Flags to fly at half-staff in honor of slain Overland Park officer

Gov. Laura Kelly has ordered flags throughout Kansas to be flown at half-staff in honor of Officer Mike Mosher, an Overland Park police officer who was slain while on duty Sunday.

Officer Mosher was a 14-year veteran of the Overland Park Police Department, a field training officer and community policing officer. He was the president of the Overland Park Fraternal Order of Police.

According to Overland Park police, he was on his way to work Sunday when he went to a hit-and-run call near 123rd and Antioch. He was shot while at the scene. The suspect also was shot and died at the scene, according to police.

“I was deeply saddened to learn of Officer Mike Mosher’s death,” Gov. Kelly said. “When our officers sign up to protect and serve our communities, they are putting their lives on the line for us. The sacrifices he and his family have made will certainly not be forgotten. Officer Mosher was an outstanding officer, and I offer my sincere condolences to his family during this difficult time.”

The governor’s office will provide guidelines later on the dates that the flags will be flown at half-staff.

Gov. Kelly also has announced a new executive order, adding first responders who are killed in the line of duty to the list of those who will be officially recognized through a posthumous order. The new executive order, replacing one originally signed under another governor, adds members of law enforcement, fire and emergency response communities to the list.

The Overland Park Police Department will hold a “Salute to Blue” at 8:30 p.m. Sunday, May 10, lighting the city in blue. There will be a procession of police vehicles in Overland Park. Social distancing will be required for anyone viewing the procession from the procession route, https://dw.opkansas.org/public/FileCabinets/2fa13812-70a3-4126-848b-3a20df7175c3/Documents/10506/FileDownload?targetFileType=Auto&keepAnnotations=false.

A public visitation will be held while staying inside personal vehicles, from 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 12, under the canopy of the 110th Street entrance to the Overland Park Convention Center, according to information from the Overland Park website, https://www.opkansas.org/events/visitation-for-officer-mike-mosher/.

A private funeral will take place Wednesday, May 13, for family and friends. The public may view the procession escort along College Boulevard and Metcalf Avenue, to the Johnson County Funeral Chapel and Memorial Gardens, according to the website.

The private graveside service, for family and friends only, will include bagpipes and drums from area law enforcement agencies, as well as bugles for taps from the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office and the Kansas City, Kansas, Police Department. The Kansas Highway Patrol will provide a 21-gun salute and a helicopter flyover. The Wichita Police Department will provide a riderless horse. There will be a cannon salute from the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism.

Memorial donations are being accepted at the Overland Park Police Officers Foundation website, https://oppof.org/.

Health care a deciding factor in Gov. Kelly’s Kansas Supreme Court pick

Gov. Laura Kelly appointed K.J. Wall to the state Supreme Court at a news conference on Wednesday. (Photo by Nomin Ujiyediin, Kansas News Service)

by Nomin Ujiyediin, Kansas News Service

Topeka, Kansas — Gov. Laura Kelly appointed lawyer Keynen “K.J.” Wall to the Kansas Supreme Court on Wednesday.

Wall will fill the seat of former Justice Lawton Nuss, who retired in December after more than nine years leading the court as chief justice. It’s Kelly’s second appointment to the state’s highest court since she took office.

Wall, a 49-year-old from Lawrence, was chosen because of his experience and demeanor, Kelly said.

“K.J. has seen the issues affecting our health care system and has appeared before courts across the state,” she said during a news conference.

Wall is a partner at the Forbes Law Group in Overland Park, and specializes in health care litigation — representing rural hospitals, community mental health centers and behavioral health providers.

The Lawrence resident grew up in Scott City in rural western Kansas, later graduating from Kansas State University in 1993 and the University of Kansas School of Law in 2001.

He clerked for U.S. District Court Judge John W. Lungstrum and worked as a lawyer in Colorado and Minnesota before serving as a Deputy General Counsel at the Kansas Supreme Court from 2013 to 2015.

Wall credited Nuss and Lungstrum with mentoring him throughout his career.

“I was always amazed at their dedication to deciding every case based on its merits, without consideration or influence from any outside factors,” he said. “I fully intend to do the same.”

Seventeen people applied for the vacant Supreme Court seat. The Supreme Court Nominating Commission submits three nominees to the governor, who then has 60 days to appoint one of the nominees.

After new justices’ first year in office, the public votes in the next general election on whether to keep them on the court. If justices are retained, they face public votes every six years.

Kelly’s other state Supreme Court appointment, Justice Evelyn Wilson, faced criticism from conservative lawmakers and lobbyist groups over her husband’s campaign contributions to abortion rights groups.

Nomin Ujiyediin reports on criminal justice and social welfare for KCUR and the Kansas News Service. You can follow her on Twitter @NominUJ.
The Kansas News Service is a collaboration of KCUR, Kansas Public Radio, KMUW and High Plains Public Radio focused on health, the social determinants of health and their connection to public policy. Kansas News Service stories and photos may be republished by news media at no cost with proper attribution and a link to ksnewsservice.org.
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California man sentenced to prison for counterfeiting $100 bills in Kansas

John Sebestyen, 51, Mission Viejo, California, was sentenced to about 3 years in prison for “washing” $1 bills to produce counterfeit $100 bills, U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister said. In addition, the defendant was ordered to pay $19,900 in restitution.

Sebestyen was the third of three defendants sentenced in the case. Two co-defendants already were sentenced: Courtney Campbell, 38, Bouse, Arizona, (37 months, $18,100 restitution) and Steven Shane Escamilla, 31, Laguna Hills, California, (27 months, $19,900 restitution).

According to documents filed in court, an employee at a hotel in Overland Park contacted police to report that the defendants, who were staying at the hotel, were acting suspiciously.

The defendants deposited trash in containers away from their rooms that contained evidence of criminal activity, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.

The defendants washed the ink off $1 bills and reprinted them to look like $100 bills.

They used the counterfeit bills to purchase items from retailers in the Kansas City metro area including Target and Ulta Beauty. In some cases, they returned items and received refunds in genuine currency.

McAllister commended the Overland Park Police Department, the U.S. Secret Service and Assistant U.S. Attorney Leon Patton for their work on the case.