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MINNESOTA NEWS ROUNDUP: Mom gets seven years for suffocating infant son

MINNEAPOLIS -- A seven-year prison sentence for a woman who suffocated her three-month-old son several years ago and tried to do the same to her infant daughter in 2012.  The Star Tribune reports prosecutors asked for 12 years, but Hennepin County Judget Fred Karasov decided on a shorter sentence because 26-year-old Ashleigh Casey was very remorseful, had been successful in therapy and was agreeable to probation.  Experts say it appears Casey has a disorder in which a caregiver fakes or causes an illness in someone else to get sympathy or attention.  


 A South St. Paul man is headed to prison for 40 years for killing Minnesota Air National Guardsman Brandon Horst.  Aaron Allen was sentenced yesterday to the maximum punishment available after pleading guilty to the crime.  He carried out the hit for Horst's wife Heather, who is serving life in prison without parole for arranging her husband's murder in an attempt to collect his life insurance policy, 100-thousand dollars of which she promised Allen.  Brandon Horst was 25 when he was killed by a single shot to the head on August 5, 2013.


The 16-year-old Columbia Heights boy suspected of shooting his 19-year-old brother has turned himself in.  Anoka County sheriff's officials say the teen turned himself in yesterday (Tue) at the Hennepin County Juvenile Detention Center and he was taken to Anoka County, where he remains in custody.  The victim was taken to the hospital and is expected to recover.


Former State Representative Matt Entenza has filed a complaint against fellow Democrat Rebecca Otto, accusing the state auditor of implying on Facebook that she voted against a voter photo-ID bill when she was in the legislature -- but Entenza says Otto voted "yes."  Entenza says voter photo-ID disenfranchises senior citizens and makes it hard for students to vote -- and that's why voters resoundingly defeated a proposed constitutional amendment in 2012.  Entenza is challenging Otto for state auditor in the August D-F-L primary election.  Otto wasn't available for comment.  State D-F-L Party Chairman Ken Martin says Entenza is distorting the facts for personal gain.


Minnesota is one of the best states in which to make a living.  That's according to the annual study, which ranks Minnesota third in the nation.  The study considered factors like average salary, cost of living, employment rate and workplace conditions.  Washington came in first place, followed by Texas.  Hawaii is ranked 50th. 


Best Buy's turnaround is working according to CEO Hubert Jolly.  Speaking to shareholders, the head of the electronics retailer said they have exceeded cost cutting goals and have found 860-million dollars in savings.  Best Buy raised its quarterly dividend by 12-percent yesterday, meaning investors will be paid 19 cents a share.  The company's stock gained three-point-four-percent in value to 26-dollars-22-cents a share after the earnings report was released yesterday.


A new postcard scam is making the rounds in Minnesota.  The Better Business Bureau says if you receive a postcard alerting you to an unclaimed reward of $100 in gift savings from Target or Walmart, report it to your local post office and the FTC.  The postcard asks the victim to call a toll-free number and requests a one-time activation fee of $3.95--payable by credit card.  The BBB says you should never give out financial or personal information to unknown parties over the phone, through the mail or on the Internet. 


Officials are warning of the dangers of the brown marmorated stink bug.  The pest arrived in Minnesota in 2010 and has been located in the Twin Cities and Duluth.  Mark Abrahamson with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture says, number one, the stink bug is an agricultural pest that feeds on apples, corn, soybeans and garden vegetables -- but it is also a household nuisance.  Abrahamson says a new three-year program with funding approved by the state legislature is designed to help ag officials monitor the spread of the insect and identify more effective ways to control it. 


 The truck driver involved in a fatal crash in New Jersey that critically injured actor Tracy Morgan admitted he hadn't slept for more than 24 hours.  John Hausladen, president of the Minnesota Trucking Association, says drivers are highly regulated when it comes to hours they can drive and mandated time off.  He says truckers are also required to keep an up-to-date real-time travel log that law enforcement officers can check when a truck is pulled over.  And Hausladen says trucking companies keep track of a driver's logged hours, and employees on the road are subject to random audits.