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Appeal of man who shot Army recruiters in Arkansas rejected

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The Arkansas Supreme Court has rejected the appeal of a man who fatally shot a U.S. Army soldier and wounded another outside a recruiting station in Little Rock. Thursday's ruling first reported by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette says the appeal by 34-year-old Abdulhakim Muhammad is without merit. Muhammad served as his own attorney and argued Arkansas did not have jurisdiction to try him because the shootings were a federal crime and should be tried in federal court. Muhammad was sentenced to life without parole for the 2009 fatal shooting of Pvt. William Long of Conway and wounding of Pvt. Quinton Ezeagwula of Jacksonville.


Man arrested driving truck from home where 2 were found dead

GREENWOOD, Ark. (AP) — The Sebastian County Sheriff's Office says a 19-year-old man driving a truck believed taken from a home where two people were found dead has been arrested. Sheriff's Capt. Philip Pevehouse said in a news release that deputies and firefighters responding to a house fire Thursday found the two bodies burned, outside the home. Pevehouse said the man was arrested about three hours later about 15 miles away in Booneville on a theft of property warrant. Court records do not show that formal charges have been filed.


Arkansas city agrees to tests of evidence on executed inmate

JACKSONVILLE, Ark. (AP) — An Arkansas city council has agreed to allow new tests on fingerprint and DNA evidence relating to a man Arkansas executed in 2017. The Jacksonville City Council voted Friday to allow the new tests on evidence that from Ledell Lee's family contends the tests could exonerate Lee of the 1993 slaying of Debra Reese. Lee insisted to the end that he was innocent of the slaying. His sister had sued  the city to compel release of the evidence for testing.


Arkansas officials OK signatures for eye law referendum

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas election officials have approved thousands of signatures submitted for a referendum this fall on an eye surgery law. Secretary of State John Thurston told representatives of the referendum campaign that they surpassed the number of valid signatures required to appear on the November ballot. The referendum asks voters to overturn a law allowing optometrists to perform several procedures that previously only ophthalmologists could perform. The move follows the state Supreme Court's ruling in December ordering Thurston to review thousands of signatures referendum supporters had submitted.


Campaign against Arkansas recreational pot measures launched

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas' surgeon general and church groups have launched a campaign against recreational marijuana proposals that advocates are trying to get on the ballot four years after voters approved medical marijuana. The campaign unveiled Thursday is focused on trying to urge people to not sign petitions circulating around the state for the two competing legalization proposals. Supporters of the measures must submit at least 89,151 signatures from registered voters by July 3 and have their proposals' wording approved to qualify for the November ballot. Arkansas voters in 2016 approved a constitutional amendment legalizing medical marijuana.


Court rejects death row inmate's mental illness claim

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The Arkansas Supreme Court has ruled against a death row inmate who argued that he shouldn't be put to death because he was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Justices on Thursday upheld a lower court's decision to reject the appeal of Karl Roberts, who was convicted and sentenced to death for the 1999 killing of his 12-year-old niece, Andi Brewer. Brewer's mother, Republican state Rep. Rebecca Petty, has served in the Arkansas House since 2015. Arkansas doesn't have any executions scheduled and its supply of lethal injection drugs expired last year. The state has said it is not actively searching for lethal injection drugs.