State News in Brief

Prosecutor in Amish man’s murder trial seeks state’s help

BETHANY, Mo. (AP) — The Missouri Attorney General’s office is helping with the prosecution of an Amish minister from Kentucky charged in his wife’s 2006 death in Missouri.

The St. Joseph News-Press reports the Harrison County prosecutor sought the state’s help in the case against Samuel Borntreger. A state investigator is re-examining the evidence, which might require a second exhumation of Borntreger’s wife’s body and a second autopsy.

Borntreger, of Summer Shade, Kentucky, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of 26-year-old Anna Yoder Borntreger in late 2006 in Missouri. Court records indicate Borntreger went to Kentucky authorities in January and confessed to killing his wife with antifreeze and battery acid. No foul play was suspected when the woman died.

Borntreger waived his formal arraignment on Tuesday in Harrison County.


Attorney: Man accused of double slaying spat on him

LOUISVILLE (AP) — The attorney for a man accused of killing two teenage brothers says his client spat on him in a holding cell, insulted him and threatened him in court.

News outlets report that attorney Brendan McLeod withdrew from defending 25-year-old Brice Rhodes in a Louisville courtroom Tuesday. McLeod told the judge that his friendship with the grandfather of the victims presented a conflict of interest.

McLeod says Rhodes spat on him in a holding cell prior to the hearing when he explained the conflict. During the hearing, Rhodes called his attorney a “coward.”

Rhodes has been charged with fatally stabbing 16-year-old Maurice Gordon and 14-year-old Larry Ordway in Shawnee last month. Authorities say Rhodes dumped their bodies behind an abandoned house and tried to set them on fire.


‘Fostering Success’ program helps adults leaving foster care

LOUISVILLE (AP) — Gov. Matt Bevin has unveiled Fostering Success, a jobs-training program meant to help young adults transition out of foster care and into independent life.

Media outlets report that Fostering Success, announced Tuesday, places youths ages 18 to 23 years old in a 10-week office job at a local branch of the Kentucky Department for Community Based Service. Participants will work full time for $10 an hour and gain computer and customer service skills.

At the end of the 10 weeks, they will meet with career and college counselors to prepare for independent living outside of foster care. The labor cabinet will also work to connect participants to new jobs.

Bevin says Fostering Success is the first of many reforms to transform the state’s foster system.


Kentucky State University selects interim president

FRANKFORT (AP) — The Kentucky State University Board of Regents has named the school’s interim president.

Board members announced Tuesday that administrator Aaron Thompson will become interim president until a permanent president is chosen. The announcement came a week after Raymond Burse announced he was stepping down after two years of serving as the university’s president.

Thompson’s term will begin immediately. He told the Lexington Herald-Leader that as interim president, he will examine the current budget, enrollment management system and other infrastructure.

He previously worked as executive vice president of the Council on Postsecondary Education as a specialist in educational attainment and academic success.


USDA finds violations at southern Indiana wildlife center

CHARLESTOWN, Ind. (AP) — Federal inspectors have found repeat violations at a southern Indiana wildlife center that houses more than 120 exotic species.

A January inspection by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service found Wildlife in Need had a tiger enclosure with insufficient fencing, a brown bear with an unknown elbow injury, and autopsies had not been performed on dead animals., The (Louisville, Kentucky) Courier-Journal reported.

The inspection report released last week also described a combative exchange between the inspector and the nonprofit center’s owner, Tim Stark.

“During the exit interview of this inspection, the licensee was continually verbally hostile and confrontational,” the report said. Stark refused to turn over records, began calling the inspector names, and the confrontation escalated “to the point where the situation could possibly become unsafe,” it said.

“The level of confrontation and escalating anger and personal attacks have created a hostile and unsafe environment for APHIS officials to conduct future inspections,” the report said.

APHIS spokeswoman Tanya Espinosa said Tuesday that the agency will continue to conduct inspections of the center, but it will “look at what our options are to ensure the safety of our personnel.”

The report said the tiger enclosure’s fencing should be at least 12 feet high to make sure the big cats can’t escape.

The report noted the deaths of a kangaroo and three otters. It said the lack of a proper diagnosis in cases where there is an unexplained death can risk disease to the other animals, if infectious.

The report also noted a problem with a dog house and inadequate shelter for hyenas, wolves and lions.

Wildlife in Need issued a statement condemning the inspection report’s findings and claiming unfair treatment.

“The USDA report was and continues to be an inaccurate depiction of the love, care, and safety that we provide to our animals,” the organization said. “It is meant to support an agenda aimed at private ownership.”

A January fire at the center killed 41 animals, mostly birds and turtles.

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