Author: AP Wire

WICHITA, Kan. — A homeless man has been sentenced to life plus 195 months in prison for killing a 72-year-old Wichita woman who had sometimes provided him with food and a place to stay. Television station KAKE reports that 57-year-old John Darwin Pepper was sentenced last week after being convicted in November of first-degree murder and criminal sodomy for the July 2019 death of Rita Golden. Prosecutors say Pepper killed Golden during the course of sexually assaulting her. Police have said Golden let Pepper stay in her backyard and sometimes let him take naps and eat insider her home. An…

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Kansas health officials say the state will stop contact tracing for COVID-19 next month. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment said Tuesday that contact tracing has become futile because of increased COVID-19 cases and the public’s declining interest in participating. The change means people who test positive for the virus will be responsible for notifying their close contacts about possible exposure. If the person has been exposed at high-risk settings such as schools or daycares, state or local health departments will notify the setting, which will be responsible for notifying close contacts about the potential exposure. The change takes…

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TOPEKA, Kan. — Republican legislators in Kansas are pursuing a redistricting proposal that would remove Democratic voters from the Kansas-City area swing district currently held by the state’s only Democratic member of Congress. Democrats fear that new political boundaries will make it harder for Democratic U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids to win reelection in Kansas’ 3rd District. GOP lawmakers on Tuesday made public their first congressional redistricting proposals during meetings of committees in the state House and Senate. One plan outlined by key Republicans would split up the state’s portion of the Kansas City metropolitan area and draw part of the…

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WICHITA, Kan. — A Kansas prosecutor says he won’t file charges over the death of a Black 17-year-old who became unresponsive while being restrained after an altercation with staff at a Wichita juvenile center in September. Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett made the announcement in a Tuesday news conference. Cedric Lofton died at a hospital two days after the altercation at the Sedgwick County Juvenile Intake and Assessment Center. A December autopsy report contradicted an earlier, preliminary finding that the teenager hadn’t suffered life-threatening injuries. The autopsy ruled the death a homicide. Bennett says he state’s “stand your ground”…

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Police in Kansas City, Kansas, have arrested a man on suspicion of killing a woman and severely beating her 4-year-old daughter over the weekend. The Kansas City Star reports that 28-year-old Jose Escalante-Corchado was charged with first-degree murder and four other felonies after the body of 24-year-old Mackenzie Hopkins was found submerged in a bathtub in her home on Saturday. Hopkins’ 4-year-old daughter was found on a bed suffering from severe head trauma and remains hospitalized. Police say bloody shoe prints throughout the house were traced to a pair of cowboy boots belonging to Escalante-Corchado and…

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Jalen Wilson scored 16 points, Christian Braun hit a tiebreaking 3-pointer with 10.9 seconds left and No. 7 Kansas defeated Oklahoma 67-64. Braun’s corner 3 gave the Jayhawks a 65-62 lead, and he drained two free throws with four seconds remaining to help seal it. Big 12 scoring leader Ochai Agbaji had all 10 of his points in the final six minutes and Braun finished with 15 as Kansas won its third game in a row. Jordan Goldwire scored 15 points for Oklahoma. The Sooners have lost three straight. Agbaji headed to the locker room midway through the first half…

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WICHITA, Kan. — Police in Wichita say a shooting on the south side of the city has left two people dead, including a 17-year-old boy. Television station KAKE reports that the shooting happened just before 9:30 Monday night. Officers called to the scene found the teen and a female victim with gunshot wounds inside a vehicle that had crashed into a garage at an apartment complex. Police say the teen died at the scene, while the other victim was rushed to hospital where she later died. Officials have not released the victims’ names, and police have not announced any suspects…

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TOPEKA, Kan. — Police say they are investigating as a homicide the death of a Topeka man. The Topeka Police Department said Saturday in a news release that officers found the body Friday while responding to a call regarding “a past assault with medical response.“ The man was identified as 39-year-old Mack Lee. The department’s homicide unit is now reviewing investigative leads and evidence.

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OLATHE, Kan. — Fire officials say four people were hospitalized after their house caught fire in Olathe, Kansas. The Kansas City Star reports firefighters responding to a call at about 8:15 a.m. found “significant fire conditions. Capt. Mike Hall of the Olathe Fire Department says three adults and one teenager who were inside the home were hospitalized in stable condition. The cause of the fire is under investigation. A damage estimate was not immediately available, although Hall says the home has “significant damage.”

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LAWRENCE, Kan. — The University of Kansas suspended two fraternities for hazing earlier this month, but officials don’t plan to share their investigation with police. Phi Gamma Delta and Phi Delta Theta were both suspended from campus for five years because of the incidents university officials found, which included assaults, sleep deprivation, forced workouts, destruction of pledges’ property and retaliation for reporting the behavior to university officials. KU spokeswoman Erinn Barcomb-Peterson said the students who were hazing victims are free to pursue criminal charges, but university officials don’t want to trigger a criminal investigation that victims don’t want.

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