Investigation continues in attempted murder case

Deshawn Terry

The Riley County Police Department Is seeking assistance from the public to locate Deshawn Lee Terry regarding an attempted homicide. RCPD authorities believe Terry may have information pertaining to the attempted homicide of Anthony Williams Jr., which occurred on June 15. As KMAN reported at that time, 29 year old Williams of Manhattan was found Thursday night in the 1,000 block of Fremont Street, with wounds consistent with being stabbed.
Police say Terry also has an outstanding warrant for failure to appear. Those with information on the whereabouts of Terry, are asked to contact the Riley County Police Department at 537-2112 or call the Riley County Crimestoppers at 539-2112 or toll free at 1-800-222-8477

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Commission hears sports marketing report

A new study funded by the Manhattan Convention and Visitors Bureau will help Manhattan City Commissioners entice sports competitions to the community in the coming years.
Mark Jackson from Visibility Sports Marketing encouraged city commissioners to develop an annual sports marketing plan that aids the city in bolstering its profile as a destination for future sporting events. Jackson said right now Manhattan could do a better job of supporting community leagues, because certain teams from Manhattan currently travel to Kansas City or Salina to participate in activities which could be hosted right here.
Jackson said as long as the city focuses on strategic planning and capitol improvements, it should have an easy time bringing more activities to the community.
Commissioners also approved July 11 as the date for a public hearing date for the creation of a benefit district in the alley of the 1100 block of Ratone and Bertrand.
In other business, commissioners approved the first reading of an ordinance which rezoned the lot being used for the future site of Body First Wellness and Recreation.

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Guerra sentenced to 60 years for 2016 kidnapping, robbery

Security footage from a ShopQuick in southwest Manhattan helped police find Sergio Guerra. (Photo courtesy RCPD)

A Wichita man was sentenced to nearly 60 years in prison on Monday for what Riley County Attorney Barry Wilkerson referred to as the “most egregious aggravated kidnapping case” he has worked during 27 years with the county.

Sergio Guerra, now 39, will be serving 714 months – or 59.5 years – for stealing a vehicle and dragging its owner more than 800 feet in March 2016.

Guerra was found guilty on April 21 of aggravated kidnapping and aggravated robbery. A jury found Guerra not guilty on one count of attempted rape.

He approached a car being started by its owner on March 25, 2016, and entered the vehicle. Guerra drove off with the owner inside.

During an escape attempt, the victim was drug through the parking lot of a ShopQuick at 500 Richards Drive and onto Fort Riley Boulevard before two Fort Riley men cut Guerra off and came to the victim’s aid. Guerra fled the scene. Wichita police apprehended him a few days later.

On Monday afternoon, the victim addressed Judge Meryl Wilson, describing the significant injuries she received that evening. Aside from taking nine months to recover from the physical trauma of the altercation, the woman described the emotional distress she has lived with ever since that evening.

“My scars aren’t temporary – they’re forever,” she said. “It’s not my fault, I didn’t ask for this.”

Guerra allegedly made sexual remarks to the woman during a brief exchange earlier in the evening.

Wilkerson told the court there was overwhelming evidence proving Guerra’s guilt. Multiple witnesses to the crime identified Guerra, and the defendant’s tennis shoe was found at the scene of the crime.

Wilkerson said Guerra would have drug the victim to her death had he not been stopped.

“I can’t even imagine the depravity, I wouldn’t even do this to an animal,” Wilkerson said. “It’s incomprehensible.”

Guerra will serve 653 months for aggravated kidnapping and 61 months for aggravated robbery. There will be no chance for parole.

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McClure: Riley County crops in ‘really good shape’

Riley County crops are looking promising this summer.

“I think we’re in really good shape,” Riley County Agriculture Extension Agent Greg McClure told county commissioners Monday morning. “Now we’re begging for rain again. So, interesting. We get too much and farmers are never satisfied. I’ve got some crops out there, too, so give me a rain and I’ll be happy.”

A government report released by the Associated Press Monday says the state’s winter wheat harvest is mostly on track compared to this time a year ago.

The National Agricultural Statistics Service estimated that 22 percent of the wheat in the state has been cut. That is the same progress at this point a year ago and near the 25 percent average despite widespread rains this past week that slowed the harvest.

“I was out at the Manhattan co-op on Friday when a load of wheat came in,” McClure said. “I actually called Leonardville this morning and they thought the first load had come in on Thursday and maybe at most had 10 loads a day over the weekend.”

Monday, officials from the Leonardville elevator said average test weights and yields have been 60 pounds per bushel. But they’ve just seen 10,000 of the 400,000 bushels of wheat they expect to come in for this harvest.

Harvest activity has begun across much of the state. The exceptions are in the northwest and west-central parts of Kansas where cutting has yet to start.

The agency reports harvest is about 48 percent finished in south-central Kansas and 62 percent completed in southeast Kansas. It is just ramping up in north-central Kansas where 7 percent of the wheat has been harvested.

McClure also updated commissioners on corn.

“We got a good start this year, and got quite a bit planted in early April, then we had the rains his — slowed us down significantly — and then started planting again in early May,” he said.

Soybeans and grain sorghum are also in the ground, McClure said. In addition, he said alfalfa harvest has been successfully completed. He called this year’s brome harvest has been as good as it’s been in quite some time.

“On the farm side of things, we’re looking pretty good again,” McClure said.

“We’ve sure been fortunate on the weather,” Commission Chairman Ron Wells added.

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RCPD budget approved

The Riley County Police Department has a new budget, with the Riley County Law Board Monday approving the 2018 budget as published. As reported earlier by KMAN, the budget calls for  1.824 percent increase and $20,682,000.70. RCPD Director Brad Schoen was happy with the process involved in this year’s budget planning saying he was fond of the process, describing it as an ala carte method, which he said makes it much simpler for everyone.

The budget includes a .8 percent cost of living increase, step increase, education and shift differential pay, and the contract for a mental health advocate.

Law Board Chair Craig Beardsley also had praise for the process this year, commending the board, RCPD, city, and county for all the work that went into the budget…

Riley County Law Board members Monday said yes to a Memorandum of Understanding involving Pawnee Mental Health and the Riley County Police Department regarding the Riley County Mental Health Co-Responder Project Cooperative. Law Board member Usha Reddi was pleased with certain provisions in the agreement, especially mentioning the training and communication pieces. Reddi added while it’s a cultural shift for RCPD, it should help to make this a successful program. RCPD Director Brad Schoen agreed the provisions help, especially at times when things might not go well…

And the Law Board also heard that online reporting of certain crimes is no longer cost-effective and had been discontinued.  Reddi expressed some concern about the change.. with more than 100 reports still coming in that way yearly–but Schoen explained on-line reporting had been at best a break-even proposition, so they might as well send an officer out to take reports, while also making their software lives less complicated.

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Pawnee Mental Health requests $36K from Pott county for 2018

WESTMORELAND — Pottawatomie county may budget more money for mental health care provided by Pawnee Mental Health Services. Executive director Robbin Cole suggested the county budget $35,847 toward mental health services for fiscal year 2018 at Monday’s county commission meeting.

Cole described fiscal year 2016 as “the worst year in her career” as Pawnee’s administrator. Pawnee paid $12.1 million in expenses and ended the year with a $491,000 deficit. The health care provider has tried to make cuts from within, Cole said.

“We’ve been pedaling as fast as we could to stay ahead,” Cole said. “This last year, the impact of those cuts caught up with us. We are facing a deficit of similar proportion this year.”

Cuts to state and federal programs have devastated the non-profit group’s operations. The issue has been compounded the uncertainty of Medicare and Medicaid programs. Pawnee has forgiven a substantial amount of debt in order to continue serving the ten counties across northeast and north central Kansas.

“All these issues — all these cuts — they’ve created a dynamic that’s put us on an unsustainable road.”

In her annual report and budget request, Cole said Pawnee served 516 patients from Pawnee County in 2016. It made up 7.3% of all patients seen that year. When crafting her budget proposal, Cole multiplied the $491,000 by 7.3% in order to come up with her proposal that the county pay $35,847 for services.

Pottawatomie trails the other nine counties in the health system, paying $147.13 per patient each year. Other counties in Pawnee Mental Health Service’s area of operation are paying an average of $158 patient.

Cole noted the county pays $2.58 per capita for mental health care, while the state average per capita is $7.44. Funding would increase by 129% if commissioners desired to meet the state average.

Cole said Pawnee Mental Health Services is not looking to increase its services —  only to break even.

“Breaking even is not sustainable,” Cole said. “Breaking even is just getting to not losing money.”

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Riley County Police Department Daily Activity 6/19/2017

Officers filed a report for motor vehicle theft in the 2100 block of Prairie Lea Pl. on June 16, 2017 at approximately 9:15 AM. Officers listed Michael Carson, 27, of Manhattan, as the victim when he reported that an unknown suspect took his 2006 Kawasaki Ninja 636R . The total loss associated with this case is approximately $4,000. Police ask that anyone with information contact RCPD or the Manhattan Riley County Crime Stoppers.

Officers responded to a 3 vehicle injury accident at Fort Riley Blvd. and Westwood Rd. on June 16, 2017 at approximately 5:10 PM. When officers arrived on scene, they found that a silver 2003 Honda Odyssey, driven by Scott Warren, 46, of Wamego, struck a gray 2016 Dodge Challenger, driven by Teerica Haygood, 22, of Junction City,. The impact caused the Challenger to move forward and strike a blue 2017 Subaru Outback, driven by Erin Deyoung, 32, of Manhattan. Haygood was transported by EMS to Via Christi for treatment of her injuries. Warren was issued a citation for inattentive driving.

Officers filed a report for theft, possession of methamphetamine, and possession of drug paraphernalia in the 3600 block of Everett Dr. on June 17, 2017 at approximately 2:55 AM. Officers listed Heather White-Brighton, 39, of Manhattan, and Michael Brighton, 39, of Manhattan, as the victims when they reported that a known suspect took a plant from their residence. When stopped, the suspect also had approximately 25 potted and free standing plants, a leaf blower, a hedge trimmer, and other miscellaneous garden decorations in the vehicle. All were seized in the belief that they were stolen. Officers also seized items that field tested positive for methamphetamine during the search. RCPD asks that if you are missing any items you believe match those listed above, to contact Riley County Dispatch at 785-537-2112.

Officers filed a report for burglary and motor vehicle theft in the 5200 block of Tuttle Creek Blvd. on June 18, 2017 at approximately 9:10 AM. Officers listed Gary Winnie, 57, of Manhattan, as the victim when he reported that an unknown suspect took his 1981 Chevy Camaro from a storage unit. The total loss associated with this case is approximately $10,010.

Randall Roberds, 38, of Branch, Arkansas, was arrested while at the Riley County Police Department on June 18, 2017 at approximately 12:40 PM. Roberds was arrested on 2 Riley County District Court warrants for failure to appear and 1 Manhattan Municipal Court warrant for failure to appears. Roberds’ total bond was set at $14,000, causing him to remain confined.

Officers responded to a single vehicle accident in the 11600 block of Blue River Hills Rd. on June 18, 2017 at approximately 4:10 PM. When officers arrived on scene, they found a purple 1996 Honda VT600CD, driven by Bruce Wheeler, 63, of Leonardville, was laying on its side. Wheeler was transported by EMS to Via Christi for treatment of his injuries. No citations were issued at the scene.

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UPDATE: RCPD seeks info on reported weekend shooting

UPDATE: Officers filed a report for aggravated battery, aggravated assault, and unlawful discharge of  firearm in city limits. Officers listed Lilliane Booker, 21, of Junction City, and Dameko Artis, 20, of Fort Riley, as the victims. Officers have developed a suspect in the case. None of the injuries sustained required hospitalization.

The Riley County Police Department is asking for information regarding a shooting that may have happened late Saturday night in the Blue Hills Shopping Center.

According to a press release from the RCPD, Riley County dispatch received a call at approximately 12:30 p.m. Sunday regarding a shooting in the 2300 block of Tuttle Creek Boulevard that is believed to have occurred sometime around 2-2:30 a.m.

The number of victims and extent of their injuries are unknown at this time.

If you have any information or witnessed any part of this incident, please call in to dispatch at 785-537-2112 or call Crimestoppers at 785-539-7777 or toll free at 1-800-222-8477.

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Over 2,000 attend National Festival of Breads Saturday

A table of breads capture the attention of a festival attendee Saturday inside the Manhattan Convention Center. The Little Apple hosted the 5th Biennial National Festival of Breads Saturday. (Staff photos by Brady Bauman)

For those who wanted to be out and about on a blistering-hot Saturday in the Little Apple, the 5th Biennial National Festival of Breads inside the Manhattan Convention Center was the best thing since sliced… well, you know.

Artisan bakers, cooks and bread aficionados filled the convention center Saturday morning and afternoon. Along with baking demonstrations, attendees were also treated to an abundance of free samples. And for those who braved the heat, outdoor barbecue presentations were also available, along with live music entertainment.

For the those in the bread-baking contest circuit, it’s the Super Bowl.

“This is the major bread competition that there is anywhere in this country, so it’s pretty prestigious to be able to come,” said Ronna Farley, one of eight finalists in this year’s competition from Rockville, Maryland.

Farley said her love for baking began in home economics classes and has participated in cooking contests since 2006. This year, she brought her Seeded Corn and Onion Bubble Loaf.

“It’s a fun hobby,” she said. “I’ve always liked cooking and I started entering contests when I was first married in the 1970s, and I didn’t really take it as serious till around the early 2000s, then I started entering regularly. You have the same chance as anybody else. You start with just an idea and try to out-think, or out-do with whatever he ingredient is that particular contest.”

Click to view slideshow.

Farley wasn’t the only cross-country entry for the festival’s contest. There were also bread bakers from Utah, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and other states — and of course, one from Kansas.

Karen Hibbard, the director for the Manhattan Convention and Visitors Bureau, said over 2,000 people attended the festival.

“Today has truly been an educational opportunity for people passionate about eating — whether it’s barbecue or bread-making,” Hibbard said. “Kudos to the Kansas Wheat Commission and for the partnership they have had with many, many participants to bring people and visitors to Manhattan, and what a unique festival this has been.”

Hibbard said over 800 recipes are tested in order to get down to the eight finalists featured at the festival. She added that 2013 was the first year for the festival in Manhattan. Before that, it was featured in Wichita.

The festival was popular with young families.

Neil Bekemeyer, a wheat-grower who farms in Washington, Kan., but lives in Fairbury, Neb., was with his wife and their child at the festival. He heard about the festival through the Kansas Association of Wheat Growers and thought it would be a good family trip.

Savannah Crossman marks Vermont on the map at the National Festival of Breads in Manhattan. Her and her husband, Torrey, are originally from Vermont.

“We had our fill of samples,” he said. “There were a couple aromatic breads that I really liked. The taste lingered, they used different seeds that gave a different savory flavor.”

Torrey Crossman and his wife, Savannah, were at the festival with their young child. Crossman has been stationed at Fort Riley for two months and the couple is originally from Vermont. Savannah is an agronomist working for the New York Corn and Soybean Association and said some of her research has involved bettering the wheat crop in Vermont.

The couple, who are expecting another addition to the family, said they’ve been enjoying Manhattan.

“We’re enjoying it,” Torrey said. “We like Manhattan a lot.”

“It’s been great, there’s always lots of events,” Savannah added.

Savannah did have a rule for her husband going into the convention center Saturday, though.

“I told him he wasn’t allowed to eat any bread, because then he’d think mine sucked,” she joked.

“Fact,” Torrey hopefully joked.

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Kansas Court of Appeals rules on local cases

Ziad Khalili-Alsalaami, KDOC photo

Anthony Nichols, KDOC photo

The Kansas Court of Appeals has ruled on a couple of Riley County cases, with one reversed and remanded and another affirmed.
One involves an aggravated criminal sodomy case from 2012 and the other an attempted murder case.
The appeal from Ziad Khali-Alsalaami, with a conviction of two counts of aggravated criminal sodomy, was the case that was reversed. The court of appeals Friday  indicated it was a unanimous ruling , and that the appellant’s attorney, or defense attorney at the time of the trial, committed errors during his representation of Ziad. Six errors were listed in the 34 page opinion including failure to request an interpreter at trial, failure to file a motion to suppress Ziad’s confession, and failure to object during certain portions of the trial.
The case which was affirmed involved a search of Anthony Nichols’ cellphone and admissibility of his statements to police in an attempted murder case. The court’s review of the record reveals no errors and Nichols’ conviction was affirmed. Nichols is serving a 51 year sentence in the case, with Riley County jurors finding Nichols guilty of attempted murder in July of 2015. John Burroughs was found dead in his Manhattan home in September of 2013, with multiple stab wounds and a gunshot wound.

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