National Roundup

Monument of Ten Commandments placed at Capitol

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Workers have installed a Ten Commandments monument outside Arkansas’ Capitol, two years after lawmakers approved a measure permitting the statue on state grounds.

The 6-foot-tall (1.8-meter-tall) monument was placed on the Capitol grounds early Tuesday. Opponents of the monument have said it amounts to an unconstitutional endorsement of religion and have threatened to sue.

Plans for Arkansas’ monument sparked a push by the Satanic Temple for a competing statue of Baphomet, a goat-headed, angel-winged creature accompanied by two children smiling at it. Efforts to install that display, however, were blocked by a law enacted this year requiring legislative approval before the commission could consider a monument proposal.

Arkansas’ monument is a replica of a display at the Texas Capitol that was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2005.

South Carolina
Feds investigate how serial killer amassed weapons

SPARTANBURG, S.C. (AP) — Federal agents want to know how a convicted felon who became a serial killer in South Carolina managed to collect an arsenal of weapons.
Todd Kohlhepp was arrested last fall after deputies rescued a missing woman chained up inside a shipping container on his rural property. In exchange for a life sentence, he ultimately pleaded guilty to killing seven people as well as kidnapping and raping the woman.

Agents with the FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms are investigating a trove of weapons on his properties, including dozens of guns and pallets full of ammunition, The Herald-Journal of Spartanburg has reported, based on documents and video released by prosecutors after Kohlhepp’s sentencing last month.

It’s a “staggering” amount of weaponry, and investigators think he illegally acquired most of it through straw purchases, Spartanburg County Sheriff Chuck Wright said.
Investigators have met with a person suspected of buying the guns for Kohlhepp, according to the documents released through public records requests. Wright told the newspaper he expects federal authorities to arrest someone, but no one’s been charged so far.

ATF spokesman Gerod King said Tuesday he could not comment on the investigation.

Kohlhepp’s conviction as a teenager made it illegal for him to buy guns. In 1987, he was sentenced to 15 years in an Arizona prison for raping a 14-year-old neighbor at gunpoint and threatening to kill her siblings if she called police. He moved to South Carolina after his 2001 release.

And yet Kohlhepp, 46, even bragged to investigators about his collection and shooting skills, saying he could teach the sheriff’s office’s SWAT team, the documents show.
Several wrongful death lawsuits against Kohlhepp are pending. Relatives of the victims said his gun supplier should be in prison as well.

The buyer “contributed to everything that happened,” said Chuck Carver, whose son Charlie was the rescued woman’s boyfriend.

Kohlhepp, a real estate agent, killed Carver and chained up his girlfriend after they came to clear brush on his rural property last August. After his arrest, Kohlhepp also confessed to gunning down four people at a motorcycle shop in a 13-year-old cold case many feared might never be solved.

“All the ammo, all the weapons — it’s just unreal. And the guy that sold it to him, I want that person charged,” said Tom Lucas, the father of Brian Lucas, the slain service manager of Superbike Motorsports. “This guy who’s already got a record, he’s out there and has got more ammo than the sheriff’s department.”

Man convicted of sending false anthrax threats gets 2 years

ATLANTA (AP) — A man who pleaded guilty to mailing false anthrax threats has been sentenced to serve two years in prison.

Federal prosecutors in Atlanta said in a news release Tuesday that 50-year-old Travis Ball sent threatening letters to the State Bar of Georgia, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Ball was serving a sentence for arson in the Coffee County Correctional Facility in Nicholls when he mailed the letters in April 2016.

The letters contained a granular substance and said, “have some anthrax.”

The letter to the state bar threatened to kill all lawyers, while the letter to the Latter-Day Saints Church in Utah threatened to kill Mormons and burn their churches.

When he was sentenced Friday, Ball also was ordered to pay restitution of more than $10,700.

Officers’ killing of mentally ill man not a criminal act

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — An internal police investigation has found that Oklahoma law enforcement officers who killed a mentally ill, knife-wielding man committed no crime.

The Tulsa World reports Tulsa County District Attorney’s Office will review the findings of the investigation into the June 9 shooting of Joshua Barre and decide whether to file charges.

Authorities say Barre was walking along a street carrying two butcher’s knives. Two sheriff’s deputies spotted Barre, whom they knew was mentally ill, and tried to coax him to drop the weapons. They followed him and called for backup.

As he entered a convenience store, the deputies and a police officer who arrived at the scene, opened fire, killing him. A stun gun had failed to subdue Barre.

Tulsa police Sgt. Dave Walker said Monday he found “nothing to support criminal charges.”

Man arrested after police mistake drywall dust for cocaine

OVIEDO, Fla. (AP) — A Florida man spent 90 days in jail after police officers who stopped him for driving without headlights said white powder found in his car was cocaine.

But Karlos Cashe walked out of jail last week after lab results determined the powder in the handyman’s car was actually drywall.

Cashe tells WFTV he repeatedly told officers in Oviedo the substance was drywall. But after running a check they found he was on probation for marijuana and cocaine charges in 2015. Cashe says a K-9 alerted on his vehicle and an officer’s field test was positive for cocaine.

Court records show he was denied bond because he was accused of violating probation.

It took nearly three months for lab test results, which were negative for cocaine.


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