Archive for Saturday, May 4, 2002

Area briefs

May 4, 2002


Carnival worker draws 2 life sentences in murders

Cresco, Iowa A carnival worker, convicted of killing a Cresco woman and her daughter in their home last summer, was sentenced Friday to two life prison terms.

Clayton Thomas was found guilty April 11 of two counts of first-degree murder for strangling Angela Hyke, 25, and her 8-year-old daughter, Ashley Lucas.

Thomas, 25, a carnival worker from Atchison, Kan., met Hyke and Lucas in late June at the Howard County Fair. He visited them when his company passed through Cresco a few weeks later.

Their bodies were found July 19 in a shallow grave in the Atchison State Fishing Lake in northeast Kansas.

Authorities said Thomas killed the two in their Iowa home last July. He and his wife took their bodies to Kansas in Hyke's car.

The murder convictions carried mandatory life sentences.

Thomas was sentenced in Howard County District Court in Cresco.

Inmate discovered hanging in jail cell

Olathe An inmate that a sheriff's deputy found Friday afternoon hanging by clothing in his Johnson County Jail cell died later in what investigators believe was a suicide.

The deputy discovered Christopher Lee Buck, 31, about 2:10 p.m. Friday during a routine cell check, the Johnson County Sheriff's Department said. Deputies and Johnson County Med-ACT personnel tried to revive the prisoner, who was transported to Olathe Medical Center and pronounced dead at 2:55 p.m.

Buck had been in Johnson County custody since May 1 on the charge of parole violation. He was a prisoner of the Kansas Department of Corrections and was awaiting transportation back to prison.

The preliminary investigation indicates an apparent suicide. The department didn't release details about where the inmate was from.

Kansas Citian gets life for shooting death

Kansas City, Mo. A Kansas City man was sentenced Friday to life in prison plus 60 years for killing another man during a robbery in the city's Westport entertainment district.

Phillip L. Garth, 29, was convicted in March of second-degree murder, armed criminal action and two counts of first-degree robbery in the death of Brian Gwaltney, 21, on Sept. 30, 2000.

According to testimony at the trial, Garth asked Gwaltney and his girlfriend for a light for his cigarette. When they said no, he followed them and grabbed the girlfriend's purse. After Gwaltney turned over the contents of his wallet, Garth shot Gwaltney in the neck and escaped with his money and the purse.

Garth was captured a few weeks later after officers found him with a stolen car. A witness picked him out of a lineup as the man who shot Gwaltney.

Interior secretary to speak at Kansas State University

A top U.S. government official will deliver a Landon Lecture at 10:30 a.m. Monday in McCain Auditorium at Kansas State University, Manhattan.

Gale Norton, U.S. secretary of the interior, will speak on a topic yet to be announced.

Norton was confirmed as the nation's 48th secretary of the interior in January 2001. Before joining the Bush administration, she served as Colorado's attorney general from 1991-99. She is noted for her work on environmental policy.

Norton also has served as assistant solicitor of the Interior Department, overseeing endangered species and public lands legal issues for the National Parks Service and the Fish and Wildlife Service. She also worked as assistant to the deputy secretary of agriculture.

The Alfred M. Landon Lecture Series on Public Issues honors the late Gov. Alfred M. Landon. Three to five of the country's leading personalities appear on the Landon Lecture platform each academic year.

Norton's lecture will be broadcast live on the Web at

Haskell honors seven for service to university

Seven people with ties to Haskell Indian Nations University were honored Friday by two Haskell organizations.

The Substance Abuse & Strategies in Education Committee, known as SASE, and their student organization, SPIRIT, honored the individuals during an awards luncheon for providing leadership, programs and services to Haskell students and staff.

Two students Carla Feathers, the current Miss Haskell, and Randall Hopkins, newly crowned Miss AIHEC, or American Indian Higher Education Consortium were honored. Awards also were presented to two Lawrence community members, Chrissy McClure, who works for DCCCA, and Lawrence Police Det. Catherine Borne.

Jim LeFlore and Hermine St. Cyr, both Haskell staff members, were recognized.

The organizations surprised a third long-time staff member, Benny Smith, with an award for his service to students. During his tenure at Haskell, Smith, who is set to retire in June, served as football coach, instructor, lead guidance counselor, acting dean of students and residential housing director.

Jury begins deliberations in apartment explosion trial

Emporia A jury will resume deliberations Monday in the murder trial of a man accused of killing a woman and her 13-month-old son in an apartment explosion in July 2001.

Arguments in the trial of Wallace L. Dixon III ended Thursday afternoon and deliberations began Friday morning. After a full day of deliberations, the jury recessed for the weekend.

Judge Merlin Wheeler had sought to have the verdict in the case sealed until a decision was reached in the trial of co-defendant Ethan Griffin. But on Friday, Wheeler said the verdict of Dixon would be made public when the Griffin jury is empaneled and under Wheeler's control. That trial is planned for next week.

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