Headlines for Wednesday, June 6, 2018
Indictment: Message Parlors Were Fronts for Prostitution
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Federal indictments say massage parlors in Topeka, Lawrence and Salina generated millions of dollars from prostitution. Prosecutors announced Tuesday in a news release that the indictments name four operators — Lian Hua Li, Ma Li Vanskike, Weiling Nielsen and Erik Nielsen — along with a worker, Michael Mills. The Wichita Eagle reports that they were charged separately with several counts, including conspiracy, racketeering, money laundering and bank fraud. Mills is accused of transporting female sex workers from an airport to massage parlors. Prosecutors say he also assisted Li with laundering cash from prostitution. The indictments say money was laundered through casinos in Kansas and Missouri. The bank fraud charges carry the largest penalties upon conviction: up to 30 years in prison and a fine up to $1 million.
Centrist Third Party Falls Short on Signatures in Kansas
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A group of Kansans hoping to form a third party with moderate candidates didn't collect enough signatures to get candidates on this year's ballot. Scott Morgan of Lawrence, one of the primary proponents of the Party of the Center, said organizers will keep working to get candidates on the 2020 ballot. KCUR reports Morgan left the GOP after losing a 2014 primary challenge to Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach. He says he still believes enough Kansans are fed up with the current Republican and Democratic parties to make a third party viable. Morgan said poor planning contributed to the failed effort to gain enough signatures before a June 1 deadline. Organizers hope to get the rest of the necessary signatures to formally register the party by later this summer.
Kansas Officials Declare Measles Outbreak Officially Finished
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas health officials say the state's worst measles outbreak in almost 30 years is officially over. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment said Wednesday a measles outbreak that began at a Johnson County daycare in March has ended. It eventually spread to Miami and Linn counties. In total, 22 people in the three counties were infected. It was the most measles cases in one year in Kansas since 1990. A measles outbreak is considered over when no new cases have been identified and two separate 21-day incubation periods pass.
Man Accused of Campus Sex Assault Takes Plea Deal
FOREST CITY, Iowa (AP) — A Kansas man accused of raping a fellow student in a Waldorf University dorm in northern Iowa has taken a plea deal. Court records say 18-year-old Sean Perkins, of Olathe, Kansas, signed the deal filed Tuesday in Winnebago County District Court. The agreement includes a one-year deferred prosecution on the charge of serious misdemeanor assault, which had been lowered from felony sexual abuse. The agreement says that if Perkins were to violate the agreement, the guilty plea would be used against him. But the charge would be dropped if he were to meet the agreement's terms. County Attorney Kelsey Beenken says there wasn't enough evidence to prosecute Perkins for rape. Beenken says the woman involved believes the agreement, which includes a no-contact order, will help her start the healing process.
Illegal Immigrant Found Guilty of Killing Kansas Woman and Stealing 6-Month-Old Baby
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Mexican woman who was living in Texas has been convicted of killing a new mother in Kansas and kidnapping her baby. A Sedgwick County jury on Tuesday found 36-year-old Yesenia Sesmas guilty of first-degree premeditated and intentional murder, kidnapping and interference with parental custody. Prosecutors say Sesmas, an illegal immigrant who was living in Dallas at the time, drove to Wichita to shoot 27-year-old Laura Abarca on November 17, 2016, and kidnap 6-day-old Sophia Gonzales. The baby was found safe two days later in Sesmas' Dallas apartment and was returned to relatives. Investigators said Sesmas faked a pregnancy after losing her own unborn child. Then, she drove to Wichita with the intention of killing Abarca and taking her newborn. The two women had worked together in the past. Sesmas had contended Abarca agreed to give her the baby after Sophie was born but changed her mind at the last minute.
Man Who Unsuccessfully Sought Mother-Child Sex Slaves Pleads
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas man who tried to recruit mother-child sex slaves has pleaded guilty to criminal charges. The Wichita Eagle reports Michael David Mitchell of Eskridge pleaded guilty last week to one count of enticement of a minor. Investigators say he was arrested last June at a Missouri hotel where he went to meet a person he thought was a woman interested in selling her 10-year-old daughter for sex acts. According to the plea agreement, he told authorities he was a sadist who was willing to pay thousands of dollars for a family that he could enslave in his home for about five years. The plea agreement also alleges Mitchell was carrying a duffel bag full of "material related to sexual torture" when he was arrested.
Kansas Man Accused of Campus Sex Assault in Iowa Takes Plea Deal
FOREST CITY, Iowa (AP) — A Kansas man accused of raping a fellow student in a Waldorf University dorm in northern Iowa has taken a plea deal. Court records say 18-year-old Sean Perkins, of Olathe, signed the deal filed Tuesday in Winnebago County District Court. The agreement includes a one-year deferred prosecution on the charge of serious misdemeanor assault, which had been lowered from felony sexual abuse. The agreement says that if Perkins were to violate the agreement, the guilty plea would be used against him. But the charge would be dropped if he were to meet the agreement's terms. County Attorney Kelsey Beenken says there wasn't enough evidence to prosecute Perkins for rape. Beenken says the woman involved believes the agreement, which includes a no-contact order, will help her start the healing process.
Man Admits $145,000 Embezzlement from Kansas Company
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A 65-year-old Hutchinson man has pleaded guilty to embezzling $145,000 from the company where he worked. U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister said Richard Yust pleaded guilty Tuesday to one count of wire fraud. In his plea, Yust admitted he stole the money while working as controller for F&H Insulation Sales and Service, Inc., in Kechi, Kansas. He used company credit cards to make unauthorized purchases for his personal use. Sentencing is set for August 20. He faces up to 20 years and a fine up to $250,000.
Retired Teacher Gives $7.4 Million to University of Kansas
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A retired high school teacher who lived in a modest two-bedroom home until her death has donated $7.4 million to the University of Kansas. The school says in a news release that Lavon Brosseau's gift will benefit students majoring in the arts, humanities and education. Brosseau said before her death in 2016 at the age of 88 that "It's not what you get in life that's important — it's what you share." The release said she was raised in a farmhouse that lacked plumbing and electricity. She taught English in Concordia and volunteered as a tutor well into her 80s. Her husband, Jack Brosseau, who co-owned a small glass company, died in 1998. The couple used their savings to buy farmland, which made up a large part of their estate.
Man Who Rode to Kansas Bank Robbery on Bike Pleads Guilty
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — An Overland Park man has admitted robbing a bank after investigators were able to track him down because he left the bank on a bicycle and had a spider web tattoo on his left hand. The U.S. Attorney's office said 57-year-old Richard Armenta pleaded guilty Tuesday to the November 2017 robbery at a Capital Federal Savings Bank branch. Armenta got away with cash but witnessed told investigators he rode a blue bicycle and had the spider web tattoo. On December 2, Overland Park Police officers responded to a disturbance call involving Armenta. They identified Armenta from video surveillance of the bank robbery, the tattoo and a blue bicycle in the back of his pickup. Sentencing is set for August 20. Both parties have agreed to recommend about three years in federal prison.
Kansas State Library Faces Long Recovery from Fire
MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Officials say Kansas State University's Hale Library suffered significant damage during a fire. Library dean Lori Goetsch tells the Topeka Capital-Journal that the university has contracted with an international disaster recovery business to restore the library following the May 22 blaze. Goetsch says the library has extensive water and smoke damage. The fire was contained to the building's roof, but hundreds of thousands of gallons of water were used to control the blaze. The library also contained the university's data center, and work remains to get the system fully back online. Goetsch says about 250 library staff and students will be moved to temporary offices until repair work is complete. Insurance adjusters will need about a month to assess the damage. It's unclear when the library will reopen.
Kansas Man Doesn't Regret Giving Up $1 Million Ticket
SALINA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas man who returned a $1 million lottery ticket to a customer who left it on a store counter says he has no regrets about giving up the prize money. Kal Patel, whose parents own the Pit Stop convenience store in Salina, returned the ticket to a longtime customer after tracking him down in his car. "Good deeds come back to help you, and bad deeds come back to haunt you," he said this week. "It felt good to find it and then find them." The winner, who has chosen to remain anonymous, bought three tickets at a store in nearby Lincoln, but went to the Pit Stop — his neighborhood convenience store — to check if they were winners. The clerk checked two tickets and the winner accidentally left the third on the counter, The Salina Journal reported. When clerk Andy Patel ran the numbers and discovered it was a $1 million winner, he called Kal Patel. "He said six zeroes were popping up on the screen," said Kal Patel, who is not related to Andy. "We couldn't believe it." Kal Patel knew who the customer was based on the clerk's description and knew the area where he lived. He drove around the neighborhood once but couldn't find the man's house. He returned to the store, but later decided to give it another try. That time, he saw the man and his brother driving away and was able to stop them. "I showed them the ticket and told them they were winners," he said. "They started shaking. They couldn't believe it." Friends have chided Kal Patel for giving up the $1 million, but he said he didn't want to live with the guilt of keeping the money. "It felt good to give it to them," he said. "And the praise we got back from everyone for doing this was really nice. They said it restored their faith in humanity." KWCH reports that Wichita law firm DeVaughn James Injury Lawyers this week gave Kal a $1,200 check to reward him for his good deed.
Woman Allegedly Sets Small Fires at Kauffman Stadium
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City police say they arrested a woman who allegedly set several small fires while wandering around Kauffman Stadium. Kansas City Royals spokesman Toby Cook says none of the fires caused any significant damage at the stadium. Police arrested 36-year-old Bridget DePriest early Wednesday and issued her a summons for trespassing and openly burning. The Kansas City Star reports a stadium security guard called police after he noticed her on the field with a flashlight about 4:30 a.m. Wednesday. She told security she had been at the stadium since early Tuesday but Cook said surveillance video indicated she wasn't in the stadium that long. Cook says Royals officials are trying to determine how the woman got into the stadium.
5 Charged in Death of Missouri Man Entombed in Concrete
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Five people have been charged in the death of a developmentally disabled Missouri man whose body was found encased in concrete months after he disappeared. Two of those arrested and charged Tuesday ran the home in Fulton where 31-year-old Carl DeBrodie lived before he disappeared in 2016. His body was found in April 2017 in a Fulton storage shed. Callaway County Prosecutor Christopher Wilson announced that 53-year-old Sherry Paulo and 58-year-old Anthony R. Flores, both of Fulton, face five counts in DeBrodie's death, including first-degree involuntary manslaughter. The three others face misdemeanors of making a false report of a missing person. A lawsuit filed last week alleged Paulo and Flores took DeBrodie to their home, forced him to fight and then left him to die before disposing of his body.
Gun on Jeep Latest Way GOP Candidate Kobach Stirs Outrage
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Republican Kris Kobach promoted his campaign for Kansas governor by riding in a recent parade in a jeep with a replica machine gun mounted on the back. The move stirred criticism on social media and the city holding the parade apologized. Kobach didn't — and said Tuesday that he might use the jeep more often than previously intended. It's the latest example of the Kansas secretary of state and sometime adviser to President Donald Trump stirring controversy in the political center and left. Kobach is distinguishing himself in a seven-person GOP field that includes incumbent Governor Jeff Colyer. Political scientists said Tuesday that Kobach is appealing to a conservative base and fellow Trump supporters. His latest controversy may help get his voters to the polls in the August 7 election.
Head-On Collision in Central Kansas Kills 3
MCPHERSON, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Highway Patrol is investigating after a vehicle that a sheriff's deputy tried to stop fled and crashed head-on into another car, killing three people. Trooper Ben Gardner says the crash happened early Wednesday on Highway 56 about 4 miles west of Lyons in western McPherson County. The driver was speeding and nearly ran a Rice County deputy off the road. The deputy pursued the vehicle but lost sight of it because of the speed. Gardner says the car eventually collided nearly head-on with a westbound car in neighboring McPherson County. The driver of westbound car and a passenger in the speeding car died at the scene. Gardner said the driver of the eastbound car was hospitalized and later died. No names have been released.
Memorial Highways Designated to Honor Fallen Kansas Officers
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Ten stretches of Kansas roadways are being designated as memorial highways to honor fallen Kansas law enforcement officers. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that the memorial designations were authorized in a bill that Kansas lawmakers passed this year. Governor Jeff Colyer's office announced this week that he held a ceremonial bill signing in southwest Johnson County. The memorial highways honor Bernard Hill, Maurice Plummer, Larry Huff, Conroy O'Brien, Jimmie Jacobs, Ferdinand "Bud" Pribbenow, Dean Goodheart, John McMurray, James Thornton and Brandon Collins. The highways include stretches in the Lawrence, Hutchinson, Manhattan, Wichita and suburban Kansas City area.
Kansas Newspaper Editor, Publisher Dick Buzbee Dies at 86
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Dick Buzbee, former editor and publisher of The Hutchinson News and Olathe Daily News in Kansas, has died from brain cancer. He was 86. Buzbee's family said he died Wednesday morning in a Wichita hospital. He began a 35-year career in journalism with the Harris Enterprises newspaper group after leaving the Navy and worked in Chanute, Kansas; Burlington, Iowa, and then in Olathe and Hutchinson. He was the father-in-law of Sally Buzbee, The Associated Press's executive editor. Her husband, John, a veteran Foreign Service officer who served across the Middle East, died in 2016. Richard Edgar "Dick" Buzbee was born August 16, 1931, in Fordyce, Arkansas. He attended the University of Arkansas and the University of Missouri, where he received degrees in journalism and political science and a naval commission. He served as a midshipman and officer aboard a battleship, a cruiser, an attack transport and a tank-landing ship. He received a Department of the Army citation during the Vietnam War for patriotic civilian service. He was the chairman of four campaigns in Olathe to bring service members home for the Christmas holidays during that war. Buzbee also served as the chairman of both the Olathe and Hutchinson chambers of commerce and as president of the Johnson County Red Cross and the Hutchinson Symphony. He married his wife, Marie, in 1955, in Waverly, Missouri, and they had four sons. He is survived by his wife, a brother, two sisters, two of his sons and 10 grandchildren.
Tests Show Kansas Man Killed in Arizona Wasn't Drunk or Drugged
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — Toxicology results indicate the Kansas man shot and killed by a federal officer in Arizona tested negative for a range of illegal and prescription drugs and had a blood alcohol level within the legal limit. The Arizona Daily Sun reports 51-year-old Tyler Miller was shot twice in the abdomen by a U.S. Forest Service law enforcement officer after he was walking bloody and naked along a highway after crashing his pickup truck in early January.