News in Brief


Coal miner crushed by digging machine in western Ky. mine

PROVIDENCE (AP) — A coal miner has died after being pinned against a wall by a mobile digging machine in an underground western Kentucky mine.

State mining officials say 36-year-old Nathan G. Phillips was taken to a nearby hospital and pronounced dead on Tuesday.

Phillips was operating a continuous miner at Webster County Coal’s Dotiki Mine around 4 p.m. CST when he got stuck between the machine and a wall. The continuous miner, a large flat vehicle that uses a spinning drum to cut coal, is operated remotely by a miner who stands near the machine.

It was the first coal-related death in Kentucky this year and the third nationwide.

The mine is owned by Alliance Resource Partners, which operates several western Kentucky mines in the Illinois Coal Basin.

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House panel OKs bill enlisting AG in human trafficking fight

FRANKFORT (AP) — Kentucky’s attorney general would be empowered to join the fight against human trafficking if a bill approved by a state House committee becomes law.

New Attorney General Andy Beshear told the House Judiciary Committee that he’s ready to put his office to work in assisting investigations and prosecutions of human trafficking cases in Kentucky.

The measure, sponsored by Rep. Sannie Overly, was advanced by the committee on Wednesday.

Beshear says Kentucky has some of the nation’s strongest laws against human trafficking, but he says only about 10 percent of child trafficking cases reported to the state have resulted in criminal investigations.

Beshear says the AG’s office would help provide more specially trained prosecutors with the goal of sending more human traffickers to prison.

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Fort Knox to gain 223 employees in 2016

FORT KNOX (AP) — Fort Knox is expected to gain 223 employees this year as a result of the reorganization of the 4th Cavalry Brigade and addition of the U.S. Army Reserve Careers Division headquarters

News outlets report that a Fort Knox news release says 129 people will be added because the 4th Cavalry Brigade at Fort Knox is transitioning to a multi-functional training brigade format and adding three new battalion headquarters.

The brigade provides assistance and training to active and reserve forces before and during deployment.

The Army Reserve Careers Division headquarters will also move to Fort Knox from Gillem Enclave, Georgia, and is expected to begin operations in July with 94 personnel.

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Woman convicted of killing boyfriend says felon was on jury

NEWPORT (AP) — A northern Kentucky woman convicted of murder in her boyfriend’s slaying is asking a judge to either declare mistrial or grant a new trial because one of the jurors on the case was a convicted felon.

News outlets report that attorneys for 24-year-old Shayna Hubers submitted the motion Friday, saying that they came across Juror No. 483’s criminal history while appealing Hubers’ April conviction.

The attorneys say the juror didn’t disclose the conviction. It is unclear what crime the man had been convicted for.

Hubers was sentenced to 40 years in prison for shooting 29-year-old Ryan Poston six times in 2012 after the couple fought. Hubers said she shot Poston in self-defense.

Under Kentucky law, neither convicted felons nor anyone under indictment is allowed to sit on juries.

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Man admits to killing wife, setting Reidland home ablaze

PADUCAH (AP) — A western Kentucky man has admitted to killing his wife and setting their home ablaze.

Multiple media outlets report that 56-year-old Keith Griffith was sentenced Tuesday to 30 years in prison after pleading guilty to charges of murder, first-degree arson, tampering with physical evidence and two counts of animal cruelty in McCracken County Circuit Court.

Prosecutors say Julie Griffith was shot three times in January 2014 before her body was found inside the couple’s burned Reidland home. Two dogs were also found dead.

Griffith also pleaded guilty to a new charge of solicitation to first-degree assault, after investigators said he had tried to have sheriff’s department Capt. Matt Carter, the lead investigator in Griffith’s case, fatally shot.

Crying, Griffith told the judge he wished he could take back his actions.

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U of Louisville law school adopts ‘compassion’ decree

LOUISVILLE (AP) — The faculty of the University of Louisville’s Brandeis School of Law has voted to adopt a resolution saying the school will “champion the cause of compassion.”

The Courier-Journal reports the resolution was passed 26-2 Tuesday after a heated debate.

Supporters of the resolution argued that students need to embrace compassion and that it’s not the “exclusive preserve” of the left. Professor Sam Marcosson said compassion is about “empathy for the pain and suffering of others.”

Opponents, like professor Russell Weaver, said the resolution was part of the law school’s “partisan agenda” and could possibly come back to haunt the school. Professor Manning Warren said compassion is a “loaded term.”

Those on both sides of the debate have written opinion columns that appeared in online or print versions of the Courier-Journal.

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