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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Authorities say a Kansas City-area man has been charged with 18 felony counts in connection with about a dozen recent random highway shootings that have wounded three people.

Jackson County prosecutor Jean Peters Baker said at a news conference Friday that 27-year-old Mohammed Whitaker of Grandview was charged with two counts of shooting into a motor vehicle and injuring a person, seven counts of shooting into a motor vehicle and nine counts of armed criminal action.

At least six of the shootings occurred near Grandview. The Kansas City suburb is home to an area known as the Grandview Triangle, where three interstates and U.S. 50 intersect.

The last confirmed shooting believed to be connected to the case was reported April 6th.

None of victims' wounds was considered life-threatenin

Published in Local News
Thursday, 17 April 2014 11:19

America stands with Kansas City mourners

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) - Attorney General Eric Holder says all Americans are standing with the mourners of three people killed at Jewish community sites in suburban Kansas City.
 
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback and several religious leaders also attended the service Thursday at the Jewish Community Center.
 
Holder told the overflow crowd of more than 1,000 that every alleged hate crime, no matter the intended target, is an affront to the nation.
 
Avowed white supremacist Frazier Glenn Cross is charged with capital murder and premeditated first-degree murder in the killings Sunday of Dr. William Lewis Corporon and his grandson, Reat Griffin Underwood, outside the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City.
 
Cross is also accused of killing Terri LaManno at a nearby Jewish retirement complex. Her funeral is scheduled for Thursday.
Published in Local News
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — The white supremacist charged in shootings that left three people dead at two Jewish community sites in suburban Kansas City made his first court appearance Tuesday.
 
Frazier Glenn Cross was wearing a dark, quilted, sleeveless vest and crossed his arms as he appeared by video feed Tuesday in Johnson County court. He spoke only when answering routine questions from the judge, and requested a court-appointed lawyer.
 
Cross is being held on $10 million bond and his next court appearance is scheduled for April 24.
 
Physician William Lewis Corporon, 69, and his 14-year-old grandson, Reat Griffin Underwood, were shot and killed outside of the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City. Both were Methodist. Moments later, Terri LaManno, a 53-year-old Catholic occupational therapist and mother of two, was gunned down outside Village Shalom, a Jewish retirement complex where she was visiting her mother.
 
Cross, a 73-year-old Vietnam War veteran from southwest Missouri who founded the Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux Klan in his native North Carolina and later the White Patriot Party, is being held on $10 million bond.
 
In Kansas, one of the narrow circumstances in which capital murder cases are pursued includes the intentional killing of more than one person in "the same act or transaction or in two or more acts or transactions connected together or constituting parts of a common scheme or course of conduct."
 
In this case, a single charge was applied to the deaths of Corporon and his grandson because the deaths occurred in a very short period of time as part of the same act, prosecutors said. LaManno's death doesn't meet the standard for capital murder, Howe said, but he would not provide details or evidence gathered in the case to explain why.
 
Federal prosecutors say there's enough evidence to warrant putting the case before a grand jury as a hate crime. Moving the case from state to federal prosecutors would likely mean tougher punishments if Cross is convicted, but U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said Tuesday that federal charges were likely a week or more away. Cross' state case would have to be resolved before he could be moved to a federal trial.
 
"Our system is more nimble, we can move a little bit quicker than the federal system. We've alleged he came into the community I've been elected to protect. ... This isn't about retribution, this is about seeking justice," Howe said.
 
Cross shouted "Heil Hitler" at television cameras as he was arrested after Sunday's killings, which shocked the city on the eve of Passover and refocused attention on the nation's problem with race-related violence.
 
The Southern Poverty Law Center, a nonprofit that monitors the activities of known white supremacists, says Cross, who also went by the name Frazier Glenn Miller, has been immersed in white supremacy most of his life. During the early 1980s, Cross was "one of the more notorious white supremacists in the U.S.," according to the Anti-Defamation League.
 
He was the target of a nationwide manhunt in 1987 for violating terms of his bond while appealing a North Carolina conviction for operating a paramilitary camp, and federal agents tracked Cross and three other men to a rural Missouri mobile home stocked with hand grenades and automatic weapons.
 
A federal grand jury indicted Cross on weapons charges and accused him of plotting robberies and the assassination of the Southern Poverty Law Center's founder. He served three years in federal prison.
 
Cross also ran for the U.S. House in 2006 and the U.S. Senate in 2010 in Missouri, each time espousing a white-power platform.
Published in National News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - A task force would be charged with trying to bring the Super Bowl to Kansas City under a resolution passed by the Missouri Senate.
 
The Senate voted unanimously Thursday to send the measure to the House. If adopted there, the state Department of Economic Development would be asked to form a group to "examine what measures need to be taken" for Kansas City to host the game.
 
Resolution sponsor Sen. Paul LeVota, of Independence, says Arrowhead Stadium's $350 million renovation in 2010 would help make it an attractive venue.
 
The most recent Super Bowl was played in an outdoor stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. The 2015 game will be played in Phoenix.
 
 
 
Published in Local News
Some passengers on Amtrak’s Missouri River Runner will travel via highway instead of rail this week as work continues to restore a section of railroad track east of Warrensburg, Mo.
Recent flash flooding caused some damage to the track. Union Pacific has planned additional maintenance and repair on the rail line that will require afternoon closures on Tuesday, April 8 (today) through April 11.
 
Twice a day the Missouri River Runner serves Kansas City, St. Louis and eight points in between including Kirkwood, Washington, Hermann, and Jefferson City.
 
All morning train service (#311 and #314) for the Missouri River Runner is expected to run on regular schedules. Passengers on the afternoon trains (#313 and #316) will be re-routed to buses to get to their destinations.
 
Passengers with tickets for the afternoon trains should report to the train stations at their scheduled times.
Amtrak will resume full rail service for the Missouri River Runner once repairs are complete.
Travelers are encouraged to check Amtrak.com or call 1-800-USA-RAIL to get up-to-date information on departure and arrival times.
 
Published in Local News
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Kansas City remains in the running to host the 2016 Republican National Convention.
 
The Republican National Committee said Wednesday that the list of competing cities had been narrowed from eight to six.
 
Besides Kansas City, those still in the running are Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver and Las Vegas.
 
Republican staff members now will visit each of the six cities for a more in-depth look at the financing, convention site, media work space and hotels. They are to present their findings to a site selection committee in May. The panel then will determine which sites will get official visits from the full delegation of Republican National Committee members.
 
The two applicants eliminated Wednesday were Phoenix and Columbus, Ohio.
Published in Local News
Monday, 24 February 2014 01:16

MO spelling bee hits snag, runs out of words

   KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- After 19 rounds in a Missouri county's annual spelling bee over the weekend, only two of the 25 contestants who started the competition remained.
   Several hours and 47 rounds later, an 11 year old and her 13 year old adversary had used up all of the available words, forcing organizers of the Jackson County Spelling Bee to temporarily halt the showdown.
   "It was legendary," said Mary Olive Thompson, a library outreach manager and co-coordinator of the Saturday spelling bee.
   Sophia Hoffman, a fifth-grader at Highland Park Elementary School in the Kansas City suburb of Lee's Summit, and Kush Sharma, a seventh-grader at Frontier School of Innovation in Kansas City, buzzed through the list of words provided by the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Then they ran through a list of about 20 additional words bee officials picked out of their Merriam-Webster's 11th Edition during the lunch break, The Kansas City Star reported.
   But bee officials decided not to pull more words from the dictionary because they worried one speller might get a tough word and the other a relatively easy one, which wouldn't be fair.
   Plus, Thompson said, at "about 2 o'clock, I think we were all really tired."
   Saturday's competition went 66 rounds, she said, while last year's bee ended after only 21.
   "Scherzo," "fantoccini" and "intaglio" were among the words Kush correctly spelled in the late rounds, while Sophia nailed words such as "schadenfreude, "mahout" and "barukhzy."
   Both of them missed what Kush said was the hardest word: a "French word; I have no idea how to pronounce it. It was a long word."
   With the winner moving on to the national spelling bee in Washington, D.C., in May, both contestants were at the top of their game in the final rounds Saturday, Thompson said
   "Sophia and Kush's eyes were just bright and glowing," she said. "It was almost magical."
   The contest will resume March 8 at an undetermined library site.
Published in Local News

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - A prominent Kansas City defense attorney has been hired to represent a northwest Missouri man at the center of a teen sexual assault case that has gained worldwide attention because of the way it was handled.

J.R. Hobbs confirmed Thursday that he will assist the Maryville native who was 17 in January 2012 when a 14-year-old girl claimed he plied her with alcohol and sexually assaulted her.

Daisy Coleman says justice was not served when Nodaway County prosecutor Robert Rice dismissed felony charges against the boy and a second 17-year-old accused of recording the incident on his cellphone.

Jackson County prosecuting attorney Jean Peters Baker was appointed Monday as special prosecutor in the case and will decide whether evidence supports refiling of charges.

 

Published in Local News

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - A nearly 2-mile stretch of Interstate 70 in Kansas City is closed after a tanker truck crashed and exploded into flames, injuring the driver.

 

   The single-vehicle accident occurred early Friday when the tanker hit a median and caught fire. The Missouri Department of Transportation says the truck was hauling a flammable solvent, some of which spilled after the crash.

 

   Jesse Skinner, district maintenance engineer for the transportation department, says the driver was hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries. No other injuries were reported.

 

   He says crews from the fire department, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and the Environmental Protection Agency were at the scene to ensure the solvent was contained. He says there's no threat to public safety.

 

   The highway department says the highway could be closed until late Friday.

Published in Local News
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A sheriff says a woman who disappeared for four days with her 4-year-old daughter spent that time smoking synthetic pot with her ex-husband in a low-rent suburban Kansas City motel.

Authorities feared 28-year-old Rachel Koechner had been abducted, but Chariton County Sheriff Chris Hughes says she spent much of that time with her ex and their child in the motel. Koechner has not been charged.
Published in Local News
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