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Judge orders competency test for suspect in fatal beating

(Information from: Idaho Statesman,

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A judge has ordered a competency evaluation for a homeless man accused of fatally beating someone in a park last month.

The Idaho Statesman reported Wednesday that 27-year-old Andrew Garcia was charged on suspicion of murder and other charges in the death of 43-year-old Roque Arellano.

Ada County Magistrate Judge Daniel Steckel says the evaluation is meant to test if a defendant is mentally fit for trial.

Prosecutors say Garcia is accused of hitting and stomping on Arellano at Ann Morrison Park causing fatal injuries in October.

Prosecutors say it is unclear how or whether Garcia and Arellano knew each other. Garcia's defense attorney Amy Wilson declined to comment on the case.

Garcia remains in custody at Ada County Jail and is scheduled to appear in court Nov. 27.



Idaho governor asks agencies to cut budgets

(Information from: Idaho Press,

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho Gov. Brad Little has asked most state agencies to trim their current budgets by 1% and prepare for more cuts in the coming year.

The Idaho Press reports Little didn't make the request of K-12 public schools. He sent a memo to other state agencies late last month last month asking them to identify another 2% base reduction in their budgets for the coming year.

Little's chief of staff Zach Hauge wrote in the memo that the governor's top priority is education. He called the request a "spending reset."

State tax revenues are running substantially lower than anticipated, but the state budget still has a big cushion, in part because this year's spending was budgeted to total about $174 million less than the predicted tax revenues.



Idaho, Energy Department sign deal on spent nuclear fuel

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho has granted a conditional waiver to the U.S. Department of Energy that could allow research quantities of spent nuclear fuel into the state after years of blocking such shipments.

The agreement announced Thursday by Gov. Brad Little and Attorney General Lawrence Wasden, both Republicans, means the Idaho National Laboratory could get spent fuel for experiments as part of a U.S. strategy to expand nuclear power.

The waiver to a 1995 agreement requires the Energy Department to first prove it can process and remove radioactive liquid waste stored above an Idaho aquifer that supplies water to farms and cities.

The Energy Department has spent some $600 million trying to do that, reporting progress earlier this year.

Idaho benefits because the deal requires earlier removal of other nuclear waste at the 890-square-mile (2,305-square kilometer) site west of Idaho Falls.


The Latest: Defense questions witness' motive for plea deal

CRIPPLE CREEK, Colo. (AP) — An attorney for a Colorado man charged in the beating death of his fiancee says the prosecution's star witness struck a plea deal to avoid a lengthy prison sentence.

The Colorado Springs Gazette reports attorney Adam Steigerwald tried to poke holes in Krystal Lee's testimony on Thursday during the trial of 33-year-old Patrick Frazee, who has denied killing 29-year-old Kelsey Berreth.

Lee, who was having an affair with Frazee, testified that after the slaying, she grabbed several blood-spattered items from Berreth's Woodland Park townhome to be burned with the body.

Lee pleaded guilty to evidence tampering, a charge the defense noted was the lowest-level felony in Colorado.

Berreth was last seen nearly a year ago near her home in Woodland Park, about two hours south of Denver.


The Latest: $30 car tab measure passes in Washington

SEATTLE (AP) — Washington state voters have approved a measure cutting car tabs to $30, a move that will cut billions of dollars from transportation budgets and leave governments scrambling for a way to pay for road paving, light rail and other projects.

Initiative 976 had a healthy lead after early returns Tuesday night and continued to pass by large margins as votes were counted Wednesday. King County, the state's most populous, was rejecting I-976 but most other counties were approving it.

Sponsored by Tim Eyman, the measure would cap most taxes paid through annual vehicle registration at $30 and largely revoke the authority of state and local governments to add new taxes and fees without voter approval.

The measure would also repeal taxes and fees that were already in place, which could cost the state and local governments more than $4 billion in revenue over the next six years, according to the state Office of Financial Management.


Boise woman dies after getting hit by vehicle

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The Boise Police Department says a 72-year-old woman died after she was struck by a vehicle while crossing a street downtown.

The Ada County Coroner's Office identified the woman as Alice H. Kinberg of Boise.

Police say she was crossing Myrtle Street outside of a crosswalk Monday evening when she was struck by the vehicle. The driver, a 30-year-old woman, stayed at the scene and is cooperating with police.

No charges have been filed in connection with the accident, which remains under investigation.

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