News

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A man is being held in the Crawford County jail after authorities say he intentionally slammed on his brakes and caused a motorcyclist to strike the rear of his pickup, killing the biker.

 Thirty-one-year-old Lawrence Finn of Pettigrew remained in jail Friday on a charge of second-degree murder.

 Arkansas State Police described the death Wednesday of 41-year-old Jason Miller of Alma as the result of a road-rage incident along Interstate 40 near the Oklahoma line.

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Louisiana residents can buy supplies to prepare for hurricane season at a lower state sales tax rate this weekend.

 The Louisiana Hurricane Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday is Saturday and Sunday, with lower tax rates for flashlights, batteries, portable generators and other emergency supplies.

 Eligible items will be charged a 3 percent state sales tax, rather than the full 5 percent rate. The tax break applies to the first $1,500 of eligible purchases. 

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Pianists who play music popularized in America during the early 20th century have begun competing for $6,000 in Mississippi.

 The Oxford Eagle reports the World Championship Old-Time Piano Playing Contest is being held Thursday through Sunday in Oxford. The competition, in its 43rd year, also includes workshops with judges.

 University of Mississippi music professor Ian Hominick brought the contest to Oxford after it spent 41 years in Monticello, Illinois. He says between 400 and 500 are expected to take part in the weekend's events.

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A prisoner at the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola is facing murder charges in the alleged beating death of his cellmate, one in a string of inmate-on-inmate attacks at the facility. 

The Advocate reports 37-year-old Wilbert Carter was rebooked on a count of second-degree murder in the death of 62-year-old Willie Brunner.

 West Feliciana Parish District Attorney Sam D'Aquilla says jailers found Brunner - who was serving a life sentence for a 1983 killing - March 24 on the floor of his cell. He died April 23. 

Pictures of Money / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/

Louisiana State Police say 13 people have been arrested in connection with an insurance fraud scheme involving staged automobile crashes.

 A news release says Thursday's arrests followed an investigation that began with complaints from insurance companies. 

Investigators say the scheme involved a group of people who regularly participated in reporting fictitious automobile crashes, bogus injuries and property damage in southwestern Louisiana.  

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Authorities say a man tracked to a hotel where he was with a runaway 14-year-old girl remains jailed on accusations of sexual contact with the teen.

 The Times-Picayune reports 34-year-old Malcom Baker was booked Monday on three counts of carnal knowledge of a juvenile. Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office spokesman Col. John Fortunato says Baker was at a Terrytown hotel with the girl reported missing from New Orleans.

Marc Sayce / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/

The number of speeding tickets issued by the Florida Highway Patrol has dropped for three straight years as the agency deals with a shortage of troopers.

 Col. Gene Spaulding tells the Miami Herald the agency has lost 993 troopers - or about half of its workforce - to retirement or resignation since 2010. 

 Spaulding says the agency does what it can to provide public safety, patrolling areas that include Interstates 4, 75 and 95 in the nation's third most populated state that also doubles as a tourist destination.

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Authorities say a woman who dropped her purse inside a medical clinic caused an accidental gunshot that wounded a bystander.

 WAPT-TV reports that the woman on the fourth floor of the Lakeland Family Medicine Center in Jackson when she dropped the purse around 11 a.m. Thursday.

 Authorities said the gun fired, striking another person who has been hospitalized. The wounded person's condition wasn't immediately available.

 The station reports that the clinic is affiliated with the University of Mississippi Medical Center. 

Pictures of Money / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

The leader of the Louisiana House says he doesn't expect lawmakers to pass tax hikes this session to fill a looming, mid-2018 budget gap. Instead, Republican House Speaker Taylor Barras believes a special legislative session is inevitable to address the shortfall.

A more than $1 billion budget hole is projected when temporary sales taxes passed by the Legislature expire on June 30, 2018. Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards wants lawmakers to pass tax measures to close the gap. 

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36-year-old Kevin Gray and 36-year-old Josekeitha White were booked Monday and charged with partnering with a craps dealer to swindle a value estimated between $500 and $5000 from Treasure Chest Casino. State Police say their alleged accomplice, 49-year-old Anthony Thompson, was arrested in February.

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