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This Hour: Latest Louisiana news, sports, business and entertainment

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MISSING WOMAN

Man competent to stand trial in wife's death

BENTON, La. (AP) - Two psychologists have concluded a 53-year-old Bossier City man accused in the death of his estranged wife is competent to stand trial and assist with his defense.

District Attorney Schuyler Marvin tells The Times the findings by Dr. Mark Vigen and Dr. Richard Williams following their separate examinations of Robert Bond Jr. were expected.

A Bossier Parish grand jury indicted Bond in January for second-degree murder in the death of his wife, 46-year-old Annie Bond.

Webster Parish deputies discovered of her charred remains along Dorcheat Bayou several days later.

Robert Bond pleaded not guilty during his arraignment Jan. 14. But his court-appointed attorney, Randal Fish, reserved the right to change the plea depending upon the outcome of the sanity commission.

UNION PARISH-LIQUOR SALES

Voters in 1 Union Parish ward face liquor issues

FARMERVILLE, La. (AP) - Union Parish voters in Ward 3 will go to the polls on May 3 to vote on a number of liquor law reforms that could permit alcohol in the last remaining dry ward in the parish.

Ward 3 touches Spearsville, parts of Farmerville and some unincorporated areas of the parish.

Police Jury President A.J. Smith, who represents the affected area, tells The News-Star on Tuesday the movement to bring alcohol to the area started when the Bridges Grocery Store management wanted to sell beer.

Joe Bridges, who owns the grocery store, said passing the proposals would help keep revenue in the parish because the current laws force people to go elsewhere to spend money.

DOGS IN TRUCKS

La. House says dogs in truck beds should be secure

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Drivers would have to secure dogs riding in truck beds while on interstate highways, if the Senate agrees to a bill backed by the House.

The House voted 53-34 Tuesday to pass the proposal by Republican Rep. Thomas Willmott, of Kenner.

Drivers could secure dogs with a crate, leash or a ventilated bed cover, under the bill.

Willmott has proposed similar bills before, but they failed to garner enough support. He says he continues to push the issue to promote humane treatment of pets and public safety.

Willmott said four House members had stories of seeing dogs fall out of trucks. New Orleans Rep. Helena Moreno said one such incident forced her to swerve to keep from hitting a dog.

BATON ROUGE CRIME

Major crime down in Baton Rouge

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - The Baton Rouge Police Department reports a 15 percent decrease in violent crime in 2013 from 2012.

Overall, major crime in Baton Rouge dropped 7 percent in 2013 from 2012, with violent crime - homicides and non-negligent manslaughters as well as robberies and assaults - dropping 15 percent. The exceptions were rapes, which went up 16 percent, and negligent manslaughters, which increased 67 percent.

Property crime - burglaries, thefts, auto thefts and arsons - dropped 6 percent.

Cpl. L'Jean McKneely, a police spokesman, tells The Advocate they believe several initiatives - such as the Baton Rouge Area Violence Elimination Project and operations aimed at taking drugs and guns off the streets - are making a difference.

The crime report was released Tuesday.

BRUSLY POLICE CHIEF

Brusly council appoints interim police chief

BRUSLY, La. (AP) - The Brusly Town Council has unanimously appointed Richie Johnson, a colonel with the West Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office, to serve as interim police chief following the elected chief's guilty plea on a malfeasance charge.

The Advocate reports the council on Tuesday also set a special election Nov. 4 to elect a new police chief to finish the remainder of Jamie Whaley's term.

Whaley is set to leave office Friday as a result of his recent plea deal.

Johnson's appointment as interim police chief is effective Saturday. He will oversee a department of eight officers.

MICROSOFT STORE

Microsoft opening Mall of Louisiana kiosk

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Louisiana's first Microsoft specialty location is set to open May 17 in the Mall of Louisiana.

Tony Stephens, senior general manager for the Baton Rouge mall, tells The Advocate Microsoft will be located in a kiosk near the mall's center court. The kiosk will sell an array of the company's products, including Windows Phones, Surface tablets and Xbox game consoles.

If sales at the kiosk are strong, the mall could eventually get a larger Microsoft store. Tyron Picard, a local spokesman, said Microsoft has converted some of its specialty outlets into permanent locations that carry all of its products.

SLCC-EVANGELINE CAMPUS

Land donated for new SLCC Evangeline campus

ST. MARTINVILLE, La. (AP) - South Louisiana Community College plans to build its new Evangeline campus on property donated with the help of the city of St. Martinville.

The Advocate reports the site, near the intersection of La. 31 and Moore Avenue, awaits approval by the college's management board.

The college had issued requests for proposals for at least nine acres of donated property in St. Martin Parish to build the 36,000-square-foot, $9.2 million building to house academic and workforce training programs.

The building will replace the college's existing campus in St. Martinville.

TURKEY VIOLATIONS

Dubach man cited for turkey hunting violations

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - State wildlife and fisheries agents cited a Dubach man for alleged turkey hunting and trespassing charges in Union Parish.

Agents cited 40-year-old Anthony J. Lewis Saturday for intentional concealment of wildlife evidence, failing to comply with turkey tagging requirements, hunting turkeys with no basic hunting or big game licenses and turkey stamp, criminal trespassing and operating an All-Terrain Vehicle on a public road.

Agents received an anonymous complaint about Lewis hunting on private property without permission. When agents arrived, Lewis wasn't in the area but they spotted him driving the ATV. After a brief pursuit, agents stopped him and Lewis admitted dumping a harvested turkey in a field. They then cited Lewis who faces up to $950 in fines and 120 days in jail for intentional concealment of wildlife evidence.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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