State News in Brief


Chief justice: Cuts could put 17,000 awaiting trial in jail

FRANKFORT (AP) — Kentucky’s chief justice says proposed budget cuts would mean the judicial system would likely send 17,000 defendants back to county jails because there would be no officers to supervise them while they are awaiting trial.

Kentucky Chief Justice John Minton told the Senate Appropriations and Revenue Committee that proposed budget cuts from Republican Gov. Matt Bevin and House Democrats would cost 600 jobs. He urged senators to reject the proposed 9 percent cuts over the next two years, calling on lawmakers to do the right thing.

In an unusually candid speech, Minton told lawmakers he was done being cool and calm. He told lawmakers that whatever hair he has left is on fire.

Committee Chairman Sen. Chris McDaniel said lawmakers are discussing how to handle Minton’s request.

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Bevin appoints Jeffersontown chief as new KSP commissioner

FRANKFORT (AP) — Jeffersontown Police Chief Rick Sanders will be the new Kentucky State Police commissioner.

Republican Gov. Matt Bevin announced the appointment Monday in a news release. An eight-person committee, which included three current and two retired state police officers, unanimously recommended Sanders after interviewing 16 other candidates. Bevin also appointed Alexander Payne as deputy commissioner. Payne, like Sanders, also works for the Jeffersontown Police Department.

“After a long, thoughtful process, we are pleased that Chief Sanders and Maj. Payne will lead the men and women who make up the ‘Thin Gray Line,’” Bevin said in a news release.

Sanders has more than 40 years of law enforcement experience, mostly with the Drug Enforcement Administration. He was a pilot based in Miami in the late 1980s before being promoted to various leadership roles including special agent in charge of the Chicago Field Division and administrator in the DEA’s Washington headquarters overseeing investigative technology and forensic sciences.

Since 2007 Sanders has been chief in Jeffersontown, where the governor’s office noted his reforms led to seizing more than $1.5 million from drug traffickers.

“I am honored to be selected by Gov. Bevin and Sec.Tilley to lead such a prestigious law enforcement agency,” Sanders said in a news release from the governor’s office.

Payne is patrol commander for the Jeffersontown Police Department. Before that, he worked for the Kentucky State Police for 19 years.

“I am both honored and humbled to be back with the organization that I grew up in,” Payne said in a news release.

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ATV driver in police pursuit dies after being shot

WHITE PLAINS (AP) — Kentucky State Police say an ATV driver has died after being shot by a trooper.

Trooper Sean Wint says in a news release that the trooper was pursuing an all-terrain vehicle in Hopkins County, about 150 miles southwest of Louisville, when the ATV overturned Saturday. The ATV’s driver pulled out a handgun and fired at the trooper, who returned fire. The ATV driver was shot and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Wint identified him as 23-year-old Dylan R. Whitaker of White Plains. An autopsy is scheduled for Monday.

The trooper was not injured.

Race hasn’t been raised as a factor. Wint said in a telephone interview Sunday that Whitaker was white, and information on the trooper, including his name and race, were withheld pending completion of an investigation.

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Laurel Co. constable charged in fatal shooting of man

LONDON (AP) — A grand jury has indicted a Laurel County constable in the fatal shooting of a Manchester man.

The Times-Tribune reports that 37-year-old Bobby Joe Smith was indicted on a second-degree manslaughter charge on Friday.

Laurel County Sheriff John Root has said Smith was attempting to serve a warrant on a man at a gas station when the shooting took place March 4.

The sheriff’s office says the man, identified as 30-year-old Brandon Stanley, died at the scene.

It was not clear if Smith had been arrested or if he had a lawyer to speak on his behalf about the case on Saturday.

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Ky. AG to investigate radioactive waste dumping

ASHLAND (AP) — Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear has launched an investigation into the presence of low-level nuclear waste that officials say was illegally dumped inside two landfills in Estill and Greenup counties.

Beshear’s office said in a news release Wednesday that its investigation will be separate from those being pursued by local officials and cabinets in Gov. Matt Bevin’s administration.

Beshear says he was “particularly troubled” that hazardous materials were found at the Blue Ridge Landfill in Irvine, which is located near two schools.

The owners of both landfills have said they were unaware of any dumping of radioactive waste and pledged to cooperate with investigators.

Beshear’s announcement comes about three weeks after officials publicly confirmed that waste from fracking operations in Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania had been found in the landfills.

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Victim of fall at Lexington nature sanctuary identified

LEXINGTON (AP) — Officials have identified a Kenton County woman who died after falling off an overlook at Raven Run Nature Sanctuary in Lexington.

The Fayette County coroner’s office identified the victim late Saturday as 22-year-old Mary Katharine Stewart. The office didn’t specify her hometown.

Media reports say the woman slipped and fell off the overlook. Firefighters attempted a rescue but they later reported she died from her injuries.

An autopsy was planned on Sunday.

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Suspect in Kentucky mall shooting arrested after standoff

LEXINGTON (AP) — A six-hour standoff with Lexington police ended with the arrest of a 17-year-old male.

Police spokeswoman Brenna Angel tells The Herald-Leader that the youth was arrested and charged with first-degree robbery and first-degree assault stemming from a shooting Thursday at a shopping mall.

The standoff occurred at an apartment complex, and police talked the youth into surrendering shortly after 7 a.m. Saturday.

In the shooting at the Palomar Center, a 19-year-old male was shot in the leg and taken to a hospital.

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Workforce training initiative adds chapter in NE Kentucky

FRANKFORT (AP) — Gov. Matt Bevin says a workforce training initiative has expanded into northeastern Kentucky.

A statement from the governor’s office says the Kentucky Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education is now available through Maysville Community and Technical College. After participants enroll in the program, they take classes two days each week and work at a sponsoring manufacturer three days a week. The five-semester program allows students to get an associate degree while also obtaining hands-on, paid experience.

Officials say the program addresses a need for more skilled workers in advanced manufacturing.

Programs are already in place in several areas of Kentucky. The statement says officials hope that it will eventually be available in all regions of the state.

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Prosecutors file death penalty notice in shooting

WINCHESTER (AP) — Clark County prosecutors say they plan to seek the death penalty if four suspects in a woman’s shooting death are convicted at trial.

The Winchester Sun reports prosecutors notified Clark County Circuit Court during a status hearing last week.

Twenty-year-old Christopher Robinson is charged with murder, first-degree burglary and two counts of first-degree assault in the December 2014 shooting at a Winchester apartment complex.

Nineteen-year-old Lillian Barnett, 19-year-old Aaron Stailey and 21-year-old Lamont Wilkerson are indicted on charges of complicity to murder, burglary and assault.

Police say shots were fired when the four went to the apartment. A bullet went through the floor and into an apartment below, killing 19-year-old Amber Caudill.

The defendants are set for trial in May, although a motion is pending to try them separately.

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Bench trial for former Ohio basketball coach rescheduled

COVINGTON (AP) — A bench trial for a former Ohio college women’s basketball coach accused of groping a player has been rescheduled.

The trial of former Xavier University assistant women’s basketball coach Brian McKey had been set to start Monday in a Kenton County court in Covington, Kentucky. Court officials say it was rescheduled and is now set to begin April 11.

McKey’s attorney earlier entered a not guilty plea for his client on a misdemeanor charge of third-degree sexual assault.

A player that McKey coached at Xavier says he invited her to come to his Covington home and touched her inappropriately. She says he tried to kiss her, but she pushed him away and left.

McKey had become a University of Maryland assistant, but resigned after the allegation surfaced.

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Police investigate Louisville fire as arson; 4 found dead

LOUISVILLE (AP) — Louisville police are investigating the deaths of four people found in a home after firefighters responded to a house fire.

Louisville Metro Police Department spokesman Dwight Mitchell tells local media outlets that the fire Sunday was caused by arson, but wouldn’t comment on how the four people died. At least one child was among the dead.

Mitchell says the Jeffersontown and McMahon fire departments responded to a fire call Sunday afternoon in southeast Louisville. Investigators quickly determined the fire was arson.

Jeffersontown Fire Chief Sean Dreisbach says there were multiple fires set on different floors of the home.

Homicide detectives are investigating. A possible motive or suspects have not been announced.

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Search may resume for car that plunged into Ohio River

CINCINNATI (AP) — Authorities are hoping to resume a search this week for a car that plunged into the Ohio River after a pileup on a bridge leading from Kentucky to Cincinnati.

Search efforts were suspended last week because of safety concerns related to the rising river.

The head of the Boone County water rescue team in Kentucky said last week that it might be Tuesday or Wednesday before river conditions allow divers to look for the car.

Authorities in Kentucky say they have been contacted by the family of a missing person believed to have been driving the car when it toppled over the side of the bridge Tuesday.

Investigators have said 12 vehicles were involved in accidents on the bridge that carries Interstate 275 from Campbell County, Kentucky, to Cincinnati.

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Vigil held to honor Clark Co. men killed 6 years ago

WINCHESTER (AP) — A candlelight vigil was held in Clark County to honor three young men who died in a fatal shooting six years ago.

The Winchester Sun reports that the vigil was held Saturday night to honor 24-year-old Robbie Reese, 23-year-old Clayton Edge and 21-year-old Dustin Browning. They were killed March 21, 2010, at Edge’s residence in a shooting case that remains unsolved.

Robbie Reese’s mother, Crystal Reese, says Kentucky State Police have not identified suspects in the shooting.

Gay Edge, Clayton Edge’s mother, says the men died after a bonfire party. She says the three of them fell asleep and were fatally shot inside the home. Each had been shot in the head.

Reese says she wants to have a vigil each year until the case is solved.

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