Headlines for Sunday, November 15, 2015
Shift Towards Kansas Death Sentences Unlikely
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ Kansas isn't likely to see executions soon, or a shift in how its Supreme Court handles capital murder cases after it recently upheld a death sentence for the first time under the state's 1994 capital punishment law. Several prosecutors are encouraged by the court's decision in the case of John E. Robinson Sr. He was sentenced to die for killing two women in 1999 and 2000 and tied by evidence or his own admissions to the murders of seven women and a teenage girl in Kansas and Missouri, starting in 1984. But two Kansas law professors said the 415-page decision in Robinson's case earlier this month suggests the Supreme Court will keep scrutinizing capital cases thoroughly.
Majority of Kansas Precinct Seats Empty for Both Parties
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas has more than 7,000 precinct seats per party, but fewer than a fifth of Democratic seats are occupied and less than half of Republican seats are filled. Precincts are geographical units within the electoral system. Each Kansas precinct has two seats per political party. The Topeka Capital-Journal tallied precinct seats for all of Kansas's 105 counties using data from election offices and political parties. The data showed 51 percent of Republican precinct seats appear to be vacant, as well as 83 percent of Democratic seats. Forty counties have no Democratic precinct leaders. Political scientists and party leaders cite several reasons why precinct seats remain unfilled, ranging from apathy to awkward boundary lines that sometimes result in precincts with few or no residents.
Kansas Foster Care Population Growing
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ The size of the foster care population in Kansas has swelled 18 percent over six years. Child welfare advocates are blaming high turnover among caseworkers, parental drug addiction and cuts to programs that help poor families. Douglas County CASA executive director Diana Frederick says "something needs to be done.'' Her agency provides volunteer Court Appointed Special Advocates to work with abused and neglected children in state custody. She says the problem is so bad that her office has seen a child with five case managers in eight months. State data shows that the 2009 fiscal year is the last time more children were exiting the system each month than were entering. The foster care monthly average jumped to 6,257 children in fiscal year 2015, which ended June 30, from 5,317 in 2009.
Quest for Kapaun Sainthood Hits Snag
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ Catholic diocese leaders from Wichita are told it'll take a miracle to get a Kansas native declared a saint after the Vatican chose not to declare the Korean War hero a martyr. The Wichita Eagle reports that Wichita Bishop Carl Kemme met with Cardinal Angelo Amato in Vatican City recently to make the case for Father Emil Kapaun, a native of Pilsen, Kansas, who died in a North Korean prison camp in May 1951. Kansas Catholic officials had hoped the Vatican would speed up the process and make him a saint in the next couple of years. But the Vatican said there's no proof Kapaun was murdered in the camp because nobody saw him die there.
Two Murdered in Kansas City, Kansas on Saturday
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) _ Police are investigating a double homicide in Kansas City, Kansas. KMBC-TV reports that police Chief Terry Zeigler says it happened Saturday afternoon in the eastern part of the city.
KCMO Police Investigate Fatal Shooting
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City police are investigating a man's fatal shooting. Police said in a news release that officers responded around 2:40 a.m. Sunday to an outside disturbance. A man was found suffering from a gunshot wound and was pronounced dead at the scene. The release says there is no information about a suspect. Authorities are urging anyone with information to come forward.
Bicyclist Killed in 3-Car Collision in Wichita
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a bicyclist has been killed in a three-vehicle crash in Wichita. The Wichita Eagle reports that the crash happened around 4:40 p.m. Saturday. Wichita police Sergeant Troy Nedbalek says a man on a bicycle was attempting to cross a street when two cars collided head-on. A third car then turned into the two cars. Nedbalek says the bicyclist was caught in the middle of the wreck and was pronounced dead at the scene. The man's name wasn't immediately released. Nedbalek says three other people sustained non-life-threatening injuries in the collision.
USGS Records 4.3 Magnitude Earthquake in Northwest Oklahoma
FAIRVIEW, Okla. (AP) — The U.S. Geological Survey has recorded a 4.3 magnitude earthquake near Fairview in northwestern Oklahoma, about 60 miles south of the Kansas state line. The quake was recorded at 3:45 am Sunday, 18 miles northwest of Fairview — about 155 miles northwest of Oklahoma City. Fairview police say there are no reports of injury or damage. A recent paper by the Geological Survey singled out Oklahoma, concluding that quakes are induced by injecting deep into the earth massive amounts of wastewater that are the byproduct of oil and gas production.
17-Month-Old Wichita Girl Dies; Police Suspect Child Abuse
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A 17-month-old girl has died from injuries that Wichita police suspect are the result of child abuse. The Wichita Eagle reports that the girl was pronounced dead around 8:10 am Saturday. Her mother's boyfriend has been charged with child abuse and aggravated battery. Wichita police Captain Jeff Weible says that when emergency crews arrived Monday, they were told the girl had fallen about 30 minutes earlier. The boyfriend had been caring for the girl and her 4- year-old sister while their mother was working. Weible says the baby had multiple bruises and other internal injuries that are "indicative of child abuse."