State briefing

Court rejects trial bid in hunters case

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP) — A man convicted of killing two hunters near Kalamazoo nearly 30 years ago has failed to persuade the Michigan appeals court to order a new trial.

The Innocence Clinic at University of Michigan law school is representing Jeff Titus. The clinic says Titus’ trial attorney was ineffective, especially for not interviewing or calling two detectives as witnesses.

The detectives were part of the initial investigation and don’t believe Titus fatally shot the hunters in 1990. But the appeals court says Titus had other alibi evidence.

The court also says prosecutors weren’t required to share the opinion of an investigator who believed there were two shooters, not one.

Prosecutors acknowledge that Titus was hunting miles away on the day of the shootings. But they believe he drove home and killed Doug Estes and Jim Bennett on land near his property.

Arrest made after shooting

DETROIT (AP) — Detroit police say a 23-year-old man has been arrested after a 7-year-old girl was critically wounded when a bullet fired from outside a home struck her while she slept on a couch with her grandmother.

Police spokesman Michael Woody said that officers arrested the man Friday. He said police are not releasing the identity of the suspect because he hasn’t been formally charged yet.

The girl was shot in the face about 11:15 p.m. Monday in a home on the city’s west side. Woody said then that investigators believed the shots came from a passing vehicle.

Authorities have said the girl was shot while she slept on the couch in her grandmother’s arms.

License suspensions challenged

FLINT, Mich. (AP) — The state of Michigan is being sued in a bid to restore the driver’s licenses of people who say they can’t afford to pay traffic fines.

A lawsuit filed in federal court says the secretary of state is running a “wealth-based” scheme in which people too poor to pay fines are having their licenses suspended. The lawsuit says a traffic violation can cause a “downward spiral” of lost opportunities for jobs and education.

The lawsuit says the secretary of state doesn’t distinguish between people who are intentionally skipping fines and others who can’t pay. Kitia Harris, a 25-year-old Detroit woman, says her license was suspended when she couldn’t afford a $150 ticket in Ferndale.

The lawsuit was filed by Equal Justice Under Law, a civil rights group. An email seeking comment was sent to the secretary of state.

Suspect named in death of horses

LOWELL TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — Prosecutors have identified the chief suspect in a fire that killed 13 horses in western Michigan.

The man appeared in Kent County court Friday in an unrelated case. He’s accused of violating probation by cutting off his electronic tether.

Assistant prosecutor Daniel Helmer says the 20-year-old is the “primary suspect” in a fire that killed 13 horses in April at the Barn for Equine Learning in Lowell Township. The Associated Press isn’t identifying him because he hasn’t been charged.

Only two of 15 horses survived the fire. The horses were used as therapy for children and young adults.

Residents brace for more flooding

GREECE, N.Y. (AP) — Homeowners and businesses along Lake Ontario’s southern shore in western New York are bracing for the possibility of more flooding as heavy rain and high winds return to the region.

The National Weather Service in Buffalo has issued a lakeshore flood warning for neighboring Orleans and Monroe counties that is in effect until 2 a.m. Saturday. Meteorologists say the lake’s already high level combined with strong winds could result in more flooding and shoreline erosion this weekend.

The areas hit hardest by recent flooding are in the towns of Parma and Greece to the west of Rochester and Webster and Sodus east of the city.

Many lakefront property owners have spent days laying down sandbags and pumping out flooded basements.

Earlier this week Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency for several shoreline counties.