- Associated Press - Thursday, October 9, 2014
Behind McConnell ad, a Ky. woman’s complex story

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - In a recent campaign ad for Republican Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky woman tells of how the U.S. Senate’s minority leader fought to help get her daughter back from war-torn West Africa in a custody battle that spanned two years, two governments and two continents. The woman, a community college professor named Noelle Hunter, mentions that her marriage ended “after a dark period in my life.”

That was a reference to Hunter’s struggle with drug addiction, including a 2007 child endangerment arrest after she smoked crack cocaine in a car with her then-infant daughter, who tested positive for cocaine at a hospital. Hunter began a long path to recovery that eventually led to a judge granting her joint custody of her daughter.

What does it say about McConnell that he chose to help Hunter? Or that he picked her story to highlight in his first feel-good ad of an attack-heavy campaign against Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes? Or that the spot - at 60 seconds, an eternity in the pricey world of political TV advertising - stops short of spelling out what happened in that dark period?

If nothing else, it shows that as much as campaign ads are meant to convey candidates and issues in the simplest, starkest terms, there’s always more to the story.

Hunter’s arrest has been removed from public record, but she does not hide it. She told McConnell’s staff about it from the beginning. And McConnell’s campaign sent a letter from Hunter to his supporters last week when the ad first aired, in which she discussed her drug addiction and her arrest, which made news at the time because Hunter was a popular professor at Morehead State University.

“I wasn’t in my right mind,” Hunter, of Morehead, said of her arrest. “It was my actions in addiction. … It was an unfortunate and grievous mistake on my part.”

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Kentucky player pleads not guilty to rape charge

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - Kentucky freshman defensive lineman Lloyd Tubman pleaded not guilty Wednesday to first-degree rape and is scheduled for a preliminary hearing later this month.

Tubman was arrested Tuesday for the Oct. 2 incident involving a female student in a campus dormitory. His preliminary hearing will be Oct. 23. First-degree rape is a felony in Kentucky, and Tubman faces up to 20 years in prison.

As Tubman appeared on video from Lexington-Fayette Jail, located several miles from Fayette District Court, Lexington attorney Jim Lowry entered his plea. It’s routine for people being held in jail to appear via video conference and Lowry has handled numerous cases involving Kentucky athletes.

Dressed in a standard-issue prison jumpsuit, Tubman said little and frequently hung his head during the brief proceeding. The Louisville native was released to his mother’s custody after Judge Julie Goodman allowed 10% of his $10,000 bond, or $1,000 to be paid. He was ordered to have no contact with the woman.

Lowry and family members declined comment as they left the courthouse.

Tubman, who hasn’t played this season, has been suspended indefinitely by coach Mark Stoops. The university said in a release that the 6-foot-5, 225-pound Tubman is also subject to discipline under its code of conduct.

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6 tornadoes confirmed in Kentucky

PARIS, Ky. (AP) - The National Weather Service has confirmed six tornadoes hit Kentucky during storms that dragged wind and hail across parts of the state.

The weather service reported one woman was injured in Bourbon County when an EF-1 tornado pulled her from her home Tuesday. The weather service said she landed in her driveway and required stitches. Paris City Manager John Plummer told the Lexington Herald-Leader he had spoken to the woman and she was OK.

Four other twisters - two in Bath County, and one each in Scott and Harrison counties - were also designated EF-1, which is next to weakest on the scale and indicates winds were 85 to 110 mph. The remaining tornado was a weaker EF-O, near New Columbus in Owen County.

The weather service said homes, warehouses, roofs, outbuildings, trees and power lines were damaged in the storms. In Bourbon County, a tanker flipped.

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SW Va. man sentenced in cockfighting case

ABINGDON, Va. (AP) - A Wise County man is joining his father in prison for participating in a major cockfighting enterprise.

A federal judge in Abingdon sentenced Jonathan Robinson to one year and one day in prison Wednesday. Robinson’s father, Wesley Robinson, was sentenced last month to six months in prison. Both had previously pleaded guilty to charges including possessing an animal for use in an illegal fighting venture.

An eastern Kentucky couple convicted in the case will be sentenced Thursday in Abingdon. Walter Stumbo of Floyd County, Kentucky, pleaded guilty in July and his wife, Sonya Stumbo, was convicted by a jury in August. Their son, Joshua Stumbo, also pleaded guilty and will be sentenced Tuesday.

Authorities say the cockfighting enterprise in McDowell, Kentucky, featured arena-style seating, multiple fighting pits and a restaurant.

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