State briefs 08/20/04

Friday, August 20, 2004

Investigator saves perp choking on drug bag

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. -- The lead investigator in a drug case is being credited with saving the life of a man who nearly choked to death after swallowing a plastic bag that authorities said contained crack cocaine. Maurice Thornton, 48, was being booked into the Buchanan County Jail on Tuesday when officers discovered he had the bag in his mouth. Thornton tried to swallow the bag, which contained about 11 grams of crack cocaine, said police Lt. Howard Judd. The bag blocked Thornton's esophagus and he began choking. Tiger Parsons, the lead investigator who had worked on the drug case for a year, performed the Heimlich maneuver to get the bag out of Thornton's throat.

State investigating judge loans from lawyers

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A Kansas City municipal judge who is being investigated for accepting loans from lawyers has taken an indefinite leave while undergoing treatment for personal problems that include depression. A state judicial commission is investigating Judge Deborah Neal, her attorney said Wednesday. Neal, who joined the municipal court in 1996, has been on paid leave since Monday. To be "forthright with the public and to take the first steps to healthy recovery," Neal voluntarily reported her situation to the Missouri Commission on Retirement, Removal and Discipline of Judges, a statement issued through the city's municipal court said.

Pork and politics co-star at Missouri State Fair

SEDALIA, Mo. -- The annual Governor's Country Ham Breakfast was short one vacationing Missouri governor on Thursday -- but Iowa's governor showed up, and so did candidates seeking Democratic lame duck Bob Holden's job in November. It was the first time in recent memory that a governor didn't attend the breakfast, a traditional Missouri State Fair stop for politicians, especially in election years. But Holden lost renomination earlier this month to fellow Democrat Claire McCaskill, the state auditor.

Express Scripts' legal woes worsen with suits

ST. LOUIS -- Just two weeks after being accused by New York state of fraud, the legal headaches of Express Scripts Inc. -- among the nation's largest pharmacy benefit managers -- appear to be intensifying with a string of shareholder lawsuits. Since New York filed its case Aug. 4, at least eight lawsuits seeking class-action status have been launched in federal court here -- Express Scripts' home turf -- for shareholders wanting reimbursement for lost investments.

Mother ordered to trial in deaths of two babies

MOBERLY, Mo. -- A woman accused of suffocating her two infants in separate incidents a year apart will stand trial on two counts of first-degree murder, a judge ruled Thursday after hearing evidence. Carla K. Clay, 23, remained held on $1 million cash-only bond at the Randolph County Jail. Moberly police arrested Clay in July after witnesses came forward reporting that she had made a drunken confession to killing 7-week-old Audrey Bedford with a pillow and 2-month-old Randy Bedford Jr. with a teddy bear. Audrey died on or about June 20, and Randy died on June 8, 2003.

Murder suspect captured after high-speed chase

OKLAHOMA CITY -- A Missouri man wanted in connection with a St. Louis murder was arrested Thursday in the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore after a high-speed chase along Interstate 35, police said. Oklahoma City police Capt. Jeffrey Becker said officers tried to stop Steven Michael McGee, 30, of St. Louis, on I-35 near Britton Road after a routine tag check showed the vehicle McGee was driving was stolen and wanted in connection with a St. Louis homicide. During the chase, McGee held a handgun out the window and pointed it at the vehicles behind him, Becker said.

-- From wire reports

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