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 The man accused of setting the Randolph County house fire that killed four children has pleaded not guilty.

33-year-old Derrick Twardoski is facing murder charges after allegedly setting the fire that killed 12-year-old Ethan Owen, 9-year-old Kailey Owen, and five-year-old twins Brandon and Landon Owen in Percy, a village 60 miles southeast of St. Louis. A judge ordered him jailed without bond and assigned him to be represented by a public defender.   State's Attorney Jeremy Walker says he doesn't consider the fire random, though he's declined to detail what led investigators to Twardoski or any relationship he may have had with the victims.

Randolph County Coroner Randy Dudenbostel has confirmed that all four died of smoke inhalation.  

Funeral services for the children will be Tuesday at St. Mark's Lutheran Church in Steelville, Illinois.  

Donation are being accepted at the church to help the family with their expenses.  

The funeral service for the Owen children has been planned. It will be held Tuesday, May 14, at 2:00pm at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Steeleville, IL, with visitation Monday evening from 4:00pm until 8:00pm and again Tuesday from 7:30am until 1:45pm also at the church.

 
Monday, 13 May 2013 11:08
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   ST. LOUIS (AP) - Exactly how much the soggy spring has slowed farmers' efforts to plant their corn will become a bit clearer.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Monday was to issue its latest update on spring plantings.

A week ago, the USDA reported that just 12 percent of the nation's cornfields have been planted. That's about a quarter of what was planted by this date over the previous five years, and it marks the slowest start in decades in some states.

In Illinois, only 7 percent of the Illinois corn crop was sown.

Yet USDA estimates that while the wet start is expected to reduce the amount each acre produces this year, farmers are planting so much corn that they're still likely to bring in a record amount.

   

Monday, 13 May 2013 08:33
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ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Jaime Garcia got rocked again by Colorado and fell well short of giving the St. Louis Cardinals three straight pitching gems.

"I made a couple mistakes and paid the consequences," Garcia said after allowing two homers that accounted for five runs in an 8-2 loss to the Rockies on Sunday. "Those guys had been doing an unbelievable job and you want to be able to continue a good thing."

Jorge De La Rosa held the Cardinals hitless into the seventh inning and Troy Tulowitzki's three-run homer ended Colorado's scoreless streak at 28 innings.

De La Rosa did not give up a hit until David Freese's two-out single in the seventh, answering a pair of outstanding performances by St. Louis starters Shelby Miller and Adam Wainwright over the weekend.

"Jaime definitely had a couple of pretty tough acts to follow," manager Mike Matheny said. "We know this is a good-hitting team, we know they're capable of jumping on you and putting up a lot of runs in a hurry. It happened today."

Garcia (4-2) had won three straight starts with a 1.25 ERA and no homers allowed in that stretch of 21 2-3 innings before running into the Rockies. He gave up five runs over six innings and fell to 0-3 with a 10.53 ERA - his highest against any opponent - in four starts against Colorado.

The left-hander entered as the career ERA leader at 8-year-old Busch Stadium at 2.41 but was undone by a changeup that stayed up in the zone against Tulowitzki in the third and a hanging curveball against Charlie Blackmon, who struck out in his first two at-bats, that went for a two-run homer in the sixth.

The Rockies and Marlins are the only National League teams Garcia hasn't beaten.

"How many starts have I made against them? Today was my fourth one?" Garcia said. "Obviously, they have a really good lineup, but I don't think about those things."

Garcia gave up just two homers in his first seven starts and entered with a 2.25 ERA overall.

Jordan Pacheco doubled with one out in the first to stop a 34-inning drought since Colorado's last extra-base hit, according to STATS. The Rockies finished with five extra-base hits, including a two-run double by pinch-hitter Reid Brignac off Carlos Martinez in the eighth.

The Rockies snapped a four-game skid and finished with 11 hits after totaling three in consecutive shutout losses to Miller and Wainwright.

Nolan Arenado, who singled with one out in the eighth to break up Wainwright's no-hit bid Saturday, was among four Rockies with two hits apiece.

The Cardinals lost for just the second time in 11 games. Matt Adams' RBI single off Matt Belisle in a two-run ninth, one of three hits by pinch-hitters, ended Colorado's shutout bid.

De La Rosa (4-3) struck out seven and allowed two hits in seven innings, baffling the Cardinals until Freese singled sharply to right off the glove of a diving Pacheco at first base. Jon Jay followed with a double. De La Rosa finished his longest outing of the season, and his best showing on the road by far, by getting Pete Kozma on a lineout to first.

De La Rosa entered 1-3 with a 5.13 ERA on the road and 2-0 at home with 12 scoreless innings. This was the fourth time he worked six or more scoreless innings.

Tulowitzki's eighth homer stopped the Rockies' scoreless streak two innings shy of the team record. They went 30 innings without a run from Sept. 30 to Oct. 3, 2010, according to STATS.

The Rockies entered the weekend with the top offense in the National League and still led with a .266 batting average going into the finale of the three-game series. Tulowitzki was 0 for 6 in the first two games with five strikeouts and Carlos Gonzalez had been hitless in 15 at-bats before finishing with two singles and a walk.

Blackmon batted eighth after being called up earlier in the day to replace Michael Cuddyer, placed on the 15-day disabled list with a neck injury. He got unexpected cheers after hitting his fourth career homer - he was introduced in his first at-bat as a player making his major league debut.

Colorado had five hits in the first three innings after totaling three and going 40 consecutive at-bats without a hit the previous two days. The Rockies have never been shut out three straight times.

The Cardinals' streak of retiring 40 straight batters is tied for the second-longest in the majors since 1974, two shy of the record set by the Seattle Mariners from Aug. 14-17 last year, with Felix Hernandez throwing a perfect game on Aug. 15. Rangers pitchers retired 40 in a row in 1996.

NOTES: Gonzalez had two singles and a walk and is 6 for 12 against Garcia. ... Cardinals pitchers had a 2.02 ERA over the previous 10 games. ... Cardinals C Yadier Molina was 0 for 3, ending an 11-game hitting streak. He had five hits in the first two games of the series.

© 2013 THE ASSOCIATED PRESS. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. THIS MATERIAL MAY NOT BE PUBLISHED, BROADCAST, REWRITTEN OR REDISTRIBUTED. Learn more about our PRIVACY POLICY and TERMS OF USE.
Monday, 13 May 2013 07:39
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   ST. LOUIS (AP) - Six federal marshals are being recognized for bravery related to a 2011 St. Louis gunfight that killed one of their own from Illinois and a drug suspect they were looking to arrest.

   Federal lawmakers from Missouri and Illinois were expected to attend Monday's ceremony in St. Louis honoring the law enforcers with the Congressional Badge of Bravery.

   Fugitive Carlos Boles was shot and killed in March 2011 in his St. Louis home where law enforcers were trying to arrest him on drug and assault charges. Also killed was John Perry, a 48-year-old Illinois native who'd been with the U.S. Marshals Service for nearly 10 years.

   Two other law enforcers were wounded.

   U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois says Monday's honorees rescued the wounded colleagues without regard for their own safety.

 
Monday, 13 May 2013 03:19
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