State News in Brief

Eastern Ky. prison inmate dies after assault

SANDY HOOK (AP) — The state says an inmate at an eastern Kentucky prison has died after an assault.

The Kentucky Department of Corrections said in a news release that the inmate, whose name wasn’t provided, was found unresponsive in his cell at Little Sandy Correctional Complex on Thursday afternoon. He was taken to St. Claire Regional Medical Center in Morehead, where he was later pronounced dead.

The release said the inmate was found unresponsive “due to an inmate assault.”

Kentucky State Police are investigating.


Study raises issues with Louisville police traffic stops

LOUISVILLE (AP) — An analysis of vehicle stops by Louisville Metro police officers has found again that black drivers are searched twice as often as whites — and that many searches result in no findings.

The Courier-Journal reports that University of Louisville professor Deborah Keeling conducted the study, analyzing 82,590 vehicle stops from 2014. A previous study commissioned by the department made the same discovery regarding searches among black vs white drivers in 2013-2014.

Data in the recent study shows that more of the searches resulted in no findings. In the 2013-2014 study, 76 percent of searches resulted in some type of “positive” finding, like contraband. In 2014, the number fell to 43 percent.

The department plans to beef up training to help officers make the call of whether or not it’s justified to search a vehicle.


Needle exchange opens in Ashland

ASHLAND (AP) — A needle exchange program is starting in Ashland to give heroin users access to clean syringes.

The Independent reports the program officially opens on Friday and will be open on Fridays thereafter from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Boyd County Health Department Epidemiologist Kristy Bolen says the exchange is needed to prevent the further spread of Hepatitis C in the area and to prevent HIV.

Kentucky leads the nation in the incidence of hepatitis C, with 4.1 cases per 100,000 residents, according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The national average is 0.6 cases per 100,000 people.

Other cities, including Louisville, Lexington and Williamstown, have also set up needle exchanges.


Paducah physician pleads guilty to fraud charges

PADUCAH (AP) — A McCracken County physician has admitted to devising a scheme to obtain prescription pain medication while he was working at two Paducah hospitals.

U.S. Attorney John E. Kuhn Jr. said in a news release that 46-year-old Sean McDonald pleaded guilty Thursday to fraudulent possession of a controlled substance, wire fraud and making false statements about health care matters.

Kuhn says McDonald misrepresented that he was removing meds for hospitalized patients, falsely possessed the controlled substances, and caused a request for payment to be sent from Lourdes hospital and Western Baptist to patient insurance carriers.

The charges could have sent McDonald to prison for a maximum cumulative sentence of 113 years if he had been convicted at trial. Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 26.


Ex-Louisville newscaster who ran over woman pleads guilty

LOUISVILLE (AP) — A former weekend TV sports anchor has pleaded guilty to failing to provide help after he ran over a downtown Louisville hotel employee who had fallen while crossing the street.

Citing court documents, the Courier-Journal reports that 33-year-old Jeffrey Woods admitted he didn’t stop to help 58-year-old Fontaine Jeffery on Jan. 23, 2015 when a tow truck driver hit her before Woods’ vehicle also struck her.

Authorities say Woods, who worked for WHAS-TV at the time, got out of his WHAS-marked SUV, looked at the other driver and then drove away without calling 911. Jeffery died from her injuries.

As part of the plea deal, Woods will serve four years of supervised diversion.

WHAS-TV President and General Manager Linda Danna declined to comment, saying Woods is no longer an employee.


Contractor will testify in lawsuit over fatal Christmas fire

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A contractor who initially took the blame for accidentally starting a fire in Connecticut that killed his girlfriend’s three children and her parents on Christmas morning in 2011 will testify in a wrongful-death lawsuit and turn over documents, his lawyer said Thursday.

A state judge in Hartford had called a hearing for Thursday after the New York City contractor, Michael Borcina, failed to turn over documents for the lawsuit proceedings, missed a deposition and appeared to go missing. Borcina’s lawyer, Robert Laney, said Borcina had not disappeared, but declined to elaborate.

The fire at a Victorian home in Stamford owned by the children’s mother, New York advertising executive Madonna Badger, killed 7-year-old twins Grace and Sarah Badger, 9-year-old Lily Badger and their maternal grandparents, Lomer and Pauline Johnson, formerly of Louisville, Kentucky.

At the time, Badger and Borcina were dating and he was renovating the home. They both escaped the flames.

It’s not clear when Borcina will turn over documents related to the renovation or when he will testify at a deposition.

Borcina initially said he put a bag of fireplace ashes in a mudroom where officials said the fire began after he and Badger finished wrapping Christmas presents. He said he ran his hands through the ashes to make sure they weren’t hot. He later testified at a deposition in the lawsuit that Badger put the ashes in the mudroom.

The children’s father, Matthew Badger, filed the wrongful death lawsuit against Borcina, his construction company, other contractors and the city of Stamford.

Borcina settled claims against him in the lawsuit for $5 million in December 2014. He was accused of contributing with the other defendants to make the house a “firetrap,” including failing to install smoke detectors during construction.

Claims remain pending against other defendants. The lawsuit says city officials knew or should have known that Borcina served as the home’s general contractor but didn’t have a state home improvement contractor’s license. Stamford officials have denied any wrongdoing.


Teenage boy’s body found in Bowling Green subdivision lake

BOWLING GREEN (AP) — Divers have found the body of a 13-year-old boy who disappeared underwater at a private, man-made lake in a Bowling Green subdivision.

The Warren County Sheriff’s Department tells news outlets that 13-year-old Deron Mills of Florence was swimming with his cousin and brother Thursday evening when he went under.

Warren County Technical Rescue Squad spokesman Stephen Harmon says the teenager’s brother and cousin attempted to rescue him and then called 911. Divers found the boy’s body later that night inside the lake, which has a depth of 10 feet in the middle.

Authorities say none of the young men lived in the gated community.

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