes which involve dealing with him.  Topeka police arrested Miller in May after finding him inside his crashed vehicle in the ditch. Police said he wasn't injured but appeared intoxicated.

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Winter Storm Clips Northwest Corner of Kansas

QUINTER, Kan. (AP) — A winter storm has clipped the northwest corner of Kansas, closing roads and some schools in a largely rural area. The Kansas Department of Transportation says sections of Interstate 70, U.S. 36 and U.S. 40 near the state’s western border with Colorado were closed Tuesday, while other roads in the area are partially or completely snow covered. The department urged drivers to avoid travel if possible as conditions worsen. The National Weather Service has issued winter storm warnings for nine Kansas counties and winter weather advisories for several more. Forecasters predicted accumulations of 5 to 10 inches. Elsewhere, more than 2 feet of snow had fallen in northern Colorado and about a foot (30 centimeters) fell in southern parts of Wyoming by midmorning.

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Kansas Man Admits to Swindling Buyer of Online Pharmacy

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Federal prosecutors say a Kansas man has admitted swindling the buyer of an online pharmacy business.  The U.S. attorney's office said in a news release that 37-year-old Jeffrey P. Wilson of Olathe pleaded guilty Monday to one count of wire fraud.  Wilson admitted in his plea that he placed an ad on Craigslist offering to sell an online pharmacy. He then made false statements and sent fabricated bank records for the business to a Texas man who responded to the ad. He falsely claimed the business was grossing $15,000 to $40,000 a month.  The victim paid Wilson $120,000 before learning the business had virtually no revenue and the website had been shut down after he failed to pay for monthly maintenance and hosting.  Sentencing is set for February 18.

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2 Women End Litigation Against Kansas State University

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Two women who had accused Kansas State University of refusing to investigate their sexual assaults at off-campus fraternity houses are ending their federal lawsuits. A court document filed Tuesday shows the women have agreed to permanently dismiss their consolidated cases, with each side bearing its own costs. The university says in a news release that it provided them no monetary payment or compensation. It says the result affirms the university’s position that it responded appropriately when the women reported they were assaulted. Their lawsuits had alleged that Kansas State made them vulnerable to sexual harassment by allowing the students who they say attacked them to continue attending the university. They contended that this caused them to withdraw from participating in educational opportunities at the university.

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Missouri Judge Rules Against Kansas City Area Family in Vaccination Lawsuit

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A judge has ruled that it is not unconstitutional for Missouri health officials to encourage families to vaccinate their children in a form they must complete to get a religious exemption.  KCUR Radio reports that Senior U.S. District Judge Howard Sachs wrote in Friday's ruling that the state's freedom to advocate vaccination as governmental policy is "well settled."  The lawsuit was filed by Linus Baker, who is the grandfather of a student at Crossroads Academy in Kansas City. He also is representing families from Bates, Christian and Miller counties.  Baker says he disagrees with the ruling. Sachs deferred the ruling until December 16 to give the Bakers a chance to secure an exemption.  Baker also has sued in Kansas to keep from having to vaccinate his son. That case is pending.

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Feds Seek to Keep More than $300,000 n Suspected Drug Money

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Federal prosecutors are seeking to keep $173,000 that was seized from a driver in Kansas as he headed to Colorado to buy marijuana.  The Wichita Eagle reports that it's the largest of the civil asset forfeiture cases filed this month in federal court in Wichita involving suspected drug money. The seizure happened during a September traffic stop on Interstate 70 in eastern Kansas' Wabaunsee County.  An affidavit says the driver told investigators that he and a passenger were traveling from Asheville, North Carolina, to Denver, where they planned to buy the marijuana. Colorado legalized marijuana in 2012.  In an unrelated case, the Kansas Highway Patrol found nearly $127,000 during an interstate traffic stop in Russell County. A third case was investigated by the Postal Inspection Service and involves nearly $45,000.

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Wichita Prosecutor: Deputy Acted in Self-Defense in Fatal Shooting

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Prosecutors have found that a Kansas deputy acted in self-defense when he fatally shot a man who brandished an airsoft gun that resembles an actual firearm but shoots only nonlethal plastic pellets.  The Wichita Eagle reports that Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennet said Friday in a 22-page report that the shooting happened in January after 55-year-old David Michael Bosiljevac threatened to hurt his ex-girlfriend's roommate if she didn't meet him at a storage unit. The woman instead tipped off a bondsman that Bosiljevac would be there because he had failed to appear in court on a probation violation hearing for a drug-related case and she had cosigned his bond. The bondsman contacted deputies.  One of the deputies said that during the arrest attempt, Bosiljevac pointed the airsoft pistol. The deputy then fired 16 shots, hitting Bosiljevac at least nine times. A toxicology report found that he tested positive for meth.

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Police: Wichita Man Stabbed Roommate Because She Won't Leave

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Police say a Wichita man stabbed his roommate to death because she wouldn't move out.  Wichita police Capt. Brent Allred says the 44-year-old man wanted Devin Cook to leave, but the 28-year-old woman refused to go.  The Wichita Eagle reports that police went to the home twice early Saturday morning.  Allred says officers who went to the home at 4:10 am told the man that they couldn't make Cook leave because she had "established residency there." They told him he had to use legal avenues like eviction or petitioning the court for a protective order.  Officers returned to the address after a physical fight started and found Cook inside with several stab wounds. She died later at a hospital.  Cook had lived at his home for about a month.

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Missouri Leaders Want to Keep Minors, Abusers Away from Guns

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri Governor Mike Parson and local leaders say they want to make sure minors, domestic abusers and violent offenders don’t have guns.  Parson and mayors and police chiefs from St. Louis, Kansas City, Springfield and Columbia pitched the idea Monday as a way to reduce violent crime in the state’s biggest cities.  St. Louis, Kansas City and Springfield all have seen spikes in gun crimes and homicides in recent years.  Parson says the gun restrictions are doable, despite strong support for gun rights in the Republican-led Legislature.  The governor and mayors also want more money for witness protection programs and community mental health treatment.  The next legislative session begins in January.

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Lenexa Church Sues City for Blocking Homeless Shelter

LENEXA, Kan. (AP) — A Lenexa church is suing the city for denying its request to use its building as a temporary homeless shelter. KCUR reports that the Shawnee Mission Unitarian Universalist Church alleges the denial infringes on its exercise of religion. Its lawsuit contends charity and service are integral to its mission, and cites biblical passages that decree providing for the needy. Lenexa City Manager Beccy Yocham denied the request, saying it did not conform with the zoning code. The church occupies a former elementary school building adjoining commercial properties, but its building is zoned residential single family. The church seeks to provide overnight shelter for up to 40 homeless individuals per night from December through March. It recently partnered with Project 1020, a nonprofit that provides temporary housing to homeless people.

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Autopsy: Wichita Man’s Death Ruled Homicide

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — An autopsy shows the death of a 46-year-old Wichita man in September has been ruled a homicide by the county’s coroner and medical examiner. The Wichita Eagle reports the recently filed autopsy report of Raul Rodriguez shows the cause of death to be “blunt force injuries of the head” and noted other significant health conditions such as cardiovascular disease. Rodriguez was found dead in a living room chair on Sept. 26. That was a day after he was pushed by someone during a drunken argument and fell to the ground, hitting his head. The Sedgwick County district attorney says no charges were filed because of the “inability to establish all the elements of a crime.” A pre-existing medical condition could also not be ruled out as contributing to the death.

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Teacher Charged with Sexually Assaulting Student

WEBB CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Kansas man has been charged with sexually assaulting a student at a Missouri school where he taught and coached. Twenty-eight-year-old Nicholas Popejoy, of Arma, Kansas, pleaded not guilty Monday to statutory sodomy or attempted statutory sodomy of someone under the age of 14. His attorney, Teresa Grantham, didn’t immediately return a phone message from The Associated Press. His bond is set at $100,000 cash. The Joplin Globe reports that Popejoy worked for the Webb City, Missouri, school district from August 2014 to Nov. 18. He was the freshman boys’ basketball coach and the assistant high school track coach. He also taught science and math at the junior high. The affidavit says Popejoy used his position as a coach to gain private access to the minor.

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