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Archive for Saturday, August 18, 2001

Briefs

August 18, 2001

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Wall collapse cause still inconclusive

Structural engineers are working to determine why a cinder-block wall at a downtown construction site collapsed Wednesday night.

"There's no official conclusion as to what caused the structure failure," said Bob Schumm, owner of Buffalo Bob's Smokehouse, 719 Mass., and the lot to the north where a new retail business space is being constructed.

Schumm said he'd hoped the building would be finished by September, but Frank Krizman of Krizman Construction said the collapse would likely set the project back at least a month.

No surrounding buildings were damaged, and there were no injuries.

Lawrence resident found guilty of March rape

A Douglas County jury deliberated most of Friday before finding a Lawrence man guilty of rape and aggravated battery.

Ricky Brooks, 21, was arrested after a March 2 incident for raping an 18-year-old Lawrence woman. Brooks, a friend of the woman's boyfriend, drove the woman to Prairie Park, where he raped and beat her, Asst. Dist. Attys. Dave Zabel and Trent Krug said.

The jury, however, found Brooks innocent of two other charges of aggravated criminal sodomy and aggravated kidnapping.

Brooks will be sentenced at 4 p.m. Sept. 4 by District Judge Jack Murphy. He remains in Douglas County Jail.

Convicted baby sitter faces new charges

Charges continue to stack up against Natasha Helm, the Lawrence woman convicted earlier this year of taking two children from their mother.

Helm, 18, made her first appearance Friday before Douglas County District Court Judge Paula Martin on the latest charges against her. She is accused of making a criminal threat against a woman on May 13 and felony theft for allegedly stealing a car on July 31.

In June, Helm was sentenced to a total of 24 months of probation on two counts of aggravated interference with parental custody and one count of misdemeanor endangerment of a child.

Helm had failed to show up in court before Judge Robert Fairchild. Fairchild was to decide what type of probation Helm would receive.

Helm was arrested Aug. 2 in Leon, Iowa, for allegedly driving the car stolen in Douglas County. Several charges against her in Iowa, including possession of stolen checks and possession of a gun, were dropped, and she was returned to Douglas County Thursday.

Helm is also charged in Douglas County with failure to appear. No bond is being set.

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