News in Brief

Ky. man to be sentenced in wife’s alleged mercy killing

LOUISVILLE (AP) — Virginia Chumbley was asleep when she was shot to death in her home. The killer left the handgun in the bedroom and cried as he called 911.

“I just shot my wife,” Chris Chumbley told the Laurel County emergency operator. “Give me the police. I’m under arrest.”

He later told authorities the killing was an act of mercy: His wife of two decades, who everyone knew as Jenny, had asked to die because her cancer had spread.

Her body was swollen and her pain was immense. She had to use a wheelchair when she wasn’t bed-ridden and Chumbley has said he was honoring her wish.

Chumbley, 50, was charged with murder, but last month, prosecutors reached a deal that would allow him to plead guilty to manslaughter. He faces 15 years in prison when he is sentenced by a judge Thursday.

The August 2013 shooting renewed the debate over mercy killings and the right to die in a nation where five states — Oregon, Vermont, Washington, Montana and most recently California — have laws that allow doctors to prescribe life-ending drugs.


Probe: School staff mishandled Louisville students

LOUISVILLE (AP) — A Jefferson County school district report has concluded that some staff at a recently shuttered school inappropriately put their hands on students, mishandled the use of seclusion and failed to report physical altercations.

According to a the investigative report, multiple staff members at Louisville’s Kennedy Metro Middle alternative school made inappropriate physical contact with students, including ramming their heads into walls. The report, dated Nov. 17, 2014, was obtained recently by multiple news outlets through a state open records request.

Kennedy Metro was closed at the end of last school year to make way for a new elementary school at the same location.

Board member Chris Brady says he is infuriated that none of the staff members have been significantly disciplined, with many continuing to work in district schools.


Central Ky. lake testing prompts advisory to be lifted

FRANKFORT (AP) — Two Kentucky agencies have removed a recreational advisory that had been issued for a central Kentucky lake after harmful algal blooms were detected in the water.

The Kentucky Division of Water and Department of Public Health say microcystin toxin occurring in Lake Reba in Madison County is below the level of concern, with latest testing results showing the water consistently below the division’s recreational threshold of 20 parts per billion.

The agencies said people should avoid contact with water that has obvious algal blooms or is otherwise visually suspect.

Anyone concerned that they have symptoms as a result of exposure to harmful algal blooms or other water-borne disease should see their doctor and call the local health department.

The recreational advisory was issued for Lake Reba on Sept. 18.


Man sentenced in 1971 death of toddler

LOUISVILLE (AP) — A man charged last year in the 1971 death of a Louisville toddler has been sentenced to five years in prison.

Media report Lawrence Beck received the sentence Wednesday in Jefferson Circuit Court in the death of 20-month-old Michael Sanders.

Prosecutors originally charged Beck with murder, but he pleaded guilty in August to a felony charge of involuntary manslaughter. As part of the plea, he admitted to shaking the boy and causing injuries that led to his death. The charges came after advances in pediatric forensics.

Beck’s attorney asked for probation for his client, but Judge Angela McCormic Bisig declined, saying the charges were too serious.

Police say Beck was dating the boy’s mother and was watching him the day he died.


Ky. pharmacy PharMerica agrees to $9.25M settlement

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A Kentucky pharmacy has agreed to pay $9.25 million to settle allegations that it solicited and received kickbacks from a manufacturer in exchange for promoting a drug with nursing home patients, federal prosecutors announced Wednesday.

The settlement with Louisville-based PharMerica Corp. resolves claims that it received kickbacks from Abbott Laboratories in exchange for recommending that physicians prescribe the Abbott-manufactured drug Depakote. The federal government alleged the kickbacks were disguised as rebates, educational grants and other financial support.

The settlement partially resolves allegations in two whistleblower lawsuits filed in federal court in the western district of Virginia.

U.S. Attorney Anthony P. Giorno said the PharMerica settlement should serve as a reminder to pharmaceutical companies and their clients that their activities are being monitored.

“We owe nothing less in fulfilling our duty to ensure that nursing home residents are provided with the appropriate drugs based upon their needs rather than the business interests of the companies providing the drugs,” Giorno said.

In 2012, Abbott pleaded guilty and agreed to pay $1.5 billion over allegations that it promoted Depakote for patients with dementia and autism — uses not approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The drug was approved for bipolar disorder and epilepsy.

“Elderly nursing home residents suffering from dementia have little control over the medications they receive and depend on the unbiased judgment of health-care professionals for their daily care,” said Deputy Assistant Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer, head of the U.S. Justice Department’s Civil Division. “Kickbacks to entities making drug recommendations compromise their independence and undermine their role in protecting nursing home residents from the use of unnecessary drugs.”


Woman exonerated of murder sues state police detective

LOUISVILLE (AP) — A woman exonerated of a murder after serving eight years in prison is suing a Kentucky State Police detective after she says he framed her.

The Courier-Journal reports Susan King was cleared by the Kentucky Innocence Project, which began investigating her case. King’s conviction in Spencer County was vacated last year by the Kentucky Court of Appeals after another person confessed to the 1998 slaying of Kyle “Deanie” Breeden.

In a lawsuit filed last week in U.S. District Court, King says that Detective Todd Harwood lied to a judge to get a warrant to search her house and then omitted key evidence when he testified before the grand jury that indicted her.

Harwood and the state police didn’t respond to requests for comment to the newspaper.


N.Ky. father accused of gravely injuring baby

INDEPENDENCE (AP) — A Northern Kentucky father has been accused of violently shaking his infant son, causing severe injury including hemorrhaging to the baby’s brain.

Multiple media outlets report that 24-year-old Casey Radcliffe of Independence was charged with first-degree assault Sunday after investigators say Radcliffe violently shook 3-month-old and left his son in his crib for hours even though it was clear the boy was injured. The infant was in critical condition, as of Wednesday.

Kenton County Commonwealth’s Attorney Rob Sanders said Wednesday that if the infant does not survive, the case could become a murder case rather than first-degree assault. The first-degree assault charge carries a 10- to 20-year sentence.

Authorities say medical staff has told them that if the baby survives, he’ll likely suffer permanent impairment from the injury.

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