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STOLEN REFUND CHECKS-SENTENCE

California man sentenced in stolen tax refund checks scheme

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A California man was sentenced to five years in federal prison without parole for his role in a scheme to cash more than $447,000 in stolen refund checks. Prosecutors say the multi-state scheme involved cashing the checks by using fake driver's licenses. Dante Chestnut, of Ontario, California, pleaded guilty in July to conspiracy to commit bank fraud, bank fraud and aggravated identity theft. Chestnut admitted that he and others stole tax refund checks from the mail in April 2016. They then used fraudulent driver’s licenses and identification documents to cash the checks at Academy Bank branches in Arizona, Colorado, Kansas and Missouri.

INTERRUPTED BREAK-IN KILLING

Missouri man charged with killing man as he walked his dog

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Kansas City man has been charged with fatally shooting a man who was walking his dog when he apparently interrupted a vehicle break-in. Prosecutors announced Tuesday that 25-year-old Malcolm Weston is charged with second-degree murder in the death of 51-year-old Ricardo Ortiz. He was shot in the leg in November and died at a hospital. His wife said he had been walking his dog before the shooting. His sport utility vehicle was found parked in the street outside his home with the rear driver's die window shattered. Prosecutors requested a bond of $250,000 cash.

GUN AT SCHOOL-CHARGES

St. Louis area teen charged with bringing pistol to school

NORMANDY, Mo. (AP) — A St. Louis area teen has been charged with bringing a loaded 9 mm pistol to his high school. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that 17-year-old Christian Fredrick is jailed on $75,000 cash bail on charges of unlawful use of a weapon and resisting arrest. Normandy school district spokeswoman Sharifah Sims-Williams said the school's resource officer approached Fredrick on Tuesday at Normandy High School after noticing that the teen wasn't in class. She says Fredrick took off running and was found in possession of the stolen gun when he was caught.

VOTER ID-MISSOURI

Missouri lawmakers try again with voter ID after court loss

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri lawmakers are trying to adopt stricter photo identification requirements for voting just days after the state Supreme Court struck down key portions of another voter ID law as unconstitutional. Republican lawmakers now want to give voters two options: Show a photo ID to vote, or cast a provisional ballot. Provisional ballots would be counted if voters return to their polling place the same day with a valid photo ID, or if voter signatures match the ones on file with election authorities. A constitutional attorney says the latest bill will also face a court challenge if it becomes law.

OPIOIDS-MISSOURI

Missouri lawmakers push long prison sentences for fentanyl

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri lawmakers are pushing lengthy prison sentences for people caught selling or buying the highly lethal opioid fentanyl. House members gave initial approval to the bill in a voice vote Wednesday. Selling or trying to sell 20 milligrams or more of fentanyl would be punishable by 10-30 years in prison under the proposal. Federal law already bans misuse of fentanyl. But the bill sponsor says adding it to Missouri drug laws would give prosecutors more tools to go after drug dealers. Bipartisan critics questioned whether long prison sentences will be effective in deterring fentanyl sales or fighting the opioid epidemic.

NURSING HOME FIGHT DEATH

Man, 70, arrested in death of Missouri nursing home resident

ST. LOUIS (AP) — A 70-year-old man has been arrested in the death of a St. Louis nursing home resident. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the suspect is accused of punching 66-year-old Joseph Caravello in the face Jan. 14 during an argument at the Bernard Care Center. Police say Caravello fell after he was struck and hit his head. He was taken to a hospital two days later, but police weren't notified until Sunday, when he died.  St. Louis police spokeswoman Evita Caldwell said the medical examiner has labeled the death a homicide. She said she she didn't know if the suspect lived at the nursing home.

POLICE RESIDENCY-LEGISLATURE

Missouri lawmakers discuss expanding police residency rules

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri lawmakers are considering whether to allow police in all Missouri cities to live outside the city where they serve. A proposed bill to lift residency requirements was initially targeted at the city of St. Louis. But the House bill was amended to include all Missouri municipalities, including Kansas City, whose leaders opposed the idea. Attorney General Eric Schmitt has pushed the measure as a way to fight violent crime. St. Louis leaders favor the bill, in part because the city is short more than 100 officers. Kansas City officials say their police department doesn't have the recruitment and turnover problems that St. Louis does.

SUNSHINE LAW VIOLATION-TRAINING

Missouri city officials ordered to undergo records training

NEOSHO, Mo. (AP) — The Missouri attorney general has ordered officials in a southwest Missouri town to attend training about the state's open records and meeting law after determining that official business had been discussed in group texts instead of in public meetings. The Joplin Globe reports that the attorney general's office also cited “questionable” practices for retaining and destroying records in ordering the training for the Neosho city council and city staff. Mayor Bill Doubek described the training as “welcome" and an “opportunity" during a meeting. The council also voted 4-1 to reimburse two residents for the money they spent to obtain records.