State News in Brief


Escaped prison inmate recaptured after a year on the lam

LEXINGTON (AP) — A man who escaped from a prison in Lexington last year has been arrested in Florida.

Officials at the Blackburn Correctional Complex in Lexington tell local news outlets that James Dennis was arrested on July 30 in Marion County, Florida.

Dennis and another inmate escaped from Blackburn in April 2015. Dennis was serving a 13-year sentence after being convicted of making methamphetamine.

The second inmate, Kelly Conway, was arrested in Texas in August 2015.

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Authorities seeking grower of confiscated pot: ‘WeGotYoWeed’

LEITCHFIELD (AP) — Authorities in Kentucky are looking for the grower of more than $600,000 worth of marijuana confiscated from a corn field.

The Grayson County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement that while no arrests have been made, the owner can claim the marijuana by calling the office. The statement ended with the hashtag “#WeGotYoWeed.”

The statement says based on a tip, 254 marijuana plants were taken from the field west of Short Creek. They were between rows of corn that had been pulled to make room for the marijuana.

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Pretrial officer accused of having sex with a jail inmate

WINCHESTER (AP) — An employee at a central Kentucky jail is accused of having sex with an inmate.

News outlets report Winchester Police Capt. James Hall says 28-year-old Daphne Kelley of Richmond was charged Tuesday with third-degree rape following an investigation at the Clark County Detention Center.

Kelley is a pretrial officer who has an office at the jail.

Hall says several witnesses told authorities Kelley was having a relationship with the inmate. He says Kelley was having inappropriate sexual contact with the inmate while he was on work release.

Clark County Jailer Frank Doyle confirmed that none of the alleged incidents occurred in the jail.

Authorities say the inmate could also face charges of escape and promoting contraband in the case.

It’s unclear if Kelley has an attorney.

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Search crews pull man’s body from Licking River

CARLISLE (AP) — Officials have recovered the body of a man believed to have fallen into the Licking River while fishing in Nicholas County.

Multiple news agencies report Nicholas County Sheriff Jeff Sidles says search crews found the unidentified man’s body Wednesday night.

Sidles says the man’s wife got home from work and went to the river to check on her husband, who had been fishing. However, all she found were his dogs and a fishing pole.

Sidles says the woman noticed marks that appeared to show the man slid down the river’s bank and into the water.

The incident remains under investigation.

It took crews more than an hour to find the body, which Sidles says was located about 50 yards from where investigators believe he fell in.

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Man pays $4,000 in iTunes gift cards in ‘grandparent scam’

VERSAILLES (AP) — A Woodford County man was the victim of a “grandparent scam” that required him to pay money to a person impersonating a law enforcement official.

Woodford County Sheriff Wayne Wright tells the Lexington Herald-Leader that an 81-year-old man received a call on Tuesday from a man pretending to be a sheriff in North Carolina. The caller told him to pay $4,000 worth of Apple iTunes gift cards to release his grandson from jail.

Wright says the man complied with the request and went to local stores to purchase the cards. He then read the numbers on the cards to the man impersonating the officer.

Wright says the call likely came from outside the country.

Anyone who receives such calls is encouraged to verify the caller’s identity.

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2 top Democrats to skip appearing at Fancy Farm picnic

LOUISVILLE (AP) — Democratic U.S. Senate challenger Jim Gray will be outnumbered when he takes the stage for his showdown against Republican Sen. Rand Paul at the Fancy Farm picnic Saturday.

Two leading Democrats — Attorney General Andy Beshear and Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes — confirmed Wednesday that they are skipping Kentucky’s premier political event.

With their absence, Republicans will boast an even more lopsided advantage on stage for speeches at the raucous event in western Kentucky that includes sign-toting, noisy hecklers.

Beshear and Grimes, both Fancy Farm veterans, are citing family commitments as reasons for missing the church picnic, known for its spicy political speeches and barbecue.

Beshear said he’ll be attending his children’s first-ever play Saturday. Grimes said she wants to spend time with her husband, Andrew, before he leaves on a business trip.

Both are attending Democratic events leading up to Saturday’s picnic.

“After the last two years running for AG, it’s important to spend the last weekend before school starts with my kids at their play,” Beshear said in a statement.

Their absence means Paul will have plenty more backup support than Gray as the Senate campaign rivals make their case at the traditional kickoff of Kentucky’s fall campaign. Paul, who is seeking a second Senate term, and Gray will square off in the featured event of the speeches.

Gray campaign spokeswoman Cathy Lindsey said the Lexington mayor is looking forward to the chance to outline his plans for Kentucky. She said Gray has enjoyed strong support from Beshear and Grimes during the campaign.

“I fully support the Democratic ticket and expect great success this fall,” Beshear said. “While I obviously like and support all our candidates, I love my kids.”

But Republicans pounced on the absence of two leading Democrats from a highly partisan event in a part of the state trending heavily toward the GOP.

“The Democrat Party is on the verge of becoming a regional party — a Louisville- and Lexington-specific party,” said Tres Watson, a state Republican Party spokesman.

Republican dominance on stage reflects the party’s election successes. Western Kentucky, once a Democratic stronghold, has been a key contributor to GOP victories statewide.

“Republicans for years went out there and participated when they were getting stomped in west Kentucky elections,” Watson said. “Now that the tables have turned, the Democrats don’t want to go out there.”

Other scheduled speakers Saturday include Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Gov. Matt Bevin, both Republicans. Other Republicans expected on stage include state Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles, state Treasurer Allison Ball and state Auditor Mike Harmon. GOP and Democratic candidates for local statehouse seats and a congressional seat also will be featured.

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Body found floating inside toolbox in Grayson Co. creek

LEITCHFIEL. (AP) — Authorities say a body has been found inside a toolbox floating in a Grayson County creek.

Kentucky State Police Trooper Jeff Gregory tells news outlets that someone found the body of an adult male Tuesday in a large toolbox floating in Spring Fork Creek, a tributary of Rough River.

Authorities say the toolbox is similar to one that would be found in the bed of pickup trucks.

An autopsy is being conducted at the medical examiner’s officer in Louisville. No further details have been released.

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Barren voters to decide wet-dry issue next month

GLASGOW (AP) — Voters in Barren County will decide next month whether to allow legal alcohol sales.

The Glasgow Daily Times reports Judge-Executive Micheal Hale said a petition seeking the ballot issue had enough signatures of registered voters to set an election.

The vote will be held Sept. 27.

The petition was circulated by the group Move Barren County Forward. Hale said in a news release that the petitions included more than the 2,318 registered voters necessary.

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Police: Man found shot to death inside car in Louisville

LOUISVILLE (AP) — Authorities are investigating after a man was found shot to death inside a car in Louisville.

Media outlets report Louisville Metro police say the unidentified victim was found dead with a gunshot wound to the head inside the vehicle on Wednesday evening.

Police say the shooting death is being ruled a homicide.

Police spokesman Dwight Mitchell says officers are searching the neighborhood for any witnesses.

WLKY-TV reports that the victim is described as a white man in his mid-20s, and police said he did not live in the area.

Police have not released any information about a possible suspect.

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