Region/state digest 11/18/05

Friday, November 18, 2005

Cape man faces two assault charges

A Cape Girardeau man was charged Saturday with assaulting his wife while she was holding a 4-month-old baby. Donald Lee Williams, 35, of 1117 Ranney Ave., is being held on a $25,000 bond and faces up to seven years in prison on each count of domestic assault if convicted. The incidents reportedly occurred last Friday and Saturday. According to the Cape Girardeau police probable cause statement, Williams slapped and kneed his wife, causing her to fall. He allegedly punched her repeatedly on the head and face, while she was holding the child. Williams is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on Dec. 8. Williams faces a jury trial in Scott County Dec. 16 for a prior charge of child abuse. In that case, authorities allege he choked a 7-year-old girl.

Scott City man indicted on molestation charges

A Scott City man facing statutory rape, child molestation and incest charges was indicted Wednesday by the Scott County grand jury. James A. Edger, 19, was arrested Sept. 30 while trying to flee from the trailer park home he shared with his mother. He was charged at the time with two counts each of statutory rape and child molestation and one count of incest. Scott County prosecutor Paul Boyd did not return calls Thursday seeking comment. Scott County uses a grand jury for felony crimes involving children to protect them from having to confront attackers during a preliminary hearing. No court date has been set.

Judge says abortion law constitutional

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A state judge on Thursday ruled that a law that allows parents to sue people who help their daughters get abortions without their consent is constitutional. Jackson County Circuit Judge Charles Atwell issued an injunction against enforcing the law pending an expected appeal to the Missouri Supreme Court. Gov. Matt Blunt said in a written statement that he was pleased with the ruling and had been confident it would withstand constitutional scrutiny and reduce the number of abortions in Missouri. A Planned Parenthood spokesman said the group will appeal the ruling but that it was pleased that the judge continued the injunction.

Rod Jetton ousts House budget chairman

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- House budget chairman Brad Lager was ousted Thursday from his powerful leadership position by House Speaker Rod Jetton after an apparent clash over state spending priorities. Lager's removal came a day after he called for a freeze on state government while warning that Missouri faced a shortfall next year of a couple hundred million dollars. But Lager's removal was in the works before then. Jetton, R-Marble Hill, issued a statement Thursday saying he had relieved Lager, R-Maryville, as Budget Committee chairman because he "had different priorities and was moving in a different direction than I felt we needed to move with the Missouri budget." Lager responded with his own written statement implying that Jetton wanted to fund programs that Lager did not.

Nixon moves to seize female inmates' money

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Attorney General Jay Nixon said Thursday he asked a court to seize assets from dozens of female inmates who solicited money from pen pals over the Internet. Missouri law allows the state to try to recoup much of the costs from inmates for their incarceration. Nixon said he asked Cole County Circuit Court to freeze the assets of 33 inmates, who collectively have deposited $291,860 in their inmate accounts while in prison.

-- From staff, wire reports

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