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In brief: Teen gets 80 years in parent stabbings

POLSON, Mont. – A 17-year-old Arlee boy has been sentenced to 80 years in the custody of the Department of Corrections after pleading guilty to stabbing his stepfather to death and critically injuring his mother last November.

KERR-AM reported Nathan Butler was sentenced on Thursday the stabbing death of 51-year-old John Fisher and for attempted deliberate homicide for stabbing his mother, Dacia Vollin. He received a concurrent 10-year sentence stabbing another man in the chest.

Prosecutors say Butler told investigators he had been waiting in his room with a knife with plans to stab his mother. When Fisher responded to her calls for help, Butler said he stabbed him.

Justice Thomas speaks in Portland

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas made a rare public appearance Thursday at the University of Portland, fielding questions on his life and legal philosophy from faculty and students.

Nominated to the high court in 1991, Thomas touched on his controversial confirmation hearings, his intellectual development and the “enormously lonely” road he took to the Supreme Court.

He likened his strict constitutionalist approach to the way he says he approached contract disputes. Thomas said judges must start with what is written and then try to divine the intent behind it.

Raffle organizer pleads guilty

A man who ran unlicensed raffles in Olympia and pocketed about 98 percent of the $277,000 in proceeds will spend 90 days on electronic home monitoring after pleading guilty to two felonies Thursday.

Three raffles that Joseph Searles organized in Olympia between 2010 and 2012 purported to raise money for autism research on behalf of the Autism Society of Washington, according to court papers.

But out of more than $277,000 in proceeds from these raffles, only $4,931 were donated to an autism charity, court papers state.

Searles, 64, pleaded guilty Thursday to one count each of first-degree theft and operating a raffle without a license before Thurston County Superior Court Judge Carol Murphy.

Study finds more rare western bumblebees

PORTLAND – A six-week survey of bumblebee species in Oregon’s Mount Hood National Forest has produced an encouraging find – a dozen of the increasingly rare western bumblebees.

The inchlong, white-bottomed bee was once one of the most common pollinators in the West, according to an Oregon Zoo release. But about 15 years ago, the zoo said they mysteriously disappeared west of the Cascade Mountains.

With funding from the zoo Foundation’s Future for Wildlife program, Xerces Society biologist Rich Hatfield conducted the survey this summer. On week four, he found the western bumblebees near Timberline Lodge.

Hatfield said this discovery suggests the species has a chance to repopulate its range.


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