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Work continues on opera house; Woman accused of helping man escape custody; more

Dec 12, 2012

Work continues on opera house


ELDON (AP) — A small city in southeast Iowa is slowly restoring its 120-year-old opera house.

A committee in Eldon has been working on the McHaffey Opera House for 18 years. That includes slowly installing new roofs, a furnace and air conditioning.

The committee has raised thousands of dollars over the years through a thrift store and some grants. They’ve used the building’s main floor for an annual holiday event for several years.

The committee’s next project is to either restore the walls flanking the stage or to paint over them. The group eventually wants to add a museum and bring back play performances.


Woman accused of helping man escape custody


OTTUMWA (AP) — A woman in southeast Iowa has been accused of helping a man escape from a county courthouse.

The Ottumwa Courier reports Latisha Bunnell is charged with aiding and abetting escape. Police say she helped her husband Curtis Bunnel on Monday by allowing him to get into her car before she drove away from the Wapello County Courthouse. Curtis Bunnel was there for a court appearance related to a robbery charge.

The pair was later arrested at a home in Oskaloosa and are being held at the Wapello County Jail.

Curtis Bunnel now faces a separate escape charge.


Jury deliberates in wrongful conviction case


DES MOINES (AP) —A jury in Des Moines is still trying to decide whether two Omaha, Neb., men should be paid millions of dollars for spending 25 years in prison on murder convictions later overturned.

Jurors began deliberating Friday afternoon after 21 days in the courtroom. They spent eight hours Monday and six hours Tuesday working on the case.

They must decide whether Terry Harrington and Curtis McGhee should be paid by the city of Council Bluffs and two retired police officers who worked to convict them in 1978.

Harrington seeks more than $60 million and McGhee about $50 million. They claim former detectives Dan Larsen and Lyle Brown coerced witnesses into lying and hid evidence from their defense attorneys.

The Iowa Supreme Court overturned their life sentences and released them in 2003.


Iowan accused of sending threat letter to governor


DES MOINES (AP) — A 47-year-old Fort Dodge man has been charged with sending a threatening letter to Gov. Terry Branstad.

Jerry Springsteen was arrested Monday. A complaint filed in U.S. District Court says Springsteen sent the letter on Oct. 18. The complaint says the letter included a line that said Springsteen had “a clear shot” at the governor and said Branstad was a walking dead man.

Court documents say Springsteen told an investigator that he wrote the letter to get Branstad’s attention. Asked about the “clear shot” comment, Springsteen told the investigator that he knew of a fire escape on a building near the governor’s mansion where he could take a rifle shot at the governor.

Springsteen remained in custody Tuesday.

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