GAY MARRIAGE-RELIGIOUS LEADERS
Kansas faith leaders still seek gay-marriage bill
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - A dozen Kansas religious leaders are calling on legislators to approve special legal protections for gay-marriage opponents before the federal courts invalidate the state's same-sex marriage ban.
The leaders issued a statement after a Kansas Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Thursday on religious liberties issues. The committee heard conflicting testimony on whether Kansas has enough legal protections for people, groups and businesses refusing for religious reasons to provide goods or services for gay weddings or same-sex marriages.
Senate President Susan Wagle said afterward that lawmakers won't consider the issue again this year.
The call for immediate action came from Catholic bishops, a Presbyterian pastor and regional Mormon, Southern Baptist, Assemblies of God and Church of God in Christ officials.
They also said they don't condone unjust treatment of anybody.
SCHOOL FUNDING FIGHT-KANSAS
Kansas court to issue school finance ruling
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - The Kansas Supreme Court will release its ruling on a state school finance lawsuit today, ending months of speculation about whether the state has to increase spending for public schools.
The court announced Thursday that the ruling would be issued this morning.
The lawsuit was filed in 2010 by attorneys representing four school districts and parents. They alleged that the state reneged on promises made in 2006 to provide a certain level of funding to Kansas public schools. Those promises were made in a settlement of a lawsuit filed against the state in 1999.
Attorneys for the state argued that legislators did the best they could to maintain education spending after a recession that began in 2008 reduced available revenues.
JUNCTION CITY HOMICIDE
Kansas man found guilty in Junction City slaying
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - A northeast Kansas man has been found guilty of killing a woman to keep her from providing information to federal law enforcement officers about his involvement in drug trafficking.
The U.S. attorney's office says a federal jury on Thursday convicted 32-year-old Marcus Roberson of Junction City of murder, conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine and conspiracy to distribute powder cocaine.
Prosecutors say Roberson lured 25-year-old Crystal Fisher to a location near an alley in Junction City and shot her four times at close range. Her body was found in her vehicle and the murder weapon was found in a pond behind a Junction City Walmart.
Roberson faces up to life in prison on the murder and drug counts and a $10 million fine on each of the drug counts.
Kansas sheriff warns of kidnap-ransom hoax
EDGERTON, Kan. (AP) - A northeast Kansas sheriff is alerting the public to a hoax phone call demanding ransom to spare the life of a loved one.
The Johnson County sheriff's office says deputies were contacted this week by a resident who was on the phone with someone claiming to be holding the resident's brother hostage.
Authorities said the caller claimed the brother would be killed unless the resident immediately wired $2,000. The money was to pay for damage supposedly caused by the brother in an accident.
Johnson County deputies were able to listen to the call and get the phone number, which they learned had been used in similar scams in other parts of the country.
2 Arizona men identified in pedestrian deaths
LIBERAL, Kan. (AP) - Two pedestrians who died after being hit by a pickup truck in southwest Kansas have been identified as Arizona residents.
The Kansas Highway Patrol identifies the men as 31-year-old Benson Chee of Teec Nos Pos (tees nohs pohs), and 35-year-old Eugene Laughing Junior of Chinle. Both communities are in northeastern Arizona.
The men were hit shortly after 11 p.m. Saturday on a city street in Liberal.
KAKE-TV reports Highway Patrol troopers are not sure why the men were in the Liberal area. They say the men were wearing dark clothing at the time of the accident, which made it difficult to see them.
Trial set in courtroom attack on Kansas prosecutor
HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) - A Kansas man accused of attacking a prosecutor after a judge upheld his life sentence for a child sex crime will be tried in June on a charge of attempted premeditated murder.
KWBW Radio reports 27-year-old Michael Sherman of Hutchinson pleaded not guilty to charge at his arraignment Wednesday. A Reno County judge then scheduled his trial for June 10th.
Authorities say Sherman lunged at Reno County District Attorney Keith Schroeder in a courtroom last July.
Witnesses said Sherman jumped from his seat, put Schroeder in a headlock and tried to choke him with the chain of his shackles. A judge had just reaffirmed Sherman's life sentence for sodomizing an infant.
Sherman's lawyer has said there was no evidence of premeditation or intent to kill Schroeder.
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