Defendant pleads guilty to manslaughter

LEAVENWORTH — A Leavenworth woman has pleaded guilty to manslaughter in connection to the death of her son.

Catherine M. Smith, 32, had been charged with reckless second-degree murder, but she pleaded guilty to amended charges Friday as part of a plea agreement with prosecutors.

Smith’s case had been scheduled to go to trial Jan. 21.

Smith pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter, aggravated endangering a child and interference with a law enforcement officer.

The charges stemmed from the Nov. 29, 2018, death of her 19-month-old son and the subsequent investigation.

Smith reportedly left her son in a room where the temperature exceeded 90 degrees without checking on him for an extended period. However, the thermostat, which was located in another area of the residence, had been set at 75 degrees.

The interference with a law enforcement officer charge is related to communication Smith had with a police detective. It was determined Smith initially provided false information to take focus away from her, according to Deputy County Joan Lowdon.

 

Hesston adds new ministry program

HESSTON — A new ministry program geared toward pastors and other adult learners who desire more training as church leaders will launch at Hesston College with the fall 2020 semester in August.

Called the Center for Anabaptist Leadership and Learning — or “CALL” — the program will be a hybrid of online and in-person learning that seeks to equip leaders for ministry and discipleship in daily life as ambassadors of Jesus Christ.

“CALL focuses on the Missional model of ministry, which equips every follower of Christ to live with sacred purpose by enabling them to do ministry and mission in their daily lives,” said Jessica Schrock-Ringenberg, director of CALL. “Every person has been called by God for a sacred purpose. CALL will focus on looking for sacred opportunities in the secular rather than thinking the secular needs to come to our church buildings to find Christ.”

CALL will operate with a variety of educational experiences. The primary experience will be a hybrid online certificate in missional leadership well-suited for those interested in church leadership education and for pastors with advanced degrees interested in further missional training.

To learn more about the CALL program, go to hesston.edu/call.