State digest 02/16/05

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Senators endorse university name change

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- With the blessing of the University of Missouri, senators stood down from an all-night filibuster and endorsed legislation Tuesday that would grant Southwest Missouri State University a more prestigious statewide name. The 23-7 first-round vote marked a resounding victory for the Springfield school's two-decade-long effort to become Missouri State University. But the bill still needs a second vote to go to the House, where a different version of the name-change bill was defeated last year. Senators endorsed the legislation shortly after 6:30 a.m. -- nearly 14 hours after the debate began.

State sets date for first execution since 2003

ST. LOUIS -- The Missouri Supreme Court on Tuesday set a March execution date for a man who threw a woman to her death from a Mississippi River bridge, setting the stage for the state to carry out its first death sentence in nearly a year-and-a-half. Stanley Hall, 37, is scheduled to die by injection at 12:01 a.m. March 16 at the Potosi Correctional Center for the 1994 murder of Barbara Jo Wood in St. Louis County. Two witnesses saw the crime, and police captured Hall moments later. He confessed. The execution of Hall would be the first since Oct. 29, 2003, when convicted killer John Clayton Smith was put to death.

Girl accused of killing sister over hamburger

ST. LOUIS -- A 12-year-old St. Louis girl has been charged under the juvenile code with murder for allegedly killing her 9-year-old sister, apparently in a dispute over a hamburger. A detention hearing today will determine if the child will remain in custody, said Kathryn Herman, assistant administrator for the St. Louis Family Court. A Family Court judge later will determine if the girl should be tried as an adult. No date has been set for that proceeding. The older girl reported her sister was lifeless in their home near downtown Dec. 22. Medical examiner Michael Graham said Tuesday that the deceased girl had minor injuries to her neck, but the autopsy did not initially determine a cause of death. But on Feb. 1, police received a phone call from a social worker. The 12-year-old was in a hospital psychiatric unit, suffering visions and nightmares. The girl had told staff there she strangled her sister during a quarrel over a hamburger, police told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Ex-Stoddard Co. sheriff pleads guilty to fraud

BLOOMFIELD, Mo. -- Former Stoddard County sheriff Steve Fish was placed on probation Monday after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor fraud charge involving a car he sold last year. Fish, who was charged June 2 with felony theft/stealing (more than $500, but less than $25,000), was supposed to stand trial today before Associate Circuit Judge Kelly Parker of Iron County. In a appearance Monday before Parker, Fish pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor. The felony charge was dismissed. As part of the plea agreement, Fish said, he "offered to pay Stoddard County the profit I made on the car, $1,367."

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