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News Around the State

Canadian manufacturer to create up to 265 jobs in Kentucky

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky officials say a Canadian manufacturer plans to create up to 265 full-time jobs with a facility planned in eastern Kentucky.

Gov. Matt Bevin says Dajcor Aluminum plans to invest nearly $19.6 million to locate its first U.S. operation near Hazard. The company manufactures extruded and fabricated aluminum products.

Officials say the company plans to locate in the former American Woodmark facility in Perry County’s Coalfields Industrial Park. Retrofitting and setup will begin immediately and operations are scheduled to begin by the end of 2019.

To encourage the investment, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority has preliminarily approved the company for up to $4 million in tax incentives through the Kentucky Business Investment program.

Kentucky State Police welcomes recruits to training academy

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — The Kentucky State Police Training Academy is welcoming 72 new recruits.

A news release says the recruits are an encouraging sight to the law enforcement agency that has experienced several retirements recently.

The training at the academy in Frankfort lasts 25 weeks and includes more than 1,000 hours of classroom and field study. Areas of study include constitutional law, use of force, weapons training, defensive tactics and high-speed vehicle pursuit.

Captain Kyle Nall is commander of the academy. He says the program is both mentally and physically challenging. Historically, at least 35 percent of the cadets do not finish.

The class is tentatively scheduled to graduate on Oct. 25.

Man accused in machete attack on 9-year-old boy

COVINGTON, Ky. (AP) — A Kentucky man is accused of chasing three children from a Covington park and then stabbing a 9-year-old boy who fell behind.

The Courier Journal reports 35-year-old Esteban Portugues was arrested Friday and charged with second-degree assault. The child’s family says the boy was playing basketball with two other children Friday night. Covington police say Portugues, armed with a machete, and two other men armed with knives then entered the park.

Police say the children tried to flee, but the “9-year-old was not able to keep up with the older juveniles.” The child was stabbed in the back of his right shoulder, and police described the wound as not life threatening. Spokesman Brian Valenti says the attack may have started over the children playing basketball, but that hasn’t been substantiated.

Man indicted second time due to cold case investigation

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky’s attorney general says a Louisville man has been indicted for a second time on charges stemming from alleged sexual assaults that occurred years ago in McCracken County.

Attorney General Andy Beshear said Friday that Jason Todd Langston was indicted by a McCracken County grand jury on four felony charges including rape, sodomy and kidnapping.

Beshear says it’s the ninth overall indictment linked to rape evidence kits that were backlogged but now have been tested.

The AG’s office initially indicted Langston in 2018 after a cold case investigation linked him to an alleged 2005 sexual assault.

The latest indictment stems from an alleged 2000 sexual assault.

Public defender Jason Pfeil, who is representing Langston on charges in the initial indictment, said Friday he couldn’t comment immediately on the new charges.

Kentucky Islamic leader charged in murder-for-hire plot

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — An Islamic leader and two others in Kentucky have been arrested and charged in a murder-for-hire plot.

Islamic Center of Lexington leader Mahmoud Shalash, John Sadiqullah and Abdul Hadi are charged in federal court with use of interstate facilities in commission for murder for hire and conspiracy.

Attorneys for the three men did not respond to emails requesting comment on Sunday.

Police affidavits filed last week in federal court give the following account of events: An informant posing as a hit man first met with Shalash in March at a Lexington motel. Shalash told the informant that a person — referred to as “Victim #1” in court filings — owed him $80,000, and Shalash wanted his money back.

When the informant asked if Shalash wanted Victim #1’s legs broken, Shalash at first said ‘no’ but later agreed. In a subsequent meeting Shalash told the informant, “Do whatever you have to do to get my money back,” the affidavits state.

Shalash also introduced the informant to John Sadiqullah, who believed a person — referred to as “Victim #2” in court documents — had cheated him in a business deal. Sadiqullah told the informant, “I want him dead.”

At one point the informant suggested that Shalash provide a fatwa, or Islamic legal pronouncement, authorizing the killing, and Shalash and Sadiqullah agreed.

A third man, Abdul Hadi had a separate business dealing with Victim #2. Hadi gave the man $20,000 for a partnership in a trucking venture. The venture failed and Hadi believed Victim #2 owed him the money back.

At one point, Hadi, Sadiqullah and another man found Victim #2 at his business in Lexington, and Sadiqullah called the informant to ask him to come force Victim #2 to give them money.

The Islamic Center of Lexington posted a statement to its website that reads, “Muslims in Lexington are shocked to learn the news about the arrest of Imam Mahmoud Shalash. The situation is unfolding and we do not have enough details at this time. Also, we believe that every American citizen is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.”

The statement added: “We would like to emphasize that Islam is a religion built on peace and tolerance. Murder or hiring for murder is regarded in the Quran as a grave sin.”

Airline pilot charged with killing 3 in 2015

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A pilot for an American Airlines subsidiary was arrested Saturday in the 2015 shooting deaths of three people in Kentucky, the state attorney general announced.

Christian R. Martin was arrested Saturday at the Louisville airport, a day after he was indicted by a Christian County grand jury in the November 2015 deaths of Calvin and Pamela Phillips of Pembroke and their neighbor, Edward Dansereau, Attorney General Andy Beshear said in a news release.

Martin moved from Christian County after the slayings and was living in North Carolina at the time of the indictment, the statement said.

American Airlines said in a statement it is cooperating in the investigation. The airline said Martin has been a pilot for subsidiary PSA Airlines since January 2018. Martin’s jail mugshot shows him wearing a pilot’s uniform.

A criminal background check conducted on Martin found no “criminal history that would disqualify him from being a commercial pilot,” the airline said.

It wasn’t immediately known whether Martin has an attorney who could comment on the charges. Martin was being held without bond in the Christian County Detention Center on murder, arson and burglary charges along with tampering with physical evidence.

Police said Calvin Phillips, 59, was found shot to death in the cellar of his home. The bodies of Pamela Phillips, 58, and Dansereau, 63, were found a few miles away in a cornfield inside her burned car.

Authorities have not given a motive for the slayings or said what led them to believe Martin was responsible.

Beshear said he met nearly two years ago with the couple’s son, Matt Phillips, who was worried the case had stalled. Beshear accepted a request from the local commonwealth attorney to appoint a special prosecutor to handle the case.

Relatives of Calvin and Pamela Phillips had offered a $100,000 reward to help solve the case.

“I hope this is a day that brings some justice to these families,” Beshear said. “There are many steps from here, but we hope this is one example of when you never stop seeking justice, when you never give up, that we can truly get important results for these families.”

The statement said relatives of the victims expressed an “overflowing of emotion, sincere relief, and absolute gratitude to all those who have worked diligently on this case.”