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ST. LOUIS (AP) - A Lee's Summit man whose life sentence and murder conviction in a 1983 prison stabbing were overturned by the state Supreme Court says state prosecutors continue to withhold evidence.

The Missouri Supreme Court ruled in August 2011 that the state didn't disclose evidence tying another Moberly prison inmate to a weapon likely used to attack James Bausley.

The court threw out 53-year-old Reggie Griffin's conviction before Randolph County Prosecuting Attorney Mike Fusselman and the state Attorney General's Office quickly decided to file new murder charges.

Griffin was released on bond last year after initially receiving a death sentence. His lawyers want to disqualify the Attorney General's Office over a 2006 inmate interview the state acknowledges failing to turn over.

Both Fusselman and the Attorney General's Office declined comment.

 

Monday, 02 September 2013 13:34
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CHICAGO (AP) - A seriously ill woman who'd lobbied to legalize medical marijuana in Illinois won't be eligible to get it herself because of a drug charge.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports Michelle DiGiacomo won't be able to get the medicinal marijuana under the new bill Gov. Pat Quinn signed into law last month. She suffers from fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis and spinal stenosis, among other things, and had been using marijuana for pain relief.

DiGiacomo got a license to buy medical marijuana in California, where it's legal. But it was still illegal in Illinois.

The 53-year-old Chicago woman was arrested in 2012 for having marijuana in her possession. She pleaded guilty to felony possession, months before Quinn signed the bill into law.

The drug charge disqualifies her from getting medical marijuana in Illinois.

 

Monday, 02 September 2013 12:44
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ST. LOUIS (AP) — For the second year in a row, the St. Louis Rams will begin the season with the youngest roster in the NFL.

And that is just fine with coach Jeff Fisher, who believes young players have a greater capacity to improve.

"One would assume that we'll just continue to get better," he said.

The Rams' 53-man roster has an average age of 24.98, lowest among the 32 teams. St. Louis has 29 players on its roster with two years or less of experience, including 12 rookies.

Offensive tackle Jake Long, 28, one of the veterans with six years of experience, says the younger players bring enthusiasm to the team.

"Youth, that's a good thing," Long said. "We've got young guys, but they play like veterans. They're hungry, they're energetic."

The Rams have just five players age 30 or above.

St. Louis opened the 2012 season with a league-low average age of 25.52 on the way to a 7-8-1 record.

This time around, Fisher is expecting even bigger things from his youthful group.

Quarterback Sam Bradford, in his fourth season, will be throwing to five receivers — none older than 25.

Rookie wideouts Tavon Austin, the Rams' No. 1 draft choice and eighth overall selection, will play a key role along with third-round pick Stedman Bailey.

Receiver Chris Givens, beginning his third season, is another option. Running back Daryl Richardson, also beginning his third season, will replace Steven Jackson at running back.

"I see us being so young as good, an advantage in some ways," Richardson said. "We've got room to grow, room to get better. We're working hard because we really want it."

Rookie linebacker Alec Ogletree, the 30th overall choice, has performed well in preseason. He returned a fumble for a touchdown and had six tackles in a 27-26 loss at Denver on Aug. 24.

The former University of Georgia standout says the Rams' rookies are looking forward to proving themselves.

"We're ready to roll," he said. "We've got talent on this team whether we're young or not."

The Rams play host to Arizona in the season opener on Sept. 8.

Fisher put his team through a short 70-minute workout on Sunday. The practice was moved indoors after a brief late afternoon shower.

Sunday, 01 September 2013 22:43
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PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Joe Kelly began the season in the St. Louis Cardinals' bullpen with an electric fastball and an identity crisis.

Consider the crisis solved.

At the moment, Kelly has become The Stopper.

The right-hander allowed four hits over six solid innings to win his fourth straight start and the Cardinals moved back into a tie for first place in the NL Central with a 7-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday.

Kelly (7-3) walked two and struck out five while remaining unbeaten since being moved to the starting rotation full-time in July.

"He's kind of figured himself out," St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said. "Early in the season, he was confused. He thought he should be a strikeout guy at 97 (mph), but with the movement on his fastball he'd be crazy not to use that movement to try to command the bottom of the zone and get ground balls, too."

Kelly received plenty of help from an offense that snapped out of a three-game funk by tagging Pittsburgh spot starter Kris Johnson (0-2).

Matt Holliday and David Freese drove in two runs apiece while Matt Carpenter, Allen Craig, Yadier Molina and Shane Robinson added two hits each for St. Louis.

The Cardinals managed all of one run over the first 18 innings of the series, losses that came at the hands of proven veterans Francisco Liriano and A.J. Burnett. On Sunday they faced a 28-year-old making his first major league start who was nearly out of baseball two years ago.

"For us to come back out in a day game after scoring one run the first two nights was really big," Freese said. "It finally gave us a little momentum."

Pittsburgh's push for an NL Central title could go down to the wire. The Pirates reclaimed first place with a 7-1 victory Saturday night but St. Louis responded by knocking around Johnson, who took the hill after Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle decided to give struggling All-Star Jeff Locke a much-needed breather.

Locke is 1-2 with a 6.88 ERA in the second half, and Hurdle thought a few days off would allow the left-hander to work on his mechanics and get some rest.

Locke won't pitch again until next weekend at the earliest. If Pittsburgh decides he needs even more time off, it will likely have to look elsewhere for help after the Cardinals took it to Johnson.

Carpenter doubled to open the game and Robinson followed with a walk. Craig and Molina provided consecutive RBI singles, and Jon Jay added a sacrifice fly to stake Kelly to a 3-0 lead before he threw his first pitch.

The advantage grew in the third when Freese doubled to score Craig and Molina and end Johnson's day. Two weeks after limiting Arizona to one run in six innings of relief in his first major league appearance, Johnson gave up five runs on seven hits in two-plus innings.

"These are the kind of situations you want to be put in, I just didn't take advantage of them when I had the chance," Johnson said. "I worked all my life to get here and to fall short today, just going to have to get back on the field, get back on the throwing program and get back to where we were before."

Justin Morneau went 1 for 3 in his debut with the Pirates a day after Pittsburgh acquired the first baseman from Minnesota to bolster the franchise's bid for its first playoff appearance in 21 years.

Kelly has been a pleasant surprise since moving into the rotation. He never let the Pirates in the game, allowing only an RBI single by Marlon Byrd in the sixth.

By then the Cardinals had things well in hand as baseball's tightest division race once again drew even.

"My velocity was a lot better than in my last start, my sinker was really working and I was able to pitch to both sides of the plate," Kelly said.

The Pirates, whose 79 wins are tied for the franchise's high-water mark since 1992, made two bold moves last week in hopes of drawing ahead. They brought in Byrd and catcher John Buck from the New York Mets on Tuesday, then made an even bigger splash Saturday when they convinced Morneau to leave Minnesota after 11 seasons.

Morneau arrived at PNC Park midway through Saturday night's blowout and watched the remainder of the game from the dugout. He got a better view on Sunday, playing first base and batting sixth.

The 2006 AL MVP grounded out in his first plate appearance, walked in his second and then lined a single to right field his third time up. He ended his first game for Pittsburgh with a deep fly to the warning track in the ninth.

NOTES: Pittsburgh LHP Wandy Rodriguez is dealing with arthritis in his pitching arm. Rodriguez, who has been on the disabled list since July with forearm tightness, is expected to resume his throwing program this week after a visit with Dr. James Andrews revealed no structural damage to the arm. Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said the team remains hopeful Rodriguez can return in some capacity down the stretch. ... The Cardinals activated C Tony Cruz from the 15-day disabled list even though Cruz hasn't been cleared to swing a bat as he recovers from a broken forearm. Cruz would be used only in an emergency. ... The Pirates begin a three-game series in Milwaukee on Monday. Charlie Morton (6-3, 2.14 ERA) faces Tyler Thornburg (1-0, 1.94). ... St. Louis travels to Cincinnati on Monday to begin a four-game set with the Reds. Adam Wainwright (15-8, 2.96) starts for the Cardinals against Mat Latos (13-5, 3.03). ... The Cardinals sent reliever Michael Blazek to Milwaukee to complete the trade they made Friday for RHP John Axford.

Sunday, 01 September 2013 22:40
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