State briefs

This article was published November 5, 2017 at 4:00 a.m.

The Associated Press

State lawmaker among

2 appointed to USDA posts in Arkansas

LITTLE ROCK -- A Republican state representative and county Farm Service Agency director for the U.S. Department of agriculture have been named state directors of U.S.D.A. agencies in Arkansas.

The U.S.D.A. has announced that Rep. David Branscum of Marshall was appointed by President Donald Trump as Farm Service Agency state director and Fulton County Farm Service Agency director David Curtis of Salem was named Rural Development state director.

Branscum is in his fourth term and is co-chair of the Arkansas Legislative Council. He said he plans to resign his seat.

Farm Service Agency state directors help implement U.S.D.A. policies in planning, organizing, and administering FSA programs in their states. Rural Development directors work to improve the economy and quality of life in rural areas.

Arkansas death row

inmate dies after

found unresponsive

GRADY -- An Arkansas death row inmate who was convicted of raping and killing a 5-year-old girl has died after being found unresponsive in his cell.

Department of Corrections spokesman Solomon Graves says 57-year-old Roger Coulter was found in his cell at the Varner Unit about 6:30 p.m. Friday and died about 30 minutes later.

Court records show Coulter was convicted and sentenced to death for the 1989 rape and slaying of the daughter of the woman he was living with in Ashley County.

The records say Coulter took the girl from their home in April 1989 to deliver her to a pre-school program. The girl never arrived at the school and her naked body was later found stuffed in a hollow tree.

Coulter was arrested in California about five weeks later.

Claim rejected in

corruption case of

ex-Arkansas lawmaker

FAYETTEVILLE -- A federal judge has rejected claims by attorneys for a former Arkansas state senator and two others that prosecutors failed to provide usable documents for their defense in an alleged kickback scheme.

Attorneys for Republican former Sen. Jon Woods, Ecclesia College President Oren Paris III and consultant Randell Shelton say the documents were in an unsearchable electronic form. They asked that prosecutors provide the documents in a different form or be prohibited from using them at trial.

The Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that Judge Timothy Brooks ruled Friday that while getting the information was time-consuming, the defense could have purchased software recommended by prosecutors.

Woods is accused of steering state funding to the college in exchange for kickbacks from Paris that were paid by Shelton.

Each has pleaded not guilty.

Man fatally shot by

Arkansas officers

after officer wounded

BATESVILLE -- Police in northeast Arkansas fatally shot a man who had shot and wounded another officer.

Arkansas State Police Trooper Liz Chapman says 44-year-old Marvin Stair was dead at the scene of the Friday night shooting in Batesville.

Chapman says a Batesville officer who was called to the home was met with gunfire from Stair and was wounded.

Chapman says when other officers arrived, Stair appeared at the front door and pointed a rifle at them. The officers then opened fire and killed Stair.

The names of the officers and the condition of the wounded officer were not released. The reason the officer was called to the home also hasn't been released.

State police are investigating and will provide a report to the prosecuting attorney, who will determine if the shooting is justified.

State Desk on 11/05/2017
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