National Roundup

Kansas
Students called on to resign over diversity demands

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) - Racial tensions are growing at the University of Kansas with a call for three top Student Senate leaders to resign and a recent graduate initiating a hunger strike.

The Senate's Student Executive Committee is demanding that Student Body President Jessie Pringle, Student Body Vice President Zach George and Chief of Staff Adam Moon step down by Wednesday and that the full Senate to take up impeachment measures if they refuse to leave, the Lawrence Journal-World reported. The committee registered a 6-3 "no confidence" vote Friday for the three leaders. One member abstained from the vote.

The resignation demand comes after last week's unrest at the University of Missouri and after a forum that University of Kansas Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little moderated on Wednesday, where a student group Rock Chalk Invisible Hawk presented diversity demands, which include hiring a director for the Office of Multicultural Affairs by Dec. 15, mandatory "inclusion and belonging" training for students and faculty and increased diversity in hiring.

Senate vice president Shegufta Huma, who is also member of the committee, told the newspaper that the vote was the result of months of inaction that culminated in the officers' reluctance to support the diversity demands. Pringle and George were singled out, with the committee saying they did not "stand in solidarity with their black peers and proclaim that Black Lives Matter" at Wednesday's forum.

"This is part of a larger pattern and some much bigger issues that (the) Senate has been dealing with in terms of our relationship with marginalized communities at KU," Huma said.

The three leaders released a statement Saturday, saying they plan to continue serving and professing support for minority groups. "Black lives matter. Black lives matter at the University of Kansas," they wrote.

Gray-Little, who is black, said in a message to campus Friday that her administration will begin sharing information "early next week" about how the school will move forward on the issue of racism.

Meanwhile, John Cowan, a white 2014 University of Kansas graduate, began a hunger strike on campus Friday morning in solidarity with KU student group movements. If the activist groups' demands are not met or if a plan of action is not issued by KU, "then I die or go to the hospital," Cowan told the newspaper, echoing the sentiments of a graduate student at the University of Missouri who ended his hunger strike last week after the resignations of University of Missouri System President Tim Wolfe and Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin.

"I'm kind of at an advantage because of my white privilege, so my suffering is self-inflicted," said Cowan. "Others don't have that choice, it's inflicted upon them."

Connecticut
Man found guilty in murder-for-hire plot gets jail

MILFORD, Conn. (AP) - A Milford businessman who was found guilty in a 2012 plot to hire someone to kill his ex-wife and assault his girlfriend's ex-boyfriend will be sentenced Monday.

Gregory Christofakis, who owned an auto sales and body shop, pleaded guilty in August to charges of attempt to commit murder and another offense under the Alford doctrine, meaning he acknowledges there is enough evidence for a conviction. The plea carries a finding of guilty by the court.

Christofakis and his then-girlfriend, Ziba Guy, were charged with plotting to have Christofakis' ex-wife killed and Guy's ex-boyfriend assaulted. Guy is currently serving a four-year prison term.

The Connecticut Post reports prosecutors will recommend a 15-year sentence suspended after 8 ½ years served. Christofakis' lawyer is expected to argue for 41 months.

New York
Authorities say father and son ran drug ring

FARMINGVILLE, N.Y. (AP) - Suffolk county police say eight people, including a father and his son, have been arrested on drug charges.

Newsday reports that Richard Bruno, Sr. and his 26-year-old son Richard Bruno, Jr. were arrested earlier this month and were accused of dealing heroin and cocaine in suburban New York. Police tell Newsday much of the heroin was stashed at the Bruno's home in Farmingville, New York.

The arrests come after an investigation with New York State Police investigators and the district attorney's heroin task force. Authorities seized drugs and illegal guns in the probe.

The Brunos and the other suspects were being held pending a court appearance and it wasn't clear whether they had attorneys.

Pennsylvania
Teen faces false report charge of razor in gum

MARION CENTER, Pa. (AP) - A 16-year-old western Pennsylvania girl is being charged with falsely reporting to police that she found a razor blade in her Halloween bubble gum.

State police had previously said the incident was a hoax, and that the girl self-inflicted a cut in her mouth which took 23 stitches to close.

But now the Indiana Gazette says the girl is being charged in juvenile court. As a result, her name won't be released.

The girl claimed she found the razor during a community event in the Marion Center area. That's about 60 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.

The event involved 22 people who registered to hand out Halloween treats out of their vehicles at a school parking lot in East Mahoning Township.

The girl has since acknowledged orchestrating the hoax alone.

Texas
Convicted triple killer loses at Supreme Court

HOUSTON (AP) - The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to review an appeal from a condemned triple killer in Austin who contends his previous attorney abandoned him and missed a critical deadline for filing an appeal.

The high court, without comment Monday, refused an appeal from 53-year-old Louis Castro Perez.

He's on Texas death row for the 1998 slayings of 31-year-old Michelle Fulwiler, 38-year-old Cinda Barz and Barz' 9-year-old daughter, Staci Mitchell.

Evidence showed the women, who worked for the Travis County juvenile probation department, were fatally beaten with a cast iron skillet. The girl was strangled. All three shared an Austin home.

Attorneys for Perez have been arguing unsuccessfully that a lower court improperly has barred them from filing an appeal after a court deadline.

He doesn't yet have an execution date.

Published: Tue, Nov 17, 2015

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