COLBY KILLING-SENTENCE SOUGHT
AG to seek 'Hard 50' for Kansas murder suspect
COLBY, Kan. (AP) - Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt says he'll seek the "Hard 50" prison sentence for a man accused of fatally stabbing a former girlfriend and setting her house on fire.
Schmidt's office is handling the prosecution of 25-year-old William Andrew Shank in Thomas County District Court. The Garden City man is charged with first-degree murder, aggravated arson and burglary in the Feb. 9 death of 27-year-old Teri Morris in Colby.
Schmidt filed a motion Thursday indicating that if Shank is convicted, he'll request a sentence of at least 50 years in prison without parole. Shank faces trial in March 2014.
Shank has pleaded not guilty to killing Morris, an emergency medical technician with whom he was contesting custody of their 8-month-old daughter. A coroner said Morris had been stabbed 27 times.
BICYCLIST-HIT AND RUN
Man found dead 4 days after KCK accident
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) - Police in Kansas City, Kan., have identified a bicycle rider who was found dead more than four days after an apparent hit-and-run accident.
But no progress was reported Thursday in finding the vehicle that struck 40-year-old Santiago Zamora-Zamora, who lived in the city.
Officers responding to a call about a body Tuesday afternoon found Zamora-Zamora in an industrial area just off U.S. 69.
Police said Zamora-Zamora had been riding or pushing a red bicycle when he was hit sometime between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. on Nov. 29. His name was withheld while investigators confirmed his identity and notified relatives.
Authorities are asking the public to report any information about the incident.
Baker University names new president
(Information in the following story is from: Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World, http://www.ljworld.com )
BALDWIN CITY, Kan. (AP) - Baker University has named a top administrator from Gallaudet University as its next president.
The private university in northeast Kansas announced the appointment of Lynne Murray on Thursday. She will succeed Pat Long, who's retiring next year.
Murray is currently Gallaudet's vice president of development and alumni and international relations. The Washington, D.C., school is the nation's leading university for deaf and hard-of-hearing students.
The Lawrence Journal-World reports that Murray was among 71 applicants who visited the Baldwin City campus last month. Presidential search committee chairman Hoot Gibson said Murray stood out for her success in fundraising and university advancement at Gallaudet and Georgetown University, where she also worked.
The Maryland native holds a master's degree in marketing from Johns Hopkins University and a doctorate in special education administration from Gallaudet.
KANSAS-HARD 50 LAW
Kansas Senate leader has plan to toughen 'Hard 50'
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Kansas Senate Majority Leader Terry Bruce says he'll push next year to strengthen the state's "Hard 50" sentencing law for convicted murderers.
The proposal outlined Thursday by the Hutchinson Republican comes only months after a special legislative session to fix a flaw in the law.
It allows people convicted of premeditated, first-degree murder to be sentenced to at least 50 years in prison.
Legislators had to fix the law because it had said judges decided whether the circumstances of a crime warranted the "Hard 50" sentence rather than at least 25 years in prison. In June, the U.S. Supreme Court said juries must decide such issues.
Bruce said he wants the "Hard 50" to be the presumed sentence, with judges deciding whether to lessen it in some cases.
Accident kills man at quarry near Junction City
JUNCTION CITY, Kan. (AP) - A Manhattan man died after he was hit by rocks during blasting at a quarry near Junction City.
The Geary County sheriff's office says 63-year-old Stephen Hetzler died Wednesday at the Bayer Rock Quarry six miles west of Junction City.
KJCK reports that the investigation found Hetzler was standing too close to a detonation area while using explosives to blow up rocks. He was hit by one large limestone rock and possibly several smaller rocks.
A preliminary investigation found the death was a work-related accident but Geary County, state and federal officials continue to investigate.
Gov. joins rabbi in Statehouse Hanukkah festival
(Information in the following story is from: The Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal, http://www.cjonline.com )
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - A Kansas rabbi urged people to "put aside the darkness" and bring light to the world, starting with the eight candles on a menorah lit during a Hanukkah festival at the Statehouse.
Rabbi Zalman Tiechtel was referring to the recent quadruple homicide in Topeka and other tragic events that have occurred around the world. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback joined Tiechtel and dozens of others Wednesday at the celebration, saying Jewish people are not going to struggle in his state because of their beliefs.
Lt. Col. Moran Omer of the Israel Defense Forces, who is attending command classes at Leavenworth, was at the celebration with his young son, with whom he lit one of the candles.
Cedar Crest hosted the event the past two years.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.