Warnings signs for both parties in state and local elections

WASHINGTON (AP) — State and local elections across the country this week produced warning signs for both Democrats and Republicans as they press toward next year's presidential contest.

Democrats lost ground in state legislatures and governor's mansions, raising questions about the party's strength when Barack Obama's name isn't on the ballot.

And in Kentucky, Republican Matt Bevin's win for the governorship could be a sign that many voters are serious about electing outsider candidates.

That sounds good for the GOP, whose leading presidential candidates are Donald Trump and Ben Carson. But Democrats still have important demographic advantages in the states that often determine presidential elections. And Republican leaders are skeptical that outsiders' rebellious appeal will be sufficiently deep and lasting to send such a candidate to the White House.


GOP views Kentucky election as victory over health care law

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — The election of a conservative outsider as Kentucky governor has given Republicans a laboratory to show the rest of the country how they'd replace President Barack Obama's health care law.

Three years into a coverage expansion that has brought the share of uninsured Americans to historically low levels, Matt Bevin's lopsided victory underscores how politically divisive the federal health care law remains. But experts say slamming the brakes in a state already deeply entrenched in the Affordable Care Act would cost lots of time and money, testing the new Republican administration's ability to rein in costs.

Kentucky's share of uninsured residents has fallen from about 20 percent in 2013 to 9 percent by the middle of this year. But the state added 400,000 people to its Medicaid program, placing a strain on the state's finances.


Man could face execution for killing 87-year-old Ohio woman

HAMILTON, Ohio (AP) — Jurors are hearing evidence and will recommend to a judge whether a Kentucky man should be executed for killing an 87-year-old Ohio woman and leaving her body in the trunk of her car.

The same jury that found 57-year-old Daniel French of Berea, Kentucky, guilty of aggravated murder began hearing arguments Wednesday for and against execution in the penalty phase of French's trial.

French was convicted Thursday of aggravated murder in the slaying of Barbara Howe in 2012.

Prosecutors say French cut Howe's throat after gaining entry by posing as a maintenance worker in her Monroe retirement community. The defense insisted French had no plan to kill her.

French's brother testified Wednesday about them being beaten by their father as children.


Police officer, suspect shot and wounded in central Kentucky

RICHMOND, Ky. (AP) — A central Kentucky mayor says a police officer was shot and wounded while trying to serve a search warrant in a robbery investigation and a suspect in the case was also shot.

Richmond Mayor Jim Barnes said two officers were trying to serve the warrant around 8:30 a.m. Wednesday at a residence. He said when the officers opened the door, the person inside shot one officer in the head and the other officer shot the suspect.

Barnes said both the officer and the suspect were taken to University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington.

He did not know the conditions of either the officer or the suspect.

Richmond is about 100 miles southeast of Louisville.


Ex-teacher sentenced to 5 years in prison on sex charges

(Information in the following story is from: The Paducah Sun,

BENTON, Ky. (AP) — A former middle school teacher in Kentucky has been sentenced to five years behind bars after pleading guilty to having an inappropriate sexual relationship with a 14-year-old female student.

The Paducah Sun reports that a Marshall County judge accepted a plea agreement Monday in the case against 24-year-old former teacher Chelsea Rose. Rose taught at Reidland Middle School in Paducah.

Denying Rose's request for probation or any lesser alternative, Circuit Judge Dennis Foust said Rose's sentence is to run concurrently with any jail time handed down in a related McCracken County case.

The judge also said Rose will be required to register as a sex offender.

Rose pleaded guilty Sept. 21 to charges of first-degree attempted unlawful transaction with a minor and third-degree unlawful transaction with a minor.


Man who stole political donations sentenced to 2 years

(Information in the following story is from: The Courier-Journal,

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A federal judge in Kentucky has given a two-year prison sentence to a man who admitted to stealing more than $1 million in contributions to conservative political causes, including campaign funds for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Samuel K. Pate Jr. owned a Virginia company that contracted with campaigns and political action committees to process campaign funds. Prosecutors say he stole contributions totaling more than $1.1 million for personal expenses and luxury items.

The Courier-Journal reports that Pate asked to be placed on house arrest, saying he felt "a lot of pressure" to be financially successful. On Tuesday, the judge declined. Additionally, Pate must pay restitution.

Pate's attorney, Scott C. Cox, noted that sentencing guidelines call for 41 to 53 months and said, "we believe the court did justice here."


Georgia suspends freshman Patrick, Rivers following arrests

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — Georgia freshman Natrez Patrick and Chauncey Rivers have been suspended for Saturday's game against Kentucky following their arrests on marijuana charges early Wednesday.

Georgia confirmed the two were arrested on misdemeanor possession of marijuana. Each was released on $1,000 bond Wednesday morning, according to the Athens-Clarke County jail report.

Patrick, a linebacker, has 13 tackles in seven games. He was the top backup to starting middle linebacker Jake Ganus.

Rivers, a defensive end, has one tackle in two games.

Coach Mark Richt said in a statement Patrick and Rivers "made a very poor decision and I'm extremely disappointed."

Richt said he hopes the two "have learned a valuable life lesson that will benefit them moving forward."


Jury indicts Scottsville man on 100+ counts of sex crimes

(Information in the following story is from: Daily News,

SCOTTSVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A grand jury has indicted a Scottsville man on more than 100 counts of sex crimes.

The Bowling Green Daily News reports an Allen County grand jury indicted 62-year-old John Knight on 120 counts of incest and 127 counts of first-degree sexual abuse.

Kentucky State Police Trooper Joe Gregory arrested Knight on Oct. 29.

Kentucky State Police Post 3 spokesman Trooper B.J. Eaton says there are three juveniles considered victims in this case.

Knight is being held in the Allen County Detention Center without bond. It isn't immediately clear if he has an attorney.


Copyright 2015 The Associated Press.