State News in Brief

Investigators seek motive in slaying of ex-coal executive

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A West Virginia sheriff says investigators are trying to determine a motive in the fatal shooting of a former coal company executive at a cemetery where the businessman’s wife is buried.

Mingo County Sheriff James Smith said on Wednesday that authorities still don’t know of any connection between the suspect, 20-year-old Anthony R. Arriaga of Delphos, Ohio, and Bennett K. Hatfield, the 59-year-old former president and CEO of Patriot Coal.

Authorities said Arriaga shot Hatfield on Monday at Mountain View Memory Gardens, a cemetery in southern West Virginia. Arriaga was later arrested in Ohio.

Arriaga waived his right to an extradition hearing Tuesday. Records don’t indicate whether he has an attorney.

Smith says West Virginia authorities will transport Arriaga back to face charges, but he’s not sure when that will take place.


Town hall to discuss Syrian refugee resettlement plan

BOWLING GREEN (AP) — A plan to accept Syrian refugees in Bowling Green is raising concerns. In response, the organizations involved have scheduled a town hall to address any questions.

The Bowling Green International Center plans to help resettle refugees, including a group of 40 from Syria, in October.

Center Director Albert Mbanfu said he hopes to address concerns about the screening process and explain how these refugees come to the United States.

“My objective is that people will leave this town hall with a sound knowledge on how refugee resettlement works,” he said.

City Commissioner Melinda Hill has called the resettlement risky.

“This is not against the people,” Hill said. “Our federal government has not put in place a good vetting process.”

Mbanfu says the federal government won’t put the country at risk of potential terrorist infiltrators.

“The community deserves to come out and be heard,” said City Commissioner Sue Parrigin.

The Daily News reports that the town hall is scheduled for 5 p.m. Friday at the Professional Development and Learning Center.


Kentucky State Police: Man dies after falling from tower

WEST LIBERTY (AP) — A man has died after falling from a cellular tower in Kentucky.

Master Trooper Joe Veeneman of the Kentucky State Police said in a news release that 19-year-old Tyler Comer of Charleston, West Virginia, died Tuesday night after falling from the 105-foot cellular tower in the city of West Liberty.

Comer was working on the tower when he attempted to retrieve his work tools. Veeneman says Comer lost his balance and fell to the ground.

Troopers responded and pronounced Comer dead at the scene.

Authorities continue to investigate.


Cemeteries, nursing homes hold ceremonies honoring veterans

FRANKFORT (AP) — Kentucky officials say that state cemeteries and nursing homes dedicated to veterans will hold Memorial Day ceremonies to honor military members who have died.

The Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs says ceremonies at all four of the state’s cemeteries will be held Monday morning. The cemeteries are located in Williamstown, Hopkinsville, Greenup County and Radcliff. Officials said volunteers are needed to place flags on gravesites at the cemetery in Radcliff.

Two nursing homes, one in Wilmore and one in Hazard, are also holding ceremonies on Monday morning. A third home in Hanson plans to hold its ceremony on Friday.

Current and former military members as well as local officials are expected to speak at the different events.


Police: Jeffersontown man tied up woman, killed her father

JEFFERSONTOWN (AP) — A Jeffersontown man has been accused of killing his girlfriend’s father after attempting to kidnap the woman.

Citing an arrest citation, the Courier-Journal reports that 28-year-old Christian Cobert is facing numerous charges, including murder and kidnapping, in connection with the Monday killing of 61-year-old Larry P. Wittmer.

Police say Cobert was armed when he forced his girlfriend to hogtie her father in her home.

Wittmer was able to untie himself while Cobert briefly left the room, and the two exchanged gunfire inside the home.

The Jefferson County Coroner’s Office says Wittmer was shot in the head and pronounced dead at a hospital.

Police say Cobert fled on foot, but was caught by authorities. It is unclear whether he has an attorney.


2 arrested in weekend killing of teen brothers in Louisville

LOUISVILLE (AP) — Police have charged a man and a juvenile in connection to the killing of two teens found in Louisville’s Shawnee neighborhood.

Louisville Metro Police Lt. Todd Kessinger tells local media that 25-year-old Brice Rhoades and a juvenile have both been arrested and charged in connection to the killings. Rhoades faces murder charges for the homicides.

The Coroner’s Office says the bodies of 16-year-old Maurice Gordon and 14-year-old Larry Ordway were found dead with multiple stab wounds and badly burned in the backyard of a vacant home. The victims were brothers. Authorities believe the boys were killed at a different location and then moved to the vacant home.

Kessinger says the two boys knew Rhoades. He declined to comment on possible motive.

It’s unclear if Rhoades has an attorney.


Lexington, surrounding counties facing water rate increase

FRANKFORT (AP) — The Kentucky Public Service Commission is holding a public meeting on a request to increase water utility bills for more than 100,000 customers in and around Lexington.

Kentucky-American Water Co. is asking for a rate increase that would add about $6 to the average customer’s monthly water bill.

The approval would increase its annual revenue by about $13 million per year, or about 15 percent. Kentucky-American Water says it needs to recover the cost of system improvements and major construction projects that have been finished since the last rate adjustment in 2013.

The public comment meeting June 7 will be held at the Bluegrass Community and Technical College’s conference center on the Leestown Road Campus.

The company serves more than 126,000 customers in 10 counties in central Kentucky.

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