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News Around the State

Court date set for ex-worker accused of giving inmate meth

HICKMAN, Ky. (AP) — A court date has been set for a former Hickman, Kentucky, public works employee accused of providing an inmate under his supervision with methamphetamine.

The Paducah Sun reports a judge on Thursday scheduled a May pretrial conference for 47-year-old Joseph Benjamin Lattus III. Lattus was arrested in December on charges including trafficking in a controlled substance.

A Fulton County Sheriff’s Office affidavit says Lattus was paid $400 to supply drugs to the inmate, who later tested positive for methamphetamine. It says a search of the city sewer plant where Lattus and his inmate crew worked uncovered other contraband including pornography and tobacco.

It says Lattus admitted to taking money from an inmate who wanted him to buy drugs, but denied purchasing the drugs. It’s unclear if Lattus has a lawyer.

Mysterious attack claims lives of 6 llamas near Ky. zoo

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Authorities believe a “large animal” is responsible for an attack that killed six llamas on a farm near a zoo in Kentucky.

Louisville Llama Farm owner Caroline Willette tells the Courier Journal she awoke Monday morning to blood and tufts of wool spread around her property. Five llamas were found dead with bite marks behind their ears and by their flanks, while a sixth was put down because of injuries.

At least two other llamas were injured. She says the attack caused at least $10,000 in damage.

Willette doesn’t believe coyotes were responsible for the attack, as llamas are good at defending themselves and one of the animals killed weighed 500 pounds (227 kilograms).

The farm is behind the Louisville Zoo, but zoo officials say they’re unfamiliar with the attack.

Man accused of pulling gun on couple wearing ‘MAGA’ hats

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (AP) — A man who was wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat says a Tennessee man took out a gun at a store and told him, “It’s a good day for you to die.”

News outlets report police responded to a report of someone with a gun at a Sam’s Club in Bowling Green, Kentucky, on Saturday. A police report says 57-year-old James Michael Phillips of Cottontown, Tennessee, was upset that Terry Pierce and his wife were wearing “MAGA” hats, a reference to President Donald Trump’s campaign slogan.

Pierce told WBKO-TV that Phillips put the gun to his face, backed up and said, “‘It’s a good day for you to die.’” Phillips then left the store before being arrested.

No one was injured.

Phillips was charged with wanton endangerment and remained at the Warren County Regional Jail on Monday.

Quarles campaign offers contest for green whoopee cushion

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky’s Republican agriculture commissioner is giving away a green whoopee cushion to highlight his opposition to the “Green New Deal” pushed by Democrats in Congress.

Ryan Quarles is running for a second term as Kentucky’s commissioner of agriculture in 2019. Last week, his campaign announced it would hold a contest to give away a green whoopee cushion to draw attention to what he says are the anti-agriculture messages pushed by Democrats.

The “Green New Deal” pushed by some Democrats in Congress is a plan to combat climate change. An early draft of a FAQ about the plan mentioned getting rid of “farting cows.” A spokesman for U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said the quip was meant to be ironic.

Officials consider options to get rid of wild hogs

GOLDEN POND, Ky. (AP) — An increase in the number of wild hogs at Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area on the Kentucky-Tennessee border has officials considering options to get rid of the animals, including aerial gunning.

Land Between the Lakes spokesman Chris Joyner told The Paducah Sun that the recreation area’s management was advised late last year that it needed a more intensive strategy than trapping the animals. He said crews trapped 70 hogs in 2018 and 26 in one week this year.

The feral swine are destroying crops, displacing native species and damaging cultural sites including graveyards.

Kentucky wildlife biologist Terri Brunjes says trapping and hunting won’t fully eradicate the animals, but aerial gunning has been used successfully in other areas.

Land Between the Lakes is still considering its options. There’s no timeline for a decision.

Man pleads not guilty to murder in death of officer

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A former city worker in Kentucky has pleaded not guilty to charges including murder in the death of a police detective on Christmas Eve.

News outlets in Louisville report 60-year-old Roger Burdette appeared in court Monday for an arraignment after being indicted last week. He is also facing four counts of first-degree wanton endangerment, driving under the influence and failing to yield to a stopped emergency vehicle. The prosecutor’s office said four people were inside the vehicle stopped by 32-year-old Louisville police Detective Deidre Mengedoht on Interstate 64 downtown.

Police have said the former Metropolitan Sewer District employee was driving a semitruck belonging to the district when he crashed into Mengedoht’s police car, which burst into flames.

An arrest citation said Burdette admitted taking prescription drugs. His bond is set at $200,000.

3 more arrested in connection with robbery, police shooting

HOPKINSVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Three more people have been arrested in connection with a robbery and the shooting of a Kentucky police officer.

Hopkinsville Officer Jeremy Davidson was shot in the head and arm Monday as he attempted to pull over a vehicle believed to be linked to a robbery.

The Kentucky New Era quotes Hopkinsville police as saying that authorities detained 25-year-old Autumn Neblett, 19-year-old Anthony Johnson and 24-year-old September Neblett. Autumn Neblett and Johnson are charged with robbery and other crimes. September Neblett is charged with complicity to robbery.

Earlier Monday, police announced the arrest of 28-year-old Keith Allen Kuzyk, detained in Tennessee after a car chase that began in Kentucky. Kuzyk is charged with attempted murder of a police officer and other crimes.

It wasn’t clear if any of the four have attorneys.