Morning headlines: Tuesday, June 28, 2011
National Guard responding to flooding in St. Joseph
Gov. Jay Nixon says Missouri faces several more weeks of potential flooding along the Missouri River as high water pushes its way south and eastward across the state.
Nixon met with officials from the Missouri National Guard outside St. Joseph for a briefing Monday on the guard's response to the flooding. He said the floods were made worse by heavy overnight storms that dumped up to 4 inches of rain in some sections, swelling the river past major flood stage near St. Joseph.
Three levees in northwest Missouri also overtopped Monday, and three small towns were under voluntary evacuations orders. National Guard Col. David Boyle said about 200 troops have been working full-time on the flood, but more may be added as the high-water levels reach downstream.
Coleman denied new trial
A St. Clair County judge has denied a new trial for a former Marine and pastor's son serving a life sentence in Illinois for strangling his wife and their two sons.
Judge Milton Whaton also ruled Monday that he will release exhibits from Christopher Coleman's triple murder case for public viewing. The 34-year-old Coleman was convicted in May of killing Sheri Coleman and their sons, 11-year-old Garett and 9-year-old Gavin, in their home in Columbia in May 2009. Wharton is to make a decision by the end of the week on how to release the exhibits. The judge says his "inclination" was to let the death-scene photos be released only if the bodies are blacked out.
Two newspapers, the Belleville News-Democrat and St. Louis Post-Dispatch, requested the exhibits be released.
Lura Lynn Ryan dies
The wife of imprisoned former Illinois Gov. George Ryan has died. Ryan's attorney, Andrea Lyon, confirms that Lura Lynn Ryan died yesterday at a hospital in Kankakee. She was 76.
Lura Lynn Ryan had been diagnosed with lung cancer and hospitalized for apparent complications from chemotherapy. She had spent the waning years of her life seeking freedom for her imprisoned husband. The former governor is serving a 6 1/2-year federal prison sentence after being convicted of racketeering, conspiracy, tax fraud and making false statements to the FBI.
Prison officials quietly allowed him to visit his wife in January. They had been married for 55 years.