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This Hour: Latest Kansas news, sports, business and entertainment


Teen sentencing for stepbrother's death in August

(Information in the following story is from: The Salina (Kan.) Journal, http://www.salina.com)

SALINA, Kan. (AP) - A Kansas teenager who shot and killed his 9-year-old stepbrother during an argument over doing chores will be sentenced in August.

Ryan Velez, who is now 18, has spent about three years at Larned State Hospital after pleading guilty in 2011 to murdering his stepbrother, Kaden Harper.

During a hearing Monday, Velez's sentencing was scheduled for Aug. 6.

The Salina Journal reports Velez was sent to Larned for treatment after pleading guilty last September to unintentional but reckless second-degree murder. Because he was released before his sentence was complete, he was referred back to district court for sentencing.

Prosecutors said Velez shot his stepbrother on June 1, 2010 at their rural Assaria home when the boys were home alone.


Lawrence recommends rejection of big shopping area

(Information in the following story is from: Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World, http://www.ljworld.com)

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) - One of the largest shopping centers ever proposed in Lawrence has hit a roadblock.

The Lawrence-Douglas County Planning Commission voted early Tuesday to recommend rejection of the project, which would add more than 500,000 square feet of commercial space in southern Lawrence near the new South Lawrence Trafficway.

The commissioners' vote does not mean the proposal is dead. Developers could ask to have the Lawrence City Commission vote on it.

The Lawrence Journal-World reports the North Carolina-based developers have not determined how they will respond to the commission's vote.

Commissioners said before the vote that the location near two major highways was not right for the project. They would prefer it be built in northwest Lawrence near the new Rock Chalk Park sports complex.


Man accused of highway shootings claims innocence

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - A man charged with 10 shootings on Kansas City-area highways says he can prove he's innocent.

The Kansas City Star reports Mohammed Whitaker is basing the claim largely on one piece of evidence that tracked which cellphone towers handled calls from his phone on April 2, the day of the sixth shooting.

He says if the time on the report - 5:30 p.m. - is correct, he could not be responsible for a shooting that day near Grandview. The records place his phone about nine miles from the shooting site just six minutes before it happened. He says he could not have covered that distance during rush hour on his way home from Overland Park, Kansas.

Police and prosecutors declined to discuss the April 2 incident or Whitaker's claims.


Man guilty of cliff push faces August sentencing

ROCKLAND, Maine (AP) - Prosecutors and a defense attorney for a man convicted of bashing his wife's head with a rock and pushing her off a cliff say the man's sentencing will likely take place next month.

A Maine jury convicted 71-year-old Charles Black of six felonies on Monday. The top charge of attempted murder carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison. Defense attorney Walter McKee says he expects sentencing sometime in late August.

Prosecutors say Black hit his then-wife Lisa Zahn on the head with a rock before pushing her off 800-foot Maiden Cliff in April 2011. Investigators say the couple had been arguing about Black spending some of Zahn's inheritance money and an affair he had.

Both tumbled down the mountainside and were hospitalized for more than a week.

The couple had moved from Kansas to retire in coastal Maine.


Roeland Park defeats sexual orientation ordinance

ROELAND PARK, Kan. (AP) - Council members in a Kansas City suburb have voted down an effort to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the city's anti-discrimination ordinance.

The Roeland Park Council voted 4-3 Monday to reject the ordinance.

KSHB-TV reports nearly 200 people packed the council's meeting and several testified before the vote. Council members have debated the language of the ordinance since February.

The ordinance would have excluded churches, school districts and non-profit groups.

Currently, Lawrence is the only city in Kansas that has included sexual orientation and gender identity in its anti-discrimination ordinance. Kansas City, Missouri, has a similar ordinance.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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