Tuesday, April 10, 2001

Kentucky Digest

Psychiatric patient to be tried in slaying

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        NEWPORT - A man charged with murder in 1996 who has been held at a state psychiatric hospital for nearly five years will finally go on trial in Campbell Circuit Court in August.

        Melvin McMurray has been ruled competent to stand trial, and Judge William Wehr set aside three days beginning Aug. 28.

        Mr. McMurray, 33, is accused in the stabbing death of a friend, Donald Withrow, in January 1996. At the time, Mr. McMurray told authorities he was following instructions from God.

        He was diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenic and declared mentally ill and unable to stand trial.

        Defense attorneys say Mr. McMurray, formerly of Covington, was insane at the time of the killing and therefore cannot be convicted of the crime under Kentucky law.

        Campbell Commonwealth Attorney Jack Porter said the prosecution contends Mr. McMurray was sane at the time of the murder. The prosecution does not contest he is mentally ill.

Lexington chamber day at Keeneland

               LEXINGTON — The Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce and the Lexington Chamber of Commerce will sponsor a “Regional Chamber Day” on Wednesday at the Keeneland Race Course.

        The day will begin at 11:30 a.m. with lunch at the Keeneland Entertainment Center and a presentation by speaker, Jim Kelly of ESPN. After lunch, a shuttle will take guests to reserved grandstand seating. Live music and food will be available at the back terrace during the afternoon.

        The chamber will offer bus transportation for those who are interested. The bus will leave the rear of the Chamber Center at 9:30 a.m. and return about 6:30 p.m. The cost for the day is $40 for Chamber members not riding the bus, $50 for members riding the bus, and $60 for nonmembers. Reservations are required by today by calling the chamber at (859) 578-8800.

Cumberland photo weekend April 27-29

               FRANKFORT — Cumberland Falls and the surrounding countryside will form the backdrop for Cumberland Falls State Resort Park's annual Nature Photography Weekend, set for April 27-29.

        Instruction from photographers Tony Sweet of Baltimore and John Snell of Lexington will be among the highlights of the event. Besides information programs, the weekend will include a nature photography contest in which winning entries will be chosen in amateur and professional categories. The competition starts at noon April 27 and ends at 4 p.m. Saturday. Participants must bring their own slide to be processed.

        Registration is $30 per person until April 27, when the fee increases to $35 per person. Cumberland Falls will offer a 15 percent discount on lodge rooms and cottages. For reservations, call (800) 325-0063.

        More information is available by contacting Bret Smitley, park naturalist, at Bret.Smitley@mail.stat.ky.us.

Villa civic club membership grows

               VILLA HILLS — Membership of the Villa Hills Civic Club has grown in the past month, since organizers announced that the club is independent of the city government.

        Membership stands at about 550, or 150 more than the club had last month, but still about 50 fewer memberships than it had at this time last year, said Ed Nutini, civic club president.

        In February, club officers said recent political infighting in the city had turned off many families, who were mad about what was happening in City Hall. Many would-be members mistakenly thought the civic club, an independent nonprofit organization, was part of the city government, officers said.

        Founded in 1961, the civic club sponsors dozens of events each year, including an annual Easter egg hunt, summer and fall golf outings and holiday parties.

        For information on the civic club call (859) 341-7227, or log onto www.villahills.com for a copy of the membership application. Applications can be sent to the Villa Hills Civic Club, 729 Rogers Rd., Villa Hills, KY 41017.

State revenues meet low expections

               FRANKFORT — Receipts to Kentucky's General Fund in March were generally on target for lowered expectations.

        General Fund receipts of $511.8 million were 4.0 percent greater than the same month the previous year. For the first three months of the fiscal year, the General Fund has grown by 3.1 percent.

        After a revision last month, the General Fund growth rate for the year is now pegged at 3.8 percent. The reduction in expected revenue receipts of about $91 million has prompted the first spending from the state's rainy day fund and budget cuts elsewhere.

        Budget Director James Ramsey said the March figures justified the reductions.

UK professor made poet laureate

               LEXINGTON — University of Kentucky English professor James Baker Hall has been named 2001-2002 Kentucky Poet Laureate by the Kentucky Arts Council's selection committee.

        Mr. Hall, recipient of a Wallace Stenger Fellowship from Stanford University, has written five volumes of poetry and two novels. His work also has been published in publications such as The New Yorker, The Paris Review and The Kenyon Review.

        Mr. Hall, who graduated from UK in 1957 and has taught English there since 1973, will travel throughout the state giving lectures.

Hearing set in newborn's death

               MURRAY — A judge on Monday scheduled a probable cause hearing April 17 in Calloway District Court for a Murray State University student charged with the murder of her newborn in her dorm room.

        Angelita Turner, 19, who was arraigned Monday during the hearing, did not enter a plea. She is in the Calloway County jail on a $50,000 cash bond.

        Public Defender Thomas Glover was appointed to represent Ms. Turner.

        Authorities alleged Ms. Turner killed her daughter shortly after giving birth in her dorm room March 29. The birth was discovered after Ms. Turner went to a hospital for medical treatment, police said.


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- Kentucky Digest
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