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State Briefs

By The Associated Press • Feb 6, 2019 at 8:00 AM

Uber driver gets life without parole in 6 shooting deaths

KALAMAZOO (AP) — A man who fatally shot six strangers in southwestern Michigan was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison with no chance of parole, and some loved ones of those he killed said they believe he'll face a greater, more permanent punishment.

"Someday when you die and you face God, He will make the ultimate judgment for what you've done," Laurie Smith, who lost her husband and son in the February 2016 rampage, told Jason Dalton during the sentencing hearing. "All I can say is, I do not want to be you — not now and not then."

Dalton, 48, pleaded guilty to murder and attempted murder last month, just as jury selection was about to begin in his trial. Michigan has no death penalty, so he was guaranteed to receive the mandatory life sentence at Tuesday's hearing in a Kalamazoo County court.

Dalton admitted shooting eight people in three locations in between picking up passengers for Uber. After his arrest, police quoted Dalton as saying a "devil figure" on Uber's app was controlling him on the day of the shootings.

Dalton was deemed competent to stand trial and had dropped an insanity defense just before his trial was scheduled to start. He hasn't explained why he randomly shot eight people. The father of two had worked as an insurance adjuster and had no criminal record before the shootings.

At least $1.5B more needed for highways, MDOT chief says

LANSING (AP) — The new director of the Michigan Department of Transportation says at least $1.5 billion more is needed to improve the condition of state highways, nearly double what is now being spent.

Paul Ajegba disclosed the figure in his advice-and-consent hearing before a Senate committee Tuesday. He bases it on a 2016 infrastructure report done for former Gov. Rick Snyder, a Republican.

Ajegba, whom Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer appointed to run the department, said he is working to compile how much additional funding is needed for municipal roads. While he does not yet have an overall funding number, he said the "core" reason for crummy roads is a lack of investment.

Whitmer plans to include a road-funding plan in her budget proposal.

The Senate is not expected to oppose Ajegba's appointment.

Man dies after tire explosion in mid-Michigan

VERNON TWP. (AP) — Authorities said a 26-year-old man has died following a tire explosion at a business in mid-Michigan.

The Isabella County Sheriff's Office said Ethan Gage of Clare was changing tires on a piece of farming machinery in Vernon Township on Monday when a tire exploded.

Gage was pronounced dead at the scene. The death is under investigation.

2 Detroit officers suspended for video taunting black woman

DETROIT (AP) — Two Detroit police officers have been suspended amid an investigation into racist comments and social media posts about a traffic stop.

Officer Gary Steele and an unidentified officer stopped Ariel Moore, 23, for driving with an expired license plate last week. They seized the vehicle, leaving Moore to walk a block home in the cold and dark.

WXYZ-TV reported that video posted to Steele's Snapchat account showed Moore, who is black, walking home as Steele says "priceless" and "bye Felicia." The caption tags read: "What black girl magic looks like" and "celebrating Black History Month."

Police Chief James Craig said Monday the officers have been suspended with pay. Craig earlier demoted Steele from corporal and apologized to Moore.

The department didn't immediately respond to a message Tuesday asking whether Steele would comment or had an attorney.

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