20-year sentence in fatal robbery

DULUTH (AP) — A defendant accused of killing a man during a robbery in St. Louis County has been sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Darrel Mayhew earlier pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the death of 70-year-old Larry Watczak at his Duluth home last January. Prosecutors say Mayhew struck Watczak in the head with a bottle, took his computer and emptied his pockets. Watczak died ten days later.

The St. Louis County Attorney recommended a 20-year sentence as part of a plea deal.

Ex-grain trader signs plea deal

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — A former North Dakota grain trader accused in a multi-million dollar fraud scheme has signed a plea agreement in federal court.

Authorities say 22-year-old Hunter Hanson, of Leeds, bilked about 60 farmers, elevators and commodity brokers in North Dakota, Minnesota and Canada. The deal calls for him to plead guilty to wire fraud and money laundering and play back about $11.4 million.

Court documents unsealed Monday show that Hanson contracted with farmers and grain elevators last year to buy crops and either failed to pay them or sent them checks that bounced. He allegedly laundered money between his multiple bank accounts and other businesses.

The actions led the state Public Service Commission to shut down the Devils Lake-based company.

Defense attorney Lucas Wynne did not immediately return a phone message Monday seeking comment.

Iowa ranks high on child well-being

(AP) — While children’s overall well-being continues to improve in Iowa, the state’s child and teen death rate is worse than it was in 2010, according to an Annie E. Casey Foundation report published Monday.

The state still is one of the best in the nation for children. The 2019 Kids Count Data Book ranked Iowa the third-best for kids.

The annual report ranks states on 16 indicators of youths’ economic well-being, education, family and community, and health.

The child and teen death rate is Iowa’s only deteriorating factor in the report. It was 27 per 100,000 in 2017, the year most data in the 2019 report was collected. In 2010, the rate was 24 per 100,000.

Mike Crawford, Iowa Kids Count director, said children and teen deaths can be explained by three causes: automobile incidents, suicide and opioid overdoses.

Iowa youth’s death rate tends to ebb and flow, said John Jungling, an Iowa Department of Public Health analyst who provided data for the Kids Count report.