Kentucky governor restores voting rights for some felons

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — The outgoing Democratic governor of Kentucky has signed an executive order to restore the right to vote and hold public office to thousands of non-violent felons who've served out their sentences.

Gov. Steve Beshear signed the order Tuesday. He leaves office next month.

Kentucky was one of four states that did not automatically restore voting rights to felons once they completed all the terms of their sentences. Around 180,000 in Kentucky have served their sentences yet remain banned from casting ballots.

The Kentucky legislature has tried and failed numerous times to pass a bill to restore voting rights to felons. The Republican-controlled Senate would agree only if there was a five-year waiting period, which Democrats refused.

Beshear's order doesn't include those convicted of violent crimes, sex offenses, bribery or treason.


Death penalty to be sought after Kentucky officer's death

RICHMOND, Ky. (AP) — Prosecutors will seek the death penalty for two men accused of involvement in the fatal shooting of a central Kentucky police officer earlier this month.

Multiple media outlets report that prosecutors said during arraignments Monday that 34-year-old Raleigh Sizemore Jr. and 25-year-old Gregory Ratliff should be eligible for capital punishment if found guilty in the slaying of 33-year-old Richmond Police Officer Daniel Ellis.

Investigators say Sizemore was the gunman and Ratliff failed to warn Ellis that he was in danger while the officer was investigating a robbery. Sizemore and Ratliff both pleaded not guilty Monday to numerous charges, including Sizemore to murder and Ratliff to complicity to murder.

Kentucky law allows the death penalty in murder cases where there is an "aggravating circumstance" such as robbery, rape or the death of a police officer.


3 arrested in connection to slain woman

CAMPBELLSBURG, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky State Police say remains found in a soybean field have been positively identified as a woman missing since last week.

Police said in a statement Tuesday that John Downey and Bobby Long, both of New Castle, are facing charges including murder. Another man, Joshua Sparkman of Campbellsburg, is charged with assault.

Police at the Campbellsburg post were notified Friday that 34-year-old Angela Hall of La Grange was missing. Three days later, detectives received information that led them to begin interviewing suspects and witnesses in Hall's alleged slaying.

Police said they found a body in a location described by the suspects, who were arrested early Tuesday.

State police spokesman Josh Lawson told media that the corpse was found in a soybean field in Shelby County.

It wasn't immediately clear whether the men charged have attorneys.


US tourist run over in Puerto Rico after graffiti incident

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Police in Puerto Rico say a 27-year-old tourist from Kentucky has died after being hit by a car while running away from a graffiti mural he was painting.

Police say Jonathan Brown of Louisville was spray-painting a mural along one of the busiest highways in San Juan he noticed a patrol car nearby and fled. Authorities say he was run over as he tried to cross a street near the highway.

Officials in the U.S. territory say the accident occurred Monday night.


Medical examiner says second body found in burnt vehicle

PEMBROKE, Ky. (AP) — A medical examiner has confirmed that a second body was found in a burnt vehicle discovered in western Kentucky last week.

According to Kentucky New Era, Christian County Sheriff's Department spokesman Chris Miller says the badly burned bodies of two people were in the car in Pembroke that was found on Thursday. He says detectives are now waiting on a DNA test to confirm the victims' identities.

As part of the investigation last week, deputies traced the car tags to a Pembroke residence. Upon entering, they found a dead man with an apparent gunshot wound to the chest.

Miller says authorities searched two other nearby homes Friday that could be connected to the crimes.

Miller says investigators know of several people they want to talk to about the slayings.


Ex-pastor facing child porn charge pleads not guilty

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A former Catholic priest charged with viewing child pornography at his Louisville church has pleaded not guilty in federal court.

Federal investigators say 57-year-old Stephen Pohl used computers at St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church, where he worked.

The Courier-Journal reports that Pohl pleaded not guilty to one count of accessing child porn Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Louisville.

Shortly after resigning, Pohl was arrested in Florida in August and charged. A criminal complaint says searches of the church office and rectory revealed Pohl viewed multiple pornographic online images of nude boys ranging in age from infancy to mid-teens.

Pohl was allowed to live under house arrest with his mother after a hearing in September.

Magistrate Judge Colin Lindsay set a trial date for Jan. 12.


University of Kentucky to cover controversial campus mural

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto has decided to cover a campus mural from 1934 that shows scenes from state history, including black workers in a tobacco field and a Native American with a tomahawk.

Capilouto wrote on the school's website Monday that he met with a group of students recently and understood their frustrations over the mural.

Capilouto says he'll have the Memorial Hall fresco shrouded until a more permanent solution is found. The mural was painted directly into the plaster, making its removal difficult. He says an explanation of the cover will be placed nearby.

In 2006, senators of the University of Kentucky's student government passed a resolution to remove the mural, but then-President Lee Todd said he thought the artwork was an important historical and artistic artifact.


Gladie Visitor Center closing for the winter on Wednesday

WINCHESTER, Ky. (AP) — The Daniel Boone National Forest says the Gladie Visitor Center in the Red River Gorge is closing on Wednesday for the winter and will reopen in early March.

Anyone needing visitor information for the gorge such as maps, passes and firewood permit can find them at the forest's nearby Stanton office, Morehead office and Winchester office.

District Ranger Jon Kazmierski of the Cumberland Ranger District says there aren't many visitors at the Gladie center during the winter and the road there can be hazardous to travel in winter weather.

The Stanton office is located at 705 W. College Ave. in Stanton across from Powell County High School. Office hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays. For more information, call (606) 663-0576, extension 150.


Copyright 2015 The Associated Press.