News Around the State

Published 11:17 am Monday, July 15, 2019

Police investigating after body found in park

HAZARD, Ky. (AP) — Police in Kentucky are investigating after finding a dead woman in a park.

According to Hazard law enforcement officials, officers responded to Bobby Davis Park on Sunday morning and a found a 37-year-old female deceased.

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Police say the victim, who has not been identified, appeared to be beaten to death.

According to information based on witnesses, victim and the suspect were residents of the Hope House in Hazard and likely knew each other.

Police say they are actively searching for Anthony Lewis of Leslie County as a person of interest. As of Sunday, he was believed to still be in Hazard.

The investigation is ongoing.

Suit: Air controller at fault in deadly plane crash

SOMERSET, Ky. (AP) — A lawsuit by family members of victims of a deadly 2017 Kentucky plane claims an air traffic controller didn’t provide the pilot the safest options.

According to the Lexington Herald-Leader , the lawsuit targets the federal government.

It claims the controller told pilot Scott T. Foster to climb 3,000 feet through icing conditions instead of turning around or landing at the nearest airport.

The plaintiffs are relatives of three of the four deceased in the November 2017 Barren County crash: Foster; his 15-year-old son, Noah; and Somerset police chaplain Doug Whitaker.

Dentist Kyle P. Stewart also died.

A Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman said the agency doesn’t comment on litigation.

A National Transportation Safety Board report says Foster wasn’t rated to fly by instruments alone and entered an area where weather conditions would’ve required flying by instruments.

Hearing set for man charged after discovery of body

LANCASTER, Ky. (AP) — A hearing has been set for a man charged with abuse of a corpse after the remains of a missing Kentucky woman were found on property connected to his family.

News outlets report 23-year-old David Sparks may appear in court Monday morning. He’s pleaded not guilty to tampering with physical evidence and abuse of a corpse.

State police say 23-year-old Savannah Spurlock was last seen in January leaving a Lexington bar with three men, including Sparks. The other men were identified and questioned.

A Wednesday tip about a foul order led authorities to search a Garrard County property where they discovered Spurlock’s remains. Sparks’ arrest citation says investigators also found other evidence last known to be in control of only Sparks and Spurlock.

Sparks was appointed a public defender.

Police question who wounded suspect

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky State Police are continuing to investigate whether a fleeing suspect was shot by officers or himself.

An affidavit from a federal agent says 23-year-old Marcellis Means shot himself in the thigh while pulling a gun from his waistband.

But The Herald-Leader reports police trooper Bernis Napier couldn’t confirm the agent’s account Friday.

Napier says police are still interviewing people and won’t release information until they’re sure.

Lexington Police Chief Lawrence Weathers says Officer Ichiro Vance was attempting a traffic stop when Means fled Wednesday. During the brief foot pursuit, shots were fired.

Vance has been placed on administrative leave and Means is in custody.

Eighteen-year-old Lea L. Williams was the female passenger in the car. She was arrested for possession of marijuana and other charges.

Police officer suspended over racist texts

OWENSBORO, Ky. (AP) — A Kentucky police officer has been suspended largely without pay after he admitted to sending racist text messages to an ex-girlfriend.

According to the Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer , Officer Steven Phillips was suspended 26 days beginning July 3 under a complaint opened by Police Chief Art Ealum in May.

Phillips, who is white, signed a June 28 document accepting the suspension. The documents were obtained through a public records request. The messages described as “racist texts” weren’t provided.

Ealum, who is African American, said Phillips reported the messages and provided a letter from his ex-girlfriend’s attorney about them.

Ealum said an investigation found no complaints of Phillips making racist comments in the community and nothing suggested racial disparity in how Phillips arrested people.

Phillips will receive some pay for mandatory K-9 training.

Catholic order releases names of members accused of abuse

BALTIMORE (AP) — A Baltimore-based Catholic religious order that sponsors schools across the U.S. has released a list of dozens of members accused of sexually abusing children.

The list released Friday by the Xaverian Brothers includes two current members “with a credible or established offense.” The group, a separate entity not part of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, says no credibly accused brothers are in active ministry.

Eighteen men on the list are dead or former brothers with a credible or established offense. Also named are 14 dead or former brothers against whom there are allegations that couldn’t be “fully investigated” but for which there is a “reasonable possibility” that they occurred.

The Baltimore Sun reports the order’s general superior issued a statement asking forgiveness “for this unspeakable violation of trust.”

The brothers operate 13 schools in Maryland, Kentucky, New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts, according to their website.