Wednesday, April 25, 2001

Kentucky News Briefs

Sentence is 15 years in Covington slaying

        COVINGTON — Thomas Smith will spend about 15 years in prison for beating 65-year-old James Berte to death in Devou Park in 1999 after Mr. Berte allegedly made sexual advances to him.

        Mr. Smith, 26, pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter in an agreement with prosecutors.

        Kenton Circuit Judge Steve Jaeger sentenced him to 16 1/2 years in prison.

        Under the agreement, Mr. Smith must serve 85 percent of his sentence before he can be released.

        In his plea, Mr. Smith said Mr. Berte approached him in Devou Park in October of 1999 and made sexual advances.

        Police said Mr. Smith had been drinking and punched and kicked Mr. Berte, leaving him lying on the ground.

        Mr. Smith was arrested by Covington police after he came to police headquarters and inquired about Mr. Berte's death.

[photo] NEWPORT FIRE: Southgate firefighter Scott Reusing strips siding from a house at 336 Lindsay St. in Newport after a fire broke out Tuesday in the unoccupied structure. Firefighters from Southgate and Wilder aided Newport firefighters in battling the blaze because it was close to adjacent buildings.

(Patrick Reddy photo)
| ZOOM |
        Police said he never admitted to the crime.

        But he discussed details only the killer would have known.

Police agencies arrest suspect in 5/3 robbery

        DRY RIDGE — The FBI is crediting Kenton County police “quick action” in capturing a man accused of robbing a Fifth Third Bank branch in Pendleton County at gunpoint Tuesday afternoon.

        “Kenton County police did a great job and made the stop in an area that would minimize exposure to the public,” Kentucky FBI spokesman David Beyer said.

        Kentucky State Police responded to the bank on U.S. 27 in Butler and relayed a description of the man, who had entered the bank brandishing a handgun and with a bandanna covering his face.

        Police also gave a description of his vehicle.

        Within 20 minutes, after following a vehicle matching the description, Kenton County police arrested Gary Riley, 23, of Grants Lick, who was traveling on Ky. 177 (Decoursey Pike).

        Mr. Riley is being held in the Grant County jail and will face a federal magistrate today on a bank robbery charge.

Moore won't seek fiscal court seat

        BURLINGTON — Boone County Republican Party Chairman Ed Moore will not seek the county fiscal court seat being vacated by Commissioner Robert Hay.

        Mr. Moore announced Tuesday he is withdrawing his name to maintain party unity.

        He will continue to serve as county GOP chairman.

        Mr. Hay is resigning his seat to spend more time with his family. Gov. Paul Patton will appoint someone to serve the rest of Mr. Hay's term, which ends next year.

        Boone County Republicans will submit names this week for Mr. Patton to consider, Mr. Moore said.

        Mr. Patton has not said when he will make the appointment.

        At least one other Republican, Burlington insurance agent Tim Alexander, has expressed an interest.

Man found dead in Newport apartment

        NEWPORT — Police are investigating the death of a 62-year-old Newport man whose body was discovered in his West 13th Street apartment Tuesday afternoon.

        Officers responded to the apartment about 12:25 p.m. after they received a call about a dead person there, police said. Officers found the front door open, but there appeared to be no signs of forced entry.

        The body was found on the second floor of the apartment, police said.

        The investigation is continuing, police said. An autopsy will be performed to determine the cause of death.

        The name of the man is being withheld pending notification of relatives.

Plans move forward for Panera Bread cafe

        CRESTVIEW HILLS — Panera Bread Co. has cleared another hurdle in its bid to build a bakery-cafe in front of the Crestview Hills Mall facing Dixie Highway.

        Monday, the Crestview Hills Board of Adjustment approved a 20-foot variance for a parking lot. The lot would serve a proposed 4,800-square-foot building. The city's economic development committee will review the bakery-cafe plans at 4 p.m. May 8. If that committee gives its endorsement, City Council will consider Panera's landscaping/screening plan and a storm-water management plan at its meeting at 7 p.m. May 10.

        Both meetings will be held in the city building.

Florence to auction surplus property

        FLORENCE — The city will auction surplus property May 5 at the old city office building on U.S. 42.

        Included are computers, tools and nine vehicles. Viewing begins at 9 a.m., followed by the bidding at 10 a.m.

        Information: (859) 371-5491.

Ballet dancers to perform at mall

        FLORENCE — Two ballet companies are coming to Florence Mall next month.

        Cincinnati Ballet will present a preview of highlights from its production of Peter Pan at 2 and 3:30 p.m. May 5. On May 12, Ballet Tech Ohio Performing Arts Association will perform La Fille Mal Gardee at 4 p.m. There will also be an exhibition of irises from 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

        All events are free. Information: (859) 371-1231.

Riot response: jobs for teens
Riot to cost city at least $1.5 million
Riots affected suit, lawyer says
Mold forces school to close classrooms
MTV show gets blame for stunt
School plan openness urged
After century of decline, river quality recovering
Cemetery official charged with theft
Church donates $224,000 for kids
Community center has closed meeting
Debate continues about faith-based programs
Fax leak shattered drug probe, police say
Florence given baseball deadline
Grand jury looking into beanbag case
Guard convicted in prison van crash
Henry: Reimbursements minimal
Illness cited for woman in abuse case
Kentucky installs poet laureate
Kentucky to pay TV figure Walsh $20K for speech
Mason-Montgomery Rd. to widen
Two plead guilty to charges in OxyContin case
Reading teachers resign after e-mail investigation
SAMPLES: Impact of one
Schools graded on discipline
Steger freezes most hiring at UC
Suicide at hospital under investigation
Suspect nabbed inside elementary school
Suspect's statement OK for trial
- Kentucky News Briefs
Tristate A.M. Report