National Roundup

Election dispute headed to state Supreme Court

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - A dispute over a Connecticut state legislative race won by an incumbent Democrat by 13 votes in a recount is headed to the state Supreme Court.

The court has agreed to hear an appeal by state Republicans involving Stratford's 120th House District. Arguments before the court are scheduled for Dec. 21 in Hartford.

Democratic state Rep. Phil Young narrowly defeated Republican challenger Jim Feehan, but the tally is in doubt because at least 75 voters were given the wrong ballots - ones for another House district.

Republicans are seeking a new election. Democrats say the courts have no authority to decide elections and there is a legal procedure for election appeals to be decided by a House of Representatives committee of two Republicans and two Democrats.

Kansas City police officer cleared in 2010 fatal shooting

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - A federal court jury has ruled in favor of a Kansas City police officer who fatally shot a man in 2010.

The ruling came Friday in the wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family of 40-year-old Kenny Gurley, who was shot in south Kansas City.

The Kansas City Star reports the shooting occurred after police were called about someone inside a vacant home. The caller and officers didn't know Gurley had permission to be inside the house, which he was considering buying.

The officers testified that Gurley was carrying a metal pole in each hand and raised them in a threatening manner before an officer shot him.

A cousin testified that Gurley had a metal curtain rod in his hand and raised his hands in surrender when he was shot.

Woman ­resentenced in runaway slaying

CLEARFIELD, Pa. (AP) - A woman formerly serving a life term in the slaying of a fellow teenager two decades ago in Pennsylvania could be eligible for parole in about 15 years following a resentencing hearing.

Jessica Holtmeyer, 36, was resentenced Friday in Clearfield County Court in light of a Supreme Court decision barring life without parole terms for juveniles, The (Altoona) Mirror reported.

Holtmeyer was 16 when prosecutors said she hung 15-year-old Kimberly Jo Dotts and smashed her face with a rock in remote Clearfield County woods in May 1998 while a boy helped and others watched. Authorities said the teens planned to run away to Florida and feared Dotts would tell adults.

At a July hearing, defense witnesses maintained that Holtmeyer had already been rehabilitated. A prisons department re-entry coordinator called her "one of the best" certified peer support specialists he has worked with at the Muncy prison. A co-worker praised her work with inmates getting ready to re-enter society.

Senior Judge Daniel Howsare referred to that testimony in sentencing Holtmeyer to 35 years to life for first degree murder, 10 to 20 years for criminal conspiracy and three to 10 years for aggravated assault, with the latter terms running at the same time as the murder sentence. The judge said the decision may not make anyone happy but he felt it was consistent with the information he reviewed, including testimony, arguments, trial transcripts and victim impact statements.

Defense attorney Patrick Lavelle said he would seek reconsideration of the maximum term. District Attorney William Shaw Jr. said he had hoped the judge would keep the original sentences on the additional charges.

The crime made national news and became the subject of an episode of Killer Kids - "Tattletale Terror & Army Brat" - which formerly aired on the Biography Channel

Sales tax ­considered to help pay off $28.1M judgment

BEATRICE, Neb. (AP) - Gage County officials are looking at imposing a county sales tax to help pay off the $28.1 million owed six people who were wrongfully convicted for the murder of a 68-year-old Beatrice woman.

County supervisors chairman Myron Dorn said during a Wednesday briefing to the board that he plans to introduce legislation for a voter-approved sales tax. He was elected in November to represent District 30 in the Legislature.

Counties can put sales tax measures on electoral ballots, he said, but there are limitations on where funds may be collected, including in the city of Beatrice.

"The senators I have visited with have been receptive to the fact that this would be maybe a different avenue other than property taxes to help pay for the Beatrice Six situation that we're in," Dorn said. "I hope to have that ready by the next meeting to bring here, and this board can have that discussion to see if it's something that would interest this board or not."

He also said he won't introduce the bill next year without the board's support.

The Beatrice Six were wrongfully convicted for the 1985 rape and murder of Helen Wilson in Beatrice. The six spent more than 75 years combined in prison until DNA evidence cleared them in 2008. Wilson's death has since been linked to a former Beatrice resident who died in 1992.

The six sued the county and won the multimillion-dollar award - a jury decision affirmed by a federal appeals court panel in June. County officials still hope the U.S. Supreme Court will overturn it.

The board approved a measure in September to raise the county property tax levy enough to generate an extra $3.8 million annually that can be applied to the judgment.

3 carnival ­workers charged in killings of Kansas couple

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Three carnival workers have been charged with capital murder in the fatal shooting of a couple whose bodies were found in Arkansas days after they disappeared from a fair in Kansas.

The Kansas Attorney General says 52-year-old Kimberly Younger, of McIntosh, Florida; 54-year-old Michael Fowler Jr., of Sarasota, Florida; and 35-year-old Rusty Frasier, of Aransas Pass, Texas, are jailed on $1 million bond in Arkansas while awaiting extradition to Kansas.

Two others are charged with obstructing apprehension.

The charges stem from the deaths of Alfred "Sonny" Carpenter and Pauline Carpenter. The Wichita couple was killed in July at the Barton County Fair. Their bodies were later found buried in shallow graves next to a creek bed outside the small community of Natural Dam, Arkansas, in the Ozark National Forest.

Published: Tue, Dec 11, 2018