News Around the State

Published 12:01 pm Friday, December 21, 2018

Deadline nears to change party affiliation ahead of primary

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky election officials say the deadline is approaching for people to change their registered political party in time for 2019 elections.

Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes say the deadline is Dec. 31. Grimes say the deadline is important for people considering a party-affiliation change and want to participate in next year’s May primary.

Next year, Kentuckians will go to the polls to elect statewide officials including governor and lieutenant governor.

Kentucky law says that to be qualified to vote in a partisan primary election, a voter must be a member of that party on Dec. 31 of the prior year. It says new voters who have not changed their party affiliation will also be considered qualified to participate in a partisan primary election.

Judge: Democrat can’t force Ky. speaker to testify

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — A judge has ruled Kentucky’s incoming GOP House speaker does not have to answer the questions of a newly elected Democrat facing an election challenge from his Republican rival.

Democrat Jim Glenn defeated Republican state Rep. DJ Johnson by one vote on election night. The Kentucky State Board of Elections certified those results. But Johnson has asked the Republican-controlled state House of Representatives to conduct a recount.

Glenn’s attorney, Anna Whites, issued a subpoena to incoming GOP House Speaker David Osborne. She wanted to ask Osborne if taxpayer money was used to help Johnson’s challenge.

Wednesday, Judge Thomas Wingate ruled the state Constitution forbids lawmakers from being questioned in court about legislative business. He said the election challenge counts as legislative business.

4 men sentenced in shooting that killed Olympian’s daughter

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Four men convicted in the 2016 slaying of Olympic track star Tyson Gay’s teenage daughter have been sentenced by a Kentucky judge.

News outlets report 40-year-old Chazarae Taylor; his son, 21-year-old D’Markeo Taylor; 23-year-old D’Vonta Middlebrooks; and 22-year-old Lamonte Williams were sentenced Wednesday in Fayette County Circuit Court on related charges.

Authorities say 15-year-old Trinity Gay was a bystander when gunfire broke out in a restaurant parking lot.

Prosecutors said Chazerae Taylor started a chain reaction of shooting that caused her death. He received a 20-year prison sentence for wanton murder and wanton endangerment. Middlebrooks got 15-years in prison. D’Markeo Taylor and Williams got five years’ probation.

Tyson Gay has said he’s glad Trinity got some justice. Her mother, Shoshana Boyd, expressed frustration at not knowing who was ultimately responsible.

Ky. firefighter accused of choking girlfriend

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — A former Lexington, Kentucky, police officer and current firefighter is accused of choking his girlfriend and lifting her into the air during the attack.

News outlets report 50-year-old Stephen Michael Freeman was arrested Tuesday and charged with wanton endangerment. Court records say an emergency protection order has been filed against him.

Court records say he used one of his hands to lift the woman off the ground while choking her, “causing risk of serious injury/death.”

Police spokeswoman Brenna Angel says Freeman joined the department in 1999 and left in 2005. It’s unclear why he left the department. Scott County Fire Chief Mike Fuller says Freeman is a firefighter for the department.

It’s unclear if Freeman has a lawyer.

Inmate hitches ride with officer, goes back to jail

GREENUP, Ky. (AP) — A jail inmate who escaped from authorities and tried hitchhiking along a highway didn’t enjoy freedom for long because the motorist he flagged down was a law enforcement officer.

Greenup County Jailer Mike Worthington told The Independent that 31-year-old Allen Lewis was being transported on Tuesday to face charges in another county when he told the officer his handcuffs were too tight. The officer pulled over and Worthington said after one handcuff was released, the two struggled and Lewis got free.

The jailer says Lewis made it to a nearby highway and tried to flag down passing cars for a ride. Worthington says the person who stopped was a campus officer at Morehead State University who saw handcuffs hanging off one wrist. Worthington says Lewis was taken back to jail and now faces an escape charge.

Officials approve needle exchange in Daviess County

OWENSBORO, Ky. (AP) — Officials have approved a needle exchange program in western Kentucky’s Daviess County.

The vote Tuesday by the Owensboro City Commission was the final approval needed for the initiative. The Messenger-Inquirer reports it will be one of the first of such programs in the region. It will allow the Daviess County Community Health Center to give drug users clean needles in exchange for dirty ones.

Green River District Health Department Director Clay Horton says after the first visit, there will be a strict one-for-one needle exchange. He says the aim is to provide a safer way for people to administer drugs and dispose of needles.

Officials say the needle exchange is expected to be up and running by mid-January.