State briefs 12/31/04

Friday, December 31, 2004

Montgomery waives preliminary hearing

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The woman accused of killing an expectant mother and cutting the baby from her womb waived her right to a preliminary hearing Thursday, and a judge ruled she must remain behind bars. Attorneys for Lisa Montgomery did not ask for bond during a brief hearing before U.S. Magistrate John T. Maughmer, who granted the prosecution's request to keep her in jail. Maughmer said there is no condition, or combination of conditions, he could impose that would ensure she would appear if he released her from custody.

Streams that don't get swimmers may get sewage

ST. LOUIS -- Missouri regulators have taken steps to see if more than 100 streams and rivers can be exempted from stricter federal clean water standards, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. The state Department of Natural Resources has asked contractors to evaluate 103 rivers and streams around the state to determine whether they're used for swimming. If not, the streams could be exempted from upgraded rules required by the 1972 Clean Water Act, and sewage operators could continue to dump effluent with pathogens and bacteria into them.

Sheriff ousted, then elected, returns to office

MARSHFIELD, Mo. -- An Ozarks sheriff, who was stripped of his duties by court order, formally returned to office Thursday. Ron Worsham, a 31-year veteran of law enforcement, was sworn in as Webster County sheriff during a ceremony at the county courthouse in Marshfield. Worsham was removed from office Oct. 1 after a judge ruled he was guilty of neglect of office. But he beat challenger Robert "Butch" Kesterson in November's election to return to the post. The state claimed, among other things, that Worsham, in one case, allowed a murder suspect to go have her hair done.

Homicides up in St. Louis, down slightly in KC

ST. LOUIS -- Homicides were up in St. Louis this year and held steady in Kansas City, officials with police departments in both cities said Thursday. With one day to go in 2004, St. Louis recorded 114 homicides, compared to 73 in 2003. Police chief Joe Mokwa said the 2003 number was uncharacteristically low and the 2004 total was still the third-lowest in nearly four decades. The city had 113 killings in 2002, 148 in 2001 and 123 in 2000. In Kansas City, 90 homicides were reported this year, compared to 92 in 2003.

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