- Associated Press - Thursday, May 22, 2014

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

GAY MARRIAGE-MONTANA

Four gay couples are challenging Montana’s ban on same-sex marriage. The lawsuit filed in federal court in Great Falls Wednesday alleges the state’s constitutional ban denies same-sex couples the freedom and dignity afforded to other Montanans, and robs them of the legal protections and benefits that come with marriage. A spokesman said Republican Attorney General Tim Fox will fight to uphold the ban. Montana voters passed a constitutional amendment in 2004 that says the state will only recognize marriages that are between a man and a woman. A judge recently struck down a similar ban in Idaho. North and South Dakota are the only states left with similar bans and no lawsuits seeking to overturn them.

NUCLEAR MISSTEPS

Armed security forces at Malmstrom Air Force Base failed a drill last summer that simulated the hostile takeover of a missile launch silo because they were unable to quickly regain control of the captured nuclear weapon. The Associated Press obtained the internal Air Force review through a Freedom of Information Act request. The previously unreported failure, which the Air Force called a “critical deficiency,” was the reason the 341st Missile Wing at Malmstrom flunked its broader safety and security inspection. The inspection was repeated two months later and evaluators found no security weaknesses.

EXCHANGE STUDENT KILLED

A 29-year-old Missoula man charged with shooting a German exchange student in his garage has pleaded not guilty to deliberate homicide. Markus Kaarma was arraigned Wednesday for the April 27 death of 17-year-old Diren Dede. Prosecutors allege Kaarma fired four shots into the garage after he spotted a trespasser. Kaarma has said he feared for his life and was defending his property. A judge rejected a request by Missoula County prosecutors to increase Kaarma’s bail from $30,000 to $500,000.

BILLINGS SHOOTING

A Billings has been sentenced to 40 years in prison, with 20 years suspended, for the Christmas Day 2012 shooting death of his wife’s lover. David Isaacson pleaded guilty in March to charges he killed Sabah Mallak. Court records say Isaacson became angry when his wife left to meet Mallak, grabbed a pistol and followed them, leading to a confrontation.

BASEBALL BAT BEATING

A 36-year-old Libby man has been sentenced to 30 years in prison without the possibility of parole for a baseball bat attack that nearly killed his wife last September. Joshua Peterson pleaded guilty to aggravated assault in March as part of a plea agreement in which Lincoln County prosecutors. Peterson’s attorney said on the night of the attack, Peterson believed his wife was walking into another room to grab a gun and possibly shoot him. Tracee Peterson has said she was sleeping on a couch when she was struck.

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