Archive for Wednesday, December 5, 2001

Local briefs

December 5, 2001

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Attorneys appeal conviction of teen-ager's murderer

Kansas Supreme Court justices heard arguments Tuesday in the appeal of a Jefferson County murder conviction.

Floyd S. Bledsoe, now 24, was convicted in April 2000 of murder, aggravated kidnapping and aggravated indecent liberties with a child in the November 1999 death of his 14-year-old sister-in-law, Camille Arfmann. Above left, Bledsoe looks over jury instructions with defense attorney John Kurth during deliberations April 27, 2000. Bledsoe was given a life sentence for the crime.

Tuesday, his attorneys argued that the case should be overturned. There was insufficient evidence to convict, they say, and an investigator shouldn't have been allowed to testify about his opinion of Bledsoe's truthfulness.

Attorneys also said that hearsay evidence about claims Bledsoe's 2-year-old son made should not have been admitted at trial.

Court officials did not say when a ruling will be made on the appeal.

Government: State revenue collections fall millions short of projections

Topeka The state received more bad budget news Tuesday, though officials were cautious in assessing how bad.

Revenue collections in November fell $35.7 million short of projections made early in the month, according to a report issued by the Legislative Research Department. The difference between the two figures is about 2.2 percent.

Senate President Dave Kerr said legislators won't abandon the estimates.

"You can't change your plans from month to month," said Kerr, R-Hutchinson.

However, he acknowledged about the shortfall, "It's a lot of money."

The state collected $1.56 billion from July 1, the start of the 2002 fiscal year, through Nov. 30. The estimate was $1.6 billion.

Gov. Bill Graves and legislators still must use the estimates to build a budget for the state's 2003 fiscal year, which begins July 1, 2002. However, if revenues continue to fall short of projections, the state's official estimates may be revised in April.

Recreation: Topeka Zoo loses appeal over loss of accreditation

Topeka A zoo association has rejected the Topeka Zoo's appeal to keep its accreditation.

The zoo was stripped of its standing among the nation's professional animal parks in September over concerns about staffing and animal care. The city appealed that decision but recently learned that their request was rejected by the American Zoo and Aquarium Assn.

The zoo association told Topeka it may not apply for accreditation until September.

Loss of professional status can affect a zoo's ability to exchange animals with other institutions and to work with endangered species. The zoo will remain open, but some other zoos with animals on loan to Topeka could recall them.

Courts: High school settles lawsuit over molestation by priest

Hays A Hays high school has paid $30,000 to settle a lawsuit stemming from the molestation of a male student by a Catholic priest.

Thomas More Prep-Marian President Jean Ross said Monday that the lawsuit was resolved when representatives of the school and the Salina Catholic Diocese met in October with the former student and his family in Texas.

The Rev. Ron S. Gilardi, 54, a Capuchin priest who taught at TMP-Marian from 1988 to 1996, pleaded guilty in May in Ellis County District Court to three counts of indecent liberties with a child. He was sentenced in July to 32 months in a treatment facility, to be followed by five years probation.

Ross said a confidentiality agreement prevented her from revealing the terms of the settlement. But she said a story in the TMP-Marian student newspaper that said the school paid $30,000 to settle with the lawsuit was accurate.

Police investigate rape report

Lawrence Police are investigating the possible rape of an 18-year-old woman reported Sunday morning.

The woman called police and said she had been raped by a 19-year-old man sometime between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. Sunday, police said. The incident occurred in the 1300 block of West Campus Road, but police would not be more specific about the location.

No arrest has been made. Police on Monday declined to release any additional information.

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