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October 09, 2018 - 12:00 am

SUPREME COURT-LOUISIANA TRIPLE KILLING

Justices won't disturb conviction in triple killing

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court is rejecting an appeal from a man convicted of joining a New Orleans police officer in the killing of her fellow officer and two other people during a 1995 robbery.

The justices on Tuesday declined to review a Louisiana Supreme Court ruling that upheld the man's convictions, despite questions about the impartiality of several jurors and the judge who presided over the trial.

Defendant Rogers LaCaze said the judge should have stepped aside from the trial because of an appearance of possible impropriety. The judge's signature is on a form that the officer convicted in the killings used to obtain a handgun from the police evidence room. The judge denied that the signature was his. Authorities believe the weapon may have been used in the killings.

METH GHOST

Man charged with meth possession says ghost planted the drug

MONROE, La. (AP) — Deputies say a Louisiana man who called 911 to report an ax attack was found uninjured and in possession of meth he says was planted by a ghost.

News outlets report Michael L. Auttenberry is charged with giving a false police report and possession of a controlled dangerous substance. Ouachita Parish Sheriff's deputies say Auttenberry called authorities this month to report that he had been hit in the head with an ax.

Responding deputies found an uninjured Auttenberry cursing at people "obviously not there." Auttenberry then said intruders were inside his home, prompting deputies to search the place and find a bag of meth.

They also found meth on Auttenberry, who told them the drug was planted by a ghost or intruder. It's unclear if Auttenberry has a lawyer.

OFFICER-GUILTY PLEA

Ex-Louisiana officer pleads guilty to felony abuse of office

ALEXANDRIA, La. (AP) — A former police officer in Louisiana who was arrested last year has pleaded guilty to one felony count of abuse of office.

News outlets in Alexandria say Kenneth Seth Thomas entered the plea Monday morning.

A marijuana distribution charge against the former Alexandria Police Department member was dropped.

When authorities arrested the 43-year-old Thomas in September of last year, they said investigators learned that he had distributed marijuana and that, while on duty, he had sex with at least one woman.

Thomas is to be sentenced Nov. 26.

BC-TROPICAL WEATHER-THE LATEST

The Latest: Coastal Florida county's shelters not opening

TALLAHASSEE, Florida (AP) — Shelters in one coastal Florida county aren't being opened because they are considered reliable only up to a Category 2 hurricane.

Several people were taken by van Tuesday from a coastal Wakulla County to Leon County to the north, home to the state capital.

Annette Strickland was one of the people who arrived at a Tallahassee high school. The 75-year-old said she wasn't concerned about flooding so much as losing power after the storm.

She was glad to have a safe place to ride out the storm but wasn't happy that her home county couldn't provide shelter.

DEATHS-VEHICLE CRASH

Police: 2 passengers in car involved in crash have died

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Police say two passengers in a car involved in a crash have died.

News outlets report 20-year-old Deshon Murphy died on the scene, while 19-year-old Tyrin Carter later died.

Baton Rouge police spokesman Sgt. Don Coppola Jr. says Murphy and Carter were passengers in a 2010 Honda Accord at about 1:35 p.m. Monday, when the 21-year-old driver lost control of the vehicle and crossed a double yellow line. They were hit by an oncoming 2019 Freightliner tow truck.

Police say Murphy was the front seat passenger, and Carter was in a backseat. The car's driver was taken to a hospital with moderate injuries. Police say the driver of the truck wasn't injured in the crash.

Police say the crash remains under investigation.

BURNING BOAT-RESCUE

Coast Guard: Helicopter rescues 4 after boat burns

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The Coast Guard says a helicopter crew has rescued four people from a burning passenger vessel off Louisiana.

A news release says people on the Grand Sun reported the fire about 2:40 a.m. Monday from the Chandeleur Sound, and a helicopter arrived before 4 a.m.

The aircrew took all four to emergency medical services at Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans.

Petty Officer Travis MaGee says he doesn't know where they went from there, or their conditions.

An online copy of a Coast Guard database shows the Grand Sun as owned by Scobel Marine of Belle Chasse. A woman who answered the phone at Y and S Marine at the same address said she couldn't talk about the vessel or the people's conditions. She didn't give her name.

ELECTION 2018-LOUISIANA SECRETARY OF STATE

Integrity is key issue in Louisiana secretary of state race

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Candidates vying to be Louisiana's secretary of state say they're running to restore confidence in an office whose last elected leader resigned amid sexual harassment allegations.

Five of the nine contenders on the Nov. 6 ballot faced off Monday.

Republicans were interim Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin, Turkey Creek Mayor Heather Cloud, Rep. Rick Edmonds and Rep. Julie Stokes. The participating Democrat was Renee Fontenot Free, a former top aide to two secretaries of state.

Free says trust was compromised after Republican Tom Schedler resigned, accused of sexually harassing an employee. Stokes says she wants to "remove scandal from the office." Edmonds has made integrity a campaign centerpiece.

Ardoin, Schedler's first assistant, says he enacted the "strictest policy in all of state government" against sexual harassment after the Schedler allegations.

RAPE ARREST

Police: DNA evidence connects man to rape at gunpoint

(Information from: The Advocate, http://theadvocate.com)

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Police say DNA evidence has implicated a Louisiana man in a rape at gunpoint that happened last month.

The Advocate reported Saturday that 35-year-old Karl Michael Johnson was arrested on first-degree rape.

Police say the Baton Rouge man approached a woman and forced her behind a building at gunpoint. A police report says he threatened her with the gun by removing the magazine to show her it was loaded and said 'I'm not playing.' He held the gun to her head and raped her multiple times.

The Louisiana State Police Crime Lab notified detectives Thursday that they found a positive match for the DNA from a rape kit. The woman also picked Johnson out of a photographic line-up. It's unclear if he has a lawyer who could comment.

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