Edwardsville project on KDOT approved bid list

The Kansas Department of Transportation has approved a bid for a project in Edwardsville, Kan.

The bid letting took place Nov. 19 in Topeka.

The project approved was the Edwardsville Trail, Phase 1, from Edwardsville City Park to Downtown Edwardsville, grading and surfacing, 1 mile.

Gunter Construction Co., of North Kansas City, Mo., was awarded the contract for $732,515.26.

KU announces fall 2014 degree candidates

Several Wyandotte County students were among the names of almost 1,250 candidates for degrees this fall from the University of Kansas, Lawrence.

Because KU conducts only one formal commencement ceremony each year, many of these graduates will return Sunday, May 17, 2015, for the university¹s 143rd commencement. However, some schools and programs conduct fall recognition ceremonies. Diplomas are officially conferred in January 2015.

Degree candidates from Wyandotte County include:

From Bonner Springs:
Jobie Buehler, Bonner Springs, Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering
Jake Hattock, Bonner Springs, Bachelor of Science in civil engineering
Beau Himpel, Bonner Springs, Bachelor of Science in business in information system and Bachelor of Science in business in marketing
Meghan Miller, Bonner Springs, Bachelor of Arts in communication studies with a minor in anthropology
Rachel Peterson, Bonner Springs, Bachelor of Arts in psychology
Harley Ruszala, Bonner Springs, Bachelor of Fine Arts in visual art with a minor in history of art
Joshua Woods, Bonner Springs, Doctor of Philosophy in pharmaceutical chemistry

From Kansas City, Kan.:
Chad Anderson, Kansas City, Kan., Bachelor of General Studies in economics with a minor in business
Rebekah Baughman, Kansas City, Kan., Bachelor of Science in journalism with a minor in women’s studies
Eric Baumgartner, Kansas City, Kan., Master of Business Administration
Stephanie Bishop, Kansas City, Kan., Doctor of Philosophy in pharmacology
David Blattman, Kansas City, Kan., Master of Fine Arts in design
Bryan Brazil, Kansas City, Kan., Bachelor of General Studies in special major
Julia Glenn, Kansas City, Kan., Bachelor of Science in nursing
Candace Golubski, Kansas City, Kan., Master of Public Administration
Bau Lau, Kansas City, Kan., Bachelor of Science in biology
Jerrihlyn McGee, Kansas City, Kan., Doctor of Nursing Practice
Joyce McGrew, Kansas City, Kan., Bachelor of Science in nursing
Maryam Nichols, Kansas City, Kan., Master of Arts in African and African-American studies
Joseph Ramirez, Kansas City, Kan., Bachelor of Science in journalism
Krystal Robbins, Kansas City, Kan., Master of Arts in visual art education
Megan Slater, Kansas City, Kan., Bachelor of Science in business in accounting
Evan Smith, Kansas City, Kan., Bachelor of Arts in Spanish with a minor in business
Brianna Talavera, Kansas City, Kan., Bachelor of Science in journalism with a minor in business
Lisa Van Hoose, Kansas City, Kan., Master of Public Health
Heath Wetzel, Kansas City, Kan., Bachelor of General Studies in economics with a minor in business.

Kansas Supreme Court upholds murder conviction in Coones case

The Kansas Supreme Court today upheld the murder conviction of Olin L. Coones in the 2008 killing of Kathleen Schroll in Kansas City, Kan.

Today the court also vacated the hard-50 sentence imposed by the Wyandotte County District Court and remanded the case for resentencing.

The Supreme Court noted a recent decision by the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated the state law under which Coones was sentenced, so he will need to be resentenced under a new statute.

According to court documents, Coones had an ongoing civil dispute with Kathleen Schroll over an inheritance. Kathleen Schroll and her husband, Carl, were found dead of gunshot wounds in their Wyandotte County home.

A jury acquitted Coones of first-degree premeditated murder for Carl Schroll’s death, while convicting him of the murder of Kathleen Schroll.

Coones was convicted of killing Kathleen Schroll after a second trial. The second trial was ordered after the state did not disclose computer records to the defense within a specified amount of time.

The key evidence was testimony that Kathleen Schroll had called her mother in a panic about 10 minutes before police discovered her body to say that Coones was in the house to kill her and her husband, according to court documents.

Court documents stated that Kathleen Schroll’s mother testified that she received a phone call from her daughter saying Coones was there and was going to kill her and her husband. The phone line went dead. Then, the mother told her son what happened and the son called 911, according to court documents. Police arrived at the home at 78th and Speaker about 10 minutes later, and found Kathleen lying on her back in the entryway and Carl in a bedroom.

The state’s theory for motive was that Coones was angry because he believed Kathleen Schroll, who had been his father’s caretaker, had been stealing from his father and exercised undue influence to inherit part of his father’s estate, court documents stated.

At the trial, Coones stated he was innocent, and family members testified he was at home on the night of the murders, according to court documents.

On appeal, Coones claimed his attorney was ineffective, that the trial court improperly admitted hearsay testimony about a confrontation between Coones and Kathleen Schroll a few days before the murder, and prosecutorial misconduct. The court held there was no error affecting the conviction.

Today’s decision is online at http://www.kscourts.org/Cases-and-Opinions/opinions/SupCt/2014/20141212/107180.pdf.