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Tuesday, 19 November 2013 16:48

UPDATE: Franklin Executed

   Confessed white supremacist serial killer Joseph Paul Franklin has been executed after two federal stays were vacated just after midnight Wednesday.

   U.S. District Court Judge Nanette Laughery ruled late Tuesday afternoon that a lawsuit filed by Franklin and 21 other death-row inmates challenging Missouri's execution protocol must first be resolved.

   Later in the day, a second federal judge stayed the execution, saying a defense appeal over Franklin's mental competency needs more review.

   After an appeal by Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, the 8th circuit U.S. District Court vacated both stays. 

   Only the U.S. Supreme Court can intervene to stop Franklin's execution now.

   The 63 year old inmate was scheduled to die at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday for killing 42 year old Gerald Gordon in a sniper attack outside a suburban St. Louis synagogue in 1977.

   It was one of as many as 20 killings committed by Franklin, who targeted blacks and Jews in a cross-country killing spree from 1977 to 1980.

 
Published in Local News

VERSAILLES, Mo. (AP) — One of three suspects in the February killings of a central Missouri couple has pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree murder.

The Lake Sun Leader reports that 43-year-old Derrell Spellmeyer, of Eldon, also pleaded guilty Thursday to armed criminal action. Sentencing is scheduled Jan. 16 in Morgan County Circuit Court.

Spellmeyer was accused of shooting 53-year-old Carol Wilson and stabbing 66-year-old Freddie Wilson on Feb. 4 at their home in Versailles (vur-SAYLZ'). He was arrested by detectives responding to a call from Carol Wilson saying she had been shot.

Forty-five-year-old Garland Mitchell and 28-year-old Mandy Mitchell, both of Jefferson City, are awaiting trial on the same charges.

The Mitchells told investigators the three went to the home to obtain drugs, but that only Spellmeyer went inside.

Published in Local News

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - A hearing to consider the request of a Missouri teen to have her guilty plea in the killing of a 9-year-old neighbor vacated, corrected or set aside has been rescheduled.

Alyssa Bustamante pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and armed criminal action in the October 2009 killing of Elizabeth Olten. Bustamante now is 19 years old and was 15 at the time of the killing. They lived in St. Martins, just west of Jefferson City.

Online court records show a hearing scheduled for Friday has been moved to Jan. 30.

Bustamante was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole and ordered to serve a consecutive 30-year term for armed criminal action. She was initially charged with first-degree murder, which carries a sentence of life without parole.

Published in Local News

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that only 751 Missouri residents selected a health insurance plan through a federally run online marketplace during the first month of its troubled launch.

HHS released the figures Wednesday. The department said the insurance exchange had about 14,100 completed applications from Missouri from Oct. 1 to Nov. 2. Those applications sought coverage for about 28,000 people.

The federal government did not say how many of the people selecting a health plan had started paying premiums.

Nationally, HHS says fewer than 27,000 people signed up for health insurance through the federal exchange.

The federal health care overhaul set up online marketplaces to help people find affordable insurance, but the rollout of the HHS website has been rocky from the start.

Published in Local News

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) - An endowment for memorial scholarship at Ozarks Technical Community College has reached $10,000 in honor of a Missouri soldier who died in Afghanistan.

Dennis and Debbie Peters of Springfield pledged a $7,500 gift to endow the Special Agent Sgt. Joseph M. Peters Memorial Scholarship Monday during a Veterans Day ceremony at the college. The gift, along with earlier contributions, brings the total endowment to $10,000.

Sgt. Peters, an OTC graduate, died Oct. 6 in Afghanistan. The scholarship will go to eligible veterans attending the community college in Springfield.

Peters was posthumously awarded the Combat Action Badge, Bronze Star Medal and Purple Heart.

Dennis Peters is the community college's Veterans Student Services representative.

Published in Local News

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Missouri Supreme Court is imposing a new fee on attorneys to help provide legal aid to low-income residents in civil court cases.

The court said Friday that it had approved an additional $30 annual fee to be paid by lawyers starting in 2014. The fee is expected to generate at least $750,000.

Missouri's legal services fund helps pay for attorneys to aid people in civil cases such as child-custody disputes, protective orders, home foreclosures and bankruptcy cases.

The Supreme Court says the fee increase will help offset a recent cut in federal funding for low-income legal services.

Missouri's four regional legal aid programs also receive funding from a state fee charged on the filing of civil and criminal court cases.

Published in Local News
Saturday, 09 November 2013 09:18

Ballot proposal seeks cap on Mo. tax credits

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A coalition backing a Missouri income tax cut has put forward a potential ballot initiative limiting state tax credits.

Grow Missouri says it filed two initiatives Friday with the secretary of state's office that would amend the Missouri Constitution to curb tax credits.

One plan would impose a $200 million annual cap on tax credits; the other would ban all new tax credits upon voter approval of the amendment on the November 2014 ballot. If the state nonetheless exceeds the tax credit caps, the proposals would trigger an automatic reduction in the state's income tax rate.

The treasurer for Grow Missouri says the group plans to file additional ballot initiatives in the coming weeks that would reduce Missouri's income tax rates for businesses and individuals.

Published in Local News
Saturday, 09 November 2013 09:15

New execution date set for Missouri inmate

ST. LOUIS (AP) — The execution of convicted killer Allen Nicklasson, postponed in the debate over Missouri's choice of execution drug, has been rescheduled for December 11th.

The Missouri Supreme Court set the new date on Friday.

Nicklasson was convicted of the 1994 killing of Excelsior Springs, Missouri businessman Richard Drummond, who stopped to help when a car used by Nicklasson and two others broke down on Interstate 70. Another man in the car, Dennis Skillicorn, was executed in 2009.

Nicklasson was first set to be executed Oct. 23, when Missouri planned to use the anesthetic propofol for the first time. The plan drew concerns because most propofol is made in Europe, and the European Union threatened to limit export if it was used in an execution.

Governor Jay Nixon stopped the execution.

Published in Local News

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri's fourth- and eighth-graders are doing about the same on math and reading tests as they were two years ago and about average when compared with the rest of the country.

That's according to the 2013 Nation's Report Card, which was released Thursday. The results come from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, or NAEP, which is given to a sample of students.

Among fourth-graders, 39 percent scored at or above the NAEP proficient level in reading and 35 percent in math. The percentages were similar among eighth-graders, with 36 percent scoring at or above proficient in reading and 35 percent scoring at or above the proficient level in reading.

Missouri education commissioner Chris Nicastro says the state still has "work to do."

 

Published in Local News

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Gov. Jay Nixon says the state will help finance the estimated $2 million needed to remove mold and make repairs at the historic Missouri State Penitentiary in Jefferson City.

The prison has become a major attraction since it stopped housing inmates in 2004, but high levels of mold forced officials to close it to the public in October. Officials say it had been on pace for more than 20,000 visitors this year.

Nixon said Wednesday the state and the Jefferson City government will share the costs evenly, with a goal of resuming public tours next spring. Three buildings and the gas chamber will be repaired.

The penitentiary began housing inmates in 1836 and was the oldest continually operating prison west of the Mississippi River when it closed.

Published in Local News

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