News in Brief
Man convicted of ordering hit on 4 people from jail
CORBIN, Ky. (AP) — A Kentucky man has been convicted of ordering a hit on two prosecutors and two ex-girlfriends from jail.
A news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Eastern District of Kentucky says 55-year-old William Timothy Sutton was convicted of four counts of interstate murder-for-hire and one count of possession of firearms by a convicted felon on Tuesday.
According to Sutton’s indictment, while lodged in the Whitley County Detention Center, he offered to pay a fellow inmate $40,000 to kill the women and the Whitley County Attorney and Whitley/McCreary County Commonwealth’s Attorney. Prosecutors said he mailed a letter from jail asking a relative to provide the would-be hit man with one of Sutton’s firearms.
The release says he faces up to 10 years on each count.
Former lawmaker pleads guilty to identity theft
PIKEVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A former Kentucky lawmaker sent to prison for a bribery scheme has pleaded guilty to identity theft.
The Lexington Herald-Leader reports ex-state Rep. Keith Hall of Pikeville entered into a plea agreement Thursday that recommends a two-year sentence on the federal count. According to court documents, prosecutors will move at sentencing to dismiss five other charges.
Hall was accused of using fake documents to convince a customer he had insurance so he could keep a contract.
He is currently serving a seven-year prison sentence for a 2015 conviction for bribing an inspector to overlook violations at his surface coal mines.
Sentencing on the identity theft charge was set for May 24.
Hall was a longtime lawmaker until his re-election defeat in 2014.
Altria Group giving $3K bonuses with tax windfall
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Altria Group Inc., one of the world’s largest tobacco and cigarette makers, is giving its employees a $3,000 bonus with a fraction of its windfall from the federal corporate tax cut.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports the one-time payout to 7,900 non-executive employees totals about $24 million. Altria posted a $10.3 billion profit for 2017, almost half of it in the fourth quarter as the company adjusted deferred taxes to benefit from the lower rate.
The Richmond-based corporation also announced plans Thursday to set aside $35 million over the next three years for donations to philanthropic programs, mostly centered on youth development and workforce preparedness, in communities where it operates.
Many companies have announced either one-time bonuses or wage increases now that their corporate income tax rates have been substantially lowered.
Coach accused of student relationship pleads guilty in deal
BARDWELL, Ky. (AP) — A former Kentucky teacher accused of an inappropriate relationship with a student has pleaded guilty to amended charges.
The Paducah Sun reports Zachary Sims pleaded guilty Thursday in Carlisle Circuit Court to two counts of wanton endangerment and one count of tampering with physical evidence. Commonwealth Attorney Mike Stacy said the charges were amended because the two didn’t have sex.
Sims agreed to a probated sentence of five years per charge and could serve 15 years in prison if he violates terms. Sims won’t have to register as a sex offender and an official misconduct charge was dismissed.
Sims previously pleaded guilty to unlawful use of electronic means to induce a minor to engage in sexual activity. He taught physical education at Carlisle County schools.
Sentencing is scheduled March 1.
Louisville bourbon tourism attraction reaches milestone
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A bourbon tourism attraction in Kentucky’s largest city has reached a milestone by filling its 1,000th barrel of whiskey.
The Evan Williams Bourbon Experience in downtown Louisville has produced one barrel per day since production began in September 2013.
Evan Williams is the flagship bourbon brand for Heaven Hill.
The artisan distillery has become a recognizable part of Louisville’s downtown, thanks to a five-story Evan Williams bourbon bottle on the building’s facade.
Heaven Hill officials say that while the tourism attraction produces one barrel per day, Heaven Hill’s Bernheim facility elsewhere in Louisville produces 1,300 barrels per day.
Police: 1 suspect dead, Louisville officer shot and wounded
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A Louisville police detective was shot in the head during a traffic stop as officers fatally shot one suspect and wounded another during a drug investigation.
Louisville Police Chief Steve Conrad says the narcotics detective was struck in the head during an “exchange of gunfire.” He gave no details about the officer’s condition, but Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer told reporters “we’re grateful our officer is going to be ok.”
Conrad said the officer and the wounded suspect were being treated at a hospital. He did not identify the officer or the suspects.
The chief said the department’s Public Integrity Unit is investigating. He also said that police video of the shootings may be released on Friday.
Pilot program asks residents to house homeless young adults
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A Kentucky organization that helps the homeless says it has received enough funding to start a pilot project in Louisville that would place young, homeless adults in stable housing.
A statement from the Coalition for the Homeless says it is seeking people to participate in the Host Homes pilot project by opening their homes to provide safe, temporary housing for young adults ages 18-24. The project would also provide support services to young adults while they find permanent housing on their own or are reunited with family.
Coalition for the Homeless Director Natalie Harris says the project has been successful in other cities and is a step toward the organization’s goal of eliminating homelessness among young adults.
If the project is successful, organizers plan to expand it next year.