BENTON, Ky. (AP) — A jury in western Kentucky on Wednesday acquitted a man who was being tried for the second time in connection with a deadly 1998 fire at a Murray State University dormitory.
A Marshall County Circuit Court jury deliberated nearly 4 1/2 hours Wednesday before returning the verdict in the case of former Murray State student Jerry Walker Jr. The trial lasted a week and a half.
A reporter with The Paducah Sun who covered the trial said Walker declined comment on his future, saying only "Praise God."
Gail Minger, whose son, Michael Minger of Niceville, Fla., was killed in the fire, said she was shocked but declined further comment.
Walker had been charged with manslaughter, arson, assault and wanton endangerment. A 2001 trial on different charges associated with the incident ended with a hung jury.
Prosecution evidence indicated Walker purchased about a gallon of gasoline at a convenience store about a half-hour before the fire alarms went off. Testimony this week came from defense and prosecution experts who disagreed over whether a gallon of gasoline could have produced results like the Hester Hall blaze.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Public discussion of evolution often turns into a nasty debate between young-earth creationists on one side and atheists who believe science disproves the existence of God on the other. But it doesn't have to be that way.
Witness the gracious dialogue taking place between Southern Baptist seminary professors and evangelical scientists on the BioLogos website.
In a series of essays titled "Southern Baptist Voices," the two groups consider questions such as whether the existence of a historical Adam and Eve created in the image of God is compatible with the gradual development of humans through evolution.
While there is disagreement, the authors are quick to emphasize places where they do agree, such as the reality of the miracles described in the Bible, including the bodily resurrection of Jesus. And there is room for give-and-take on both sides.
The series came about after Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary Academic Dean Kenneth Keathley and BioLogos President Darrel Falk met at a Christian scholars conference last year. Keathley agreed to invite seminary professors to contribute essays describing their disagreements with BioLogos, a nonprofit foundation "committed to exploring and celebrating the compatibility of evolutionary creation and biblical faith," according to its website.
Keathley begins the first essay by noting that the Southern Baptist statement of faith is silent on how God created the universe. But he goes on to say that Southern Baptists' very literal interpretation of Scripture leads many in the denomination to hold the view that God created the world in six, 24-hour days less than 10,000 years ago.
FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — The issue of slot-like games at Kentucky's racetracks is headed back to the Kentucky Supreme Court.
The state's racetracks and the administration of Gov. Steve Beshear are asking the court to review the Kentucky Court of Appeals ruling sending the case back to Franklin County Circuit Court.
The Lexington Herald-Leader (http://bit.ly/Nypgbrhttp://bit.ly/Nypgbr ) reports Kentucky Public Protection Cabinet spokesman Dick Brown said in a statement that the parties believe the trial court was correct in ruling that the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission can permit the games.
"In a divided decision, we believe the Court of Appeals incorrectly decided to return the case to the trial court for discovery on questions not relevant to the legal issues," Brown said. "In her dissenting opinion, Judge Combs agreed with the KHRC that the case was ripe for decision and properly decided by the trial court. Because of the broad impact of the case on one of Kentucky's signature industries, we think the Supreme Court should act without further delay to review this important issue for final determination now."
The game allows players to bet on previously run races. So far, Kentucky Downs is the only track that has the game in place, but Ellis Park hopes to have machines operating soon.
The Family Foundation, which challenged the case and has 30 days to respond to the state's motion, said the racetracks' move is "ill-advised."
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Yum Brands Inc. was spared more heartburn from a rare profit setback in China thanks in part to Taco Bell's new take on the taco.
The owner of the Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and KFC chains said Wednesday that its second-quarter net income grew by 5 percent. That gain came despite the sluggish performance in its key China business.
Yum said its operating profit sagged by 4 percent in China, when adjusted for currency fluctuations, as a result of commodity and labor inflation that squeezed restaurant profitability.
But it was the versatility of Yum's business that helped it weather the setback. Yum reported solid sales in other international markets, continued fast-paced restaurant openings overseas and supersized gains at its Taco Bell stores in the U.S.
"Not everything is going to be hitting all at one time," Edward Jones analyst Jack Russo said. "The U.S. (business) is much better this year. China has softened a little bit from pretty torrid rates. But that's the beauty of a portfolio."
Taco Bell had double-digit growth in sales at U.S. restaurants open at least a year, which the company attributed to strong sales for its new tacos featuring shells made out of Nacho Cheese Doritos. Taco Bell led continued sales momentum in Yum's U.S. business.