News Minute: Here is the latest Massachusetts news from The Associated Press at 8:40 a.m. EST
BOSTON (AP) - Massachusetts prosecutors have asked a judge to sentence a drain company owner to seven to 10 years in prison for his involvement in the collapse and flooding of a trench that killed two workers. Atlantic Drain Service owner Kevin Lee Otto was convicted in October of two counts of manslaughter in the deaths of Kelvin Mattocks and Robert Higgins. The two workers were in a trench in Boston's South End in 2016 when a fire hydrant collapsed and flooded the 14-foot-deep trench with water. Otto's attorney asked for probation or a suspended sentence. Otto's sentencing is scheduled for 9 a.m. Thursday.
BOSTON (AP) - A proposed ballot question that would overhaul the state’s electoral system has cleared another hurdle on the way to next year’s ballot. Under the proposed system, voters have the option of ranking candidates on the ballot in order of their preference _ one for their top choice, two for their second choice, and so on. If a candidate garners a majority of first-place votes, that candidate wins. If no candidate receives a majority of the first-choice votes, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated and the remaining ballots reallocated until one candidate has a majority of votes and wins.
BOSTON (AP) - A Massachusetts accountant has been sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison for embezzling almost $1.3 million from his clients. Federal prosecutors say 49-year-old Jeffrey Kellem, of Newton, was also ordered to pay restitution and fined $250,000. He pleaded guilty in September to wire fraud and filing a false tax return for failing to pay taxes on the stolen money. Kellem used his position as an accountant for an elderly client, and the estate of a deceased client, to transfer the money to bank accounts he opened and controlled and without the authorization of his clients.
DRACUT, Mass. (AP) - Authorities in Massachusetts say two brothers from New Hampshire have been charged with attacking a man in the parking lot of a Massachusetts pizza shop, yelling racist slurs, and telling the victim to “go back to Africa.” Police said Wednesday 36-year-old Jeremy Stephenson, of Plaistow, New Hampshire, and 39-year-old James Stephenson, of Salem, New Hampshire, were both released on personal recognizance following their arraignments this week. The alleged attack on the 22-year-old Dracut man occurred in late September. The brothers have been charged with constitutional rights violations, assault and other offenses. It was not clear who represents them.
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