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(Des Moines, IA) -- A Polk County judge will decide this week whether to split trials for three murder defendants. Emmanuel Totaye Junior, Daishawn Gills, and Leontreal Jones were charged with killing three teenagers last year. Iowa state prosecutors want to consolidate the trials into one starting May 24th. The three suspects are accused of killing Devonte Swanks, Malachi Swanks, and Thayne Wright in January 2020. Their dead bodies were found inside a Des Moines home.

(Des Moines, IA) -- A man who used a child as a shield during a police standoff has been sentenced to two years in prison. Thirty-two-year-old Lewis Deshawn Butts of Des Moines was found guilty of child endangerment. The incident happened March 3rd when Des Moines police responded to a domestic disturbance report. They forced their way into a home where they encountered Butts. They say he pulled the child in front of him before eventually letting him go. Butts entered an Alford plea to the charges last month. He will spend another five years in prison for a separate domestic disturbance that happened last year.

(St. Louis, MO) -- The Petek family of Des Moines spent five-and-a-half hours Sunday driving a rental car home from St. Louis. They say Southwest Airlines refused to let them board a connecting flight home when their autistic son couldn’t wear his face mask. The incident happened at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport. Cody and Paige Petek and their two children were returning from a Florida vacation. Their five-year-old non-verbal son was struggling to wear his mask due to a sensory processing disorder. Southwest Airlines says it was following federal law.

(Omaha, NE) -- The Mid-America Business Conditions report for April shows an economy in Iowa and eight other Midwest and Plains states coming back to life as the COVID-19 pandemic eases. The monthly survey by Creighton University economist Ernie Goss finds the region’s overall index at its highest reading in almost three decades. The report finds more than half of the 106-thousand manufacturing jobs that were lost during the pandemic have been regained. April’s index was 73-point-nine. Any score above 50 suggests growth, while scores below 50 suggest recession.

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