Man pleads not guilty to killing girlfriend's baby boy

OSKALOOSA (AP) — A November trial has been scheduled for a man accused of killing his girlfriend's baby son in Oskaloosa.

Mahaska County District Court records say 21-year-old Johnny Dale Jr. filed written pleas of not guilty Monday to a charge of first-degree murder and child endangerment resulting in death. His trial is set to begin Nov. 19.

A criminal complaint says Dale was watching the 4-month-old boy when his girlfriend went to work June 15. She told an investigator the boy had a bruise on his forehead and wouldn't wake up when she got home. Doctors later told investigators the boy had suffered brain and spinal cord injuries consistent with child abuse.

The complaint also says Dale said he'd grown frustrated with the baby and said he bounced him on an air mattress in an attempt to get him to sleep.

Johnson County officials say man died of natural causes

IOWA CITY (AP) — Authorities say a man whose body was found under a bridge in Iowa City died of natural causes.

The body of 45-year-old Eric Riskedahl was found July 1 at a homeless camp under a U.S. 6 bridge. The Johnson County medical examiner's office says Riskedahl died of a condition related to his diabetes.

The body of another man was found earlier that day in Ralston Creek in Iowa City. The death of 26-year-old Jonathan Guerrero was ruled an accident.

Suspected tornado reported in central Illinois amid storms

EDINBURG, Ill. (AP) — Authorities say a suspected tornado was reported in central Illinois as severe thunderstorms moved through portions of the state.

The National Weather Service says it received a report of a tornado Monday night near the Christian County community of Edinburg, about 175 miles southwest of Chicago.

No injuries were reported.

WCIA-TV reports Christian County emergency management officials plan to have crews out Tuesday to assess damage. The storms also caused scattered power outages.

Man gets 5 years after fatal punch of Sioux City man

SIOUX CITY (AP) — A man has been sentenced to five years in prison after admitting he fatally punched a Sioux City man and then fled to Mexico.

The Sioux City Journal reports that 25-year-old Ray Avila pleaded guilty Monday to involuntary manslaughter and flight to avoid prosecution in the July 29, 2018, assault of Peter Johnson. After being punched, the 31-year-old Johnson fractured his skull on a sidewalk and died later at a hospital.

Avila hit Johnson after a misunderstanding over what initially appeared to be a car break-in.

After the incident, Avila fled to Mexico, where he was arrested in May. Avila, a U.S. citizen, was returned to Woodbury County in June.

Both charges carry five-year sentences but will run concurrently. Avila could be released before serving half the five-year sentence. He also was ordered to pay $150,000 in restitution to Johnson's estate.

Iowa Civil Rights Commission gets new executive director

DES MOINES (AP) — A Des Moines lawyer working for Iowa Workforce Development as an administrative law judge has been named the new director of the Iowa Civil Rights Commission.

Gov. Kim Reynolds said Tuesday she appointed Elizabeth Johnson of Altoona to head the commission responsible for enforcing state civil rights laws designed to prohibit discrimination in employment, public accommodations and education.

Johnson was a civil rights specialist at the commission before she took her current job.

She begins Aug. 26 as commission executive director, a job subject to Iowa Senate confirmation.

The commission's interim director Linda Grathwohl left July 25 without giving a reason other than planning to return to a position at Iowa Legal Aid.

The previous permanent commission executive, Kristin Johnson, had the job for 3½ years. She resigned Jan. 2 as Reynolds began her first full term as governor.