FORT WAYNE – A Mexican national sentenced last month to life in prison for the abduction and slaying of a 10-year-old neighbor girl had four more life sentences added on Monday for killing his family. All five sentences are without the possibility of parole.\nSimon Rios, 35, pleaded guilty in August to four counts of murder and two counts of moving a body from the scene of a violent or suspicious death in the beating and strangulation death of his wife, Ana Casas-Rios, 28, and the strangling deaths of their three daughters, Liliana, 10, Katherinne, 4, and 20-month-old Thannya.\nThey were killed Dec. 13, 2005, in their Fort Wayne home.\nDuring an emotional sentencing hearing Monday in which Rios, defense attorney Michelle Kraus and Allen County Prosecutor Karen Richards all shed tears, Superior Judge Fran Gull accepted the plea agreement that allowed Rios to avoid facing the death penalty.\nBefore agreeing to a plea, defense attorneys had been seeking to have Rios declared mentally retarded, which would have made him ineligible for the death penalty or a life sentence.\nHe pleaded guilty after a forensic psychologist testified that Rios was not mentally retarded and therefore competent to enter a plea.\nCasas-Rios’ family members, including her mother, traveled from Mexico to attend the hearing. They said they did not want to see Rios put to death. Marcos Casas, Rios’s brother-in-law, told the court that his family had forgiven Rios but was not sure God would.\nRios told Gull he came to the United States to fulfill his dreams, “but I allowed the forces of evil to take over and I’ll always regret it.”\nHe did not say why he had killed his family.
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Production workers at Honda Motor Corp.’s new factory will start at a lower hourly wage than their counterparts in Marysville, Ohio, but the car maker will pick up the tab for health insurance.\nHonda will pay $14.84 an hour and provide an annual performance bonus to workers starting at the $550 million factory under construction in southeastern Indiana.\nThe wage will gradually rise to $18.55 by 2009 and eventually pass $20 an hour as workers gain experience and the plant becomes established, Honda spokesman David Iida said.\nHonda received more than 30,000 online applications for production jobs at the plant. It expects to fill about 2,000 positions when the factory reaches full capacity.\nThe company will start conducting interviews in late November. Iida said some employees may be hired at the end of this year, but most will start in 2008.\nThe factory will produce 200,000 Civic sedans annually after it reaches full production. It is being built on 1,700 acres along Interstate 74 and is expected to open in fall 2008.\nHonda set the starting wage in Greensburg based on the product the factory makes and pay in the region, among other variables, Iida said.\nThe wage, which totals about $31,000 annually before taxes, trails top pay at other factories like the Toyota plant in Princeton or Honda’s Marysville, Ohio, location.\nNew Toyota workers start at $17.91 an hour. Hourly pay for the 4,800 workers there averages $25.98, according to company officials.\nWages at Honda’s Marysville plant start at $15.35 an hour and top out at $24.40 an hour, Iida said. He also noted the plant has been in operation for 25 years.\n“There are some small differences between each plant, it’s not a cookie-cutter approach,” he said.\nIida said he thinks Honda’s Greensburg pay package will be attractive to potential workers.\n“It will move up pretty quickly when you combine the wage with the performance bonus and the accompanying health care package,” he said.\nHonda will pay the entire premium for employee health insurance.\nThat bucks the current trend, said Andrea Cranfill, vice president of FlashPoint Human Resource Consulting in Indianapolis. She said employers are asking employees to pay more for insurance to control costs and make them more accountable “for their health care decisions.”
State Senate Minority Leader Richard Young, the first Democrat to join the 2008 race for governor, dropped out on Monday.\nYoung, 64, said it would take at least $20 million to mount a successful race and he realized he could not raise that much. He also said that getting out would give the other two Democrats seeking the nomination — former U.S. Rep. Jill Long Thompson and Jim Schellinger, president of an Indianapolis architecture firm – more room to compete for the party’s nod.\nHe said both were outstanding candidates and hoped the party would coalesce behind one of them so a primary contest next May could be avoided.\n“It became clear to me that if we’re going to defeat (Gov.) Mitch Daniels, and that should be our ultimate goal, we needed cohesion within the party to make that possible,” said Young, a farmer from the southern Indiana city of Milltown.\nYoung got into the race in January by forming an exploratory committee, but said he had raised only about $200,000 and was not sure if his campaign was in the black. Schellinger got into the race in March, and as of June 30 had raised about $1.2 million and spent very little of that.\nLong Thompson joined in July, after the midyear campaign finance reporting deadline. Daniels ended the first six months of this year with $4.1 million.\nDaniels is widely expected to get the Republican nomination in his run for re-election. He is being challenged by retired Bedford firefighter La Ron Keith, whose only foray into politics was an unsuccessful run for a seat on the Lawrence County Council in the late 1990s.\nYoung said he got into the race because he wanted to improve the lives of all Hoosiers, “not just a small percentage.” He alluded to Daniels’ moves and proposals to outsource state assets and services and said they were shortsighted.\n“My campaign has always been about the politics of empowerment, one that is inclusive rather than exclusive,” he said. “The kind of politics that is considered and considerate, not the politics of power that is dictatorial, demanding and ultimately destructive.”\nYoung was first elected to the Senate in 1988 and has been minority leader for the past 10 years.\nA statewide WISH-TV Indiana poll released last month showed Long Thompson with 41 percent of support from 400 likely Democratic primary voters. Young was second with 16 percent, while Schellinger had 10 percent. The subgroup poll had a margin of error of plus or minus five percentage points.\nState Democratic Chairman Dan Parker, who attended Young’s announcement at the Statehouse, has long said that he hoped the party would support one candidate so a costly primary could be avoided. But he said it was not his role to try to talk Long Thompson or Schellinger into getting out of the race.\nHe said the governor’s race was really just beginning because many people are still focused on the upcoming November municipal races.\n“I think the Democrats are going to look forward to a vigorous campaign and we’ll see where we are at the end of the year,” he said.
NEW YORK – Here’s something Madonna can really celebrate: a nomination to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.\nShe joins heartland rocker John Mellencamp, the puckish rappers the Beastie Boys and premier dance acts Donna Summer and Chic, among the nine nominees for the hall. The five who receive the most votes will be inducted during the annual ceremony March 10, 2008, at New York’s Waldorf Astoria Hotel.\nThe other nominees are rap pioneer Afrika Bambaataa, songwriter Leonard Cohen, the original British Invasion combo The Dave Clark Five and surf-rock instrumentalists The Ventures.\nThe nominations illustrate how far the Hall of Fame has stretched its definition of rock ‘n’ roll to incorporate a variety of musical styles.\nIt’s certainly the case with Madonna, the Michigan native who burst out of New York dance clubs in the early 1980s with “Holiday” and soon became a pop culture icon. She scored 17 Top 10 hits in the 1980s alone and is due to put out an album next year, collaborating with the likes of Timbaland and Justin Timberlake.\nThe Beastie Boys molded punk rock and rap into the goofy hit “(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right to Party.” They became critical favorites and are still together, having released an instrumental album earlier this year.\nIndiana’s own Mellencamp can fill a barrel with rock hits like “Hurts So Good,” “Pink Houses” and “R.O.C.K. in the USA.” Like Chic and the Dave Clark Five, he’s been nominated before without successfully being voted into the hall of fame.\nAbout 500 musicians, industry professionals and journalists vote on the nominees.
MARTINSVILLE – An attorney for the man convicted of killing Indiana University student Jill Behrman has filed an appeal arguing that jurors misbehaved and that pretrial publicity tainted the trial.\nThe 75-page brief in support of the appeal also questions whether the judge should have allowed damaging testimony from defendant John Myers II’s grandmother and a\nformer girlfriend. It also questions a forensic pathologist’s opinion that Behrman had been raped, even though there was no evidence of sexual assault.\nAttorney Patrick Baker filed for an appeal with the Indiana Court of Appeals on Sept. 21.\nThe appeal takes Morgan Superior Court Judge Christopher Burnham to task for not granting a change of venue from a community that Baker argued was bent on revenge after Behrman’s disappearance and slaying gripped south central Indiana.\n“From the day that John Myers was arrested for a crime which he did not commit, a public outcry for his conviction has steadily influenced an attitude of unfairness and bias against him,” the appeal said.\nMyers, 31, of Ellettsville, was convicted last year of killing Behrman. The 19-year-old IU freshman had vanished during a morning bike ride in Bloomington in May 2000, and her fate remained a mystery until her remains were found in a remote Morgan County field in April 2003.\nBaker, in his brief, argued the public was influenced “by the media hysteria, which memorialized Ms. Behrman, while demonizing and displaying Mr. Myers as an evil person.” He said the trial should have been moved to a county far from Morgan County.\nMyers’ former girlfriend testified at the trial that he took her to the spot where Behrman’s body was later found. The grandmother testified Myers told her he had done a very bad thing that could send him to jail for life.\nThe jurors’ conduct during the trial included racing in women’s high-heel shoes down a hotel hallway and having alcoholic drinks nightly at dinner.\n“Is this the type of conduct expected from grown adults involved in such an important case, deciding a man’s liberty?” Baker asked.\nThe state has 30 days to respond to Baker’s petition. Then, members of the Indiana Court of Appeals will consider the case and issue a ruling. If they agree with Baker, Myers’ conviction could be set aside and a new trial ordered. If the appeals court denies Baker’s petition, he can seek a reversal from the Indiana Supreme Court.\nMyers is serving a 65-year sentence.
GARY – Police radio recordings show that officers had been told that two teenage passengers were missing from a car crash even though officials have said that fact was unclear before family members found their bodies hours later in nearby brush.\nThe Sept. 15 crash injured two teenagers and killed Brandon Smith and Dominique Green, both 18. The injured teens were taken to the hospital, but the whereabouts of Smith and Green were presumably unknown until Smith’s father went to the crash site and found their bodies.\nDispatch recordings obtained from the Gary Police Department by the Merrillville Post-Tribune show that officers were told that Smith and Green were in the car when it crashed.\n“He says he had two other guys with him,” an unidentified officer said on the recording at about 1:45 a.m. “They might still be in the car. You might want to check.”\nAnother officer responded: “Yeah, I’m headed there right now.”\nThe recording has an exchange between officers a few minutes later:\n“He said if they’re not in the car, then they had to have gotten out on their own and walked off,” one said.\n“If you’ve seen the vehicle, I don’t know how anyone would have walked off,” another responded.\nA 911 call at about 9 a.m. reported that the bodies of Smith and Green were found after Smith’s father went to the scene. Wails from the victims’ families can be heard over the police radio as officers call for assistance.\nGary police Cmdr. Sam Roberts, a department spokesman, said last week that officers searched the site, but that the survivors told officers they might have dropped off their two friends earlier. Roberts declined to comment Wednesday on the dispatch recording or the investigation into how officers handled the scene.\nPolice have said the driver Darius Moore and passenger DeAndre Anderson, 17, had alcohol in their systems at the time of the crash.\nThe Lake County coroner’s office has said Smith and Green died instantly, but the families have sought independent autopsies.
BROWNSTOWN, Ind. – Attorneys for a Muncie-area teenager accused of killing a truck passenger in a sniper shooting from an Interstate 65 bridge said key evidence against him should be thrown out because investigators obtained it illegally.\nZachariah Blanton’s attorneys told Jackson Circuit Judge William Vance that his confession and a .270-caliber Remington rifle seized from his home should be ruled inadmissible at his trial, scheduled to begin Oct. 31.\nBlanton, 18, of Gaston, Ind. faces charges of murder, attempted murder and criminal recklessness. He’s accused of shooting at traffic from the bridge near Seymour on July 23, 2006, fatally wounding Jerry Ross, 40, of New Albany as he rode in a truck.\nThe rifle found at Blanton’s home matched bullet fragments pulled from vehicles shot along I-65 about 60 miles south of Indianapolis and on I-69 near Muncie a few hours later. Investigators said Blanton’s confession to the I-65 gunfire came as they questioned him in connection with the I-69 shootings.\nDefense attorney Alan Wilson told Vance during a hearing Wednesday that there was “absolutely no probable cause to arrest Zach Blanton” in connection with the I-69 shootings.\nState police Detective Daryl Thornburg testified a man who had been hunting with the Blanton family in southern Indiana reported the teen, armed with a .270 Remington rifle, had left the hunting party in anger. He said Blanton told him that he took a route home to Gaston that put him in the area at the time of the shootings.\nWilson and co-counsel Bruce Mactavish argued that was not enough probable cause for an arrest. They also said the rifle was seized from the Blanton home without a search warrant and that Blanton was arrested without a warrant.\nJackson County Prosecutor Richard Poynter countered that Blanton’s grandparents, with whom he lived, consented to the search that turned up the rifle and to the questioning of the youth, who was then 17.\nBlanton’s grandmother, Patricia Blanton, testified that police officers told her and her husband that they just wanted to see the rifle and never said they were going to take it.\n“I asked them, ‘Where are you going with that?’” she said. “And he told me, ‘To the lab.’ I said, ‘You lied to us.’”\nThornburg, though, testified that he and other investigators were clear with the Blantons about the reason for the search.\n“We told them we were there to look for the rifle and asked for permission to look for the rifle,” Thornburg said. “She gave us permission to take the rifle.”\nVance gave both sides until Oct. 9 to submit written arguments before he rules on the evidence.
SAN MARCOS, Calif. – A 10-year-old boy will get a chance to be an extra in Will Ferrell’s new movie after his father bought the role in a cancer-charity auction for more than $47,000.\nThe money will go to the Cancer for College foundation run by a fraternity brother of Ferrell’s at the University of Southern California. The $47,100 high-bidder, a man from Dallas, asked to remain anonymous. The opening bid was $5,000.\n“Winning this auction means a lot to me on a very personal basis,” the winner said in a statement released by the foundation. “I lost my mother to ovarian cancer a few years ago, so I feel fortunate that my 10-year-old and I are able to participate in an event involving Cancer for College and Will Ferrell.”\nFerrell came up with the idea to auction off a non-speaking part as an extra in his new movie, “Step Brothers.”\n“We are overwhelmed with the response and generosity to the auction,” Ferrell said. “This money will help so many young people with their dreams of attending college.”\nThe winner is scheduled to meet Ferrell on Friday at the 14th annual Cancer for College golf tournament dinner in Temecula, Calif., then join the actor on the movie set next month.\nFerrell’s friend Craig Pollard, a two-time survivor of Hodgkin’s disease, started Cancer for College to provide scholarships to current and former cancer patients. The charity has awarded $200,000 to 50 cancer survivors since 1993.
Don’t get him wrong. Prince Fielder is plenty pleased with becoming the youngest player to hit 50 homers in a season.\nBut he really wants to hit 52 – especially if it helps Milwaukee reach the playoffs.\nFielder connected twice Tuesday night to help the Brewers beat St. Louis 9-1, bringing Milwaukee within two games of the Chicago Cubs in the NL Central. It also allowed the typically jovial slugger to surpass Willie Mays as the youngest to reach that single-season milestone.\nBut Fielder was serious when he talked about hitting two more. His estranged father, former major leaguer Cecil Fielder, hit 51 home runs with Detroit in 1990 – and surpassing that total would be especially sweet.\n“That’s why I’m so passionate about playing,” the younger Fielder said. “Hopefully one day, whenever they mention my name, they won’t have to mention his.”\nFielder hit a two-run homer to right field in the first inning and a two-run shot to left in the seventh, giving him 50 at 23 years, 139 days old. Mays was 24 years, 137 days old when he hit his 50th in 1955, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.\n“It was a great thrill,” said Brewers manager Ned Yost, who this week was given a vote of confidence by team owner Mark Attanasio. “I told the boys, ‘We’re watching a little history here. Remember it.’”\nFielder’s feats overshadowed the fact that Milwaukee drew ever closer to the Cubs, who were hamstrung by Dontrelle Willis and lost 4-2 at Florida.\n“We’re in the middle of a pennant race right now, and that’s all I care about,” Yost said.\nPrince Fielder is guarded about the reasons behind the split with his father. According to a 2004 story by The Detroit News, Cecil Fielder frittered away his baseball earnings through gambling and bad business decisions.\nCecil has been more outspoken. At a Toronto Blue Jays alumni event in June, he said his son should show him more respect.\n“I just don’t think my son knows how to let it go,” Cecil Fielder said. “I don’t think he’s grown up yet. Until he can move on and talk to me like he’s my son, we don’t need to talk.”\nFielder said he wasn’t offended by any one particular comment from his father, but made it clear that he has been paying attention to what he says in public.\n“You’ve got to look at who’s saying it,” Prince Fielder said. “Let’s be honest, he’s not really the brightest guy.”\nNevertheless, the Fielders became the first father-son tandem to reach the 50-homer mark.\n“It’s just an awesome feat,” Prince Fielder said of No. 50. “Now my kids can know at one time, their dad was pretty good.”\nBraden Looper (12-12) served up Fielder’s first home run and gave up homers to Bill Hall and Rickie Weeks.\nMilwaukee starter Jeff Suppan (11-12) worked eight innings to beat his former team for the third time this year, scattering nine hits and three walks but allowing just one run.
GOSHEN, Ind. – An Elkhart woman who pleaded guilty to strangling her four young children was sentenced Monday to life in prison without parole in each child’s death.\nAngelica Alvarez, 27, told Elkhart Circuit Judge Terry Shewmaker she repented for what she had done and accepted responsibility for the murders of Jennifer Lopez, 8, Gonzalo Lopez, 6, Daniel Valdez, 4, and Jessica Valdez, 2, on Nov. 14, 2006.\nAlvarez pleaded guilty to four counts of murder on Sept. 4, in return for Prosecutor Curtis Hill Jr. agreeing not to seek the death penalty.\nShe described during a court hearing that day how she took the children to the basement of her home in Elkhart, about 15 miles east of South Bend, and gave them sleeping pills before strangling them with her hands. She then tried to hang herself with an electrical cord from a lamp. When that didn’t work, Alvarez said, she took sleeping pills, leaving a note saying the children would be better off in heaven.\nProsecutors challenged her account in court Monday, saying toxicology reports indicated the children had not been given sleeping pills. They also said a cord mark was on at least one child’s neck.\nThe father of the two older children, Gonzalo Lopez, spoke at the sentencing hearing and said he’s found peace with God and doesn’t hate Alvarez.\nOutside the courtroom, he said through a translator that the deaths of his children hit him hard.\n“We’re moving forward little by little on a very hard road because it’s not easy,” he said.\nAlvarez entered the guilty plea after Shewmaker found her competent to stand trial.
EVANSVILLE, Ind.– A choir director who allegedly began a sexual relationship with a female church member when she was 14 faced two felony counts of sexual misconduct with a minor.\nNathan St. Pierre, 25, was being held Saturday night in the Vanderburgh County Jail in Evansville on a $25,000 cash bond. He was due to be arraigned Monday.\nSt. Pierre was choir director at Evansville’s Washington Avenue Baptist Church when the relationship with the girl, then 14, began in early May and ended earlier this month, police said.\nThe problem came to light when the girl’s mother found a diary detailing the relationship and brought it to the church’s pastor, the Rev. Mike Bebout, who is St. Pierre’s father-in-law.\nBebout, who became pastor two years ago, said he knew nothing about the affair and said the church should not be held responsible for allegations of wrongdoing against one employee.\nSt. Pierre has submitted a letter of resignation, Bebout said, “but he was dismissed already last week.’’\n“I in no way tried to cover up this thing or tried to protect my son-in-law,’’ Bebout said.\nThe police affidavit said the girl told investigators she and St. Pierre had sexual intercourse 15 to 20 times and other sexual relations at least six times.
INDIANAPOLIS – This summer’s dry, hot weather may mean a shorter and earlier season for watching autumn leaves turn red, orange and yellow.\nLeaves typically begin developing fall colors near the beginning of October, but this year the change could come earlier.\n“We’re already starting to see the trees brown out; that’s because of the stress,” said Sam Carman, education director of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Forestry. “In dry conditions, the colors tend to be more vibrant, but they don’t last as long.”\nBetween April and mid-September, central Indiana recorded 14 inches of rain, more than 8 inches below typical amounts, according to the National Weather Service. That makes it the driest spring and summer since 1988.\nGreen chlorophyll that generates a tree’s food during the growing season typically masks the other colors in a tree’s leaves. But the chlorophyll fades and other colors emerge as temperatures drop and days grow shorter. Sugars generated by trees help produce the colors seen in the leaves, and if drought conditions cause a tree to store less, fall leaves may appear more muted.\n“We all think it’s not going to be as showy a fall color season because of the drought,” said Tom Thake, a forest ecologist for the Hoosier National Forest in Southern Indiana. “It’s still going to be gorgeous.”\nSugar maple leaves often turn brilliant red and orange, while tulip trees and redbuds turn yellow. Traffic already has started to increase in Brown County, a popular spot for leaf watchers.\n“October is the peak season, and years back it was the only season, but we see more traffic year-round,” said Jane Ellis, interim director of the Brown County Convention and Visitors Bureau. “People just make their fall vacation plans regardless.”
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Zack Greinke may have ended the debate over whether he should be a starter or reliever.\nGreinke struck out a career-high 10 and pitched two-hit ball for eight innings, leading the Kansas City Royals over the Chicago White Sox 3-0 Thursday.\nGreinke (7-6) made his sixth start since rejoining the rotation Aug. 24 and allowed just one runner past first base.\nHe began the season as a starter, but after getting hit hard May 6 in a loss at Detroit, he was shifted to the bullpen with a 1-4 record. Greinke worked in relief for much of the next four months.\n“I feel like I’m a starter, but other people make that decision,” Greinke said. “The main thing was to get my pitch count down and go deep into the game.”\nHe became the first Kansas City pitcher to reach double digits in strikeouts since Odalis Perez fanned 10 at Boston on Sept. 8 last year.\n“That is something I wouldn’t have been able to do in the past,” Greinke said. “Since I’ve moved to the bullpen, I’ve been striking out guys better. Ten is a real lot. I never would have imagined that when the season started, me striking out 10 in a game, ’cause I just couldn’t miss that many bats.”\nCatcher John Buck believes Greinke should remain in \nthe rotation.\n“He made a pretty good case for himself,” Buck said. “I’m convinced. I had the best seat in the house. There were a lot of dominating pitches on a team that scored 11 runs in one inning (Monday). He was pretty dominant the whole day.”\nJoakim Soria followed with a perfect ninth for his 17th save in 21 chances, as Kansas City (66-86) moved back ahead of Chicago (66-87) and out of last place in the AL Central.\n“Greinke has an electric fastball,” White Sox catcher Toby Hall said. “It just jumped out of his hand, good slider, good curve.”\nJon Garland (9-13) gave up three runs and six hits in eight innings. He had been 8-1 with a 2.43 ERA in his previous 11 starts against the Royals.\n“You won’t see a better pitching duel,” White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. “We didn’t come close to scoring against Greinke, maybe one time. He pitched well. Garland threw the ball good.”\nGarland has a 1.80 ERA in his last four starts overall but is 1-3, with the White Sox totaling three runs in the three losses.\n“If I give my team a quality start, I feel I’m doing my job,” Garland said. “I was throwing everything for a strike. I’m not very overpowering, but when I can throw all my pitches and keep those guys off balance, they couldn’t sit on one pitch.”\nBefore a crowd of 10,264, the Royals’ third-lowest at home this season, the game was played in 1 hour 55 minutes – the fastest nine-inning game for Kansas City since May 10, 2005, at Toronto (1:44).\nKansas City broke a 21-inning scoreless streak with a two-run sixth.\nBuck and Tony Pena Jr. hit doubles – the latter on an 0-2 pitch after Pena twice failed to get down a bunt. David DeJesus grounded out, and Esteban German hit a sacrifice fly.\n“It’s been a while,” Buck said of snapping an 0-for-12 rut with two hits. “It’s nice to see one of those hit the outfield grass.”\nJerry Owens doubled for Chicago leading off the fourth and Juan Uribe sacrificed, but Jim Thome and Paul Konerko struck out.\n“In the bullpen, I’ve been pitching in tough situations like that,” Greinke said. “I kind of figured on how to get out of jams like that, where in the past I might try to do too much. Thome can really hurt you, but he strikes out a lot, too.”
RICHMOND, Ind. – The local newspaper and authorities are in a dispute over whether the tape of a 911 emergency call and other records involving two teenage sisters found dead six days apart in their family’s home should be made available to the public.\nWayne County Prosecutor Mike Shipman said the records were part of the investigation into the deaths of Erin Stanley, 19, and her 18-year-old sister, Kelly, in Centerville. For that reason, he has refused to release the tape and the Centerville police log of calls.\nWayne County Attorney Ron Cross defended Shipman and denied the Palladium-Item’s request to obtain a tape of the 911 call involving Erin Stanley’s death.\n“My opinion is that if the prosecutor wants it he can take it as part of the investigation,” Cross told the newspaper.\nThe newspaper also sought to obtain the tape of the 911 call in Kelly’s death. But Cross said there is no tape because of equipment failure in the dispatch office.\nThe Associated Press left telephone messages for Cross and Shipman at their offices seeking comment. Shipman said in a news release that he would make the 911 recording public after investigators had interviewed the women’s mother, who placed the call, and he determined its release would not compromise the case.\nPalladium-Item Executive Editor Mickey Johnson said the newspaper was not asking for anything extraordinary or trying to jeopardize the investigation.\n“We’re simply asking the prosecutor to comply with public records access laws and provide the citizens of Centerville and Wayne County at least a glimpse into the events of the past two weeks,” Johnson said. “What exists in the absence of this basic information is an environment of speculation and rumor. That’s hardly in the best interest of the community.”\nThe Wayne County coroner’s office ruled the Sept. 1 death of Erin Stanley a homicide, but no other details were released.\nPolice officers found Kelly Stanley’s body Sept. 7 after being called to the home, state police said. Findings of an autopsy were inconclusive, and state police said officials were waiting for toxicology and other test results before determining a cause of death.\nThe newspaper asked the state’s public access counselor Wednesday for an opinion on whether the records should be released. The access counselor helps to mediate disputes but has no enforcement power.\nThe officials violated state law by refusing to release the records, said Stephen Key, general counsel of the newspaper industry trade group Hoosier State Press Association.\n“By definition, an investigative record is a record created in the course of the investigation,” Key told the newspaper. “Our opinion is that the investigation doesn’t begin until the officer gets on the scene.”\nState police 1st Sgt. David Bursten, an agency spokesman, said a 911 call is evidence and not a public record.\n“This is consistent with how we deal with all our cases in all 92 counties,” he said.
FOWLER, Ind. – Construction has started in the fields of northwest Indiana’s Benton County on building 87 turbines for what would be the state’s first electricity-generating wind farm.\nPreliminary work began in late July to set concrete foundations for the turbines, build roads to them and run electrical cables, and some farmers have cut down part of their crops to make room for the Benton Wind Farm turbines. \nOrion Energy Group plans to start selling electricity from the wind farm in May, said Turner Hunt, a project manager.\nThe turbine towers will stand about 265 feet tall and are being built throughout an area seven miles wide and five miles long. They will be able generate up to 130 megawatts of electricity.\nDuke Energy, which has a service area covering much of central and southern Indiana, has agreed to buy up to 100 megawatts from the wind farm. Hunt said other companies want to buy power from the wind farm, but he declined to name them.\nOrion’s project is on schedule to be the first commercial wind farm in operation in Indiana, said Eric Burch, a spokesman for the state’s Office of Energy and Defense Development.\nFarmer Bob Suiter Jr. said Orion is building three turbines on land where he farms corn and soybeans about 25 miles northwest of Lafayette. Each turbine takes up about a third of an acre, and the company is compensating Suiter for the crops it removes.\nThe company is leasing the turbine sites from about 100 landowners, Hunt said. They can expect to make from $5,000 to $10,000 a year from the agreements, according to Orion.\nSuiter said he receives a flat fee for renting his land. Any payments beyond that will be proportionate to the amount of power generated by the turbines. He expects the lease to be lucrative.\n“I wouldn’t be doing it if I didn’t think so,” he said.\nBP Alternative Energy of Houston is also looking to build a wind farm in Benton County. The company has agreed to sell up to 200 megawatts of electricity from those turbines to subsidiaries of American Electric Power.
IRVING, Texas – Suspended defensive tackle Tank Johnson signed a two-year contract Tuesday with the Dallas Cowboys.\nJohnson, who played the last three seasons for the Chicago Bears, can’t play for the Cowboys until he completes his eight-game NFL suspension for violating probation on a gun charge. He has served the first two games of that suspension.\nJohnson signed after visiting with the Cowboys and taking a physical.\n“For a lot of reasons, he really just felt the Cowboys were the right fit,” said Johnson’s agent, Jerrold Colton. “He’s so thankful to them for giving him this opportunity. He is very determined to prove they made a wise decision in believing in him.”\nJohnson could provide late-season depth on a defensive line that lost starting nose tackle Jason Ferguson for the year because of a torn right bicep in the opener.\nJay Ratliff, a third-year player, replaced Ferguson as the starting nose tackle. Ratliff has five tackles, a sack and a fumble recovery for the Cowboys (2-0).\nAlthough Johnson can’t work out with the team until his suspension ends, the team must make room for him on the 53-man roster.\nThe Bears released Johnson on June 25, three days after he was pulled over by police in Arizona. He already had served a two-month jail term for the gun charge and been suspended by the NFL for violating the league’s personal conduct policy.\nPolice in Gilbert, Ariz., closed the June case without charging Johnson, who was stopped for speeding. His blood alcohol level was .072, under the presumptive limit for DUI.
INDIANAPOLIS – A retired firefighter from Bedford has formed a committee to run for governor as a Republican and said he is confident he can gather enough signatures of registered voters to get on the primary ballot.\nLaRon Keith, 48, said Tuesday that he filed the necessary paperwork to form a campaign committee about two weeks ago, but wanted to wait until he had his platform solidified before seeking any publicity. He must get 500 valid signatures from registered voters in each of the state’s nine congressional districts to gain a spot on the ballot to challenge Gov. Mitch Daniels in next May’s primary election.\nKeith said he is starting off with only his personal money and has not yet sought any contributions. Daniels had $4.1 million in campaign cash at the end of June.\nThree Democrats are seeking their party’s nomination for governor – former U.S. Rep. Jill Long Thompson, state Senate Minority Leader Richard Young of Milltown and Jim Schellinger, president of an Indianapolis architecture firm and a longtime activist.\nKeith said he was “fed up with politicians” who seem to make promises they do not have to keep and who will not tackle tough issues.\nHe said his platform included abolishing property taxes and replacing the lost revenue by raising the sales tax and extending it to everything; placing stricter spending caps on state and local governments and eliminating wasteful spending.\nHe also wants to put the time zone issue to a statewide vote; prevent illegal immigrants from obtaining free social services, including health care, and return any budget surplus at the end of fiscal years to the people.\nKeith said he has run for office once before, losing a contest for a seat on the Lawrence County Council in the late 1990s.\nHe is a 1977 graduate of Bedford North Lawrence High School, about 25 miles south of Bloomington, and said he then received an associate degree in architectural drafting from ITT Technical Institute in Indianapolis.\nHe said he has held numerous jobs over the years, including one as a firefighter and as a carpet installer. He is divorced and has two sons.
LONDON – The Sex Pistols are reuniting for a concert to mark the 30th anniversary of their only album, “Never Mind the Bollocks.”\nAll four original members– John Lydon, Steve Jones, Paul Cook and Glen Matlock–will play a one-time concert Nov. 8 at London’s Brixton Academy, the band announced Tuesday on the music Web site www.nme.com.\nThe punk pioneers, who once sang there was “No Future,” split in 1978 but reformed in 1996 and played together again in 2003. Last year, they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.\nLed by sneering frontman Lydon– then known as Johnny Rotten– the Pistols shocked many Britons with raucous singles including “God Save the Queen,” “Anarchy in the U.K.” and “Pretty Vacant.”\nReleased in 1977, “Never Mind the Bollocks” is now regarded as one of the most influential albums in rock history. It will be rereleased to mark the anniversary.\nBassist Sid Vicious, who replaced Matlock during the band’s period of greatest notoriety and became a punk icon, died of a drug overdose in 1979.
RICHMOND, Ind. – Winds carried a cloud of possibly toxic smoke away from downtown Richmond as firefighters battled a blaze at a storage building that’s part of a plastics operation.\nThe fire at Primex Plastics was still burning at 10 p.m. Friday, hours after it started, but officials said it was under control. No injuries were reported and media reports said no one was in the building when the fire began at about 3 p.m.\nThe building collapsed at about 5:30 p.m. Television video showed the fire swallowing the multi-story building and leaping to another building across a railroad track.\nRichmond Fire Department Battalion Chief Jim Fessler said the smoke from the fire likely was toxic, but environmental concerns were diminished because the winds were carrying the plume aloft. The huge cloud of black smoke could be seen from 15 miles away.\n“I’m not sure what all chemicals are involved, but it is plastic, and that is toxic,” Fessler said.\nAuthorities did not order area evacuations, though people were evacuated from one nearby business as a precaution.\nFessler said fire officials were advising nearby residents to close up their homes to avoid breathing smoke. People with asthma or other respiratory problems were advised to leave the area until the fire was extinguished, he said.\nAn estimated 2,000 people stood along the streets watching the blaze.\nA recorded message at Primex said the second and third shifts at one of the company’s plants had been canceled due to the fire but that work was continuing at three of the company’s other plants.
SOUTH BEND – Demetrius Jones, the Notre Dame quarterback who lost his starting position after a poor performance in the season opener, expects to play next season at Northern Illinois following his quick decision to transfer.\nJones surprised Notre Dame’s coaches by not showing up Friday for the bus trip for the team’s game at Michigan.\nJones said he was stung by coach Charlie Weis’ comments that freshman Jimmy Clausen had been the team’s top quarterback but was not named the opening game starter as he was recovering from surgery to remove a bone spur from his throwing elbow.\n“When I heard Jimmy was the No. 1 all the way through spring, and that the only thing that was keeping him out of the lineup was his surgery, well that’s not what I was led to believe going into the summer,” Jones told the South Bend Tribune for a story Monday. “I thought I was getting a chance because coach Weis believed in me. Then I didn’t know what to believe anymore.”\nJones, who is from Chicago, said he attended Northern Illinois’ 21-19 loss to Eastern Michigan on Saturday in DeKalb, Ill., but had not yet been in contact with the school’s coaching staff and did not know when he would begin practicing with his new team.\n“My plan is to practice with them this year and be eligible to play next fall,” he said. “I’d then have three years of eligibility. That’s how I hope it works out.”\nNorthern Illinois spokeswoman Donna Turner said Monday that she had no word that Jones was yet part of the team.\n“Everything so far has taken place outside the athletic department,” she said.