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Mar 14, 2013 - The Associated Press

Judge hears first of Hill's suit

CHEYENNE -- A district judge in Cheyenne says he will rule in a week whether to restore the powers and duties recently taken away from state schools Superintendent Cindy Hill.

Judge Thomas Campbell heard more than two hours of testimony and arguments Thursday in Hill's lawsuit challenging a new law that removed her as head of the Wyoming Education Department.

The law replaces the superintendent with a director appointed by the governor but keeps the superintendent as a statewide elected official.

Advocates of the law say the change was necessary because Hill was disregarding school reform laws and doing a poor job of running the department.

Hill's lawsuit contends the law is unconstitutional. She's asking to be restored as the agency head while the issue is litigated.

More tests for accused killer

WHEATLAND -- A Wheatland man accused of killing his three sons and his brother in a 2011 shooting rampage continues to undergo mental evaluation at the Wyoming State Hospital.

Judge John Brooks of Douglas granted a request from the state hospital in Evanston on Wednesday for an additional 90 days to evaluate whether Everett Conant III is competent to stand trial.

Conant has pleaded not guilty to charges that he shot and killing his sons: 11-year-old Joseph, 13-year-old Charles and 18-year-old Everett, as well as their 33-year-old uncle Nacuma Roland Conant in July 2011. The defendant is also charged with attempted murder in the wounding of his wife.

Conant has been hospitalized repeatedly since his arrest.

Attempts to reach a prosecutor and a defense lawyer for comment were unsuccessful.

Robbery suspect makes a deal

NORTH PLATTE, Neb. -- A 20-year-old Wyoming man has pleaded no contest and been convicted of trying to rob a western Nebraska bank.

Drew Steier of Evanston faces sentencing on April 8. Prosecutors have agreed to recommend a sentence of 18 to 36 months in exchange for Steier's plea.

Authorities say Steier and 53-year-old Tracy Black tried to rob the Farmers State Bank in Wallace in August. Investigators say Steier walked into the bank wearing a ski mask and wielding a BB gun. He fled without any money. Black was driving the getaway car.

The two men were arrested near Imperial about an hour later.

Black, also from Evanston, Wyo., also pleaded no contest and is scheduled to be sentenced on March 25.

Explosive devices investigated

LUSK (AP) -- Niobrara County officials say they're investigating three explosive devices that detonated at three homes in Lusk.

Sheriff Rick Zerbe says two of the improvised explosives that went off March 6 were in the yards of a Wyoming Highway Patrol trooper and a school principal.

A fourth bomb that didn't go off was found near the trooper's home.

The Wyoming Office of Homeland Security sent a bomb technician from Casper to disarm the device.

Authorities are investigating whether the incidents targeted certain people or were random acts of mischief. They have not disclosed details about the explosives.

Lusk police urge people not to approach or handle any plastic bottle they find that has fluid in it, especially if the bottle is expanded or out of shape.

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