Abbey Oldham, WKU Public Radio

Senator Mitch McConnell is planning to block the nomination of a Kentucky judge to a seat on a U.S. Appeals Court.

McConnell’s office issued a statement Friday saying he had no plans to move forward on President Obama’s nomination of Kentucky Supreme Court Justice Lisabeth Tabor Hughes to the Sixth U.S Circuit Court of Appeals.

Watch: President Obama's Interview with NPR's Nina Totenberg

The statement said President Obama hadn’t consulted with McConnell before announcing the nomination Thursday night.

"Leader McConnell tried to work with the White House to fill this vacancy, including submitting a qualified Kentuckian for consideration. Rather than work with him to fill this vacancy, they submitted Justice Hughes without even notifying Leader McConnell. He will not support action on this nomination," spokesman Robert Steurer said in the statement.

McConnell is also refusing to hold hearings on the President’s U.S. Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland.

Joe Corcoran / WKU Public Radio

The Screaming Eagles of Fort Campbell’s 101st Airborne Division Air Assault are once again in harm’s way on foreign soil. Five hundred soldiers are in Iraq and Kuwait on an advisory mission, called Operation Inherent Resolve, aimed at helping the Iraqis in their fight against the terrorist group ISIS.

The troops’ official departure ceremony was hard on their family members. It was also hard on the feelings of those off base who've seen it all before.

At a recent Casing the Colors ceremony, service members from Fort Campbell packed up the unit’s flags and pennants and prepared them for their journey to the Middle East. The symbols of unit pride and identity are then unfurled in foreign war zones to signify a new base of operations.

Speaking to soldiers and family members in attendance at the base, Staff Sergeant Cara Duda read from the ceremony's official history. "The very soul of a military unit is symbolized by the colors under which it fights," she said. "They record the glories of the past, stand guard over its present destiny and insure inspiration for its future. Today the colors serve as a binding symbol of continuity and a point of inspiration for the future. Commanders and soldiers come and go but the colors will remain steadfast."

Flickr/Creative Commons/Floyd Wilde

Bowling Green could be the latest area of the state to build a veterans nursing home. 

Funding for the project was included in the budget approved this week by the Kentucky House. 

Some 40,000 veterans in the region would be served by a Bowling Green nursing home.  The closest one to them now is more than 100 miles away. 

Roger Miller, commander of the American Legion Post in Bowling Green, told WKU Public Radio that the 90-bed nursing home would fulfill a real need.

"It would mean a whole lot.  I'm 77 years old," said Miller.  "It would be a blessing to me and a lot of other people who are really needing one right now."

About 20 acres of land has already been donated for the facility at the Kentucky Transpark in Warren County.

Kentucky Senate Addresses Untested Rape Kits

Mar 17, 2016
Kentucky LRC

The Kentucky Senate has approved legislation intended to avoid future backlogs of untested sexual assault kits.

The unanimous approval comes as more than three thousand untested rape kits remain in the state police crime lab. A state audit uncovered the backlog.

Louisville Senator Denise Harper Angel told her colleagues the bill calls for taking sexual assault kits into custody from collecting facilities within five days. “All kits shall be submitted to the KSP crime lab within 30 days. All kits submitted to law enforcement agencies shall be tested, cannot be destroyed, and all victims shall be notified of the progress and results of the testing,” said Harper Angel.

Hopkinsville Senator Whitney Westerfield says officials at the lab and within the State Justice Cabinet have put much effort into tackling this problem. “To make sure we’ve got a compromise bill that we can pass, that people can meet the standards in, and that will prevent a backlog like this from happening again,” Westerfield explained.

Westerfield says the State Police Crime Lab is underfunded. He says more staff and equipment are needed. The bill does not establish funding levels.

Kentucky State Police are on the scene of a shooting at the McDonalds in Russellville on North Main Street. According to a news release, a man shot a female and left the scene on foot.

The female pulled across the street where she was treated and then transported to a local hospital.

The alleged shoot, who has not been identified, encountered officers from the Russellville Police Department Officers who shot and killed the suspect near the intersection of Armory Drive.

A man who was inside the Russellville Donut Shop was struck by gunfire and was flown to a Nashville hospital for treatment.

No Russellville police officers were injured during the incident. 

Flickr/Creative Commons/J. Stephen Conn

Abortion rights advocates say Indiana Gov. Mike Pence should veto a bill that would ban abortions sought because the fetus has a genetic abnormality such as Down syndrome.

About 30 activists spoke out against the measure Monday at the Statehouse and delivered a petition with about 2,700 signatures asking Pence to reject the bill.

After the measure was passed last week, a national group representing gynecologists wrote a letter to Pence also urging a veto.

The governor could allow the law to go into effect by simply not acting on it within seven days after the bill is filed to his office. As of Monday morning, the bill had not yet reached Pence's desk.

Lisa Autry

An Allen County could be sentenced to death if convicted in the death of a young girl last fall. 

Timothy Madden is charged with kidnapping, murder, rape, and sodomy in the death of seven-year-old Gabbi Doolin. 

Allen County Commonwealth’s Attorney Clint Willis says he consulted with the girl’s family before reaching his decision to seek the death penalty. 

Madden’s defense attorney Travis Lock says he wasn’t caught off guard by the prosecutor’s decision.

"This was not a decision that was unanticipated by the defense.  We have known since day one the commonwealth would likely seek capital punishment," Lock told WKU Public Radio.  "What penalty the commonwealth elects to seek has little if any bearing on how the underlying case is defended.  What penalty the commonwealth elects to seek does not change the facts of the underlying allegations or the underlying charges in this indictment."

Doolin’s body was found in a creek behind Allen County-Scottsville High School after being reported missing during a youth football game last November.  Madden was arrested a week later.  Investigators say evidence recovered from the girl’s body matched Madden’s DNA.  The 38-year-old Madden maintains his innocence.

Kentucky State Police say Ben Wyatt has been arrested and charged with attempted murder after allegedly shooting a Simpson County Sheriff's Deputy Thursday who was attempting to serve Wyatt with a warrant.

Wyatt was being held in the Simpson County Detention Center where he was also served with a bench warrant for Failure to Appear.

Kentucky State Police says Wyatt fired on the deputy, Eddie Lawson, striking him twice. The deputy was able to return fire and hit Wyatt once in the left arm.

The suspect fled but was quickly apprehended, and both he and the deputy were hospitalized.

Deputy Lawson was taken to Skyline Medical Center in Nashville, where he was in stable condition.

Wyatt was treated at the Medical Center in Bowling Green.

Kentucky State Police are investigating how two inmates from the Warren County Jail walked away from a work detail this week. 

Twenty-five-year-old Bates Cole was captured the same day, while 23-year-old Anthony Embry was taken into custody after a two-day search. 

Warren County Jailer Jackie Strode told WKU Public Radio that all inmates who work outside are considered low-risk offenders.

"Nobody can be on it that has assaultive-type charges. Nobody can be on it that has sexual-type charges. It has to be lower felonies such as child support, forgery, maybe DUI-4th, that kind of thing."

The inmates eligible for work release are serving a five-year sentence or less.  Cole was in jail for violating parole. Embry was also serving time for a parole violation, as well as charges of Carrying a Concealed Deadly Weapon, Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon, and Giving an Officer False Name or Address.

Asked how Embry was considered low-risk, Jailer Strode said the Kentucky Department of Corrections determines what classification level inmates are assigned.

Kentucky State Police

Police have captured an inmate from the Warren County Jail who escaped Monday afternoon. 

Twenty-three-year-old Anthony Embry of Morgantown walked away from a work detail on Church Avenue in Bowling Green. 

Embry was found on Morgantown Road just before 10 a.m. Wednesday. According to the Warren County Sheriff’s Department, Embry had in his possession a firearm and a machete at the time of his arrest and additional charges will be filed. 

Embry was already being held on several charges, including Carrying a Concealed Deadly Weapon, Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon, and Probation Violation.

A second inmate, Bates Cole who escaped with Embry, was caught Monday night. 

KSP photo

One inmate has been captured, but another is still at large after they walked about from a Warren County Regional Jail work detail Monday afternoon.

Kentucky State Police said in a news release that 25 year old Bates Cole was taken into custody overnight. The search is still underway for 23 year old Anthony Embry.

Embry, of Morgantown, is described as 5'3" tall and 170 pounds. He has brown hair that may possibly be shaved and green eyes. He was last seen wearing a brown hoodie, white t-shirt and blue jeans.

Embry was being held in jail on charges of Carrying a Concealed Deadly Weapon, Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon, Giving an Officer a False name or Address and Probation Violation. Bates was being held for a Parole Violation.

West Virginia Boy Claims Kentucky Suspect Targeted Him

Mar 7, 2016

A Kentucky State Police affidavit says a man charged in the killing of a 7-year-old girl was identified by a West Virginia boy as someone who allegedly tried to lure him into a vehicle a month before the girl's death.

The Bowling Green Daily News reports Detective Wesley Medley filed the affidavit for a search warrant last month in the case of Timothy Madden of Scottsville.

Madden has pleaded not guilty to murder, kidnapping, rape and sodomy charges in the November death of Gabriella Doolin.

The affidavit says a boy watching a television account of Madden's arrest told his father that the suspect was the same man who allegedly asked him and another boy to get into his vehicle Oct. 9 at a gas station in Mason, West Virginia.

Kentucky State Police

Update: The Kentucky State Police said missing Simpson County teenager Julia Bingham has been located.

A statement issued to the media Saturday morning said the 17 year old was home Friday night.

Original story:

Kentucky State Police are looking for a missing juvenile from Simpson County.

Judge Blocks Indiana’s Syrian Refugee Order

Mar 1, 2016
Gage Skidmore/Creative Commons

A federal judge in Indianapolis has blocked Republican Gov. Mike Pence’s order barring state agencies from helping Syrian refugees resettle in Indiana.

Monday’s ruling by U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt comes in response to a request for a preliminary injunction from the group Exodus Refugee Immigration, which helps resettle refugees.

Pratt wrote in her 36-page opinion that the governor’s directive “clearly discriminates against Syrian refugees based on their national origin.”

More than two dozen states, most with Republican governors, have taken similar action to suspend Syrian resettlement programs.

Pence had cited concerns following the deadly Paris terrorist attacks when issuing the order in November. He’s noted a passport found near one of the suicide bombers had been registered along the route asylum seekers from Syria are taking through Europe.

Creative Commons

The Bowling Green City Commission will vote Tuesday on the hiring of ten police officers.  This will be the first round of hiring since the federal government launched an investigation into the hiring practices of the city police department.

Among the new hires are four African-Americans and one Hispanic.  The city has been working to recruit and hire more minorities since a Department of Justice investigation last summer found the city should have more black officers based on its population. 

While some changes have been made to recruit more minority candidates, Human Resources Director Mike Grubbs says the city is still hiring the overall best candidates.

"The police department looks at character for hiring.   They can train someone to be a police officer," Grubbs told WKU Public Radio.  "Candidates have to meet certain minimum requirements, which all of our candidates did, but they have to have good character and good background, and the department has not wavered on that."