Nebraska News

Man found under girl's bed in Lincoln enters plea
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A man has pleaded no contest to a charge after he was found asleep under a 7-year-old girl's bed in Lincoln. Twenty-five-year-old Dangelo Madkins pleaded no contest Tuesday to a charge of terroristic threats. The Lincoln Journal Star reports the plea deal dismissed charges of stalking and criminal trespassing. Police say Madkins was stalking the girl's mother, whom he had dated. He was found under the empty bed snoring in May. Police say he had a stun gun, knife, screwdriver, a key to the apartment and the woman's work identification.

Parole head says she was pressured to parole more
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — The chairwoman of Nebraska's parole board says a former prisons director pressured her into paroling more inmates in an effort to reduce crowding. Esther Casmer testified under subpoena Tuesday that some inmates were paroled even though they hadn't completed mandatory programming to treat anger management, addictions and other problems. Casmer told a legislative committee that the board's role as a public-safety gatekeeper became compromised in 2008, when former corrections director Bob Houston started pushing to release more prisoners. Casmer also says the governor's chief-of-staff, Larry Bare, told her and another board member that they should "be concerned about losing your jobs for not paroling enough people." Casmer was appointed by Gov. Dave Heineman in 2005. A spokesman for the governor says he will respond as soon as he can.

Lincoln woman gets probation in slow-speed chase
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A Lincoln woman has been given probation for a slow-speed chase down Interstate 80 earlier this year. The Lincoln Journal reports 26-year-old Leahlia Beatty was sentenced Tuesday to two years of probation on charges of driving under the influence and operating a motor vehicle to avoid arrest. Her license was revoked for six months. Authorities say they pulled over Beatty in February as she drove east in the westbound lanes of Interstate 80. The vehicle later did a U-turn and began heading west in the eastbound lanes. The chase reached speeds of 40 mph. Beatty is accused of nearly hitting a Nebraska State Patrol trooper. Spiked stop strips flattened her car's tires and it soon went out of control, ending up in the ditch.

Man faces murder charge in fatal Omaha shooting
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A detective says an argument on Facebook between two men may have led to a fatal shooting in northwest Omaha. Detective Michael Smith testified during a preliminary hearing Tuesday that an argument between 31-year-old Kenneth Armour and 30-year-old Michael Stubbs began with a comment to a Facebook post and escalated via phone. Armour is accused of fatally shooting Stubbs on Nov. 5. Smith testified that Stubbs identified Armour as the shooter before he died. The Omaha World-Herald reports Armour faces several felony charges in the case, including first-degree murder. A message left for his attorney was not immediately returned Tuesday.

Ricketts names state budget, policy directors
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska Gov.-elect Pete Ricketts has named his top budget and policy advisers. Ricketts announced Tuesday that he will retain Gerry Oligmueller as the state budget administrator and Lauren Kintner as his policy director and general counsel. Oligmueller has served as budget administrator since 1995, under former Democratic Gov. Ben Nelson and Republican Govs. Mike Johanns and Dave Heineman. He also has been acting director of the Department of Administrative Services since July 2013. Kintner leads an office that advises governors on policy, while serving as a liaison to state agencies and the Legislature. She previously served as an assistant attorney general under former Nebraska Attorney General Don Stenberg, and an assistant to former U.S. Rep. Hal Daub of Omaha. She is married to Nebraska state Sen. Bill Kintner, of Papillion.

Doctor behind 'free radical' aging theory dies
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The scientist who developed the most widely accepted theory on aging that's used study cancer and other diseases has died in Nebraska. Dr. Denham Harman developed the "Free Radical Theory of Aging" in 1954, though it took years for additional research to prove its importance. The theory essentially says that a byproduct of oxygen utilization is adverse chemical reactions in cells, with the result being aging and, ultimately, death. Harman officially retired in 1986, but he worked into his 90s at the University of Nebraska Medical Center — arriving each day at 7 a.m. He held both medical and doctorate degrees. University of Nebraska Medical Center spokesman Tom O'Connor says Harman died Tuesday at a hospital in Omaha. He was 98.

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