National Roundup

New Mexico
Gunman who killed 2 deputies linked to shooting

ABINGDON, Md. (AP) - Authorities say the man who recently shot and killed two sheriff's deputies in Harford County was wanted for questioning in the shooting of his ex-wife nearly two decades ago, but detectives were unable to find him.

Hartford County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Cristie Kahler told The Baltimore Sun that 68-year-old David Brian Evans was suspected in the 1996 shooting of Elizabeth Rupp, but there wasn't enough evidence to arrest him.

Rupp, who survived, was shot in the neck as she left her Abingdon home for work.

Kahler says detectives searched for months, trying to locate Evans for questioning, but he was never found.

Investigators say Evans fatally shot Deputy Patrick Dailey in a restaurant Wednesday and killed another deputy, Mark Logsdon, in shootout nearby before he was killed himself.

Georgia
Man gets life in prison in slaying of elderly woman

DOUGLASVILLE, Ga. (AP) - A man convicted in the death an elderly woman who was found hogtied in her apartment has been sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Multiple media outlets report 54-year-old Odes Dupree was sentenced Monday in the death of his 75-year-old neighbor Florene Duke. Dupree was convicted of two counts of felony murder, malice murder, kidnapping, robbery and burglary in Douglas County Superior Court.

Authorities have said Dupree tied Duke up before stealing her television sets in November 2014. Douglasville Police Chief Chris Womack has said Duke's face had been covered, causing her to asphyxiate and die on the floor of her bedroom. Prosecutors have said Dupree robbed Duke for drug money.

WAGA-TV reports Dupree told the judge that he plans to appeal.

Oklahoma
Removal of 10 Commandments prompts action

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - A court decision forcing the removal of a Ten Commandments monument from the statehouse grounds last year so angered Republican leaders in Oklahoma that several measures have been introduced in an effort to bring it back.

At least four resolutions seek a public vote on whether to amend the Oklahoma Constitution to remove the language that prohibits the use of public money or property from benefiting a religion.

Supporters of the resolutions say the monument's removal struck a nerve with Oklahomans who want to bring it back.

But opponents like Ryan Kiesel of the American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma say the monument is being used by politicians looking to score political points.

If the monument is returned, Kiesel vowed to challenge it again in federal court.

Massachusetts
Trial in 1974 homicide set to start this week

WORCESTER, Mass. (AP) - Testimony in the trial of a Georgia man charged in connection with a 1974 Massachusetts homicide is scheduled to start this week.

Opening statements in the trial of 71-year-old Lonzo Guthrie are expected in Worcester Superior Court on Tuesday. Jury selection started last week.

The Austell, Georgia, man has pleaded not guilty to the February 1974 stabbing death of 21-year-old Eileen Ferro in her Shrewsbury home.

Ferro was found dead a day after Guthrie delivered furniture to the home.

Guthrie was linked to the killing in 2013 when blood evidence from the scene matched a DNA sample he submitted because of a California rape conviction.

Guthrie's lawyer says his client "absolutely" denies killing Ferro.

Kansas
State and union ready for hearing on teacher tenure

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - A union representing Kansas teachers has filed two district court lawsuits, alleging that three teachers were removed from their positions without independent hearings, even though they earned tenure before the Kansas Legislature repealed teacher protections in 2014.

The lawsuits against school districts in Wyandotte and Butler counties come as the union and the state prepare for a showdown before the state Supreme Court over the law. The union contends in a brief submitted Friday that the decision to remove the teacher protections is unconstitutional. Oral arguments have not been scheduled.

The lawsuits, filed by the Kansas National Education Association, say three teachers were incorrectly denied due process, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported.

Kansas has more than 36,000 school teachers. The Legislature is considering expanding its tenure repeal to community and technical colleges, which employ another 5,000 teachers.

Due process for K-12 teachers and those at community and technical colleges became state law in the 1970s, giving them right to an independent hearing when faced with dismissal, starting with the fourth year of their employment.

The KNEA lost a lawsuit filed in 2014 in Shawnee County District Court and has appealed. It argues the 2014 legislation addressed more than one subject, which is not allowed under the Kansas Constitution's one-subject ruling.

The state contends all the provisions in the bill relate to education and that the Constitution requires courts to "liberally construe" the one-subject rule in the Legislature's favor.

The law included provisions on K-12 funding; appropriations for other entities, such as state universities, the Department of Administration and the Department for Aging and Disability Services; and a number of contentious changes to state education policy, including the tenure repeal and creation of a tax credit program that helps low-income families pay for private school.

Ohio
Court won't hear appeal in slaying of couple, child

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - The state Supreme Court won't hear an appeal from a man convicted in 2013 for the 1974 slayings of a northeastern Ohio couple and their 4-year-old daughter.

The court last week declined to accept the appeal from 67-year-old James Ferrara.

Ferrara already was serving 20 years to life for a double murder when he was sentenced to life terms for the deaths of Ben and Marilyn Marsh and their daughter, Heather, at their home in suburban Canfield. The adults were shot, and the girl was beaten.

WFMJ-TV in nearby Youngstown reports an appeals court previously rejected Ferrara's attempts to challenge fingerprint and ballistic evidence and his claims of misconduct by prosecutors and having ineffective legal counsel.

Ferrara is imprisoned at the Marion Correctional Institution.

Published: Tue, Feb 16, 2016

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