State News in Brief


Courting Ky. votes, Rubio does not regret Trump attacks

FRANKFORT (AP) — Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio told a Kentucky sports radio host he does not regret his petty attacks about the size of Donald Trump’s hands, but added if he did have regrets it would be “because Jesus would be embarrassed by it.”

Rubio’s quip about Trump’s hands led to a cringe-worthy remark from Trump during Thursday night’s debate, when the Republican front-runner defended his sexual prowess on live television. Rubio spoke to Kentucky Sports Radio, the state’s largest sports talk show, one day before Kentucky Republicans cast votes in the first presidential caucus since 1984.

Rubio told host Matt Jones that Kentuckians’ votes matter and that he believes politics will never be the same after this election cycle. He said Trump has dangerously divided the Republican party.

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Stolen ATM recovered from Laurel Co. creek

LONDON (AP) — Laurel County Sheriff’s deputies have recovered an ATM from Robinson Creek near London, and are trying to determine how it got there.

The sheriff’s office says in a news release that Deputy Josh Scott recovered a reported stolen ATM from the creek on Wednesday. The machine was found Monday by a man who was driving across a nearby bridge.

Investigators don’t know if any money was taken from the ATM, or what the motivation was for stealing it.

Deputies ask anyone with information on the theft to call them at 606-864-6600.

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Man accused in fatal crash indicted on murder charges

MANCHESTER (AP) — A Clay County grand jury has indicted a man accused of murdering five people, including an unborn child, after authorities say he caused a car crash while high on drugs in eastern Kentucky.

WYMT-TV reports that 40-year-old Jason Gibson of Big Creek was indicted Thursday on four counts of murder, one count of fetal homicide and one count of operating a motor vehicle under the influence, among other charges. Authorities also say Gibson was in possession of methamphetamine.

Police say Gibson was high Dec. 18 when he hit another car along the Hal Rogers Parkway. Judy Pennington-Adams, her pregnant daughter Tiffany Williams, Tiffany’s unborn child and infant son Kyson as well as family friend Charlene Lewis were all killed.

Gibson pleaded not guilty to the charges in December.

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Senate votes to toughen penalty for attacking police dogs

FRANKFORT (AP) — The Kentucky Senate has voted to toughen the penalty for attacking and wounding police dogs.

Under the bill clearing the Senate on Friday, anyone attacking a police service animal with a gun or knife would be guilty of a felony, regardless of whether the animal returns to duty.

Offenders would face one to five years in prison. Currently, if the wounded animal returns to service, the attacker faces a misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail.

The same felony offense applies if someone kills a police service animal.

The bill also would require people convicted of attempted murder to serve more prison time before parole eligibility. Domestic violence victims convicted of attempted murder would be exempted from serving more prison time before parole eligibility.

The bill goes to the House.

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Police: Soldier killed wife in apartment, caused fatal crash

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Authorities say a 21-year-old Fort Campbell soldier fatally assaulted his wife in an apartment, drove the wrong way on a highway and died upon colliding with a semitrailer.

Clarksville police spokeswoman Natalie Hall tells local media that officers found 18-year-old Katelyn Thomas inside an apartment near the state border on Wednesday morning while performing a welfare check.

Investigators say the woman had been assaulted by her husband, Deashawn Thomas, who died in a wrong-way crash on Interstate 24 earlier that morning. Police have not described Katelyn Thomas’ injuries or revealed how she died.

The Leaf-Chronicle reports that a preliminary Tennessee Highway Patrol investigation has concluded that the truck driver, 48-year-old Timothy Dargas, could not avoid the collision. Dargas was not injured.

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Man sentenced in robberies linked to ‘Sock Hat Bandit’

COVINGTON (AP) — The FBI says a man who robbed 11 banks in three states and was known as the “Sock Hat Bandit” has been sentenced to more than 10 years in federal prison.

A statement from the FBI office in Louisville says U.S. District Judge David L. Bunning sentenced 33-year-old Brian Michael Parnell on Thursday for robberies that were committed over a three-month span last year in Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana.

Parnell was arrested in June 2015 after a robbery at a Fifth-Third bank in northern Kentucky. The FBI says it then connected him to a series of other robberies in which the suspect covered his head with knitted hats. In all, the FBI says Parnell took more than $27,000.

U.S. Attorney spokesman Kyle Edelen says Parnell pleaded guilty in November to the robberies.

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Transportation secretary resigns, deputy chosen to fill role

FRANKFORT (AP) — Kentucky Transportation Secretary Mike Hancock has resigned the post, and Gov. Matt Bevin has chosen a deputy to be acting secretary.

The Transportation Cabinet said in a statement Thursday that Bevin named Greg Thomas to replace Hancock. Thomas was appointed deputy secretary in February.

Thomas started out as a technical engineer for Kentucky Utilities and has worked in various positions in the electric distribution sector. He also worked with Louisville Gas and Electric in the statewide electric distribution system.

He has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Tennessee.

Hancock became acting secretary in 2009, and former Gov. Steve Beshear officially appointed him to head the cabinet the next year. He has spent his career in various positions in the Transportation Cabinet.

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New partnership to help feed homebound in Louisville

LOUISVILLE (AP) — A new partnership in Louisville aims to assure homebound seniors in Louisville have meals delivered to them.

Mayor Greg Fisher on Thursday announced the formation of GMeals-On-Wheels. He said in a statement that the program will supplement the city’s traditional Meals-On-Wheels program, which delivers hot meals to more than 400 elderly and disabled adults every weekday. Fischer says the program has a consistent waiting list of about 100 who qualify but aren’t served due to increasing demand, rising costs and decreasing funds.

Fischer says GMeals will deliver five chilled meals weekly to those on the waiting list until a spot opens in the traditional program.

The statement says the Louisville-based nonprofit GFoundation launched the initiative with GMeals.

Fischer said the initiative fights hunger while showing compassion.

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