Sentencing delay for kennel operator in animal neglect case

COUNCIL BLUFFS (AP) — Sentencing has been delayed for a man who operated a western Iowa dog business where carcasses and dozens of malnourished dogs were found.

The Daily Nonpareil reports that a judge delayed the sentencing scheduled Wednesday for Dustin Young so authorities could complete a pre-sentence report. The new date: Feb. 13.

Pottawattamie County court records say Young pleaded guilty to 12 counts of animal neglect after prosecutors dismissed 28 more. The dogs and carcasses were discovered in May at Young Gunz Kennel, about 2 miles southeast of Hancock.

Officials said the inside of the business was covered in animal urine and feces, and there was no food or water for the dogs.

Authorities say robbery suspect died when stolen van crashed

FORT DODGE (AP) — Authorities say a fatal crash on the west side of Fort Dodge ended the chase of a van stolen in Des Moines.

The van owner told Des Moines officers that he was uninjured when a man with a gun stole his van around 3:30 a.m. Thursday. A Story City officer spotted the van about an hour later on Interstate 35, but it didn't stop when the officer tried to pull it over.

Authorities say the chase continued through Story, Hamilton and Webster counties until the van crashed around 6 a.m., ejecting and killing the driver. His name hasn't been released.

Court overturns man's 2nd conviction for Des Moines slaying

DES MOINES (AP) — The Iowa Appeals Court has overturned the second murder conviction of a man who's spent more than 10 years in prison.

Juries have twice found Kenneth Heard guilty of murder for fatally shooting of 26-year-old Joshua Hutchinson in December 2007.

The Des Moines Register reports that the court ruled Wednesday that Heard's constitutional right to compel witnesses to testify was violated. The appellate court says the trial court failed to determine the "extent and validity" of one witness's assertion of his Fifth Amendment privilege against incriminating himself.

The witness testified for the prosecution at Heard's first trial but asserted his Fifth Amendment right at the time of his deposition before the second trial. Heard has accused that witness of fatally shooting Hutchinson.

Heard's first first-degree murder conviction in the case was overturned after he claimed his lawyers were ineffective.

It's unclear whether prosecutors will seek a third trial.

Fire officials say 2 people injured in Des Moines blaze

DES MOINES (AP) — Officials say two occupants were hospitalized after a fire at their Des Moines home.

Firetrucks were dispatched around 10 p.m. Wednesday, and firefighters found the two outside the home when they arrived. Their names haven't been released.

The front of the home was heavily damaged. The fire cause is being investigated.

Officials ID woman whose body was found along highway

MUSCATINE (AP) — Authorities have released the name of a woman whose body was found alongside a highway near Muscatine in eastern Iowa.

The Muscatine County Sheriff's Office identified the woman as 20-year-old Lea Renae Ponce, who lived in Fairfield.

The sheriff's office received a call around 1 a.m. Tuesday that reported a woman lying on a side of Iowa 38. Arriving deputies found the body.

Officials are awaiting autopsy results.

Iowa GOP senator plans 2020 primary against Rep. Steve King

DES MOINES (AP) — A three-term Republican state senator says he plans to run against U.S. Rep. Steve King in 2020, likely setting up a heated primary battle for the state's 4th Congressional District seat.

Randy Feenstra, an assistant Republican leader in the Legislature, announced Wednesday he intended to run for the seat and has opened a federal campaign committee, the first step in preparing for a congressional campaign.

Without mentioning King by name, Feenstra said the northwest Iowa district doesn't have a voice in Washington "because our current representative's caustic nature has left us without a seat at the table." He added Iowans don't need more "sideshows or distractions."

King is known for hardline views on immigration, abortion and gun rights. His sometimes blunt comments frequently draw criticism from Democrats and occasionally from fellow Republicans.

He narrowly defeated his Democratic opponent in November, a change from his typically easy victories in the overwhelmingly Republican district.

King's campaign office says Feenstra promised in December he would not run and referred to his announcement as "misguided political opportunism, fueled by establishment puppeteers..."

Republican Party of Iowa Chairman Jeff Kaufmann says the party will remain neutral in the primary race.

Iowa woman pleads guilty to kidnapping in teen's death

ADEL (AP) — An Iowa woman has pleaded guilty to three kidnapping charges related to the 2017 starvation death of her 16-year-old adopted daughter.

The Des Moines Register reports that 41-year-old Misty Jo Bousman Ray pleaded guilty Wednesday to one count of first-degree kidnapping and two counts of third-degree kidnapping involving two other adopted children in her care illegally confined to her Perry home.

First-degree kidnapping carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison. In exchange for her plea, prosecutors dropped first-degree murder and other charges.

The charges stem from the May 2017 death of Sabrina Ray, who weighed only 56 pounds when she died.

Her husband, 43-year-old Marc Ray, pleaded guilty last month to child endangerment causing death and three counts of third-degree kidnapping. The couple will be jointly sentenced on Jan. 18 in Dallas County.