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KIRKSVILLE, Mo. (AP) - A hearing for a northeast Missouri man charged with killing and dismembering his neighbor was delayed when the defendant could not attend the proceeding. The hearing for 49-year-old Paul R. Potter of Kirksville was continued Thursday until April 12. Potter faces first-degree murder and other charges in the January death of 74-year-old Willis Edward Meredith. Prosecutors say Potter stabbed Meredith, dismembered his body and set fires to conceal the crime. He also allegedly threw the victim's arms at witnesses shortly before he was arrested. The Kirksville Daily Express reports (http://bit.ly/10gMZRF ) prosecutors wanted Potter to attend the hearing. But his attorney, Kevin Locke, said Potter was not in condition to make an unplanned appearance at the hearing and the judge agreed to continue it.
Friday, 08 March 2013 09:18
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WASHINGTON (AP) - The White House says the falling unemployment rate is evidence that the economic recovery is "gaining traction."

The jobless rate dropped to 7.7 percent last month, the lowest level since President Barack Obama has been in office. Still, White House economist Alan Krueger notes that the new unemployment rate was measured before $85 billion in automatic budget cuts started taking effect.

The administration has warned that the cuts could have a negative impact on employment and economic growth.
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Travelers will be able to fly Southwest Airlines out of Branson starting tomorrow.

Southwest plans to offer one daily flight each to Chicago, Dallas and Houston.

Airport officials say Southwest will add a second daily flight to Chicago starting in June.
Friday, 08 March 2013 08:56
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CLAYTON, Mo. (AP) - A Missouri jury has convicted a man of playing a role in the 2011 killing of a man whose burned body was found near a trash bin in neighboring Illinois.

A St. Louis County jury deliberated about three hours Wednesday before finding 41-year-old Ernest Smith guilty of second-degree murder and armed criminal action. A co-defendant, 19-year-old Marquan Prete, has pleaded not guilty and awaits trial.

Authorities allege Smith lured 30-year-old Christopher Scott of Normandy to his house after suspecting him in a previous break-in. After an argument, investigators believe Prete tackled Scott and held him down before Smith shot him twice.

Scott's burned body was later found dumped in Madison, Ill.

Prete's attorney has acknowledged his client was present during the killing but says he took no part in it.
Friday, 08 March 2013 08:22
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