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July 6, 2018

ST. LOUIS ARCH RIBBON CUTTING - RE-DO

ST LOUIS, Mo. (AP) — A state lawmaker is planning a do-over after a ribbon-cutting photo from the revitalized Gateway Arch National Park in St. Louis included only white people.

Democratic Rep. Bruce Franks Jr., who is black, said yesterday on Facebook Live that the image wasn’t reflective of the city he represents. The photo sparked a backlash online.

The park was dedicated Tuesday, the culmination of a five-year, $380 million renovation. Included in the ribbon-cutting were Gov. Mike Parson and U.S. Senators Claire McCaskill and Roy Blunt.

The Gateway Arch Park Foundation has apologized for the lack of diversity. A foundation spokeswoman didn’t immediately respond to a question of whether black leaders were invited.

Franks’ do-over is scheduled for noon today. St. Louis is nearly 48 percent black.

INDIANA A.G. ASKED TO RESIGN

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana’s Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb and the GOP leaders of the Statehouse have called on Attorney General Curtis Hill to resign following accusations he groped several women while intoxicated at a party.

The state’s top Republican leaders issued statements after an internal legislative investigation memo was leaked earlier this week. The memo says four women accused Hill of inappropriate touching, including one lawmaker who said he groped her after she told him to back off.

Hill has denied the accusations and called the inquiry into his conduct a “prejudicial investigation that is deeply troubling.”

MOTHER ACCUSED OF SELLING SON TO CLEAR DRUG DEBT

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (AP) — Authorities say a Texas mother with a drug debt to settle is accused of selling her 7-year-old son for $2,500.

The Texas Department of Public Safety says 29-year-old Esmeralda Garza of Corpus Christi was arrested last week. Jail records did not list an attorney for her.

The Corpus Christi Caller-Times reports a woman told investigators she bought the boy for $2,500. An arrest report says Garza said she and her boyfriend owed drug money and the child was given to the woman for $500, the clearing of the debt and an additional $700 when the “custody paperwork” was signed.

DPS agents executed a search warrant at a home and found the boy. Authorities say Garza was in the process of selling her two daughters, ages 2 and 3.

RODNEY KING BEATING SERGEANT ARRESTED IN DUI CASE

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (AP) — A former Los Angeles police sergeant who went to prison for his role in the beating of black motorist Rodney King is charged with driving under the influence of alcohol.

Prosecutors yesterday confirmed that 67-year-old Stacey Koon faces two misdemeanor counts for allegedly crashing his truck into a parked pickup truck on May 1 in an area northwest of Los Angeles.

Koon wasn’t hurt. It’s unclear whether he has an attorney.

Koon and three other LAPD officers were charged with using excessive force for a 1991 videotaped beating of King that made international headlines. Their acquittal on state charges led to rioting in 1992 that claimed dozens of lives.

Koon and Officer Laurence Powell later went to prison on federal civil rights charges. Koon was released in 1995.

PRISONER ENDS 79-DAY HUNGER STRIKE

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) — A man convicted of fatally poisoning his ex-girlfriend has ended his 79-day hunger strike.

The Virginian-Pilot reports 30-year-old Joseph Merlino III broke his fast on July Fourth with a special holiday meal served to all inmates. Court documents say Merlino had expressed fears that someone was trying to poison him, though jail staff said the reasons for his hunger strike kept changing.

Merlino began refusing meals in April, and a judge ruled he couldn’t be force-fed. A Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman says Merlino is no longer on medical observation. She says Merlino’s housing still is being determined, with the goal of returning him to general population.

Merlino was convicted last month of injecting 35-year-old Ellie Tran with a fatal dose of cyanide on Valentine’s Day 2017.

N.J. WOMAN ADMITS TO TRYING TO POISON GRANDMOTHER WITH ANTIFREEZE

MORRISTOWN, N.J. (AP) — A New Jersey woman has admitted she tried to poison her grandmother by spiking her juice with antifreeze.

Elise Conroy was charged with attempted murder when she was arrested last summer.

The 27-year-old Roxbury Township resident pleaded guilty this week to aggravated assault in a plea deal with prosecutors. They will recommend she receive five years’ probation in her September sentencing.

Conroy, who lived with her 83-year-old grandmother, bought the antifreeze last July with the purpose of poisoning her. Prosecutors say Conroy poured it into some juice the next day and gave it to her grandmother, but she didn’t drink it because it “tasted weird.”

Conroy’s attorney has said she wanted to injure her grandmother due to 17 years of alleged mistreatment. The grandmother died in March after a heart attack.

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