5 Things to Know in Montana for May 21

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Your daily look at news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today.

EXCHANGE STUDENT SHOT

A Missoula man charged with shooting and killing a German exchange student is scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday morning. Twenty-nine-year-old Markus Kaarma is charged with deliberate homicide in the April 27 death of 17-year-old Diren Dede. Kaarma’s lawyer says Kaarma will plead not guilty and say he was defending his home after several recent break-ins.

MISSING MONTANA TEACHER-TRIAL

Prosecutors say they no longer will pursue the death penalty against a Colorado man suspected of killing a teacher in eastern Montana. Richland County Attorney Mike Weber made the decision after psychiatrists determined 25-year-old Michael Keith Spell is mentally disabled, but competent to stand trial. Spell is charged with killing 43-year-old Sherry Arnold in early 2012. Weber cited a 2002 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that said executing mentally disabled criminals constitutes cruel and unusual punishment.

OSHA-BNSF RETALIATION

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has ordered BNSF Railway to reinstate two workers in Montana and Wyoming after determining they were illegally fired when they reported they were injured at work. OSHA ordered BSNF to reinstate both employees with back pay and interest, pay $6,000 in damages to each, and reasonable attorney’s fees. It estimated the total payout at $526,000. BNSF says it is going to appeal the order.

PRISON VISITATION LIMITED

The Montana State Prison is reducing the number of inmate visitation days available each week due to a temporary shortage of staff to cover visitation. The warden says the prison is canceling visitation on Wednesdays and Thursdays to allow staff to be reassigned to higher priority security posts. Beginning next week, the prison will allow adult visitors on Fridays and families on Saturdays and Sundays.

MONTANA MEN’S BASKETBALL COACH

University of Montana athletic director Kent Haslam says he plans a national search to replace men’s basketball coach Wayne Tinkle, who resigned after eight seasons to become the men’s basketball coach at Oregon State. Haslam says he doesn’t have a timetable for naming a replacement, but will take as long as it takes to get “the very best coach.” Tinkle was head coach at Montana for eight seasons, and an assistant for the five previous seasons.

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